Easily made with frozen spinach, smooth cream cheese, flavorful spices and a blend of decadent cheeses, this Creamed Spinach recipe is pure comfort food! It is an irresistible side dish that serves as the perfect accompaniment to any weeknight or holiday dinner!
Growing up, I always had the impression that special occasions called for steak. Whether it was a birthday or anniversary there always seemed to be a juicy, tender steak to celebrate the occasion. Steakhouses were rarely visited but my father’s grill was always hot and ready. He’d grill whatever cut was on sale that weekend while he hummed. Such a lovely memory.
Our steaks were always served with a table full of sides: sweet potato biscuits, glazed carrots, homemade rolls and creamed spinach. Those steak dinners were filled with laughter, love and more delicious food than imaginable.
Creamed Spinach is, and has always been, my absolute favorite side dish. It’s creamy, decadent, cheesy and maybe, even a little healthy? Regardless, I couldn’t imagine a steak dinner without it. So I’m declaring today a celebration! What do you say we get these greens goin’?
The Heart and Soul of the Best Creamed Spinach Recipe
Cuisine Inspiration: American Comfort
Primary Cooking Method: Sautéing & Simmering
Dietary Info: Vegetarian, Gluten-free (check ingredients for confirmation)
Key Flavor: Creamy & Savory
Skill Level: Easy Peasy
Creamy Goodness: This dish transforms humble greens into a luxurious side with a velvety embrace of cream.
Versatile Side: From steaks to holiday dinners, it’s your go-to accompaniment.
Nutrient-Packed: Spinach brings the iron, vitamins, and fiber; you won’t even notice you’re eating healthy!
Quick Fix: Got 30 minutes? That’s all you need for this crowd-pleaser.
Kid-Friendly: “Eat your greens” turns into “More, please!” with this recipe.
What is Creamed Spinach?
I’m sure that plenty of folks have seen a bowl of creamed spinach on the table and thought “what the heck is that?”. You might think it’s just a bunch of spinach and heavy cream thrown together but, it’s much better than that.
A Creamed Spinach recipe is a mixture of wilted spinach, sauteed onion and garlic and parmesan cheese that’s been swirled into a silky white sauce. The result of this recipe is a cheesy, green-filled concoction that proves to be more delicious than you thought possible.
Creamed Spinach is a simple, easy-to-make dish that comes together quickly and with minimal fuss. From start to finish, this dish only takes about 20 minutes! This means more time for dinner rolls and basting roast chickens.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Vegetables are frozen at their peak freshness which, not only means that it’s healthier but also means it tastes better. Using frozen spinach shortens cooking time and makes for a cheaper dish.
Half & Half
Half & Half is made by combining equal parts cream and whole milk; it’s thinner and lower in fat than heavy cream. Adding half & half layers in sweetness and a creamy texture without over-thickening the sauce.
Cream cheese is sweet, tangy and satisfyingly thick. Its addition makes for a smooth sauce filled with flavor.
I like to create balance in all of my recipes; this means layering flavor and creating dimension. Nutmeg is slightly sweet but mostly very warm. Just a pinch goes a long way in making this dish phenomenal.
Parmesan & Italian Blend Cheese
A lot of recipes will only call for parmesan but, who doesn’t want more cheese? Italian blends consist of parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino-romano, mozzarella and sometimes, provolone. I find that using an Italian blend balances out the saltiness from the parmesan (and creates that cheesy-pull).
How to Make Creamed Spinach
- Prep Spinach: Ensure your thawed spinach is super dry by squeezing out excess water with paper towels.
- Start the Base: Melt butter in a pan, medium heat. Sauté onion until tender (3-4 mins), add garlic (30 secs).
- Build Thickness: Mix in flour to form a paste (1 min).
- Cream It Up: Gradually whisk in half-and-half. Stir in flavor powders (onion, garlic, Italian seasoning), nutmeg, and cayenne.
- Cheese, Please: Blend in cream cheese, parmesan, and Italian cheese until smooth.
- Spinach Time: Fold in the spinach, season with salt and pepper. Stir until well-incorporated and heated through (3-4 mins).
- Taste and Serve: Do a final taste check, adjust seasoning, and get ready to wow your taste buds!
How to Serve
Give me a spoon and a bowl full of this Creamed Spinach and I’ve got dinner. Seriously, I could finish the whole thing. But, if I feel like serving up variety I like to keep it classic.
Creamed Spinach serves as the perfect accompaniment to a simple steak or a roast chicken. I love to throw in some roasted potatoes for good measure.
BONUS TIP: Don’t be afraid to get creative! Creamed spinach can also be stuffed in pasta shells, added to a funky grilled cheese or used as a chicken breast filling.
Storage and Reheating
To store, place cooled creamed spinach in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to reheat, gently warm it in a saucepan over low heat, adding a splash of milk if needed to maintain creaminess.
Avoid microwaving to prevent separation and keep that delightful texture intact!
Best Vegetable Side Dishes
Sides are what make a good meal great! This week, take a little time to serve up your dinner with a couple extras. You won’t regret it.
- Southern Mustard Greens
- Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Southern Succotash
- Creamed Corn
- Spinach Gratin
- Green Bean Casserole
- Collard Greens
- Braised Cabbage
Creamed Spinach Recipe
- 20 oz frozen chopped spinach
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- 3 tbsp finely chopped onion
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- a pinch of cayenne optional
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature (half an 8 oz package)
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Begin by working with the thawed spinach. Use fresh paper towels to squeeze out all of the excess water until they are as dry as possible.
- Next add butter to a large pan over medium heat.
- Once heated add onion and saute until tender (about 3-4 minutes). Then add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
- Stir in flour and cook for about a minute.it will become a thick paste.
- Whisk in half and half in then add onion powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, nutmeg and cayenne. Stir in cream cheese and parmesan and Italian blend cheese and allow it to completely dissolve into the cream.
- Finally add in the spinach and stir into the cream sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue stirring for about 3-4 minutes until spinach is heated through and one with the sauce. Taste one last time, do final seasoning and serve.