Creamed Spinach Recipe – Leafy greens never tasted so good! 💚 This recipe features tender spinach smothered in a creamy white sauce infused with garlic, onions, Creole seasoning, nutmeg, and melted cheese. It’s an easy holiday side dish for your favorite roasted turkey, grilled steaks, or even baked fish.
One thing I’ve noticed about side dishes is that anything creamy is always a big hit. Have you, too? This creamed spinach is no exception. It takes a green leafy vegetable and hides it from the kids with just the right amount of milk, cream, and cheese. And so the whole gang goes in for seconds! 🙌
It’s pretty simple to throw together, too. You just whip up the white sauce, season it, and throw in the spinach. Voila! In about 15 minutes, you’ve got the perfect side for fish, meat dishes, and potatoes.
How Do You Make it the Best?
How Do You Make the Best Creamed Spinach?
A few things make this cream spinach recipe really shine. First of all, the Creole seasoning. You’ve probably noticed I add it to most recipes, and that’s because it adds a unique flavor that saves simple dishes from boredom.
Secondly, the cheese! Fresh parm and Gruyere make the white sauce creamy and extra flavorful. 😋 Lastly, my secret ingredient—nutmeg. This spice truly balances the flavor and adds a heavenly warmth.
- Spinach – I usually use frozen spinach because it’s quick, but you could sub frozen with 2½ pounds of fresh spinach. Just sauté it until it’s nice and tender before you add it to the sauce.
- Dairy – Butter, milk, evaporated milk, and the cheeses come together to make a silky smooth white sauce.
- Seasonings – Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, Creole seasoning (preferably homemade), and some minced garlic and diced onion give this dish a real depth of flavor.
How to Make Creamed Spinach
Prepare the Spinach
- For Frozen Spinach – Thaw spinach, then drain extra moisture using a colander (squeeze it to get it all out) and set it aside.
- For Fresh Spinach – Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt it. Then, add fresh spinach leaves, letting them cook for about a minute or just until wilted. Drain any extra water from the spinach using a colander. Then, rinse the spinach with cold water to cool it. Finally, squeeze any excess water out of the spinach and set it aside.
Make the Cream Sauce
- Saute Seasonings – Add the butter to a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, let it melt, then throw in the garlic, onions, and Creole seasoning. Stir continuously for about 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Make the Roux – Add the flour and whisk until it is fully combined with the onion mixture, then continue cooking for about a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste.
- Add the Milk – Slowly add evaporated milk, followed by the regular milk.
- Simmer – Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer gently, whisking constantly until the sauce begins to thicken, 3-5 minutes.
- Add Cheese – Next, stir in the cheeses, and continue stirring until everything’s melted and evenly combined and smooth.
- Add the Spinach, stirring until it’s smothered in the white sauce. Finally, stir in the nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce.
- Serve – Give it a taste test and adjust the seasonings to taste. Remove from stove and serve piping hot.
- Make this recipe gluten-free by swapping out the all-purpose flour for almond flour. Don’t use coconut flour, as it is way more absorbent and can affect the texture of this dish.
- Choose your cheeses. My favorite blend for this recipe is parmesan and Gruyere, but you could use any melty cheeses you like! 🧀
Tips and Tricks
- Don’t dump the milk in all at once over the sautéing onion and flour mixture. If you pour everything in too fast, your sauce might get lumpy.
- When you’ve done your last taste test, check on the consistency of your cream spinach. If it seems too thick, add some milk or cream until it reaches your ideal consistency. Then let it cook for a minute or two longer until the dish is heated through.
- Drain the spinach well and squeeze out any remaining liquid carefully too. If it is still “juicy” when you add it to the pan, your cream sauce could turn out runny. But if that happens…
- Let your cream spinach simmer until it reaches the right consistency if it’s not as thick as you’d like.
This dish reheats pretty well, so feel free to make it a day or two ahead of time. Let it cool completely before covering the surface with plastic wrap or parchment paper. This will keep it from forming a skin. Refrigerate and when you are ready to serve it, simply heat it up over low heat on the stove until it starts to bubble. 🤤
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve this creamed spinach recipe piping hot. You can store leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days.
You can reheat it gently over low heat on the stove, as mentioned above, or pop it in the microwave for a minute or two.
Creamed spinach also freezes well for three months. Keep it in an airtight container, of course, and then defrost it in the fridge overnight before you reheat and serve.
Full disclosure, all that cheese and cream have quite a bit of saturated fat and sodium, so you may not want to make this dish every night. I like to make rich dishes like these for special occasions because it’s all about good things in moderation, right? 😉
There’s no need if you’re using frozen spinach or fresh baby spinach. If you are using full-grown spinach leaves, you may want to remove any tough stems before you get cooking. If they’re tender, chop them up and toss them in, too.
If you have loads of leftovers, turn them into a pasta dish! That’s right, just cook up some of your favorite pasta and coat it in creamed spinach for a spinach and white sauce pasta dish. 👌
What Goes with Creamed Spinach?
Creamed spinach makes an amazing side dish for just about any protein. I love serving it with smoked spatchcock turkey or Southern fried catfish.
It also goes great with potato dishes. Try it alongside fried potatoes and onions or Duchess potatoes. You won’t be disappointed.
More Spectacular Spinach Recipes to Try
- Spinach Pie Recipe (Spanakopita)
- Ndole (Spinach and Peanut Soup)
- Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Mustard Greens (you can use spinach😉)
- Spinach Quiche
Get ready to taste your new favorite holiday side dish, y’all! If you love creamed spinach as much as I do, you probably have your own favorite creamed vegetable recipes. I’d love to hear your best recipes, tips, and tricks in the comment section below. Can’t wait to hear from you!
Watch How to Make It
This blog post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video.
- 2 12-ounce packages fresh spinach, thawed and drained (See notes for fresh spinach.)
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- ½ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If using fresh spinach, heat a large pot of water to boiling and lightly salt. Then add spinach leaves, and let it cook for about a minute or until wilted. Place in cold water to cool. (If using frozen spinach, skip this step.)
- Drain extra water from the spinach using a colander. Squeeze the excess moisture from the spinach.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter, let it melt, then throw in garlic, onions, and Creole seasoning. Stir for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Add flour and whisk until it's thoroughly combined with the onion mixture, then cook for another minute to get rid of the raw flour taste.
- Slowly add the evaporated milk while constantly stirring (you don't want lumps), and then follow with the milk.
- Heat to a simmer and let it simmer gently, constantly whisking until the sauce thickens, 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the cheeses, and continue stirring until everything’s melted, evenly combined, and smooth.
- Add spinach and mix until well combined. Then stir in the nutmeg and Worcestershire and adjust seasonings to taste. (Add more milk or cream if needed for the desired consistency). Cook for 1-2 minutes more or until heated through.
- Remove from stove and serve piping hot.
Tips & Notes:
Substitute frozen spinach with 2½ pounds of fresh spinach, then saute it in a little oil until it wilts, drain, and proceed with the recipe.
- You may substitute all-purpose flour with almond flour, but not coconut flour, as it is more absorbent and will affect the texture of this dish.
- Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.
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