Easy Creamed Spinach

$3.40 recipe / $0.85 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 8 votes
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Creamed spinach is one of those dishes that I probably would have turned my nose up as a child, but now that I’m an adult I L-O-V-E it! It’s rich and creamy, but not too-too heavy, and has just the right amount of cheesy goodness to keep me coming back for more. I’ve got tons of ways to customize this creamed spinach recipe, too, so you can totally tweak it to make it just the way you like it!

Overhead view of a skillet full of creamed spinach.

What is Creamed Spinach?

Creamed spinach is a classic side dish that you’ll often find in steak houses or other American restaurants. It’s quick and easy to make and is a total comfort food classic. There are several different ways to make this deliciously creamy dish, but the base recipe we have for you below is simple, rich, and creamy without being overly heavy. …Because I like to enjoy dinner without needing a nap afterward. 😅

Ingredients for Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach starts with a creamy white sauce for its base. There are several different ways you can make the white sauce, but to keep ours both creamy and light, we made a quick béchamel with butter, flour, and milk. The sauce is seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and then we melt in some Parmesan for a nice umami punch. Once that creamy sauce is perfect, you stir in the spinach and you’re done!

Close up side view of creamed spinach in a bowl.

Fresh or Frozen spinach?

We used frozen chopped spinach to keep the recipe easy and convenient, but you can definitely use fresh spinach if you prefer. To use fresh spinach, simply roughly chop the spinach, then sauté it in a skillet with a small amount of oil until moist of the moisture has been cooked out. You’ll want to use 12 oz. of fresh spinach to replace the frozen spinach in the recipe below.

What Else Can I Add?

Our creamed spinach recipe is a simple, classic version, but there are a lot of ways to tweak it. Here are some other ingredients you can add to take your creamed spinach to the next level:

  • Heavy cream – If you want your creamed spinach to be EXTRA creamy, replace ½ cup of the milk with heavy cream.
  • Cream cheese – If you don’t like making béchamel sauces, you can thicken your white sauce by melting together 4 oz. cream cheese and 1 cup milk as the base for your creamed spinach. This also gives the creamed spinach a slightly tangy flavor.
  • Mozzarella – Try topping your creamed spinach with a little shredded mozzarella and placing it in the oven for a few minutes to melt for an extra cheesy layer.
  • Artichoke hearts – dice up some artichoke hearts and stir them into the mix.
  • Onion – Finely dice an onion and sauté it with the garlic in the beginning of the recipe.
Overhead view of creamed spinach in a bowl.
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Creamed Spinach

5 from 8 votes
This easy creamed spinach recipe is a delicious and easy side dish for any meal, and is made with simple ingredients like butter, milk, and Parmesan.
Overhead view of creamed spinach in a bowl.
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • Fully thaw the frozen spinach, then squeeze out the excess moisture. Set the spinach aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté over medium heat for about one minute.
  • Add the flour to the skillet. Whisk the flour and butter together and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes more.
  • Whisk the milk into the flour and butter. Continue whisking until the sauce comes up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken.
  • Add the Parmesan to the sauce and continue to whisk and cook until the Parmesan melts into the sauce (1-2 minutes). Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  • Finally, stir the chopped spinach into the white sauce until evenly combined. Give the spinach one final taste and adjust the salt as needed. Enjoy!

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Notes

* To use fresh spinach, roughly chop 12 oz. fresh baby spinach. Sauté the spinach in a skillet with a little oil until most of the moisture has cooked out.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cupCalories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 10gFat: 17gSodium: 407mgFiber: 3g
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How to Make Creamed Spinach – Step By Step Photos

Thawed and squeezed frozen chopped spinach in a bowl.

Thaw 12 oz. frozen chopped spinach and squeeze out the excess moisture (it will be about 1.5 cups once thawed and squeezed). If using fresh spinach, roughly chop the spinach then sauté it in a skillet with a small amount of oil until most of the moisture has cooked off.

Butter and garlic in a skillet.

Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add 2 minced cloves of garlic and sauté for about one minute.

Butter and flour roux being cooked in the skillet.

Add ¼ cup all-purpose flour to the skillet and whisk it into the butter. Continue to cook and whisk the butter and flour mixture for about two minutes (it should be bubbling the whole time).

Milk being poured into the roux.

Whisk 1.5 cups whole milk into the butter and flour roux.

Thickened white sauce in the skillet being whisked.

Continue to cook and whisk the white sauce until it comes back up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken (this should happen within a couple of minutes).

Grated Parmesan being sprinkled into the skillet.

Add ⅓ cup shredded or grated Parmesan to the skillet and continue to whisk and cook until the Parmesan has melted into the sauce.

Seasoning added to the sauce.

Add ⅛ tsp nutmeg, ⅛ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper to the sauce. Stir to combine.

Spinach being stirred into the white sauce.

Add the thawed chopped spinach to the white sauce and stir to combine.

Finished creamed spinach in the skillet.

Give the creamed spinach one last time and add more salt if needed. Enjoy the creamed spinach warm with your favorite meal!

Overhead view of a bowl full of creamed spinach.
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  1. This recipe was good, but I preferred the old creamed spinach post since it wasn’t as thick. This was an artichoke dip consistency for me (used whole milk as written). I think the old one didn’t require squeezing the spinach either. Could someone on the Budget Bytes team email the original to me?

    If anyone is looking for ideas on how to serve, I spooned it over baked sweet potatoes topped with bacon. I also made the Egg Florentine Quesadilla recipe this morning and planning to use the rest on an Eggs Florentine Breakfast Pizza. :)

  2. even lighter and way easier:

    Cook 16 oz frozen spinach over medium heat. Add 4 wedges of Laughing Cow Creamy Light cheese. Mix, serve.

    My guests love it and are shocked to find out it’s healthier than they think.

  3. I made this tonight and the cream sauce was far too thick and gummy. It tasted good, but in the future I will use less flour in making the sauce. Perhaps I had the heat up too high because it thickened in less than 30 seconds. I love this site and have made and shared many recipes from here, and will continue to.

  4. This has been a fave at my house since it first came out, and I follow the recipe exactly–I know, rare for me. The sauce can be used for many veggies–we particularly like creamed peas, too. When I use it with carrots, I skip the nutmeg and add chopped French tarragon. And I confess to enjoying a bit of diced sauteed onion with spinach–it adds a hint of sweetness to the greens.

  5. I don’t suppose I could slap this creamed spinach on a breadier more breakfast-style pizza crust with a few eggs? I know you have an eggs Florentine breakfast pizza recipe (or two? Idr.) but this particular one keeps calling me. Pizza, it says. It looks a bit too wet for that though. Thoughts?

    1. Yeah, it’s probably a little too wet as written, but you could always just reduce the amount of milk used. :)

  6. First off, the recipe tasted AMAZING! I have been using it for my omelettes, quesadillas, and as a dip for tortilla chips! However, mine came out very green and not white like in the picture. Feels like I ham having something served on Dr. Sues Day in elementary school. Does anyone know why this would be? I did use fresh spinach as a substitute and washed well.