Creamed Spinach

5 from 7 votes

Creamed spinach is a delicious side dish made with spinach, a blend of milk and cheeses. It's creamy, savory, and perfect for any meal.

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Creamed Spinach is a quick and easy dish that is classy enough for date night yet fast and easy enough for a weeknight meal. If you’ve yet to try homemade creamed spinach, you’ve been missing out! The combination of cream cheese and butter paired with salty parmesan cheese, onions, and of course, earthy spinach plays so well together that you may never eat spinach another way again!

Creamed spinach in a serving bowl with a spoon dipped inside.
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Creamed spinach is one of those staple dishes at steakhouses and is also popular during the holidays. Usually, I find that the taste of the heavy cream overwhelms the dish, and it becomes more about the cream than the spinach. In this lightened-up version of creamed spinach, I use milk and cream cheese instead of heavy cream. It results in a creamy texture, and cheesy flavor that enhances the spinach instead of hides it.

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: America
Primary Cooking Method: Stove
Dietary Info: Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Cheesy, salty, earthy
Skill Level: Beginner


  • Perfect for a holiday side dish: This recipe for creamed spinach is as beautiful as it is delicious. 
  • Quick and easy to make: Creamed spinach uses ingredients you can find at your local grocery store and only takes a few minutes to make. 
  • Great way to get kids to eat their vegetables: With this rich and creamy combination, kids won’t be able to get enough! 

Ingredients to make creamed spinach

Ingredients for recipe in individual dishes: cream cheese, milk, onion, frozen spinach, seasoning, butter, and parmesan.
  • Spinach: Fresh or frozen spinach will work great for this recipe. 
  • Milk: 2% or whole milk works best for higher fat content and creamy quality. 
  • Onion: Mince the onion into small pieces so you don’t get any large chunks, and it’s all an even consistency. You can do this by running your chef’s knife over the diced onions a few times. 
  • Salt, pepper, and nutmeg: A little seasoning goes a long way in this dish since the other ingredients absorb flavors nicely. 
  • Butter: Unsalted butter works best so you can taste and adjust based on how salty you like it. 
  • Cream cheese: Full-fat or low-fat cream cheese works well for this dish since they both make the spinach creamy.
  • Switch the cream cheese for mascarpone. Try using mascarpone for an even creamier option.
  • Use heavy cream instead of milk. If you really want to go all out, use cream instead of milk. Just keep in mind that heavy cream has a very distinct flavor and can easily overwhelm everything else.
  • Add some garlic. A couple of cloves of minced garlic add depth and flavor to this side dish. 
  • Change up the spices. Swap the nutmeg for a pinch of allspice or coriander, depending on the flavors of the other ingredients in your meal. 
  • Add some heat. Spice it up! Sprinkle in a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to bring out the heat.

How to make creamed spinach

The steps to make this popular side dish are simple. Start by cooking the frozen spinach, and then you can cook it with the remaining ingredients.

Prepare frozen spinach

  1. Cook the spinach according to the package instructions.
  2. Place it in a clean tea towel.
  3. Set the spinach (in the towel) over a sieve in the sink.
  4. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible.
4 image collage preparing spinach: 1- frozen spinach in a bowl, 2- thawed spinach on a towel over sieve, step 3- towel closed with hands squeezing it to remove liquid, 4- spinach on opened towel after moisture removed.

How to make creamed spinach

  1. Sauté the onion in the butter and cook until the onions are translucent and are beginning to soften.
  2. Add the squeezed spinach, milk, Parmesan cheese, and cream cheese to the skillet and stir it all together.
  3. Simmer and cook until the milk has thickened slightly.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and then serve it warm.
4 image collage making recipe: step 1- cooked onions with butter, step 2- thawed spinach, milk, parmesan, and cream added before mixed, step 3- after combining, step 4- after milk is thickened.

Tips for making the best frozen creamed spinach

  1. Make sure the spinach is very dry. Thaw the spinach in advance and just let it sit on top of a sieve over the sink to draw out as much moisture as possible. You can even lightly salt it to help draw out the excess moisture. Then squeeze the remaining moisture with your hands. This helps remove any extra water.  
  2. Cook the Spinach on the stovetop. Usually, frozen spinach will give you instructions for cooking it in the microwave or on the stovetop. I prefer using the stovetop for this recipe since it’s quite a lot of spinach and using the microwave can cause uneven cooking. It also limits the dishes you’ll use since you can use the skillet again for cooking the creamed spinach.
  3. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. You’ll know when the spinach is ready when the sauce feels thicker and leaves a short trail behind your spoon when stirring.
Creamed spinach in bowl.

What to serve with this creamy spinach recipe

How to store & reheat creamed spinach

Keep leftover spinach in an airtight container in the fridge.

To reheat it, remove the lid and heat it in the microwave in 30-second increments until it’s heated all the way through.

How long will creamed spinach last in the fridge?

When it’s stored in a container, it will last for up to five days.

Can i freeze creamy spinach?

It’s not a good idea to freeze creamed spinach since the fat solids will separate and the texture will be grainy when thawed and reheated.

Frequently asked questions

Why is my creamed spinach mushy?

If you notice that your dish doesn’t have a nice slight bite, but is mushy, this is likely because it was cooked for too long. Spinach leaves are very soft and can easily break down and lose their texture. You want to cook it for just long enough that the sauce thickens slightly.

Why is my creamed spinach bitter?

This can happen if you use regular full-leaf spinach rather than baby spinach or if you don’t add enough salt or butter. Spinach is naturally bitter, but it’s easy to balance that flavor with the right amount of salt or fat (like butter).

Do I need to cook the spinach before adding it to creamed spinach?

For this recipe, you’ll need to slightly cook the spinach so you can squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You don’t want too much water in the dish otherwise, it will turn out watery rather than creamy.

Spoon lifting up a serving of creamed spinach.

Creamed spinach is an easy side dish that can be eaten with a weeknight meal or brought to a family gathering or party. This rich and creamy side is a must-make this holiday season.

More side dish recipes:

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Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is a delicious side dish made with spinach, a blend of milk and cheeses. It's creamy, savory, and perfect for any meal.
5 from 7 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side, Side Dish
Calories 331
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 (10-ounce) containers frozen chopped spinach
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg


  • Cook spinach according to package instructions then place in a clean tea towel. Set the spinach (in the towel) over a sieve in the sink. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible, then set aside.
  • In a large sauté pan, add butter and set over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and are beginning to soften.
  • Add spinach, milk, Parmesan cheese and cream cheese to the skillet and mix to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the milk has thickened slightly.
  • Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve warm.


Calories: 331kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 740mg, Potassium: 718mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 17522IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 441mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Side, Side Dish

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was the best creamed spinach we’ve ever had! We used fresh spinach and heavy cream, plus added garlic. We will definitely be making this again. So good!