5 from 6 votes

Creamed Spinach

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our read the Privacy Policy

Classic steakhouse creamed spinach with delicious cream cheese, and the lovely flavors of Parmesan cheese is an uncommon side dish but a truly loved old-fashioned favorite.

Whipped up incredibly quickly in a cast iron pan, creamed spinach takes about 15 minutes, making it one of the quickest sides to enjoy in a pinch.

creamed spinach in a cast iron pan being stirred with a wooden spoon

Perfect with grilled steak or chicken, there is a reason that flavorful and creamy spinach is one of the main sides offered in fancy restaurants.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of making the creamiest, most flavorful creamed spinach you’ve ever tasted.

From selecting the freshest spinach leaves to mastering the perfect creamy sauce, our foolproof recipe will have you serving up restaurant-quality creamed spinach in no time.

Ingredients for making Creamed Spinach

This really easy steakhouse side dish takes it up a notch with creamy, rich cream cheese, and because it’s low carb and keto (as long as you skip the breadcrumb toppings), it stays within most nutritional diets that your picky eaters may have.

  • White onion & minced garlic, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, salt & black pepper
  • Frozen spinach is thawed and drained of excess moisture; using frozen spinach keeps this dish as simple and as quick as possible.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: while it may be tempting to use shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese, it melts differently and will add a cheese pull to your spinach versus just a nice creamy topping. Adding a real heavy cheese, like shaved cheese, turns the cream sauce into cheese sauce, so while it tastes great, it’s a lot harder to stir and will alter the recipe.

How to make Creamed Spinach

Prep Your Veggies: Start by dicing up that 1/2 cup of white onion into neat, little cubes.

Sauté Time: Heat up a pan over medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in your diced onions and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Stir them around and let them sauté for about 3 minutes. You’re looking for them to become fragrant and beautifully golden.

Spinach Goes In: Grab your 24 oz. of thawed and well-drained spinach and introduce it to the pan. Give everything a good mix to ensure the spinach gets well acquainted with the onion and garlic.

Let It Simmer: Pop a lid on the pan and let the mix simmer on medium heat for about 6 minutes. Peek in occasionally and stir things around to make sure nothing sticks and burns.

collage of 4 images progressing step by step how to make creamed spinach

Cheese, Please: Break your cream cheese into smaller chunks for easier melting and dot them around the pan. This is also the perfect time to pour in 2 tablespoons of whipping cream, sprinkle in the 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan, and add a teaspoon of sugar. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Stir It Up: Now, the magic happens. Stir everything together and watch as the cream cheese starts to melt and mingle with the rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring for about 5-7 minutes to make sure everything is smooth and there are no lumps left.

Serve Hot: Once everything is creamy and dreamy, take the pan off the heat. Serve your creamy spinach hot, right out of the pan, and watch it disappear!

Expert Tips

Frozen vs. Fresh Spinach: Creamed spinach can be made with fresh spinach over frozen. There are two ways to handle fresh spinach leaves.

  • Remove stems and chop down any excessively large leaves. Add butter to the pan and cook the spinach, which takes about 3–4 minutes. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as is.
  • The other way is to add about a pan of spinach leaves into a pan with onion, garlic, and butter, then add the creamed cheese directly, cooking the leaves as you go.

Both of these require more work than just using frozen spinach.

Please note that fresh spinach cooks down much smaller than you believe it will, so while a pound of spinach may seem like a lot, it cooks down the same as frozen.

Tips and tricks for perfect creamed spinach

To make your creamed spinach even better, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

Select Fresh Spinach: Choose spinach leaves that are vibrant green and crisp. Avoid wilted or yellowing leaves, as they may affect the taste and texture of the final dish.

Don’t overcook: Be careful not to overcook the spinach. Overcooking can lead to a mushy texture and the loss of nutrients. Cook until the spinach wilts down and still retains a slight bite.

Customize the Creamy Sauce: Adjust the consistency of the creamed spinach by adding more or less heavy cream. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer it for a few extra minutes to reduce the liquid.

Experiment with Seasonings: Feel free to experiment with different seasonings to enhance the flavor of your creamed spinach. Some popular options include nutmeg, garlic powder, or lemon juice.

Crunchy Topping: Add fried onions or panko bread crumbs to the top before serving for a bit more crunch and flavor. This will alter the carb count, so pay attention to the servings on the back of the bag. 

Serving suggestions and pairing options

Creamed spinach pairs well with a variety of main dishes. Here are some serving suggestions and pairing options to inspire you:

Expert Tips

Can this dish be made ahead of time?

Yes, it can; however, cream cheese will solidify back in the fridge, so it needs to be appropriately heated again before serving.

Is this the same recipe as Morton’s Steakhouse creamed spinach?

This recipe is more straightforward. However, to achieve Morton’s Steakhouse-creamed spinach, use fresh spinach and add a cup of mozzarella to melt down.

Health benefits of spinach

Spinach is not only delicious but also incredibly good for your health. It is rich in essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. The high fiber content in spinach helps with digestion and promotes a healthy gut.

Regularly eating spinach can boost your immune system, improve your vision, and support healthy bones. Its antioxidant properties help fight inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The iron in spinach contributes to healthy blood circulation and prevents anemia.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder spinach is often referred to as a superfood.

Creamed spinach recipe variations

While the classic creamed spinach recipe is delicious, there are many variations you can try to add your twist to this classic side dish. Here are a few ideas:

Spicy Creamed Spinach: For those who enjoy a kick of heat, add some red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the creamed spinach.

Garlic and Herb Creamed Spinach: Sauté some fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary before adding the spinach. This will infuse the dish with aromatic flavors.

Crunchy Topping: Add Fried Onions or Panko Bread crumbs to the top before serving for a bit more crunch and flavor. This will alter the carb count, so pay attention to the servings on the back of the bag. 

pan with wooden spoon stirring creamed spinach with a lot of French's crunchy fried onions on top

Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and spices to create your own unique version of creamed spinach.

The possibilities are endless!

5 from 6 votes

Creamed Spinach (Steakhouse Version)


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Creamed spinach is easily made in 15 minuets with this creamy, rich and ultimate spinach side dish recipe. Natural fresh ingredients makes the best dishes and you can be sure that you will get all of the health benefits of spinach in a side. Rich, creamy, cheesy and SO delicious, creamed spinach may just make a spinach lover out of you! While the steakhouse version is also listed below, try out this classic creamed spinach recipe first – its just that good!

Equipment

  • Cast Iron or Non Stick Skillet

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 24 oz. frozen spinach – thawed and drained
  • 8 oz. creamed cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp. whipping cream
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Start by dicing 1/2 cup of White Onion.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil in a pan. Add the diced onions and 1 tablespoon of Minced Garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes until they're fragrant and slightly golden.
  • Introduce 24 oz. of thawed and drained Spinach to the pan. The key here is to ensure the spinach is well-drained to prevent excess water from diluting the creaminess of the final dish. Stir well to mix with the onion and garlic.
  • Cover and let everything simmer on medium heat for about 6 minutes. Remember to stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and prevent any sticking to the pan.
  • Next, add chunks of 8 oz. Cream Cheese around the pan. The cream cheese is added in chunks to facilitate even melting and distribution throughout the spinach.
  • Pour in 2 tablespoons of Whipping Cream, sprinkle 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese, add 1 tsp of Sugar, and season with Salt & Pepper to your liking.
  • Stir everything together and continue to cook. As the cream cheese melts, keep stirring to blend all ingredients smoothly. Continuous stirring is crucial to prevent any lumps and ensure a smooth, velvety texture in the creamed spinach. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once everything is beautifully combined and the cream cheese is fully melted, your Creamed Spinach is ready to enjoy.

Video

Notes

Is Creamed Spinach Keto? Yes, creamed spinach is both low carb and keto friendly.
What is the best topping? I like to add French’s green onions to creamed spinach for a bit of crunch. Note that adding this topping is NOT keto.
Can fresh spinach be used over frozen? Yes – you can see specific instructions about this in the full article.
How to thin creamed spinach: Occasionally liquids burn off too quickly. If that happens, just add a bit more heavy whipping cream in small increments.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 220kcal

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow Salty Side Dish on Pinterest and rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 6 votes

Leave A Comment

Have a question or want to provide feedback? Share your recipe reviews or questions here and I will do my best to help!

Recipe Rating




Where To Next?