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Creamed spinach is one of those love-it-or-hate-it foods. I always thought I fell into the latter category, but when I figured out how to make creamed spinach at home, I discovered it’s absolutely delicious. Although it tastes similar to the creamy stuffing and sauce in spinach stuffed chicken breast or chicken florentine, this easy side also makes a perfect addition to steak dinners, Thanksgiving menus, or Christmas meals. If you or your family are on the fence about it, I hope this easy creamed spinach recipe with cream cheese will convert you, too!
What Is Creamed Spinach?
Creamed spinach is a classic steakhouse side dish that’s also popular for the holidays. The basic ingredients to make easy creamed spinach are spinach and either milk or cream. Other popular additions for creamy spinach include garlic, Parmesan, cream cheese, nutmeg, and various herbs.
What Does Creamed Spinach Taste Like?
The best creamed spinach recipe should taste rich, creamy, and cheesy! Even if you are not a huge fan of spinach, these aspects make it totally delicious.
Why This Is My Best Creamed Spinach Recipe
- Rich, savory flavor
- Creamy texture with tender leaves
- 6 simple ingredients (plus salt & pepper)
- 15 minutes from stove to table
- Low carb, keto, and gluten free
- Healthy side dish for holiday dinners or weeknight meals
Easy Creamed Spinach Ingredients
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for the best creamed spinach recipe, what each one does, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Butter – I prefer grass-fed butter, but any unsalted one works.
- Garlic – Mince it fresh for best flavor, or use jarred minced garlic.
- Baby Spinach – Any fresh spinach will work, but baby spinach leaves will have a more mild flavor and is less bitter than full grown spinach.
- Heavy Cream – Makes up the bulk of the sauce, while keeping it creamy and easy to whisk. Coconut cream can work as a substitute.
- Cream Cheese – Helps thicken the cream sauce. Cut into small pieces and let it come to room temperature for easier blending with the vegetables.
- Italian Seasoning – I prefer to make my own Italian seasoning (takes just a few minutes!), but you can also get a store-bought mix.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese – It’s optional, but adds another savory element for topping. Grate it fresh for the best taste.
VARIATIONS: Add cayenne pepper or onions!
You can saute diced onion before adding the spinach, or add a pinch of cayenne at the end if you like some heat.
How To Make Creamed Spinach With Cream Cheese
This section shows how to make cream spinach, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Saute. Melt butter in a large skillet with tall sides (I used this one). Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Wilt. Add spinach and saute until just barely wilted. If you have more spinach than the pan can fit, cover to wilt before stirring and adding more.
- Mix. Add cream, cream cheese, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
- Cook. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Garnish with parmesan cheese (if using) before serving.
How To Make Creamed Spinach From Frozen?
Substitute 10 oz of fresh spinach with 10 oz frozen spinach instead. Thaw and drain well first, and squeeze to get rid of as much water as possible. After that, the saute time after adding the spinach will be shorter, but the time after adding cream will be the same.
Is Creamed Spinach Keto? Healthy?
Yes, the natural ingredients and low carbs in this creamed spinach recipe make it a healthy and keto dish in my book, though it’s definitely not low fat if that’s what you are looking for. Unlike versions that rely on high-carb thickeners like flour or cornstarch, creamed spinach with cream cheese gets thick simply from simmering heavy cream. The cream cheese also acts as a thickener and natural cornstarch substitute.
- Store: Keep creamed spinach in a covered container up to 5 days. It will lose some of its bright color over time, so try to enjoy it sooner than that.
- Meal prep: Make it 1-2 days ahead and keep covered in the refrigerator.
- Reheat: Warm in a pan over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Freeze: I wouldn’t recommend freezing, as the sauce may separate and become watery, but you can still safely freeze this dish for up to 4 months. Cover tightly and store in a freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
What To Serve With Creamed Spinach Recipes
Just about anything goes with this easy creamed spinach recipe! Here are some everyday and holiday-inspired recipes to try:
- Holiday Mains – Serve with Thanksgiving turkey, filet mignon, roasted turkey legs, sirloin tip roast, or prime rib roast for a festive meal.
- Easy Chicken Dinners – Try spinach with spatchcock chicken, baked chicken thighs, or slow cooker chicken wings.
- Steak – Make sirloin steak in the oven, one-pan steak and potatoes, reverse sear steak, or chuck eye steak to serve with this recipe.
- Homestyle meals – This spinach pairs perfectly with slow cooker pot roast, smothered pork chops from your Dutch oven, or eggplant lasagna.
More Easy Healthy Spinach Recipes
So many ways to enjoy this healthy veggie! Here are some of my favorites:
- Large Cast Iron Skillet – I love making my creamed spinach recipes in cast iron because it heats quickly and evenly, and goes from stovetop to table beautifully. This one ensures lots of room for sauteing the leaves.
- White Serving Platter – Clean and simple for serving creamed spinach and other holiday dishes.
The Best Creamed Spinach Recipe
Creamed Spinach Recipe (Easy In 15 Minutes!)
Learn how to make creamed spinach with cream cheese in minutes! This easy creamed spinach recipe is rich and creamy, with simple ingredients.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Heat butter in a large skillet with tall sides over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant.
Add spinach. Saute for 2 to 4 minutes, until wilted. If the pan is too full to stir or you can't fit all the spinach, add what you can and cover for 1-2 minutes, which will let the spinach at the bottom wilt. Then you can start to stir in a folding motion and add more as needed.
Add heavy cream, cream cheese, sea salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir constantly until the cream cheese melts, then cook a few minutes until thickened. (Sauce will thicken more as it cools from hot to warm.)
If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for serving.
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Serving size: 1/2 cup
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