This creamed spinach is an easy version of the classic, made with fresh spinach and a mascarpone, Parmesan, and cream sauce. Here’s how to make it.
A steakhouse favorite for good reason, creamed spinach is one of the ultimate pairings with grilled beef, a rare case where two rich components serve to enhance each other, with no acidic or sweet elements offering relief. Here, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheese are added for a more complex flavor. This also pairs very well with most pan-seared salmon, roasted and braised turkey, and other meats.–Terrance Brennan
Why Our Testers Loved This
Our testers adore the fact that the rich creamy sauce clings to the spinach, yet there’s no need to make a roux. They also love that the recipe is “easy and straightforward.” It’s no wonder that they’re calling it “the best creamed spinach ever.”
Notes on Ingredients
- Spinach–You can substitute frozen spinach for fresh here, if desired. Simply let it thaw and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Heavy cream–Use full fat cream here to add richness and depth to the sauce.
- Mascarpone cheese–You can substitute an additional 1/4 cup of heavy cream for the mascarpone, if desired. Do check your seasoning as our testers found the mascarpone versions of the cream sauce to be slightly saltier than the all heavy cream versions.
- Nutmeg–Use freshly grated, if you have it, but the stuff you’ve got in your spice jar will also work just fine.
How to Make This Recipe
- Cook the spinach. Clean the spinach and then blanch in a pot of boiling salted water. Transfer to an ice bath, then drain and squeeze excess water out of the spinach.
- Make the cream sauce. Sauté the onion in butter, then stir in the spinach, cream, mascarpone cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and nutmeg. Cook until heated through and sauce clings to spinach.
- Serve. Season the creamed spinach to taste and serve immediately.
What can I do with leftover creamed spinach?
If you’d like to repurpose your leftovers, try making a pasta bake by stirring it into cooked pasta, topping with cheese, and baking. Or, use it as a filling for a cheese omelet.
Can I use frozen spinach?
Yes. Thaw your frozen spinach in the fridge overnight, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Proceed with the recipe beginning at step 5.
What should I serve with this creamy spinach?
For a classic steakhouse meal, serve this with seared rib eye steak, iceberg wedges with blue cheese dressing, and homemade onion rings.
Can I make this in advance?
Definitely. If you need to keep it warm for up to an hour before serving, place it in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
To make it up to 24 hours in advance, let the creamed spinach cool, transfer it to a baking dish, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat in an oven preheated to 300°F (149°C) until the creamed spinach mixture is warmed through, about 15 minutes or so. Serve warm.
- To save time, buy pre-washed bagged spinach.
- Since there is no roux in this recipe, it is suitable for a gluten-free diet.
- Leftover creamed spinach can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
More great spinach recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
- 12 cups cold water
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds spinach stems removed
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup mascarpone or 1/4 cup additional heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- White pepper to taste
- Pour the 12 cups water into a large pot, add 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, swirl the spinach in a separate large bowl of cold water, changing the water several times, to remove any sand or grit. Drain the spinach in a colander. Fill the large bowl halfway with ice water.
- Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
- Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to the ice water for just a minute or so (this halts the cooking and preserves the vibrant color). Drain the spinach in a colander, squeezing out any excess water. (Seriously. You gotta squeeze that spinach till not a drop of water is left.)
- Wipe out the pot and place it over medium heat. Add the butter and heat until it melts. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach, cream, mascarpone or additional cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and nutmeg.
- Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is warm throughout. Season with salt and 6 grinds white pepper. Serve as soon as you can.
- Make it ahead–To make the creamed spinach up to an hour in advance, eep it warm in the top of a double boiler or in a covered heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. To make it up to 1 day in advance, let the creamed spinach cool, transfer it to a baking dish, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat in a 300°F (149°C) oven until warmed through.
- Make it easier–Substitute pre-washed bagged spinach or frozen spinach.
- Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and vegetarian diets.
- Get creative with leftovers–Use leftover creamed spinach in baked pasta or as a filling for omelets.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a very easy, straightforward recipe, especially when you cheat and use frozen spinach like I did. The combination of cream and mascarpone adds a nice touch and really makes the spinach creamy. Definitely a keeper of a recipe—and maybe even better when made with fresh spinach, which I’ll try next time.
The flavor is extremely good. I prefer chopped creamed spinach, but the texture of this dish was fine.
The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon salt to be added with the onion, but I’m not sure it’s needed. The recipe also calls for adding salt and pepper to taste, but I didn’t add any additional salt and had the sense that the dish was slightly on the salty side. (I used mascarpone rather than additional heavy cream. Using cream may’ve reduced the salt, but would’ve also changed the flavor.)
This is amazingly delicious, and I’ll be making it often.
One thing that the recipe didn’t instruct you to do was chop the spinach before adding it to the onion and the rest of the ingredients. It might be a good thing to do, just to break up large clumps of whole spinach leaves. I used an extra 1/4 cup cream rather than 1/4 cup mascarpone. If I ever have some mascarpone, I’d like to try the recipe with that.
After tasting the finished dish to see what the author had in mind, I tweaked the recipe a bit. I sliced and sautéed some mushrooms, which I added to the spinach. That’s a combination that I’ve always been fond of. The results were wonderful!
I’d think that the recipe could feed 4 people as a side dish, but it was easily polished off by just the 2 of us. I actually was disappointed that I didn’t have any leftovers to enjoy the next day.
I loved this creamy side dish! I especially enjoyed the salty, nutty tones that the Parmigiano imparted.
I used additional heavy cream in lieu of mascarpone since I already had it on hand and it seemed to work well, lending creaminess to the dish. I used packaged fresh spinach to save a bit of time rinsing fresh loose leaves. I found that the dish made 4 servings as a side.
All in all, it was a great side dish and would make a good accompaniment to most all meat main dishes. I look forward to making this again!
This recipe produces a very nice version of the classic steak house dish. I especially liked the flavor twist that the Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheeses produced. The creamed spinach recipe works very well as written—I’ve no tweaks or changes to suggest.
This spinach had a lovely flavor. I made a half recipe and used the extra cream instead of the mascarpone.
If using just the cream, as I did, you’ll need to give the spinach a very good squeeze to get rid of the water. The process was a bit messy with transferring the spinach to the ice water and squeezing the spinach dry, and my kitchen was a bit drippy afterward, as it seemed I had water just about everywhere.
It only took me 20 to 25 minutes to finish everything. I served the spinach with a nice piece of white fish and the combination was very tasty.
This recipe brought me back down memory lane. Creamed spinach is something I grew up with, though adding mascarpone gave it a totally different twist to the staple I grew up with. The mascarpone added a touch of creaminess and helped balancing the heaviness of the cream. The perfect side dish for a nice grilled Porterhouse steak.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This is the best creamed spinach ever! And hello, make-ahead recipe! I ended up doubling the recipe and this easily made 6 plentiful side servings. I did say the words “labor of love” as.
I squeezed out the spinach. It took some time to do this step, but it’s well worth it. I ended up using the mascarpone and the flavor of the resulting creamed spinach was out of this world. It was definitely restaurant quality. My testers noted that the texture was spot-on. Sometimes, other recipes will have spinach in a pool of cream. This sauce had a perfectly thick grip on the spinach and it tasted heavenly.
It worked wonderfully for a dinner party; I made it in the morning, refrigerated it, and reheated it at 300°F (149°C) for approximately 20 minutes, just as the recipe suggests. I look forward to making this again!