Traditional Creamed Spinach gets a cheesy twist! This 10-minute Creamed Spinach recipe is made with tender fresh baby spinach that’s cooked in a luscious creamy white cheddar cheese sauce for a perfect restaurant-quality side dish.

creamed spinach in oval white serving dish with silver serving spoon

Why We Love This Recipe For Creamed Spinach with Cheese

When it comes to creamed spinach, we found that people fall into two camps: those who love creamed spinach and those who haven’t experienced good, creamed spinach yet. Fortunately, we love creamy spinach and plan to convert anyone who falls into the second camp!

That’s because a luscious cheesy creamed spinach is life-changing. This simple side dish is pure joy for your taste buds. Sweet, tender cooked baby spinach is blanketed in a velvety sauce full of aromatics, with just enough milk and tangy extra-sharp cheese that creates an irresistibly savory cheese sauce.

This creamed spinach comes together in just 10-minutes with one pan and a handful of ingredients for one restaurant-quality dish that will add so much flavor to any of your dinner menus.

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

creamed spinach with cheese ingredients with text overlay

Spinach

We recommend using fresh baby spinach for this recipe. Because baby spinach is so tender and less bitter than full-grown spinach, it requires less cooking time and adds a luscious texture to the finished dish.

We also recommend using pre-packed baby spinach wich is triple washed, so it only needs a quick rinse and spin before adding to the cream sauce.

However, if you happen to have full-sized spinach, feel free to use it; just be sure to chop it into bite-sized pieces before adding it to the recipe.

And finally, if you grow your own spinach, be sure to remove stems prior to use and wash it a minimum of two times to remove any sand. We find the easiest way to wash our baby spinach in a salad spinner and then spin dry.

Cheddar Cheese

Freshly shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese is used in the cheese sauce of this traditional recipe. We find that full-bodied, tangier flavors of this cheese pairs well with all the slightly sweet flavors of the baby spinach, however; if you would prefer to use just a sharp white cheddar that would be delicious as well.

Milk

You can use regular milk or lactose-free milk. To keep this healthy and lower in calories, we used low-fat (1%) milk, but any type of milk will work.

Flour

To thicken the sauce, we used all-purpose flour. For gluten-free alternatives, we suggest using a cornstarch slurry instead of trying to use gluten-free flours.

Salt & Pepper

Note that we recommend table salt for this recipe. You may use kosher salt instead, but you will want to double the amount.

White pepper has a distinct earthiness to its flavor that pairs extremely well with the earthy almost musky flavors of the nutmeg in the sauce.

Nutmeg

Ground nutmeg is a traditional component in bechamel sauce and adds a depth of flavor to our creamed spinach. The subtle spicy profile of nutmeg really offers a delicious contrast to all the creaminess of the cheese and milk.

Other Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Avocado oil
  • Garlic, minced

Step By Step Instructions To Make Healthy Creamed Spinach

creamed spinach with cheese steps 1 and 2

Step 1: Make Garlic Roux

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, melt butter and canola oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. To pot, add flour and stir to form a paste.

Step 2: Make Bechamel and Simmer Sauce

Remove from heat and whisk in milk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, whisking often.

creamed spinach with cheese steps 3 and 4

Step 3: Add Spinach

In batches, add spinach to the creamy sauce. After each batch, cover, and allow to wilt. Repeat until all spinach is wilted.

Step 4: Add Cheese

Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!

overhead shot of creamed spinach in oval white serving dish with close-up of spoonful of creamed spinach

FAQ And Expert Tips For Creamed Spinach with Cheese

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftover creamed spinach in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When ready to enjoy again, reheat on the stove over low heat.

Can I use frozen spinach?

You sure can! Thaw a 10-ounce package or frozen spinach or brick of frozen spinach. Thaw and drain well. Make the cheese sauce and add the thawed, drained spinach until heated through.

Can this be made ahead?

This is a great make ahead dish! Prepare dish according to recipe card, place in an airtight container, and store in the fridge up to 3 days. When ready to reheat, gently stir in a non-stick skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming hot – being sure to not overheat it.

Can this be made gluten-free?

Yes, this dish can easily be made gluten-free. For a gluten-free alternative, make a slurry with 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch with three tablespoons of the milk. Skip adding the flour to the saucepan, add the milk. When it is steaming hot, whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring it to a boil while whisking to prevent it from clumping.

Can I use another type of green for this recipe?

A quick cooking green such as swiss chard would work well. Kale is tougher though so it would not soften as nicely.

To Serve as a Make-Ahead Creamed Spinach Gratin

  • To serve this as a make ahead casserole for a holiday meal, prepare the creamed spinach as directed. When it is done, transfer it to a medium-sized oven-proof casserole dish. Refrigerate up to 3 days.
  • Stir together 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons avocado oil, 1/2 teaspoon paprkia and a pinch each garlic powder and salt. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the creamed spinach.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until the casserole bubbles along the edge and the spinach is heated through.

Make sure to check out our Easy Sweet Potato Casserole, Parsnip Gratin and our Turnip Casserole as well for more holiday casseroles!

Additional Spinach Recipes To Try

This Spinach Egg Bake is a savory low-carb, make-ahead breakfast. 

Stuffed Shells with Spinach are a healthy vegetarian make-ahead casserole for meal-prep or to serve to company.

Heathy Beef Lasagna with Spinach and Basil is only 259 calories per serving and is layered with healthy satisfying vegetables, lean grass-fed beef and fresh basil making it the perfect kid-friendly dinner. Plus, it can be easily modified to fit a gluten-free lifestyle!

This Spinach Salad with Bacon and Eggs requires only 15-minute of prep is only 248 calories per serving and is dairy-free!

Spinach Feta Filo Pie is the perfect vegetarian main course for a special occasion, a holiday, or a Sunday supper.  This show-stopping dish is one that your whole family is going to love! 

And be sure to read my Guide To Spinach too for more information about this amazing green!

overhead shot of creamed spinach in oval white serving dish with silver serving spoon

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter for healthy recipes delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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close-up of creamed spinach with cheese in serving platter

Cheesy Creamed Spinach

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Easy recipe for classic steak-house creamed spinach with a cheddar twist.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 15-ounces baby spinach, washed and spun dry
  • 1 ½ cup, 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot with avocado oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add flour and stir to form a paste.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in milk until smooth. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, whisking often.
  3. Add spinach, in batches, covering and allowing to wilt so it can fit, until it is completely wilted.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • When ready to reheat, gently stir in a non-stick skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming hot –  being sure to not overheat it. Alternatively, reheat leftovers in an oven-proof baking dish at 350 for 30 minutes. 
  • Feel free to use a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach in this recipe.  Thaw and drain well.  Make cheese sauce and the thawed, drained spinach and heat through. 
  • To make gluten-free, omit flour slurry and instead use a slurry with 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of milk.  
  • Feel free to swap out another quick-cooking green such as swiss chard in this recipe. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup each
  • Calories: 233
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 536 mg
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 12 g

I developed this recipe for Cabot Creamery Cooperative and it also appears on their website.