Creamed Spinach with Cheese
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.
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Unsalted butter
- Avocado oil
- Garlic, minced
Step By Step Instructions To Make Healthy Creamed Spinach
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.
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!
FAQ And Expert Tips For Creamed Spinach with Cheese
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Cheesy Creamed Spinach
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
Easy recipe for classic steak-house creamed spinach with a cheddar twist.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add spinach, in batches, covering and allowing to wilt so it can fit, until it is completely wilted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.
- 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.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 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
Keywords: Healthy Creamed Spinach, Cheesy Spinach, Creamed Spinach with Cheese, Cheesy Creamed Spinach, Simple Creamed Spinach
I Loved it first time I’ve done this one recipe, and I’ll continue doing it because is so delicious.
Thank you so much for letting me know you loved it. I appreciate it.
Recipe sounds delish….little confused about the cheddar cheese measurement. Is is 6 ounces or 1-1/2 cups? One cup is 8 ounces so I am confused how 6 ounces is equal to 1-1/2 cups? Can you help?
Hey Susan, Thanks so much. You are right that 6 fl oz is way less than 1 1/2 cups. But cheese is measured by weight and here we’re talking about how much it weighs. I add that detail, not to confuse, but because a lot of folks buy 8 ounce blocks of cheddar. From there, just cut three quarters of a block and shred it. No need to get out a measuring cup or scale!
Spinach lovers unite! I don’t think we ever had creamed spinach on Thanksgiving. I remember my mom serving the kind that was frozen for a weeknight side dish though.
OMG, I am a maniac for creamed spinach. We used to have it every Thanksgiving but somehow I forgot about that — I will use your recipe next year!
Your picture is beautiful. We love Cabot cheese.
Thanks Christine. I love Cabot too!
Hi Debbie! How are you? I was just thinking of you. Great question. I put the spinach in at the end so that it would stay more fresh. It cooks almost instantly, especially baby spinach. My thinking was that I hoped for a nice texture, and also that when spinach cooks longer, the sulfur compounds come out. The sauce takes on a darker color too. I’d love to hear back from you to see what you think.
I love the idea of cheese in creamed spinach! I’m interested in your recipe. When I make it, I sauté onions and garlic, put in the spinach to wilt and then make the sauce …. I’m assuming it makes a difference when you add the spinach?
I LOVE creamed spinach!! I would devour this entire batch!
Yes I agree Ari. I could eat a ton of spinach too, ha ha!
Creamed spinach is one of my favorites. This one looks like perfection! Can’t wait to give it a try.
Thanks Candace Me too. Thanks for coming by:)