Creamed spinach was a favorite side dish of mine back when I worked at Boston Market. Now I make it homemade. Perfect holiday side dish!
★ Why You’ll Love this Recipe ★
Homemade creamed spinach is a favorite of mine going way back to when I used to work at Boston Market. It was actually called Boston Chicken then. Remember that? Oh no. Am I old?
Creamed spinach is an easy holiday or pot luck side dish.
I love creamed spinach because it's super easy to make and is a great alternative to green bean casserole for holiday get-togethers which, for us, typically happens for birthdays and other holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.
Easy Enough for Weeknights
You can make ahead and freeze and eat but it's also easy enough to whip up as a side dish for a weeknight meal.
Just cut the recipe down according to your family size or make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for another day.
★ Ingredients You'll Need ★
What ingredients do you need to make this homemade creamed spinach recipe?
Lots of spinach of course! Here's everything you will need to turn it into a creamy, delicious dish you can eat by the spoonful:
- Butter. Salted butter. My husband loves Kerrygold butter. It does have a really smooth, buttery taste but any real butter works best. You can substitute with margarine if you'd like.
- Flour. All-purpose flour combines with the butter to form what's known as a "roux" which thickens the sauce.
- Shallot. This is a tiny member of the onion family that offers a slightly sweeter taste than an onion. I find it to be a happy medium between garlic and an onion. Adding finely diced shallots to your creamed spinach will enhance the flavor. If you don't have shallots then you can use any onion you have handy, but a sweet variety would be best. You may want to also add garlic if you are using an onion.
- Milk. Adding milk to the butter and flour mixture finishes off the roux and creates a velvety sauce.
- Cream cheese. Whipped cream cheese tends to blend more quickly and easily with the roux mixture but block cream cheese works too.
- Parmesan cheese. You can use any kind of Parmesan cheese — grated in the shaker bottle, shredded, shaved or you can even visit the deli and get the real deal grated Parmesan cheese.
- Nutmeg: A little bit goes a long way. Nutmeg adds a slightly nutty flavor to this creamy sauce which tones down the bitter notes of spinach.
- White pepper: Regular black pepper would work in this recipe, but in a creamy sauce the more mild bite and earthy flavor of white pepper are just perfect.
- Spinach: If using chopped frozen spinach, make sure to thaw squeeze or press out as much water as possible. If using fresh spinach, you need a large bag as it cooks down to almost nothing. For storage purposes, frozen may be the way to go but fresh spinach will give you more flavor and a brighter color.
- Water chestnuts. Adding this little bit of subtle crunch really elevates this dish and is a fun surprise that everyone seems to enjoy.
★ How to Make this Creamed Spinach ★
You can watch the video below the recipe below to see the process in action or check out this step by step guide for a quick glace and how it all comes together:
Here's what's involved:
- Melt butter.
- Add chopped shallots.
- Whisk in flour then add milk to cream your roux.
- Add cheeses, nutmeg, spinach and water chestnuts.
- Heat, stir then serve!
It surprisingly easy!
★ FAQs & Tips ★
This recipe is inspired by Boston Market's creamed spinach. It's well loved! But what makes Boston Market's creamed spinach so good?
Boston Market’s creamed spinach is very rich and there's a lot of spinach. Not too much cream which seems healthier and also better tasting.
Boston Market uses a blend of cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. However, if you don't have Parmesan cheese on hand or don't want to buy an extra ingredient, this creamed spinach recipe tastes just fine without it. I've made it both way.
If you're looking to replicate Boston's Market's recipe at home, you'll find adding a little Parmesan cheese will give you that familiar flavor.
What exactly makes this recipe for creamed spinach recipe better than others?
The secret ingredient that everyone is always surprised by and loves is the water chestnuts. The water chestnuts are very tiny but give an otherwise very creamy dish, a subtle crunch. They're the perfect, refreshing complement to the rich flavor of the cream cheese too.
I've noticed even family members who don't typically like spinach, usually go back for seconds. 😉
Can you freeze creamed spinach?
Yes. Freeze in an airtight container. Reheat using the microwave or heat in a small pot on the stove ove medium heat, stirring as you heat.
Want a creamier texture?
Add a little extra milk or creamer if it looks too dry. Sometimes the milk evaporates during the cooking process so, simply add some back in if that happens. You can add more milk at any time during the cooking process just give it a little time to heat up if you add it at the end.
Pin this creamed spinach recipe now so you can make it later!
How do you thicken creamed spinach?
In this recipe, I started with a roux, which thickens sauces using a combination of butter, flour, and milk. This combined with the additional diary ingredients creates a thick and creamy sauce. If that is not thick enough at the end you could add a slurry of cornstarch to thicken it even further.
What is the healthiest way to cook creamed spinach?
There are some creamed spinach recipes that use coconut cream or coconut milk instead of butter, flour, and milk. You need to have fat of some kind in order to give this recipe a creamy texture.
How long does creamed spinach last in the refrigerator or freezer?
You can place leftover creamed spinach in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
What to Serve with Creams Spinach
Creamed spinach goes especially well with meat and potatoes. This is also a delicious side dish to serve with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. You could serve instead of green bean casserole or in addition to as another vegetable side dish option.
★ Helpful Tools ★
Helpful tool for making this creamed spinach recipe:
Dutch Oven - Go from stove top to oven without changing pots
Oven Safe Casserole Dish - If you don't want to invest in a dutch oven, a big casserole dish is perfect for transporting and reheating this side dish.
Silicon Whisk - Silicon so you don't scratch your cookware
Ceramic Knife - Foods don't stick to it and then roll away!
Cutting board - A no-brainier but maybe it's time to upgrade yours or get a back up?
Silicon Spatula - Useful for scraping sides while stirring
Butter Dish with Lid - Room temperature butter is easier to work with.
Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers - Okay, you don't need these but I'm obsessed with mine. It literally makes me happy to shake salt.
★ More Recipes You'll Love ★
Want more side dish ideas?
I have a few for you! Browse all my side dish recipes.
While you're here, check out my other popular recipes.
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This Boston-Market style easy creamed spinach recipe was featured on Wow Me Wednesday, Hearth & Soul, Menu Plan Monday, Meal Plan Monday and South Your Mouth!
Easy Homemade Creamed Spinach
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 large shallot diced
- 1 ½ cups milk or MORE as desired to thin out sauce
- 4 oz whipped cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper or more to taste
- 40 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and pressed 4 blocks
- 4 oz water chestnuts drained and minced
- Thaw and press excess water from spinach using a colander. Set aside.
- In a small dutch oven or large skillet, saute shallots in butter over medium heat until translucent.
- Then whisk in flour until thick. Let bubble for about 1-2 minutes to reduce the floury taste.
- Slowly pour in milk then add cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Stir until a thick sauce is formed. Add salt, nutmeg and white pepper.
- Stir in spinach and minced water chestnuts until thoroughly mixed. Let cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally then it's ready to serve!
- If you need to transport this, put it in your crockpot and set to warm.
Amanda Jones says
Absolutely delicious and my family ate ALL of this dish
Jeanne Phayre says
Can you make this a day ahead and reheat it?
Angela G. says
Yes, you can refrigerate or freeze it then microwave it, stirring every 2 minutes until it’s hot. Or heat it on the stove top over medium heat, stirring frequently. You may need to add a splash of milk since some liquid may evaporate when reheating.
Donna A Pollock says
The best creamed spinich I have ever had. I love the recipe. I myself used half and half instead of mik to make it richer. It was so good. I could have eaten the whole pan of it. Thank you
Angela G. says
Hi Donna, glad you liked it so much! I freeze it in sections snd gave it for lunch sometimes.
This creamed spinach sounds good. When my grandmother made it, she would brown the chopped onion in butter, pour in heavy cream and then the spinach and cook it until done. It was delicious.
Would this Creamed Spinach freeze well?
Angela G. says
Yes, it freezes very well. Just reheat it on the stovetop or microwave it. Stir until it's evenly heated.
Loved this! The water chestnuts are phenomenal.
Angela G. says
Hi Mikala, glad you enjoy the recipe and the water chestnuts — that’s my favorite part too!
Can cream cheese from a block be used or must it be whipped cream cheese? Thanks
Angela G. says
Hi Claudia, block cream cheese works just fine, it just might take a little longer to melt and blend in which is why I prefer the whipped if possible.
This was awesome? I had no chestnuts but was still DELISH
Angela G. says
Thanks for the feedback, Machelle! So glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Could you use fresh spinach?
Angela G. says
Yes, you can definitely use fresh spinach! Just use the same amount of ounces. Once the spinach wilts, it shrinks a lot so you may need several bags. Thanks for asking!
Nancy Koch says
the recipe calls for milk but he directions refer to half and half.....what do you prefer for this recipe?
Angela Gast says
Gah! I’m clearly always indecisive about this ha ha. I usually use whatever I have. Half and half will give you a richer flavor. If you prefer a lighter, less creamy taste and fewer calories and fat, then milk will be your best bet. Both are truly good so I don’t think you’d be dissatisfied with either one.