Baked spinach may sound like a totally boring side dish and you might just be tempted to pass it up for other flashier, more exciting options.  However, you’d be making a big mistake.  I have made this dish more times than I can possibly count and it has never graced the blog before because I’ve been far too busy eating it to stop and take a picture of it.  Falling into a side dish rut is oh so common – in fact, it happens to me on an almost weekly basis.  But this baked spinach is always there to steer me away from yet another boring salad or roasted broccoli again.  I try to always have a bag of spinach on hand so that there is this to fall back on.

The dish requires very little actual prep time and while it bakes, you can work on your main dish.  Even better, the spinach prep can be done in advance.  This dish is also highly adaptable – you can use broth, milk, or cream for the liquid and I have used many varieties of cheese with success.  The only slightly negative thing I have to say about it is related to that fantastic shrinking phenomenon spinach has.  You know, where once it is cooked down and the excess water is removed your former mountain of greens is now merely an anthill.  As fascinating as that is, it also means that whenever I attempt to make this with a small amount of leftover spinach, I end up with around a single serving.  But it’s okay, because it automatically becomes mine.  Whether it be a side dish on a regular weeknight or on Thanksgiving to balance out all those lovely potatoes, this spinach needs to be in your life.  For reals.


3 lbs. fresh spinach
3½ tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1½ tbsp. flour
Salt and pepper
1 cup stock (milk, broth, or cream)
¾ cup grated cheese, divided (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, Gruyere, etc.)
2 tbsp. dry breadcrumbs (I use panko)


  • 01

    Stem and wash the spinach, draining it but letting drops of water still cling to the leaves. Place the spinach in a large pot covered with a lid over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted (2-4 minutes for baby spinach, 4-6 for regular spinach). Transfer the spinach to a colander, fill the pot with cold water, and immediately return the spinach to the pot with the cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again. Working with a handful at a time, squeeze the spinach to extract as much excess water as possible. Coarsely chop the spinach. (You should have about 3 cups of chopped spinach.)

  • 02

    Wipe out the pot and then melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the chopped spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until all of the moisture has been boiled off (when the spinach starts to stick to the pan).

  • 03

    Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle the flour over the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Stir in about 2/3 of the cooking liquid a small amount at a time, scraping the bottom of the pan as you go. When the liquid has been added, stir for another minute or two. If needed, add in the remaining liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • 04

    Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Mix ½ cup of the shredded cheese into the spinach mixture and then spread the mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Toss the remaining ¼ cup of cheese with the bread crumbs and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top. Melt the remaining 1½ tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the top. Bake until lightly browned and heated through, about 30 minutes.


  • Riki-Tiki-Tembo

    Ohhh I LOVE spinach! I can’t wait to try this:)

  • kellie

    looks amazing, can’t wait to try it! could you recommend a main dish for this to go with? thanks!

  • Trying this tonight!!

  • I love the ease and the adaptability of this recipe. You’re right about shrinkage, though. I’m always amazed at how tiny my formerly enormous pile of greens gets!

  • Yum, we love spinach. Trying this soon!

  • Mmm…I love spinach and your recipe looks yummy! I’m going to give it a try but use reduced-fat butter and a little less cheese. Thanks for posting!

  • This sounds SO good!I’m so glad you posted this recipe, I’ve been looking for one more side dish to add to our Thanksgiving menu and this might be it!

  • Kat

    Just might have to cook this tonight with the roast!! Or maybe the turkey this weekend…. or both… It looks delicious! Baked spinach always seemed more complicated, somehow. Thanks for breaking it down for us less gifted folks ;)

  • This looks absolutely amazing! I’m excited to try it out!

  • Monica

    Which cooking liquid did you use?

  • I love spinach. What a simple and a healthy dish.
    One quick question though — I have been seing “panko” in many recipes. Is it a real bread crumb? Can this be replaced with normal bread crumb from the grocery store?

    I believe panko can be bought only from some specialty stores?

  • That went straight into my to-try folder! I love spinach and am always looking for new ways to have it.

  • I would love this! :)

  • Annie

    Panko is available in regular grocery stores. As the recipe indicates, you may use any type of breadcrumb. I simply stated that I use panko.

  • Annie

    Whatever I have on hand.

  • Mmm, I would totally like this! Now I just wonder if my guy would….he doesn’t eat veggies but trying to figure out things that would change that. He said to start with spinach dip and broccoli and cheese. Could this be close enough to spinach dip? Hmmmmmm…..

  • This sounds delicious! I’m a big fan of spinach but always unsure how to JAZ it up a bit. When you live on your own a whole bag of spinach can be a lot to get through! Thanks for adding another option to my recipe folder :)

  • This looks so delicious! We don’t usually have spinach at our table for Thanksgiving, but not because no one loves it. I’ll be adding this to my menu and know it will be gobbled up in no time! :)

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!


  • Kelsey

    About how many servings is this recipe?? perfect for a weeknight dinner!!

  • Courtney

    Yum!!! I love spinach- do you think frozen would work?

  • I love this dish—I don’t eat enough spinach because I just don’t know what to do with it if it’s not in a salad. I love gruyere cheese with anything, so that’s the way I’d go.

  • I adore this recipe. I don’t find spinach boring at all!

  • Annie

    I think it would sort of defeat the wonderfulness of this dish, but I suppose it could work.

  • Annie

    Maybe 6.

  • Excited about this. Spinach is one of my faves. Of course, I like it better with butter, cream, and all that fun stuff! I need to start a Thanksgiving menu board on Pinterest NOW!

  • Emily R

    This recipe looks amazing, can’t wait to try! Also, I just love that you say “for reals.” :)

  • This got a big full-mouth thumbs-up from the green food hater :) thanks for sharing, this is going to be the new roasted carrots in our house!

  • This does not sound boring to me at all….reminds me of my childhood. we always used to eat spinach like this!!!

  • Annie

    Haha! I probably say it way too often in life, but try to use it sparingly here :)

  • Terri A.

    Made this tonight, served with a steak. It was so good, I ate it for dessert, too.

  • This is perfect! I love trying to sneak in dishes like this to Thanksgiving since my fam hardly touches vegetables on such an occasion! No one turns down cheese!

  • such a healthy and delicious-looking spinach dish! I can almost taste the panko, cheese, and cream working their magic :)

  • My favourite words “The dish requires very little actual prep time” Thanks for another great recipe!

  • This is one of my favorite comfort foods. Everyone should try it. Annie’s wonderful pictures always makes the food so enticing.

  • shelly

    Beautiful pictures! Our favorite is white American.

  • I made a half-recipe of this tonight and it was delicious. Thank you!

  • sara

    I make this recipe using frozen. I use 3 boxes. It tastes great and cuts the prep time dramatically. Though, fresh is great as well.

  • Cory

    Looks great! I saw that you will be making this as one of your side dishes for Thanksgiving. Will you be doubling this recipe for that?

  • Annie

    At least, if not tripling.

  • Kristin

    Made this last night, it was SO good! It did take quite a bit of time to stem the spinach, but once that was completed the rest of the prep work went pretty quickly. Very tasty.

  • I made this last week with about a pound of spinach we had in the fridge that was about to go bad. It was DELICIOUS and I wish we had more spinach! Well today I bought much more at the market and I’m excited to make it again this week. I made it as written and wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks for a new staple to our menu.

  • Caroline

    Annie, I love, love, LOVE your blog. This recipe is one of many of yours that I’ve made recently, and–no surprise–we loved it! I have a favorite recipe for a healthy creamed spinach made from frozen spinach, but this recipe is different and unique. The fresh spinach definitely makes a difference, and the panko lends a lovely crunch. Thank you for this addition to my “green vegetable side dish” repertoire!

  • Melissa

    I think I will double this and make it as a side for Thanksgiving. So.. I just want to double check–3 POUNDS of spinach? I know it shrinks a ton, but am struggling to imagine walking out of the store with six pounds of spinach-that is more than my daughter weighed at birth!!

  • Jamie M

    We made this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! So much better than the frozen creamed kind. Even my boyfriend who was super skeptical about eating “just spinach” enjoyed it. We cut the recipe in half and had just enough for 4 of us as a side dish with our typical new years food, hoppin’ john. You blog always inspires me to branch out and try new foods and techniques in the kitchen. Wishing you and your family a great new year.

  • Susan

    I would love to try this. If I use frozen spinach do I let the spinach thaw or just put it in the pan frozen and cook 2-4 minutes, etc. and then squeeze out?

  • annieseats

    I highly recommend fresh as I don’t think the flavor will be comparable with frozen. If you decide to use frozen, you’ll have to experiment to see what method works. Good luck!

  • Kristin

    Thanks Annie! This is a fabulous recipe! I used half spinach and half kale because that’s what I had on hand. It was so, so good! Your recipes never fail me !

  • I have made this amazing recipe of yours several times now & it never disappoints!! Thanks so much for sharing it :)

  • Amanda

    Dumb question, but when you say to stem the spinach, do you do that even withe small stems of baby spinach, or only if you’re using regular spinach? I’m curious because if it’s even the little baby spinach stems, that can take a while so I don’t want to waste time if it’s not needed. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Not dumb at all. I think that most recipes using spinach, even baby spinach, call for stemming it. However, I personally never bother because I don’t mind the stems of baby spinach. So really it just depends on your personal preference but I don’t think it is required.

  • Amanda

    Thanks so much… you just saved me a lot of time in my Thanksgiving prep! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!