This Asiago Creamed Spinach is an absolutely delicious and decadent side dish recipe. A cream-based asiago cheese sauce with parmesan and sautéd onion and garlic, combined with defrosted frozen chopped spinach – easily one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever made and one of my favorite sides.
This easy creamed spinach recipe is made without cream cheese – just heavy cream and delicious shredded cheese!
- Frozen chopped spinach: My favorite “cheat” part of this recipe. I like to use chopped spinach so the pieces are smaller.
- Heavy cream: The base of the cheese sauce.
- Cheeses: A mix of asiago and parmesan cheeses.
- Asiago is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that is a little nutty. Younger asiago cheese will be more mild, while aged asiago will be more potent, sharp, and smoky. Either are great for this recipe.
- Parmesan cheese is a hard cow’s milk cheese that’s sharp, nutty, and a little salty. If you can, look for parmigiano reggiano – this indicates the Italian origin. Instead of parmesan you could use pecorino.
- Butter: Just a little unsalted butter to sauté the shallots and garlic. You can use olive oil instead if you prefer, but I really suggest butter!
- Flour: All purpose flour is best for this recipe; it’s used to thicken the sauce and is added before the heavy cream.
- Shallots: A milder “sister” of the red onion. Brings great flavor to the cheese sauce.
- Garlic: Not only does garlic have an amazing flavor, but using sliced garlic in this recipe also brings another texture to the dish and a great little bite. This recipe calls for 3 garlic cloves. You can add more or less depending on how much you like.
- Red pepper flakes: Just a sprinkle adds a little heat. You can skip this if you’re totally adverse to heat or serving this recipe to kids.
Step by step instructions
This asiago creamed spinach recipe is truly very easy to put together and requires very little cooking time, making it a win-win side dish.
- Sauté shallot and garlic.
- Add spices.
- Add flour and cook for a minute.
- Add cream and simmer for a few minutes until thickened slightly.
- Add cheeses, stir to melt.
- Add defrosted chopped (and squeezed) spinach.
1. Sauté shallot and garlic. Warm 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large skillet or dutch oven. Add the sliced shallot and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes until softened and very fragrant.
2. Add spices. To the shallot and garlic add a teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds to warm up and let the flavors start to bloom.
3. Add the flour. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour right over top and cook for 2 minutes until no more dry spots remain and it’s very lightly golden.
4. Add the heavy cream. Pour in the heavy cream and turn it up to medium-high heat to bring it up to a simmer. Then reduce to low heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon.
5. Add the cheeses. Stir in the shredded asiago and parmesan cheeses until melted.
6. Add the spinach. Stir in the defrosted chopped spinach and let the spinach cook in the cheese mixture for a minute, then serve!
Tips and tricks
What's not to love about this delicious vegetable side dish absolutely loaded with cheese!! Check out the tips below to help you through the recipe.
- Shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese often has additives which can make the sauce clumpy or prohibit smooth melting. To get the ultimate creamy spinach, it's best to melt your own cheese to make sure it’s as silky as possible.
- To defrost frozen spinach, place the spinach in a microwaveable container and cook on high heat for 1 minute, then stir, then another minute, and repeat until fully defrosted.
- Don’t drive yourself crazy, but try to get as much excess liquid out of the defrosted frozen spinach as possible. The additional moisture could make the cheese sauce watery. To get the liquid out of spinach, wring it in a thin kitchen towel or a few layers of paper towel.
- Letting the flour cook for a minute or two until it’s lightly golden not only ensures the flour taste is no longer present, but it also adds another layer of flavor.
- Although this is technically a side dish recipe, I really liked to dip crackers in it and eat it kind of as a “dip”.
- Add a crunchy top by mixing panko breadcrumbs with butter and then baking at 350°F until golden.
Storage and reheating
- Storage: allow it to come to room temperature after cooking and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I would not recommend freezing this as cheese-based/dairy-based sauces/etc do not freeze well.
- Reheating: for smaller portions, warm in the microwave for a few minutes. For larger portions, warm slowly on medium-low heat on the stovetop.
What to serve with creamed spinach
Asiago creamed spinach is so versatile it goes with a lot of different dishes. If you're thinking traditional stake house dinner, then serve with a steak and mashed potatoes. If you're thinking a usual weeknight, this chicken pot pie is great, and so is this skillet broken lasagna.
Health benefits of spinach
Now, this recipe has a ton of cheese and cream, so I'm not saying it's healthy. BUT spinach itself is jam-packed with nutrients. For example, here are a few nutrition facts about spinach: a three-cup serving provides over 300% the average daily value of vitamin K, it's also jam packed with Vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and more. It's also high in antioxidants and supports overall brain health. More on this here.
Sure! Use the same 1lb of fresh spinach. Blanch the spinach in boiling water then put it directly into an ice bath. Squeeze out all the liquid then add to the recipe as instructed. You can chop it or not, up to you (if so, you can easily chop it in a food processor prior to cooking)! You may also want to trim the stems if they’re long.
Sure! Other great melting cheeses that would be good in creamed spinach are white cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, and fontina.
You can, but it’ll take longer to thicken and won’t be as creamy. If you must, try to do 50/50 whole milk/heavy cream. I would not recommend fat free milk at all.
More side dish recipes
Asiago Creamed Spinach
- 1 lb frozen chopped spinach defrosted and liquid squeezed out
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 shallots chopped
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup asiago cheese shredded
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- Warm 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large skillet or dutch oven. Add the sliced shallot and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes until softened and very fragrant.
- To the shallot and garlic add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds to warm up and let the flavors start to bloom.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour right over top and cook for 2 minutes until no more dry spots remain and it’s very lightly golden.
- Pour in the heavy cream and turn it up to medium-high heat to bring it up to a simmer. Then reduce to low heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon.
- Stir in the shredded asiago and parmesan cheeses until melted.
- Stir in the defrosted chopped spinach and let the spinach cook in the cheese mixture for a minute, then serve!