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Creamy Spinach Gratin


Chef notes

Who knew spinach could be so decadent? As simple as it may be, this leafy green gratin steals the show every time it’s added to the menu. We love to serve it as a side dish for a holiday feast, either replacing or supplementing vegetable dishes like green bean casserole or roasted Brussels sprouts. You could even serve it as a dip alongside cocktails to get the festivities started. But it’s also the perfect complement to a simple weeknight dinner. 

This recipe starts with a box of frozen spinach. We love using frozen vegetables, especially during the holidays — it cuts down on prep time and leaves some extra room in the refrigerator for other ingredients. Once the spinach is dry, sauté some onions and garlic in a pat of butter. Flour is added to help thicken the creamy sauce, which is flavored even further with onion and garlic powders, Italian seasoning, nutmeg and cayenne. Before the spinach is folded back in, the sauce is made extra rich by the addition of three kinds of cheese — cream cheese, Parmesan and a shredded Italian blend (this is usually a combination of cheeses like mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano and Asiago. 

Perhaps the best part of this recipe is the crispy golden brown crust that covers the spinach mixture. A combination of panko breadcrumbs and more cheese is sprinkled over the top and the gratin is baked until it’s warm and bubbly. Don’t be surprised when you don’t have any leftovers. 


  • 20 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic, about 3 large cloves
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cayenne optional
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
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Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray or butter and set aside.


Use fresh paper towels to squeeze out all the excess water from the thawed spinach until greens are as dry as possible.


In a large pan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onion and sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute until the mixture thickens. Whisk in half-and-half and then add onion powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, nutmeg and cayenne and stir to combine. Add cream cheese, 1/3 cup Parmesan and 1/4 cup Italian cheese blend, allowing it to completely dissolve into the cream sauce. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes until spinach is heated through and thoroughly coated with sauce. 


Transfer spinach mixture into the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheeses and breadcrumbs.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden. Serve warm.