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Creamed Spinach with Crispy Crunchy Topping

This Creamed Spinach with Crispy Crunchy Topping is a smooth, creamy and decadent way to enjoy fresh baby spinach with a gorgeously golden butter cracker topping to amplify that crunch factor. It’s a comforting side dish recipe that’s an easy make-ahead to serve for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any time in between.

spoonful of creamed spinach with cracker topping

 

 

Why you’ll love this easy creamed spinach recipe

Delicious and decadent! This is like your steakhouse-style creamed spinach, with the volume turned up. I’m talking about the super-addicting, crispy, crunchy, beautifully golden cracker topping that’s prepped just before making the cream sauce for spinach. I assure you, this is going to be your favorite part.

A great way to pack in some greens! Since we are making this creamed spinach recipe with fresh spinach, we need a ton! If you are a spinach lover like me and make it on the regular, you know a few handfuls of fresh cooks down into a tiny, little spoonful. I always ask myself – where does it all go? To counter this and make sure there is enough to go around, we need two pounds of fresh baby spinach to feed a crowd.

Cozy and comforting for the holidays! Speaking of feeding a crowd, this is one of those (err) healthy side dish recipes you can serve for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday that suits your fancy. It’s so rich, luscious and comforting, it makes a lovely addition to any holiday spread. Trust me when I say, your family and friends are going to be begging for the recipe.

best creamed spinach with cracker topping in white bowl with spoon

Ingredients for creamed spinach

The ingredient list is broken down into two parts – the luxuriously golden and delicious cracker topping and the creamed spinach. Here’s a rundown of what we need.

Butter cracker topping

  • Butter crackers
  • Butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Creamed parmesan spinach:

  • Fresh spinach
  • Unsalted butter
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Parmesan cheese (yes, more cheese!)
  • Nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt

cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, shallot, baby spinach, black pepper mill

How to make the best creamed spinach recipe

  1. Make cracker topping: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Crush cracker crumbs in a food processor or plastic bag. Transfer to a bowl and mix with melted butter, grated cheese, garlic powder, kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Transfer to a small sheet pan and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Reserve for topping spinach.
  2. Blanch spinach: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the spinach for 1 minute. Remove spinach, drain and squeeze out all excess water. Blot dry with a paper towel and roughly chop.
  3. Saute aromatics: In a medium saute pan set over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add in shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Make cream sauce: Whisk in the heavy whipping cream, cream cheese cubes, grated cheese, nutmeg, a few turns of cracked black pepper and a heavy pinch of kosher salt. Whisk together until smooth and melted, about 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Add spinach and thicken: Add in the spinach and stir together. Cook on medium-low for 5-10 minutes, or until the spinach has creamed together. If spinach is too thick, add in a bit more cream and taste test for salt and pepper.
  6. Finish with topping: Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with crunchy topping before serving.

four step grid for creamed spinach recipe

Serving suggestions

This side dish will elevate any meal to make you and your guests feel like the life of the party. I love to serve it as part of a huge Thanksgiving spread, along with herb apple stuffing, green bean casserole and maple whipped sweet potatoes. It also makes a lovely Christmas Eve dinner alongside roast chicken and garlic mashed red potatoes.

Recipe Variations

  • From frozen: Opt for 1 pound frozen spinach that has been thawed and squeezed out as much as possible. This saves you the step of blanching!
  • With milk: Go for half-and-half, if you want to watch the fat content. It won’t be as rich, but it will still be delicious.
  • Cheese: Make it a mix of half mozzarella and half parmesan cheese for the spinach.

Want to make it keto? Omit the cracker topping and shallots. Add 1-2 teaspoons dried onion to still get that savory onion flavor while keeping the recipe low carb.

creamed spinach in pot with spatula

Make ahead and storage tips

This is a wonderful make-ahead as you can prep the butter cracker topping, blanched spinach and cream sauce ahead of time, then assemble on the day you are going to serve.

  • Cracker Topping: Prepare as directed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Blanched Spinach: Prep as directed. Store in a plastic storage bag or airtight container with a few layers of paper towels. The spinach will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.
  • Cream Sauce: Make the cream sauce, but do not add the spinach. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Reheat: Warm the cream sauce in a saucepot set over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning. Add the spinach and simmer until thickened to your liking. Toast the butter cracker topping on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes, or until crispy. Serve, sprinkle and enjoy!

best creamed spinach with cracker topping in white bowl with spoon

Looking for more spinach recipes? Check these out!

If you make this Creamed Spinach recipe, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

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best creamed spinach with cracker topping in white bowl with spoon

Creamed Spinach with Crispy Crunchy Topping

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This Creamed Spinach with Crispy Crunchy Topping is a smooth, creamy and decadent way to enjoy fresh baby spinach with a gorgeously golden butter cracker topping to amplify that crunch factor. It’s a comforting side dish recipe that’s an easy make-ahead to serve for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any time in between.


Ingredients

Scale

Topping:

2 cups finely crushed butter crackers (like Ritz), about 2 sleeves

¼ cup melted butter

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp garlic powder

pinch of kosher salt

cracked black pepper

Spinach:

2 lbs fresh spinach (or 49 oz packages)

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 shallots, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 oz cream cheese, cubed, room temp

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

¼ tsp nutmeg

cracked black pepper, to taste

kosher salt, to taste


Instructions

  1. Make cracker topping: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Crush cracker crumbs in a food processor or plastic bag. Transfer to a bowl and mix with melted butter, grated cheese, garlic powder, kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Transfer to a small sheet pan and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Reserve for topping spinach.
  2. Blanch spinach: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the spinach for 1 minute. Remove spinach, drain and squeeze out all excess water. Blot dry with a paper towel and roughly chop.
  3. Saute aromatics: In a medium saute pan set over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add in shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Make cream sauce: Whisk in the heavy whipping cream, cream cheese cubes, grated cheese, nutmeg, a few turns of cracked black pepper and a heavy pinch of kosher salt. Whisk together until smooth and melted, about 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Add spinach and thicken: Add in the spinach and stir together. Cook on medium-low for 5-10 minutes, or until the spinach has creamed together. If spinach is too thick, add in a bit more cream and taste test for salt and pepper.
  6. Finish with topping: Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with crunchy topping before serving.

Notes

Cracker Topping: Prepare as directed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Blanched Spinach: Prep as directed. Store in a plastic storage bag or airtight container with a few layers of paper towels. The spinach will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Cream Sauce: Make the cream sauce, but do not add the spinach. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Reheat: Warm the cream sauce in a saucepot set over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning. Add the spinach and simmer until thickened to your liking. Toast the butter cracker topping on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes, or until crispy. Serve, sprinkle and enjoy!

Keywords: easy, butter crackers, holiday

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