the-best-baked-spinach Recipes

the best baked spinach

On a beach vacation that already feels like it was too long ago, I tucked into the collection of letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto and realized I’d inadvertently brought on vacation with me the very best book ever for my current brand of mental unevenness. Apparently, even the great Julia Child went a little insane writing her cookbook. She fretted over if varied and uneven ingredients would keep her recipes from working as she wanted them to in others’ kitchens and even had occasional bouts of frustration with her tiny, ill-equipped kitchens. And Julia is like my superhero! I was no less than 10 pages in when I already felt better about my choices, the work I had left, life itself, the universe at large… or perhaps it was just those no-good piña coladas and that blue-meets-blue horizon working their magic on me. Nevertheless, I thanked Julia.

overflowing spinach
wilting the spinach

In one of my favorite early letters, Julia gushes about the produce in France: “Strawberries, for instance, are dreamberries, but extremely fragile.* Beans are so deliciously beany…” and goes on to explain that the French hadn’t really gotten onto the system of growing hardier produce that would keep longer in the markets. Amusingly, however, she found U.S. packages of spinach at the grocery store and it from there that she went on a tangent about a French “system” for spinach which she found “terribly good” and went on to describe a gentle cooking of spinach, stewing it in a very small amount of roux for a little binding and broth before stirring in a small amount of cheese and baking it in a dish topped with breadcrumbs.

all that spinach because only this

squeezed out fistfuls of spinach

I pined for it immediately. I even briefly counted how many days (poor me) of sleeping, sunning and abject laziness I had left before I could get back in my kitchen and have at it. I may have been ever-so-briefly distracted by goldfish and cocktail cakes but finally on Sunday, my mother and I de-stemmed three pounds of spinach (while Jacob helped, kinda) and yesterday, I finally made it happen. It sounds like a gratin, yes? But missing is the quarter-pound of butter, cups of cream and therefore, the idea that you cannot make just because you crave it. I think it tastes better than a traditional gratin, anyhow, as the flavors are not muffled under all of that butterfat. It’s really just the best spinach we’ve ever had.

ready for more cheese and crumbs
dreamy baked spinach

* Amusingly, Alex and I had the exact same reaction when we were last in Paris. I declared the strawberries the best I’d ever eaten in my entire life and swore I’d just stop eating any others until I could go back and get more. Alas, that didn’t happen.

One year ago: Coconut Milk Fudge
Two years ago: Pita Bread
Three years ago: Almond Biscotti and Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Four years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Loaf

The Best Baked Spinach [Julia’s Child’s Spinach Gratin with Cheese]
Adapted from As Always, Julia and Mastering the Art of French Cooking

I think a lot of us are fixated on the idea that that gratins must always be insanely unhealthy — swimming in cream, broiled in cheese, topped with butter — and that ones made with anything less are simply inferior gratins. It’s a shame really, because I think it keeps us away from them on weekday nights, when they could be our best friends, as they can be made in advance, reheat like a dream and can be spooned off as needed. They can be side dishes to a roast, cutlet or fish or they can be the bed in which you nest a poached egg, tear off pieces of a baguette and call it a heavenly meal.

About the recipe: When I got home, I pulled out my copy of MtAoFC and tried to find this recipe. I actually found four that, strung together, led to what she’d discussed: Blanched, Chopped Spinach; Spinach Braised in Butter; Spinach Braised in Cream and Spinach Gratineed with Cheese. I happen to love cooking directly from recipes in that book; I know they’re fussy and have a lot of steps but that kind of careful preparation is almost meditative, and leads to amazing dishes that are just right every time. Nevertheless, when it came down to the tiny window I had to prepare this, function overtook form and I ended up streamlining the recipe a lot to save time. It was still the best spinach we’d ever eaten and hope you’ll agree.

Serves 6

3 pounds fresh spinach
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup stock (your choice; Julia recommends beef) or cream (I used stock; it doesn’t *need* cream)
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons fine, dry breadcrumbs

Stem and wash your spinach (see Tips below) well but no need to spin or pat it dry. Place spinach in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes for baby spinach and 4 to 6 minutes for regular spinach. Transfer to a colander, immediately fill pot with cold water, transfer it back to the pot of cold water to shock it (stop the cooking) and drain again. Squeeze a small amount of the spinach at a time in your hands to extract as much water as possible. Chop the spinach coarsely. You should have about 3 cups of chopped spinach, or about 1 cup per pound.

Wipe out pot then melt 2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat and stir in the spinach. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until all of the moisture from the spinach has boiled off — you’ll know you’re done when the spinach begins to stick to the pan.

Lower the heat and sprinkle with flour and stir for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Add 2/3 of your stock or cream, a tiny bit at a time, scraping up any stuck spinach as you do. Once the liquid is added, simmer for another minute or two, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, stir in one more tablespoon of butter. If needed, add all or part of remaining liquid. Season with salt (I found 1/2 teaspoon table salt about right) and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a shallow 1-quart baking dish. Stir 1/2 cup cheese into the spinach and pour it into the baking dish. Mix the remaining cheese with breadcrumbs and sprinkle on spinach. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons remaining butter and pour it over the top. Bake until heated through and slightly brown on the top, about 30 minutes.

Serve with steaks, chops, veal, chicken, broiled fish or, if you’re us, eggs, glorious eggs.

Do ahead: Spinach can be blanched and chopped several hours or a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Gratin can be fully assembled and 30 minutes before needed, placed in a preheated 375 degree oven to bake, then served.

To stem spinach, as per Julia: If spinach is young and tender, remove the stems at the base of the leaf. If more mature, fold the leaf vertically with its underside up, grasp the leaf in one hand and the stem in the other and and rip it off toward the tip of the leaf, removing the stem and the tough tendrils. Discard any wilted or yellow leaves.

How I wash greens: Fill a large bowl or basin with cold water. Drop in the spinach and swish it around a few times so it deposits any sand and grit before lifting it out of the bowl (leaving any grit/dirt at the bottom of the bowl and not dragging the clean leaves through it) and drop it in a colander. No need to dry it for this recipe, but in others, I either spread it out on towels or run it through a salad spinner.

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368 comments on the best baked spinach

  1. Omg that looks absolutely delicious!! What a great one-dish meal, and I love the idea of serving it with some crusty bread. Thanks for the inspiration to “dress up” traditional spinach side dishes! :)

  2. THIS is what I’ll doing with my bags of spinach from TJs that are just about to go south. This is a total main dish for us, though. Top with a fried egg, over easy – there’s your protein! And garlic toast made from a baguette, of course.

  3. Lee

    This looks amazing! Considering whether or not it would be worthwhile to do it using frozen spinach or if that’d be beyond the pale.

  4. Oh, that looks so good! It gets so much closer to being something I could make a vegan version of since it’s not drowning in butter and cheese! I’ll have to get to work on that. Thanks!

  5. julie s

    Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I wanted to let you know that I received my subscription to Canadian House and Home in the mail today and you are featured in the “Food News” section (“Delicious things: Must haves for the home chef) on page 136! Congrats!

  6. I love anything spinach… My tag could has the word spinach about 10 times larger than any other word. Mixing it with cheese it always such a great way to get my kids to eat it too. I make sauteed spinach with Parmesan, garlic, and a little red pepper flake but I always cook it on the stove top. Maybe it’s time to let the oven take on some of the work. Super recipe, thanks!

  7. Megan

    I love spinach gratins, but have never made one for fear of so much dairy! Thank you so much for providing this recipe, I too am enamored with all things Julia!

  8. Sara

    Oh my! I just finished reading As Always, Julia about a month ago. I loved it. Did you? Glad it inspired you to make this. Yum!

  9. Cathy Dellinger

    This looks totally amazing. But, what I’m really excited about is that I’m going to do your pina colada cake for a little mexicali/caribbean meal this weekend. Very serious foodies to impress, and I am so totally ready for it. My only addition to that very interesting recipe, is to dust the top of the cake with a bit ot toasted coconut. Yes?

  10. My coworker is in Paris right now for Fashion Week, and was saying that she just had some berries the other day (straw and rasp) that were the “absolute best [she’d] ever had!!” I was skeptical as it’s March, but apparently it’s the case!

  11. I am going to have to read that book. The baked spinach looks absolutely delicious. And I have 2 pounds of spinach going bad in the fridge – I know what I’m making tonight.

  12. alex

    okay, don’t sneer at me for asking this question, but… could you use packaged frozen chopped spinach here? would it be worth making it that way, or does the flavor depend on the freshness? i ask only because i somehow have a huge pile of that in my freezer, and buying 3 lbs seems kind of silly in that situation.

    1. deb

      Frozen spinach — Go for it. You want the equivalent of 3 cups once cooked down. Don’t know how many bricks or bags that is, however. Make sure you still cook it until wilted and get all of that water out.

  13. I keep meaning to read that book because I’ve heard it is fantastic! This spinach looks delicious, and I love how it’s not a good thing made bad by tons of fat. The addict in me is tempted to try it with kale… :)

  14. Washing greens: I use my salad spinner. With the spinner in the bowl, add the greens to the spinner. Fill with cool water and swish greens around. Let settle for a few seconds, then lift the spinner from the bowl. Dump the water from the bowl and replace spinner (with the greens) in the bowl and spin dry. Works with everything from lettuce to leeks to beans.

  15. What Happens After Five

    Looks delicious! I love making “steakhouse” recipes at home and this looks like it’s actually pretty light-ish (assuming you don’t use cream and ignore the butter).

    1. deb

      SaveMyPolarBear — Thank you. It’s funny to me that the photo sets I dislike the most (this is one of them; just dark food on a gray day) seem to have the opposite effect on some people. I’m flattered!

      Amanda — I did and loved it.

      Even in Australia — I’m only about 2/3 through which means I’ll never finish it (I get through two pages a night before falling asleep with it on my face) but I agree the political stuff was really exciting in the beginning but I’m getting skimmish with the McCarthy stuff as, after all, we know how it ends.

  16. What did you think of the book? I thought it got a little tedious/redundant after a while and the constant references to the political issues of the day, which were at first interesting, became a bit distracting.

  17. Claire

    Looks heavenly! I have some collard greens headed my way that I’m not sure how to use (never having tried them). Do you think I could adapt this, or are collard greens too different from spinach?

  18. Shannon

    French strawberries sound like Oregon strawberries. Perfect in every way but a mushy mess a day or two after being picked. So we just eat them and make jam as quickly as we can! Mmmm… can’t wait for June!

  19. I like the idea of using stock instead of cream because right now I’m trying to loose this stubborn baby weight. Wonder if it would taste good to use half stock and half low fat milk?

  20. nice call. this looks and sounds great, especially if you’re declaring it the best spinach you’ve had! Your story reminds me of when I was reading “Heat” and wanted to run right into my kitchen and try some of the recipes Buford described (first the Italian lady’s pasta, one egg, one etto of flour – see, easy, I remember, then Batali’s pasta that he didn’t publish in the Babbo cookbook, then a seafood pasta… and all with really no recipe, just prose. Ah, the power of writing!

  21. My 6 year old just tried spinach for the first time, tonight. Loved it. Watershed moment.

    My local costco sells (washed! stemmed!) spinach in magnificent 2 pound pillows.

    This has FATE written all over it.

  22. Kailee

    I am so making this. Your beautifully simple and light potato gratin earned a “these are the best potatoes EVER” from my husband, so I have no doubt this will be amazing as well!

  23. Hi Deb, this looks absolutely fantastic as usual and I am so, so happy you wrote this recipe to only use one pot (I always love you for that, even though I have a dishwasher). Can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks.

    PS. I, too, love the photos :)

  24. I too love spinach and poached eggs, though sadly I have yet to master the skill of poaching at home. I get my fix from The Smith (in the East Village, if you haven’t gone yet, go asap!), where they top a potato waffle, aka a latke, with a poached egg and then a dreamy spinach and caramelized onion sauce. AND you get a free bloody mary on Sundays.

    This recipe looks awesome by the way — something for me to try this weekend!

  25. Lila

    You’ve got to love anyone who is this good at photography, loves spinach &cheese, has a gorgeous little boy, and lives in New York! You are my new Hero.

  26. I have renewed faith in my vintage stove. 1951. Sometimes creates cooking frustrations; but this looks completely doable with the equipment I have. Deeeeelish!


  27. EG

    Oh, I love spinach, and I’m so happy to hear of a recipe that’s not drenched in cream and cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But why must spinach be so EXPENSIVE?! Oh well, I’m off to buy 3 lbs of spinach tomorrow anyway.

  28. Laura

    Do you think this would work as well with broccoli lisica, kale, chard, mustard or beet greens or would it be too bitter? (My CSA is drowning me in greens.) I’m also not 100% sure which is which…..

    1. deb

      I used stock! Sorry, that’s pretty important, since I went on and on about how it doesn’t need cream. I just wanted to add the cream in the recipe, so people knew how they could make it heavier if they wished.

      Btw, I keep wanting to say “traditional” but there’s no rule that gratins need to be with cream or tons of cheese. It’s just what we assume a gratin to be these days.

  29. Oh man – that looks awesome! I love spinach, but I tend to eat it in green smoothies and salads. I rarely cook it, but I will definitely be trying this recipe. Dare I admit that I have never made a Julia Child recipe??

  30. I swear I’m not crazy… but I’m just not a huge fan of gratins. I should have my food-lover license taken away, for sure, but they’re always just too heavy. This sounds like the perfect middle ground! Just decadent enough without going overboard, and dead simple, to boot. Now, if only I could get someone to de-stem my spinach for me… ;)

  31. I’ve been foraging around the vegetable section of Mastering the Art, too, lately. I’m definitely on a Julia green kick. This looks delicious!

  32. Hi Deb!

    Would frozen spinach work here? I have a ton of it in the freezer that I need to use up. Also, how about the same dish but with cheddar cheese in place of the raclette? Yum! Thanks!

  33. Ellen

    BUT! butter is a health food, and one we try to fit in our diet wherever possible. as in 2T of grass fed butter in my oatmeal. good source of vit k2, vit d, omega 3s, CLA, etc. point of this being: don’t be afraid of butter, and i am looking forward to making this with a couple extra tablespoons if you think it can handle it :)

  34. I decided that I will make this for my dad’s 53rd birthday party this Friday. He generally avoids vegetable so a vegetable dish in a creamy cheese sauce ought to get him to swallow those greens. Thanks, Deb!

  35. Loren

    This recipe came just in time, since all that remains in my fridge is a bag of spinach 2 cans of broth and some cheese, yum. Also love the idea of throwing a fried egg in at the end to make it a full meal. I have a bunch of frozen kale also do you think that would work in this dish?

  36. You’ve sold me! I ate strawberries from my grandfathers years and years old plants. They were incredible and I thought the same, ‘i’m never going back’ and although we have plantes strawberries they are not as good.

  37. You say ‘the best’ baked spinach, like we expect anything less from you! We all come to your site because everything is THE BEST :)

    I can’t wait to try this. You just reminded me that it’s time to plant my spinach seeds in the garden! Thanks!

  38. This looks really great…sometimes the lightest coating of roux on a gratin really brings out the best in a vegetable. I tried a cabbage gratin with juniper berries that Deborah Madison presented in VEgetarian Cooking for Everyone…it was the same way, very lightly coated with minimal cheese, but amazing! This goes on the list.

  39. Yum! I love my spinach creamed, usually (or, in a pinch, smothered in cinnamon), but this looks fantastic. Sadly, even with all the cheese, my fiance still won’t eat it, so I’ll have to either make it in single-servings or set this recipe to the side for making when he deploys next year.

  40. Ada

    That looks amazing. Thanks for posting a gratin that doesn’t require tons of cream & butter. I can’t really have all that dairy, so it’s nice to know this is easily adaptable and still delicious. :)

  41. I made an amazing spinach gratin from food52 during the holidays, but I think I will have to try this tomorrow!
    I have a big bunch of fresh spinach and I LOVE that there is no cream in this dish!
    A little Gruyere and some breadcrumbs and we are in business!
    Looks terrific!

  42. This is perfect for dinner tonight! Just across the street from our apartment is a “vegetable vending machine” that is filled daily by local farmers in Tokyo (surprising, I know!) and lately it has been jam-packed with spinach! I’ll use panko bread crumbs and homemade chicken stock for sure! Thanks for this- so excited! Julia in Japan? Who knew?!

  43. Anna

    Your adorable son needs to meet my gorgeous niece, also with dark curly hair. But then again, that much baby beauty in one place might just make the earth implode. ;)

  44. I have a ton of spinach in the fridge right now – one bunch exploded into bags-ful once washed – that I was planning on making into spinach bread this weekend, but now…I think maybe gratin trumps bread.

  45. I moved to India a few years back and the wonderful woman on the corner that sells greens from a cart made of plywood and old bicycle tires and always calls me “Darling” has all sorts of strange, unpronounceable leaves that I can’t wait to try this recipe out on. I always love figuring out what the leaves actually are, and I’m sure that it would be pretty easy for someone with more experience, but sometimes it’s just nice to think of them as “the peppery purple one” or “the tiny sweet one”.

  46. I love gratins and yes, they are usually way to cheesy and greasy, but this sounds great. Will have that probably tomorrow with an egg an baguette as you suggested. I love spinach!

  47. The spinach looks good. Though I always have problem witth spinach with butter added. It tastes far too rich for my liking. I wonder if this one will be less greasy?

  48. Sophielikesbugs

    British strawberries are the best in the world! Honest! I am a self confessed strawberry fiend (and biased becaused I am English) but try them – you will love them!

  49. sarah

    i too love mastering the art for exactly the same reasons. i have cooked for 40 years now and know heaps but if i wanted the real thing i would meditatively follow one of those. of course there’s hardly any entertaing pics or short cuts and that’s why i love it – just brain food and a perfect result. i could just go on and on about those books. and i am a mad follower of all jane grigson’s books. has anyone read them? she wrote beautifully and conjured up pictures of living in france in the 50′ and 60’s. i love your writing too. you are a gifted writer and cook and have the most adorable looking child. xxx

  50. German strawberries are damn fine as well. I miss them now I’m back in Australia. The strawberries here are so much more ROBUST. On that wonderful, simply flavored gratin: my brain keeps complicating it with pine nuts in the crumb. I wonder if I’ll resist the urge when I try it out? Thanks deb, a joy to read as usual, angela

  51. I keep having to renew my copy of MtAoFC from the library, time to take the plunge and buy a copy! I made the Normandy Crepe Cake on Sunday, it took most of the day, albeit in short spells, but was so enjoyable to “construct”.

  52. I’m currently living in Belgium, and last week in Brussels I had the best quiche of my life. It was not at all egg-y or cheesey, but rather was the thickest slice (maybe 4″ in height) of the most delicious spinach dotted with foie volaille (that just sounds so much better than fowl liver). I searched both French and Flemish food sites trying to find a comparable recipe, but couldn’t find anything that seemed comporable. This might do it- I’m going to make this with foie volaille and put it in a crust! And yes, European produce is AMAZING.

  53. Love this recipe…bet it would be great with chard, too. Hmm…now thinking of another dish or two to serve this with to turn it into a meal. As a vegetarian, I’m never really good at creating composed meals with this sort of dish.

    Have you read “My Life in France”? It’s all about Julia’s trials and trails in the evolution of her cooking life, including authoring the “Mastering…” cookbooks. If you haven’t, I’m sure you’d relate to it well during your cookbook writing! I liked because Julia’s career doesn’t really take off until she’s 50, which made me feel like there’s still time to figure things out!

  54. Elizabeth in VT

    Thank you for posting this today. After being whalloped with 2′ of snow, this refreshes the notion that spring WILL come, and that I should be planning this year’s veggie planting. it’s very clear that I am going to have to double the garden space for spinach.

  55. This looks simply perfect. And it comes at exactly the right time as I’ve been trawling the internet for uses for the big bunch of spinach in my fridge. I think I’ve found a winner.

  56. Wish I Was Baking

    Thanks for a wonderful recipe . . . again, as always. Heads up on typos for you – Narrative 1st paragraph: need another ‘n’ in unevenness; narrative last paragraph: ‘until’ all of that butterfat – should be ‘under’ or ‘underneath’?; 5th paragraph of recipe: 2/3 of ‘you’ – should be ‘your’ – sorry, couldn’t stop the proofreader in me :)

    1. deb

      Wish I Was Baking — Wow, this and my previous posts are like typo records! I blame eyeteeth-related sleep deprivation. :) Thanks.

      Eve — Two do-ahead suggestions are at the end of the recipe. Not sure about matzo meal — maybe if ground into a fine powder.

      Tasmin — !! Thanks for the lead on the crepe cake. I hadn’t even realized a recipe was in the book for one, but I clicked over to your site and it looks wonderful. I’m a little obsessed with crepe cakes (see here for sweet and here for savory) and duh, should have realized they’ve been around for a while.

  57. AJ

    The spinach looks lovely — time for me to move into a new section of Mastering — I love her soups so much I have had trouble moving on…

    I loved the letters (I’m a history buff so I liked it all) but the thing that struck me was how fortunate it was– for them and us — that these women became friends. I liking Avis (whose life was more like mine than Julia’s) as much as Julia did. I’m always caught up by books about women and their work so my bedside is piled with two kinds of books — cookbooks and biographies. They fight for space with piles of “To Try” Smitten Kitchen recipes.

    By the way — not sure if you know this or have heard of the website cookbooker — it is a site to rate and review cookbook, magazine, website recipes. I use the site to help me remember where I found recipes I liked and recipes I want to try — thought you might like to know that you are the most “owned” website — by far.

  58. I’m always looking for neat ways to prepare veg. I’m so bad about eating them but only because I started eating veggies about 2 years ago. Spinach was one of the first I was able to sneak into my food. Thank you so much for sharing this exciting recipe, can’t wait to give it a try!

  59. I know spinach, is well spinach but seriously want this now and am actually equally drooling at my screen as I am reading your dessert/cookie posts!! xx YUM!

  60. I’ve had some pretty tasty strawberries in California, but the best I ever had was wild strawberries in Norway – we had to find them ourselves and they were the size of large blueberries but so worth the effort.

    I love spinach, and of course shy away from spinach dips and gratins because it usually is all fat instead of spinach, so love the sound of this recipe. Think it would be good with a bit of artichoke too. Baking eggs into it sounds lovely, especially for brunch…

  61. This looks delicious and I love the idea of cutting out the creaminess. It just masks the taste of the vegetable, in my opinion. I love recipes like this because they are SO easy to adapt to gluten-free. Thank you for the inspiration!

  62. I could actually hear Julia’s voice as I read this post :-), I must add that book to my reading list. I’ve been looking for some recipes with less butter and cream, I will give this one a try, thanks.


  63. Bill in PA

    Yeah! This recipe gets the juices flowing just by looking. I will try chard, and of course, the stock. There, I’ve done it too! Commenting before trying it. I really want to read the assembly and cooking experience comments. Not a single one here!
    Thanks for your great comments and recipes, carry on.

  64. I love that this recipe can convince you that you’re being all healthy (when you just tucked in some heavy dessert at lunch) or that you deserve a treat (when you really had a terrible day at work) :) And really, it is both! I am tempted to bake this with some corn and use it as a filling for a sandwich.

  65. klp

    I completely agree about gratins. They need not be heavy or creamy! I love Martha Rose Shulman’s plethora of non-creamy gratins in the Recipes for Health series in the NYT. They are simple, hearty, easily adaptable, and perfect for weeknights with lightly dressed greens and crusty bread. I particularly like the red cabbage gratin and the fennel and leek gratin, although I admit that I subbed cauliflower for the fennel to fabulous results.

  66. I’m reading the same book right now too. It’s so inspiring to read about Julia’s trials in the kitchen. I made your spaghetti with lemon and olive oil last night. It was hit! Next time I’m thinking of adding grilled shrimp or salmon. It may be a good way to get my daughter to eat some fish. I made a spinach mac and cheese on my site that you might find interesting. My daughter loves it. I’ll give this spinach gratin a try.

  67. Spinach is one of my very favorites, and I usually make it the exact same way: sauteed with garlic, olive oil and crushed red pepper. I love it that way, but I never thought to bake it! And CHEESE-Y, too? What a great new spinach dish! THANKS!

  68. I’ve been in a spinach state-of-mind recently as well, though my inspiration was far more mundane than Madame Child (the sale shelf at my grocery store). I just whipped up White Beans with Sausage and Spinach, but have several bags of the green stuff leftover so this may be the perfect solution

  69. Kris

    We have a bunch of baby spinach in the fridge that needs to get used up; think I just found what I’m doing with it. What really drives me nuts is that my husband is a picky 4 year old when it comes to veggies, which means that I’ll be eating this whole thing myself.

  70. I do a similar dish with chard that I’ve blanched. I think I got it from Luisa at the Wednesday Chef. Delicious every time! Instead of stock or cream, I use regular ol’ milk and in our house that is usually 2%. Creamy without being too much. Instead of swiss I use a small amount of Gruyere or Parmeggiano depending on what is at hand. Pecorino works too and lots of black pepper. Otherwise, basically the same thing.

  71. Jeannie

    This sounds great, I love spinach so this gets saved in my “Cooknow” bookmark! I think as you said, if I am careful about getting rid of the stems, I won’t have the bitterness problem I occasionally do with spinach.

  72. Janet

    Did anyone mention that baby spinach doesn’t need to be stemmed? It saves time. And the inexpensive 3lb bag of baby spinach from Sam’s gets used right away in a gratin or lasagna.

  73. Taylor

    I also found strawberries in France to be the most amazing. They were tiny, incredibly sweet, and just perfect. I think I even had a few meals that only consisted of strawberries and perhaps a lil bread and cheese. Pure Heaven.

    Can’t wait to try to spinach. Looks divine.

  74. Lindie

    I am reading The Pioneer Woman’s book on my Nook right now, but have Julia’s book, “My Life in France” waiting for me. I am think I can do this with just a pound of Spinach if I just use 1/3 of the ingredients. It’s difficult to cook when you live alone. I think this would be delicious with some roasted salmon! Healthy but delicious!

  75. Donna

    I make a similar dish with kale:

    melt a tablespoon or so of butter, saute some minced garlic.

    Dump in milk or cream or something in between.

    Boil it down until it’s thick.

    Toss in one bunch of washed, chopped kale. Turn it until it’s coated. Cook it down until it’s wilty. Salt and pepper liberally.

    Dump into a baking dish. Top with a handle of parm and some breadcrumbs.

    Relatively healthy, and sooooo good.

  76. I am reading As Always, Julia! I just started reading and although i feel a bit intrusive for being a part of her personal letters, you just can’t help but love each & every thing about her! I really enjoy your recipes AND Julia’s as well so this post really made my day. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try it!

  77. BLK

    I think I will make this in my current homework hubbub. It’s not comfort food, so I don’t need to feel guilty about scarfing down some beautiful spinach!

  78. Keren

    This was delicious!
    I made it with stock and added a pinch of nutmeg. Couldn’t wait for the backing, so just ate as was with a poached egg (How to Poach an Egg – my favorite ever entry and photograph!) and some freshly grated parmesan. Wow!

  79. patrycja

    dear deb,
    many thanks for another amazing and delicious receipt.
    I am a huge fan of yours!
    living in berlin, germany, I struggled with the american mesurements in your blog and being tired of testing your dishes by trial and error – ta-dah! – I recently bought a measuring tool for cups and spoons via ebay. you might call it a deidcation to your work. ;-)
    the spinach sounds wonderful, I will give it a try in the next days.
    please don´t ever stop writing your blog!
    with warmest regards,

  80. Nice, Deb! I have a similar recipe — then the leftovers go into a multitude of quiches or egg casseroles. Very versatile. And on the strawberries, it appears from the comments that there are various pockets of berry perfection throughout the world. Mine is in Northern California. The summer strawberries are the reddest, most succulent I’ve ever had. I can’t even bring myself to cook with them then because they taste so good naked! The berries, not me.

  81. I know this is heresy, as I know the major theme of this dish was spinach, and I know that you aren’t a huge kale fan, but do you think this recipe would work with kale? I have a huge bunch in my fridge right now as well as a block of Swiss cheese, so this looks like it might work if I sauteed the heck out of it first to get rid of the bitterness . . .

  82. aneesh

    Deb, I love the way you write. My favorite fragment from the this post: “…my current brand of mental unevenness.” Of course your recipes rock, and who doesn’t love cute-kid-pictures? I haven’t made this one, but the deli rye you adapted from Berenbaum, light brioche burger buns, and peanut butter crispy bars are standard fare at my house. With this recipe, I see an opportunity to riff on saag paneer – maybe swap out the swiss for some paneer and add a pinch of garam masala and ground nutmeg for a little indian flair just to see what happens…

  83. Nicole

    This looks delicious but I am not a fan of Swiss cheese (or parmesan/romano- don’t like sharp pungent cheeses). Is there another, milder cheese I can sub? Maybe Fontina or gruyere?

  84. What a lovely post. You do write beautifully and I enjoy all my stolen moments to read your most current musings. This recipe looks delightful and Spinach and cheese..butter. How could that not be amazing?

  85. Anniepie

    Oh.. the spinach looks wonderful… Such a long way from the spinach served in the
    cafeteria in the 1950s! I must admit I was well into my 30s before I tried anything but raw spinach.. And the egg on top! YUM! An easy meal for a woman alone!

  86. Kat

    Ohh it looks amazing, and I usually hate cooked spinach. And you’ve posted it just in time for a French/Julia Child theme meal with friends this weekend, for which I couldn’t decide on a vegetable. Excited to try it!

  87. @Lauren at Casa Casa: I’ve been looking for new foods to put fried eggs on top of so I’m so happy you suggested putting them on top of this recipe!
    @Jen: How do you bake the eggs in with the spinach? Should you beat the eggs and mix in with the spinach or should you just crack them on top of the gratin?

  88. Fanya

    YES! I’m anemic so the doctor told me to eat more iron rich food, which include spinach and broccoli, both of which I hate. =(

    But this spinach actually look tasty (my number 1 spinach dish is Palak Paneer) and I will be trying it nxt time I go grocery shopping.

  89. Anna

    Mmmmmm looks yummy. I stumbled across you when looking for variations on the Nigella satsuma cake, but my eye is automatically drawn to the word ‘spinach’, as it’s the only green thing my 15 month old will eat at the moment. I’m constantly making a similar dish to this, but with red onions and chickpeas in it too, by the British food writer, Nigel Slater. The chickpeas make it substantial enough as a meal on its own, and it’s delicious. I think just chucking a drained can of chickpeas into this would have a similar result – I may have a go tomorrow.

  90. Deb, the spinach looks absolutely amazing. A sort of related question: in what kind of pretty pot are you wilting the spinach in that picture? I love the white exterior!

    1. deb

      Katie — It’s actually not white or pretty in person. It’s a 3-quart saucepan from the All-Clad MC2 line. The outsides of the pots are a textured aluminum and as I’ve unfortunately learned, many dishwasher detergents do icky damage to aluminum. The inside is fine, but the outside looks, at times, white/gray and black/sooty.

  91. My mother used to make this for me when I was little. I would go to the beach with my little friends and they’d have turkey sandwiches and I’d have…this. I’d take out my plastic tupperware filled with this delicious spinachy mess. Everyone would look at me and, wide-eyed, say that my food was a color that should not be seen on the beach.

  92. This looks lovely. I recently made a Swiss Chard gratin from Epicurious, and it was surprisingly light even though I remember using butter, cream and cheese. I think it was because the quantities were fairly small for all of the ingredients called for (except the chard and the spinach). It has also kept pretty well, keeping us in lunch-time leftovers for more than a week.

  93. I’ve made a dish of baked spinach with chickpeas and chorizo, which was so flavorful that the spinach only contributed its texture to the dish. This would be great to experience the taste of baked spinach. I hope to try this soon. Thanks, Deb!

  94. Made this for dinner tonight, it was a huge hit. I added a can of white beans with the cheese and it was great, except I seem to have selected the one can of beans in the world that was actually UNDER done. Very strange.

  95. So I read this post this morning and just pulled my best baked spinach ever out of the oven. I added a cup of diced mushrooms as I reduced the broth – oh my gawd. Yeah – we are in love with Smitten Kitchen and the best damn spinach ever. A winner once again. You are amazing!

  96. I always have a bag of frozen spinach in my freezer, and I quite often saute it, season it and and mix it with cream cheese, and eat it on a piece of five grain toast. It’s such a perfect comfort food. I like the idea of gratin (yours) though as opposed to creamed spinach (mine) – so I’m going to experiment and see what I come up with. Cheers for the inspiration. Ingrid (foodopera)

  97. Paula

    Holy crap, I made this tonight and it as perfect/amazing/everything I ever wanted….and I could go on. Question: if I buy baby spinach and DONT de-stem it would it still be as good? I am hosting 2 “dinner parties” next week and need some easy dishes to put together which this would be except for the de-stemming time…thanks for your feedback!

  98. brainysmurf

    I have been looking for recipes to make…for a friend and this seems perfect. How long do you think this lasts? Would it be okay to freeze? Thanks!

  99. So I’m on this alkaline based cleanse for a couple weeks. I’m about a week in and every time I see the new recipe come up in my in box it nearly brings me to tears.

    Nonetheless, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can and will make this bake spinach–though it will be missing some crucial ingredients–we’ll see how it goes. And then! When my last week is up, I’ll make the real thing and be merry with the fact that I can have, salt, pepper, cheese, cream/stock, butter, yeast and gluten again!

    Thanks for this. I’m a HUGE spinach fan!

  100. Well, this was certainly delicious! But my boyfriend wasn’t too fond of the fact I used vegan cheese (I actually used vegan everything, but that’s our secret) – he’s a cheese man, I can’t blame him. The breadcrumb topping is absolutely brilliant! Thank you, again, for a wonderful dinner.

  101. laurie

    My peeps don’t like Swiss cheese. Do you think parmesan cheese would work? Any other cheese or cheese combination suggestions?

  102. The first and only gratin I made was from The Greens Cookbook. It was Winter White Vegetables Baked in Cream, and while it was delicious the two cups of heavy cream made me a little wary of making gratins for a weeknight meal. I love your idea of using broth in place of the cream to lighten things up a bit and bring out the flavor of the spinach, perfect for a midweek meal.

  103. I love Julie’s recipes, but as you said they are a bit fussy. This is one I will make I love the fact that it is missing all the fat of other gratins that make you feel so remoresful after indulging.

  104. RunThis33

    I read this post and made this last night as a side dish for pasta leftovers. My bf and I loved it, and I ate the rest of it this morning with a poached egg on top.

    I did alter ther recipe a bit–making a smaller portion and using mozzarella instead of swiss (I figured since the leftovers were Italian, I’d stick to a theme–and I had mozzarella in the fridge). I would have liked a slightly crunchier crust, so I think I’ll add more breadcrumbs next time.

    Delicious. I am truly smitten with this spinach!

  105. Emma

    I have a feeling this will stop me from craving (and making) creamed spinach, it looks delicious and I’m gutted I finished my spinach off last night! Thank you for another great recipe idea :)

  106. cool insight into julias fretting, I decided following recipes precisely is impossible due to all the factors impossible to keep constant. Diff ovens cook different, etc A trusted chef told me to read them and use them as a guide. Spinach looks great, i want to put the flour in before the spinach and may still do.

  107. Jenny

    This was amazing! We roasted a chicken last night & had this as our side, but it stole the show & I wanted to eat it all and forget the bird. The only downside was not remembering how long it takes to prep spinach and being surprised when my chicken was done & I was still washing leaves! It was all worth it in the end, though.

  108. Nicole Tengwall

    I made this and used baby spinach and it worked great (for those who don’t want to deal with normal spinach). It was really good but unfortunately, I compare everything to your Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin which, in my opinion, cannot be topped in any way! :)

    1. deb

      jaime — It will seem dry or sticking easily to the pot. My hunch: You won’t need it. I added half of what was leftover and felt mine was a tad too wet.

  109. Elizabeth

    Deb, don’t fret over your cookbook! I’m sure others would agree that we love you not just for the recipes, but for your sassy and hysterical writing. (And also, the ever-so-sweet pics of Jacob.)

    You could give us recipes to things that we already know how to make, but do so in a way that makes us laugh (as you always do!) and we’d still eat it up (har har, oh the puns…).

    Don’t focus on breaking “new recipe ground” – just focus on doing what you do best: telling stories about what you are making and doing it in a way that makes us want to share in that story by making the recipe ourselves.

    Good luck, Deb!

  110. mary ann

    how can i print the recipe for the best spinach without all the text…. no easy print link found for just recipe…HELP…………

  111. Mistie

    This was amazing! I was cooking for my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law (which always stresses me out), and they are dieting. They thought it was delicious, and it didn’t mess with their diets too much. Thanks for an awesome dish.

  112. Bertha Pearl

    I love your blog, it wakes my tastebuds! I just wanted to mention that altho I haven’t tasted strawberries in France, the Oregon Hood berries are the best strawberries I have ever had..have you tried them?

  113. I love the sound of this! Gratins are my weakness, and I have a thing for the satisfying taste of wilted spinach. I love that you streamlined this all down and look forward to trying it. Thank you! Your comment on the meditative quality of Julia’s recipes has also peaked my interest…I’ve only looked at them from afar but am now wanting to give one a go soon. Lovely post as always, Deb.

  114. Aida

    I made this for the husband’s b-day dinner and he couldn’t decide which he loved more: this dish or JustJENN’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cupcakes. Imagine that. Spinach vs Brownies with spinach winning by a nose. This dish is *THAT* good. Thank you!!

  115. I love spinach half cooked. Maybe too much a temperature to the baked spinach can reduce the nutrient contents or even worse lost it. Is the method of cooking in this recipe safe for the spinach?

  116. Jackie

    A coworker directed me to your website last fall and I think I have made about 80% of the recipes posted since Oct. 2010! This spinach was sooooo delicious (and I don’t even really care for spinach) and it was even more amazing with a poached egg and rye toast for breakfast the next morning! I love love love your website, thanks for the fabulous recipes.

  117. Darlynne

    I admit that the thought of stemming three pounds of spinach was more than I could handle. Happily, my combination of baby and regular spinach, complete with stems, was still a success. Thanks for another great recipe.

  118. Shari

    When the spinach seed I planted this weekend starts coming up, I WILL be making this! On another note, I have never let you know how much I LOVE your caesar salad dressing recipe. It is the only caesar dressing I will ever eat again. It is perfection! Thank you so much for all you do.

  119. taue

    This reminds me of a similar recipe I’ve recently fallen in love with (which may have come to me via a friend who saw it on SK years ago–does the following ring a bell, Deb?). Basically, it is exactly the same, but uses all kinds of roasted veggies in place of (or in addition to) the spinach (or kale- yum!).

    It tastes AMAZING, is kinda healthy (cheese is calcium and protein, isn’t it?), makes fantastic leftovers, works with whatever veggies you have in the house, and makes a terrific weeknight meal (esp as leftovers) with a poached or fried egg on top and some good crusty bread.

    Also, strawberries in Cali are pretty off the chain. Plus they’re in season for like 6 months out of the year. Ballin!

  120. I moved to Paris from Boulder, Colorado 1.5 years ago, and you are right that the produce here can be excellent. However, whenever I go to a more tropical area, I notice that France does not necessarily steal the show for the best produce or food. For, example, in Barcelona, the produce is outrageous. The multitude of colors and flavors in unbelievable. Don`t get me wrong. I love the French culinary world. That`s why I moved here, but after having lived here a while, I wonder if some of the obsession with French cuisine is just hype? The food here can get a bit bland compared to the spices of Spain or the rich flavors of Italy. I guess ever country`s cuisine has it`s highs and lows. That being said, I am excited to make the spinach recipe this week in my cozy Parisian apartment. I will think of Julia.

  121. Sara

    This really is the best baked spinach! I made this last night and it was a big hit! I used chicken broth and pecorino romano because that’s what I had on hand and it tasted fantastic. I will probably continue using the pecorino or a parmigiana going forward because I like that flavor with the spinach.

    I ended up using frozen spinach (so much cheaper than the fresh stuff! Also, the fresh spinach in my supermarket was looking pretty beat). I should point out for anyone else considering going this route that 3 lbs of frozen spinach does not equal 3 lbs of fresh spinach… I would say two to three 10 oz. packages of frozen spinach should do the job. I can’t tell exactly because I didn’t think this through and cooked four packages and had to put some aside because I had almost 6 cups so I’m not sure if just 20 oz would be enough. The flavor with the frozen spinach was still awesome though so I would have no problem using that again going forward.

    Also, Deb – when you click the “print” link it has the entire text of your post above the recipe.

    1. deb

      Stephanie — I put the mark up this weekend, so you are very very quick to notice things!

      KWu — You can, but the fistfuls work well too. Whichever you find easier or more convenient.

      Print link + Sara — Oh noooo! I hadn’t realized something had changed! My bad. I will get it fixed, ASAP. Sorry for the confusion.

  122. Liz L

    Delicious, and it was so easy to make for one person in a small ramekin with a poached egg. I could make this morning noon night. Thank you.

  123. It’s hard to make leafy greens exciting, but this looks pretty amazing! Gosh, I just love your blog and one of my favorite things to do is hit the “surprise me” link and find a new recipe to make. I wish my blog was as cool as yours! I guess I need a cute kid, a fancy camera, and cooking-talent oozing out of my pores like you. :)

  124. jo

    this is the best thing that’s happened to me… in the middle of studying for finals, I can have a healthy meal. I made this a half recipe in the laziest way possible and it is so comforting and outstanding. frozen spinach, didn’t bother to wring out, instead stuck in a 1 cup packet of chicken broth concentrate (gross, but it’s from trader joe’s so it can’t be THAT bad… right?) and a minced clove of garlic. poured into my pyrex, sprinkled on parmesan and panko, then made two little hollows for baked eggs, baked for 20 minutes, and had the most wonderful easy dinner. Next time (dinner tomorrow) I am making it in a skillet so it becomes a one pan meal. THANK YOU.

  125. Melissa

    I used a popular brand name veggie broth and as a result the spinach was too salty. Next time I will omit the salt when using store bought broth.

  126. Martha

    Oh my goodness. Deb, thank you for bringing this recipe to my attention. My uncle makes divine creamed spinach every Christmas but it is not suitable for every day (not without clogging my arteries). This is so good. I made a small batch and my husband and I ate it up in an instant. We could have eaten it for a whole meal. The tender spinach and creamy texture (without cream!) was unbelievable. I even used less butter and cheese to make it more figure friendly and it was still super satisfying! I cant believe it! Thank you!!!

  127. I only started my new blog a month ago and already a lot of my recipes are spinach based! I’m also growing my own in my little allotment garden in north east england…

    I’ll definitely be making this next, looks delicious. xx

  128. Susan

    I loved this…twice. I started to get concerned when I was working in the flour because it just seemed like I’d never get it all cooked because of all the spinach, but it worked out when I added the stock (broth) I used baby spinach and I agree with Julia..remove those stems, even on baby spinach. I was amazed that with all the cooking, it didn’t get that over cooked flavor that overdone spinach can get. I mixed some of the leftovers this morning into my scrambled eggs (with some sauteed onion) and ate it on a couple of those oatmeal pancakes (from this site) folded like a taco. I love it when there is multiple use for a recipe!

  129. i would eat the entire pan all by my very lonesome . . . this is perfection on a plate . . . oh, and Jacob? perfection on a plate, perfection on a lap, perfection batting those long eyelashes . . . am afraid he’d be spoiled rotten if i was his mama . . .

  130. Ellen

    Yum, yum, yum! This was wonderful! I have to admit that prepping and managing 3 lbs of fresh spinach was (for a novice and messy cook like myself) a real drag. I will definitely make this in the future, but I will steer clear of the fresh spinach.

  131. yoko

    For my birthday I received “As Always, Julia” and have been reading it in spurts. I love listening to Julia and Avis pour over recipes and kitchen wear. Last night, on my train ride home from work I read the section about the baked spinach and thought “I need to star earmarking this book.” This week’s Sunday Baked Dish and a Movie (a little tradish) will be plus one Best Baked Spinach.
    thank you

  132. cck

    This was crazy delicious. My family could not believe there was no cream. I swapped parm for the swiss, added a bit of garlic and was in spinach heaven. Thank you!

  133. Thanks for the inspiration to buy the book of Julia Childs letters since I am heading on vacation and would sooo love to read them now but hadn’t had a review by anyone who had. I loved the Julia and Julie Movie too, not just cuz my name is Julie-hee! Thanks for sharing, your blog is lovely:)

  134. I love Julia Child! This recipe looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. I cook from Mastering the Art of French Cooking at least once a week, but haven’t tried this one yet. Thank you for a beautiful post (I love your photos).

  135. Shira Kestenbaum

    This is great! I added some crumbled feta cheese (just because), and i used local beet greens and not spinach (cause that’s what i had) – white stems and all (cooked it a bit longer). really really good.

  136. Melissa

    I made this on Sunday when some friends came over and the dish went over very well. I switched the swiss cheese for gruyere because that was all I had and I used a little cream (~3 T.) with the broth because I had some. The whole dish was polished off and one of the guests surreptitiously took the serving spoon and ate the last remaining remants directly off of it. Thanks for the successful side dish!

  137. lactoselover

    Have you ever tried making fried spinach? I had the most amazing fried spinach at a restaurant this weekend, sprinkled with garlic, parmesean and lemon juice, bu have no idea how to go about making it. It was light and crispy (not battered, of course), and maybe flash fried? Ideas?

  138. Halli

    I just found your site and I don’t know how I didn’t know about it before. I LOVE spinach and this looks fantastic. I’m going to try it for passover and try potato starch instead of the flour and matzoh meal instead of breadcrumbs. We’ll see. I can’t imagine it’ll be bad but I’m sure it’s better the original way. I am really looking forward to making this. I am also looking forward to making other things. I have been scouring your site for hours. I think I’ve become a little addicted.

  139. Betsy

    Made this last night and boy was it delicious! The guy and I made this along with the crunchy pork chops, used the leftover breadcrumbs from the pork chop recipe to top the baked spinach, and it turned out wonderfully. Thanks Deb, can always count on you for a great recipe!

  140. I made this on Saturday and it was delicious! I love that it only has a little bit of cheese but tastes so creamy and delicious. I made layers in the bowl: bottom half of a whole wheat english muffin, a serving of this, a poached egg, and the top half of the muffin for dippin’. SO GOOD. I’m happy to see that other commenters had success with frozen spinach–I think I’ll try that next time. The fresh spinach I got was pretty weak, and I felt like I was stemming and washing for h o u r s. Frozen spinach would make this a much more convenient weekend breakfast!

  141. Kris

    Uh, yeah. So I thought my husband wouldn’t eat this? Wrong, wrong, wrong! Tonight was the night for new recipes; I made this along with the baked fish and potatoes with rosemary and garlic off Epicurious, a green salad and white wine. Not only did my picky-child husband eat it without complaint, he licked the plate! Thank you, Deb, you’ve done the impossible.

  142. Kris

    Oh, btw, Laurie: I used parmesan and it turned out great. Cut the amount of cheese by about 1/3 so the cheese doesn’t overpower.

  143. Veronica

    I made this last night and it was soooooo gooooood! I halved the recipe but really wished I hadn’t. My boy wanted to use the leftovers for a quiche, but alas there is nothing left. Probably making a bigger batch this weekend so we can have more deliciousness and try it in the quiche. :)

  144. Hey! love your pics and receipes!!! I will defenitely try these spinachs!!!
    By the way, your son is lovely! i love his eyes and the way he looks at the camera!!!

  145. Pam

    I made this the laziest way possible last night – used two bricks of frozen chopped spinach, 2% milk instead of cream or stock (had neither handy) and shredded “Italian blend” cheese plus some grated parmesan instead of swiss cheese (also had none). It was incredibly delicious! Thanks!

  146. Julie in Asheville

    Now this is freaky….I’m reading the same book and absolutely loving it. I too love spinach and prepare it every time my special fellow comes for Sunday lunch. Can’t wait to try this one too. Love anything to do with JC. Remember watching her on TV in the 60s, have rewatched Julie and Julia many, many times, and how I long to buy cookery items in Paris too, but at 1950 prices. The recipe you shared will be much better for the figure than the one I usually use: it is called Prisnac and calls for cottage cheese, Velveta, butter and eggs. Have prepared this for 20+ years and is a family favorite. Looking forward to trying Julia’s recipe in a few days.

  147. Tula

    This sounds just like a dish my mom used to make. Hers used chicken stock and had chopped hard-boiled eggs and cheddar cheese instead of swiss. Yum! Now I have to go buy some more spinach, since I just used up my last bag on a batch of creamed spinach.

  148. Elizabeth

    Bummer. I did not love this. You were right. It does not NEED cream. Mine turned out way too heavy, even using only a mixture of part cream.

  149. Do you think you could do this with kale? Maybe pre-steaming it for a bit first? I have a pregnant friend who is trying to eat more kale and is looking for new recipes.

  150. Gillian

    This was delicious. I used broth and about two tablespoons of cream because I had to use it up. It was really good. I only stemmed the main offensive ones, and found no problems with it.

    Delicious with a poached egg and bread, as directed. Also, was slightly St. Patty’s festive? Green with orange yolks.

  151. Jean

    This was absolutely the best spinich I have ever had. She was right – you don’t need cream! I actually used 2 pounds of spinich in a bag and halved everything else. It made enough for 2 nights (as a side) for 2 people. I have recommended this recipe to several people.

  152. So you’d think, with about ten years of daily cooking experience under my belt, that I’d have known this wasn’t a smart endeavor to take on with a six week old baby – and a six week old Mommy brain. Because stemming, washing, wilting, shocking, draining, squeezing, sauteing, and roux-ing three pounds of fresh spinach is a huge amount of work, especially when one has a fourteen pound jumbo-babe strapped to one’s front.

    The spinach turned out delicious, and I’m usually not a Swiss-cheese fan. I’ll make it again with frozen and see if it’s equally soft and decadent – if it’s not, then we’ll have it again when the munchkin graduates high school.

  153. Sharon

    I used a 1 lb bag of frozen chopped spinach (Trader Joes). Once the water was squeezed out, I had just shy of 2 cups. I basically two-thirded the recipe. We loved it! I’m going to make this for Passover with matzoh cake meal instead of the flour. Cake meal is finer ground than regular matzoh meal. Thanks for the great recipe!

  154. Rasa

    This spinach was AMAZING. I totally used the extra “if you are feeling indulgent” butter and the heavy cream. If I’m going to go to the trouble of cooking the spinach that many time, I’m going to have it with lots of calories! I used Gruyere instead of standard Swiss and it was excellent. Also, one note: I used baby spinach and it is NOT the same conversion. I got 3 pounds of baby spinach and almost cried when I thought I had to take the stems of all of them, so I didn’t. Then I tried shoving all 3 lbs in the biggest pasta pot I could find and couldn’t! I was up to my elbows in spinach! I eventually used about half (1 1/2 lbs) and it miraculously came out the the correct 3 cups when cooked. Love your blog, thanks so much for all the candor and great food!

  155. Linda

    I used store brand frozen organic leaf spinach (their 5 cups on the label made 3 cups after wringing out the water). Talk about easy and delicious. Went super with garlic pork chops. Thx.

  156. Julie

    My boyfriend made this for me the night before a business trip to Asia, and I now think this should be a pre-business trip tradition! Normally, I’m so nervous I can’t eat before a trip, but this felt like comfort food without being at all heavy, so it just went down spoonful after spoonful.

    We scooped out spoonfuls onto a plate to make a bed for an overeasy fried egg, and gobbled it all up with fresh baguette slices. Beautiful on the plate and heavenly in my mouth! Thanks for the recipe and the comfort it brought!

  157. Keri

    Okay… so, I ate half of it before putting it in the oven (where it is right now) and I’m afraid the rest of the family will be up in arms when they find out. This is incredible. Thanks

  158. Whitney

    I made this last night with spinach from my garden and dubliner cheese. We had it with baked fish and zucchini spelt muffins. Amazing!! Loved by the whole fam! As always, thank you for wonderful recipes!

  159. This looks amazingly delicious! I love spinach & Julia Child, too! Alas, I don’t have any in the fridge (spinach; not um, Julia ;P), so I think I’ll try this with beet top greens! I find they’re kind of simmilar to spinach and really yummy, too! Thanks for the recipe!

  160. Hi! This seems like a really great dish. I had not thought of doing it this way, most of the time I just steam it and deal with it (except for the one time I braised it with cream and added some mustard – that was seriously good). I see you’re using swiss cheese with the stock – is there a particular cheese you’d recommend if using cream instead? Thanks for the inspiration with this!

  161. Heidi

    I made this tonight, and boy was it worth the effort (even though it took more than an hour longer than my normal spinach technique). Served it with poached eggs. YUM.
    I used milk instead of broth or cream, since we don’t keep cream around and all my broth is frozen in larger than 1C portions. Next time I make stock I’ll make sure to remedy that as I think I’d prefer it with stock (not that it wasn’t delicious…it totally was, but skim milk was clearly not the best option).
    I also didn’t use the extra butter and I didn’t miss it. SO SO YUMMY.

  162. AMAZING even gluten, dairy and soy free. I used gf bread crumbs, earth balance butter, so delicious creamer, and daiya mozzarella. Fabulous! Thank you for a great recipe!

  163. Karen

    I made this last night and HOT DAMN it was amazing! Using fresh spinach was more labor intensive but worth it. (A splash of cream too, I couldn’t resist!)

  164. Molly

    Deb. Seriously, you kill me with pictures of your bread. Of course it all looks delicious (as usual), but that bread! Is that another seeded demi baguette from Fresh Direct (aka, the bread that I will never have the pleasure of knowing)? Darn you Fresh Direct for not delivering that bread to western Massachusetts! Deb, you’re an absolute doll, but please stop torturing me with your crusty bread pics.

    1. deb

      Molly — That bread is actually cruelly good — it is from Balthazar. I realized that I don’t live far enough from the bakery to justify buying baguettes anywhere else. They’re cheap and perfect there. Also, they have a bittersweet chocolate sable that is… I’m simply wordless about it. I don’t know how they got that much cocoa in one cookie, and how they kept it bittersweet, but I enjoy “scrutinizing” it more closely whenever I have to buy bread. :)

  165. kat

    Just made this, spur of the moment; no Swiss so I used parmesan; drastically reduced the butter and it was still sinfully good! Definitely the best spinach that’s come out of my kitchen. =)

  166. Heather

    I made this over the weekend for my boyfriend, who adores all things spinach. I used 1/2 Gruyere and 1/2 Swiss, only because I was a little worried about so much Swiss; which was unfounded after I tasted the dish. I also used 1/2 cream and 1/2 beef broth thinking the cream would add some richness or depth, but I’m not sure the cream was really noticeable. So like Deb said I didn’t find it really necessary. My boyfriend loved the dish, thought it was really delicious.

  167. Is that a white all clad pot? You must tell me where you purchased that. Or does it just appear white in the picture? Definitely also trying this recipe!

  168. Britt

    I used chicken broth (bc it’s what I had) & Panko bread crumbs. I can’t wait to use real bread crumbs next time, Panko just doesn’t have the same depth.

    Oh! I also used Provolone instead of Swiss but that I don’t think I will change. I served it with your garlic soup & some homemade rosemary bread. Still thinking about it! Thanks Deb you’re a rockstar in our home :)

  169. Patti

    Deb, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful dish. It’s my new go-to spinach side dish. I did use frozen chopped spinach and squeezed it dry and cooked it until all the moisture was gone. Otherwise, I followed your recipe exactly using 4.5 T. unsalted butter and only beef stock, no cream. Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow night.

    1. deb

      Jaimie — Thanks. It’s sourced but you have to click through four different sites. NOT the right way to do it but so common on Tumblr that I cannot chase them all down. Grumble.

  170. Jonathan

    OK, I just made this last night and switched out the Swiss cheese and used Smoked Gouda. DELICIOUS! The smokiness reminded me of bacon, which makes me now want to make it again with bacon added… but now I am thinking to myself, I have this nice healthy spinach, then I heat it with cream, add butter and cheese, and now bacon? This is not some sort of crime right?

  171. Sherry

    Oh My Yummy! I made this with a slow roasted pork and creamy polenta. My mom usually doesn’t eat cookeed spinach, had a little more. The leftovers were even better. I took the polenta, cut it into squares, sauted one side, flipped them. Then I topped them with the spinach and popped it in the oven until heated through. I was wishing I had more leftovers. And while preparing my round 2, there was a bit of spinach left which I ate cold and found it to still be great. Another recipe to keep. Thank you very much. Oh, and the 7 year old and 19 month old ate it too.

  172. Miss Fig

    I made it! Excellent! Served it with a beautiful, simple roast chicken in my new Apilco au gratin dish. My SO saw it and didn’t think he’d like it (he wasn’t crazy about Ina’s rich version) and said he’d prefer spinach our regular way – sauted in evoo, red pepper and garlic. He tried it and said, the spinach is pretty good, and had seconds! I’m very happy b/c it’s a little fancier and the cheese/bread crumb topping was nice and the fresh spinach flavor really came through. Thanks for posting!

  173. Andrea S.

    I made it with some small changes. I added onions and goat cheese,,sooo good :) I also took your advice and had it with an egg, amazing :)

  174. Julie

    I made this with Kale + Chard using milk, and it was by far the best Kale/Chard I’ve ever eaten. I was getting sick of those 2 veggies showing up in my farm box, so am grateful to find a new preparation. Thank you!

  175. Julia

    Sooo good. Spinach w/butter was one of the few veggies I would willingly eat as a child, so this is right up my alley. I used spinach and collard greens, made a broth using Spike Seasoning and Lipton Onion Soup Mix (I know, full of salt, but a girl’s gotta have some weaknesses), and I don’t normally eat Swiss, but I have this chunk of cheddar that’s so sweet and hard, it’s more akin to a Landaff. I had to put the finished dish under the broiler (and left it a tad too long – whoops), but the results – so smooth, so worth it. I made it with the oddest bean burgers that I kind of overpulsed so I had to add some flour to it, so they look more like “pancakes” of sorts, but the combo of both is incredible. You rock, Deb (and Alex and of course, Jacob)!

  176. OCDLady

    This sounds great; thank you for sharing!
    Question; to save some time could I use frozen spinach? If so then what quantity of frozen spinach should I purchase?
    Thank you!

  177. AmyC

    Yum!!! Found this recipe when deciding what to do with the tops of the bunch of beets I got today. I only made a small serving (because it wasn’t a huge bunch of beet greens) but it’s delicious! I’m looking forward to getting my hands on any kind of greens very soon to make this again (and again and again)!!!

  178. Kelly

    I just made this with my roommate tonight, and we loved it! We made it with veggie broth. It still tasted delicious, great taste of spinach and swiss cheese!

  179. Eliza

    I made this for our Eastover brunch (it’s Easter during Passover), so I used matzoh meal for a flour sub. It was SOO good and SOO simple! LOVE it! I think I’ll try it with swiss chard when I have a surplus this summer (my spinach always bolts on me). Thanks!

  180. Oh man. I finally made this last night using fresh spinach I got at the farmers market over the weekend. A wee bit labor intensive, prep-wise, but I think next time I’ll just get baby spinach and that way can forego all the stemming and whatnot. BUT. THE END RESULT. Even better than I imagined! It was creamy and rich and crispy from the oven. I ended up eating the ENTIRE THING for dinner. The whole thing! I mean, granted it cooks down to like nothing, but there is some butter in there, and cheese… and 3 pounds of spinach hahaha. But thanks Deb, your recipes are always a home run. Your family must eat like royalty every night!

  181. Jena

    Oh my gods! I made this tonight and it was AMAZING! I almost ate the whole thing before my husband got home. I left him a little bit…just a little. It was easy to prepare and just melts in your mouth! Thank you so much for posting this, I’ll be adding it to my recipe box for sure.

  182. B Halleck

    Just to see how it would turn out, and in the name of saving time, I did blanch the spinach but put the clean (spun dry) spinach direcly onto the butter and thn followed the rest of the steps. Maybe nnot exactly the same bur my kitchen cooled off quicker.

  183. Stef

    This was to die for! My family was so upset when they realized we’d already eaten it all after only a few minutes at the dinner table. Next time I’ll have to double it! Eeeek! Can’t imagine tackling so much spinach, but I will ’cause it was worth it!

  184. Ashley

    I’ve been a lurker on your site for a while but never commented, but the spinach merited a comment.
    Good god, this was the best thing I’ve put in my mouth in a long, long time. I want to put it on everything. I want to have this spinach’s babies.
    Also, I lived in Paris and can attest that all the fruits & vegetables taste a million times better there than they do here. I believe it’s largely due to the fact that France is much more strict about OGM (genetically modified) foods than the US.

  185. Lise Fry

    Just found your site,LUV it so far! My mother used to make a spinach pie – spinach, cream, butter, mozzarella – all poured into a cooked pie shell baked until cheese melts, it was probably a riff on Julia. If my memory serves me it was quite good. I’ve been thinking of it lately, and instead a tortilla is what I found myself making, layers of garlicy sauteed red potatoes, sauteed rapini (again w/ garlic), swiss cheese and parm, bound with eggs and cream (to balance the EVOO). Quite yummy. Today arugula is on my mind, I think i’ll substitute it for your spinach, perhaps a little garlic, and try this….what about kale…..
    I’ll keep reading, thx.

  186. I know this is going to sound like an inane question, but how do you poach an egg with this? Do you poach it separately or do you just break it on top of the gratin and bake it?
    BTW, love this site. And Happy New Year.

  187. Made this for dinner tonight. It was wonderful. Had it with eggs. Made the eggs a bit too well done but the spinach was yummy. Will be making it a lot more. Thanks Deb.

  188. Emily

    Enjoyed making this for dinner – always shocked at how much spinach shrinks! This dish adapts well with less butter and substituting vegetable stock. Thank you!

  189. Lise

    Have made this twice since I found your blog, first time I tried it with 1/2 arugula, and I LOVE garlic so a added a few cloves lightly sauteed. It was yummy but I don’t think the arugula contributed much, maybe all arugula but I couldn’t find enough (and it was expensive) Second time I was going from memory and forgot the butter, big mistake, still yummy, but when I added butter to the leftover dish oh so yummy. So GO AHEAD WITH EXTRA BUTTER, what is life with out some decadence once in a while.

  190. Dalia

    Hi. I trust Julia’s recipe but beef broth with spinach seems odd? However, that is what you used, right? Reduced sodium store bought can????

    1. deb

      Dalia — The French use “brown” stock (which is usually veal or beef) in a lot of cooking. It has a deeper flavor. I used storebought, from a carton.

  191. Jason

    I made this last night after eying it for a few days. Kind of labor-intensive what with the mountain of washing, wilting, squeezing, etc. But I’ve done more for less, so I’m pretty happy with it. I had to make it gluten free, so I used brown rice flour. I don’t know how this affected the roux, or even if you would call what I got a roux at all. Anyway, it was tasty. (I also used veg stock, and flax seed meal instead of bread crumbs.) I served it with fried eggs, toast, and oven-dried tomatoes.

  192. These are in fact the BEST baked spinach! I made them for my boyfriend already twice and he ate the all baking dish by himself on both occasions. Eventually, I ended up making one just for me as I never had the chance to try them.
    Result? DE-LI-CI_OUS!!!

  193. M

    This was gone in the first 10 minutes of supper last night. I underestimated the amount of spinach to get at the store and realized I didn’t have enough, so I used up other leafy greens in the fridge to make up for the amount. Mmm, so good!

  194. Mel

    Wow! This dish was fantastic!! I halved the recipe, and used 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 cream. I’m not a fan of swiss cheese, so I substitute gruyere. For the topping, I used plain panko crumbs, and seasoned it with a little garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground pepper. I will definitely be making this again! Thanks Deb! Your recipes and photographs are amazing and inspirational!

  195. Yelena

    You have the same stove as me (or I the same as you)! Great recipe. Do you know if you can see mozzarella as a substitute for the swiss cheese (it’s all I have in my house at the moment)?

    1. deb

      Yelena — I don’t see why not. I think the swiss has a deeper, nuttier flavor when baked but all that matters is that the recipe works for you!

  196. Jen

    Hi Deb — This looks great and I’m excited to have it for Thanksgiving! One last minute question — I didn’t totally understand the make-ahead instructions. Can I assemble ahead, or just do the spinach ahead? Thanks!

  197. Z

    Such a coincidence, I came here with the same question as Jen.

    I am taking this to a Thanksgiving potluck tonight, and thought the make-ahead instructions meant that I could fully assemble the dish beforehand and just pop into the oven once I got to the venue. I hope I got that right! It’s probably going to be OK – I was tasting the spinach while I was making it and it was delicious!

  198. Jen

    Z — I made it ahead and it worked great. Thanks for the encouragement.

    And Deb — thank you for a tasty recipe! I made it with the snap pea miso salad from your cookbook and they were both big hits yesterday. LOVE all you do.

  199. Steve

    Made this with Spinach, Cauliflower and mushrooms. It was soooo good my wife asked to make it again tonight!!! Amazing she hates veggies.

  200. Shelley

    Finally! After 6 attempts! Always turned out drier than I want and perhaps not as yummy as I hoped. I checked MTAOFC and it’s more of a method rather than a hard and fast recipe.

    I used frozen this time just for a test and I can’t tell the difference. A lot less labor and a lot less money. For some reason fresh spinach has risen to asparagus levels around here.

    Used my ricer to get the moisture out. Another time saver!

    I cooked the flour per the recipe and then added all the liquid to it. I used a bowl-like Pyrex dish. Deeper than the gratin pan in the pics. I layered the spinach and all cheese. Think there were four layers. Then, all liquid poured on top and way more than 2 tlb of homemade crumbs. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Yum.

    I had never used the cream and only enuf butter to cook the flour. So I never altered the ingredients. Did use chicken stock, not beef.

  201. Abby

    First, I feel that I should let you know that your website/books has basically kept me alive for months. About 90% of the meals that I make are your recipes- so thank you!
    Second, I just happened to come across this recipe while I am reading “Dearie”, Julia Child’s biography by Bob Spitz. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s fabulous. It’s also quite long but the chapters aren’t too lengthy and she was such a fascinating woman! Looking forward to trying this recipe out!

  202. Heather

    This was delicious and I love the fact that it has all the wonderful flavors of a gratin without all the added cream and cheese. I had to make this gluten free so I added some cornstarch to the broth instead of adding flour. I used gluten free bagel chips crumbled on top instead of bread crumbs too. It turned out fantastic. The second time I made it I used half spinach and half kale for a little something different.

  203. Gardiner

    Just made this for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and it was totally awesome (though I found that I ended up with a lot less spinach mass once it was cooked down, maybe because I used baby spinach?), but I gotta say, Deb, it’s about a gazillion times tastier the second day! Thank you!

  204. april d

    Made this tonight using half and half, and accidentally bought gruyere cheese but it seemed to be processed so had that “processed cheese food” taste (blek). Next time I’ll be sure to use better cheese and probably the broth since the half and half seemed a bit heavy. That said, it was a really good recipe.

  205. rachel

    I know this is a really old post but I just made this as the filling for a galette using your fantastic galette pastry recipe. Perfect!

  206. This dish was so yummy. I’ve made it on several occasions.
    The last time I made it I tried a shortcut: rather than slicing my baby spinach, I used my Ninja blender to chop it up. My idea was terrible. Do not do that! The spinach was too little and so cooked too quickly and was less than delicious.
    But I’m ready to get back on the horse and try making it again.
    I did sub milk for the cream/broth, and that change was yummy and easier.

  207. Nadja

    I made your spinach tonight – and it was delicious! Used frozen one, wish I had more. Really really tasty. It’s a keeper for sure!

    Thanks for the recipe.

    All the best from the Netherlands.

  208. Cathy

    I’ve been looking for a variety of ways to make spinach to get more iron in my diet. This was, without a doubt, the most INCREDIBLE spinach I’ve ever had…..and I was able to make it! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

  209. Yael

    Hi Deb,

    Two quick questions.

    1. Can I replace some of the butter with olive oil? If so what ratio?

    2. What cheese other than swiss can I use?


  210. deb

    I might only replace half of the butter with olive oil; butter makes the best rouxs. You can use any cheese you’d like with spinach: gruyere, parmesan (probably need less), comte, etc.

  211. Pam

    Made this tonight for Christmas dinner with a roast need. Amazing! We doubled the recipe and used half beef stock, half cream with Gruyere and panko breadcrumbs. It was a hit! Thank you!

  212. Katie

    Hey Deb,
    I’ve been a huge fan of yours for years, I just had to say that every recipe I’ve tried of yours is flawless. If i need to bake some special cake or treat for guests you are my first stop. But this recipe!!! I can’t get enough of it! I know you published it a while ago but I’ve been making it since then. So, thank you!

  213. Elaine

    I have advice for drying spinach very quickly. I tried this after realizing, as I made tons of spinach lasagna, cooked fresh spinach or frozen and thawed spinach is stubborn and will fight to keep its water. I have a bath towel I use ONLY for this reason. Squeeze a bit of water, divide spinach fairly evenly on the towel you’ve spread out on your counter, roll it tight, place on the floor and dance all over it. It’s fun, it’s exercise and the spinach clumps don’t stick to the towel.

  214. Laura

    Made this tonight for my grandmother and husband. Served with beef ravioli. People gobbled it up! I might make it again for Thanksgiving this week! I used cream – not stock – I just couldn’t imagine it being creamy without the cream…. But maybe next time I’ll try to stock, just to give it a chance :)

  215. Beth

    I made this as part of the vegetarian Thanksgiving I hosted this year.
    When asked by my husband what was my favorite dish of everything I made, hands down it was this one. It really was so, so good. Had it the next day with eggs and it re-heated beautifully. I made it the night before Thanksgiving and baked it on Thursday-came out perfectly. Heaven!

  216. Julia

    My spinach turned out a little too liquidy. Not enough drying? Too much stock? Both? How should it look before it goes in the baking dish? Thanks!

  217. lauren

    I love this recipe…..and it is The Best Baked Spinach….but it would be really helpful if it wasn’t listed under The. :)