Skinnytaste > Recipes > Sides > Makeover Spinach Gratin

Makeover Spinach Gratin

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

This easy makeover Spinach Gratin is creamy and decadent, with a hint of nutmeg baked in the oven topped with melted Gruyere cheese for a must at your Holiday table!

Spinach Gratin
Makeover Spinach Gratin

I bring this dish to my mom’s every year for Thanksgiving because everyone loves it! Much lighter than a traditional gratin and so easy to make! This is a must for the holidays but if you want to make this for a smaller gathering, you can easily make half of the recipe. More gratin recipes I love Brussels sprouts gratin,  Spiralized Turnip and Potato Au Gratin with Turkey or the classic Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin.

Spinach with cream sauce and cheese

If you don’t know what a gratin is, it’s basically creamed spinach topped with cheese and baked in the oven.


  • I used Gruyere here but Swiss or Mozzarella would work.
  • You can also skip the melted cheese on top and serve it as a simple creamed spinach instead.
  • Make this gluten-free using an all purpose gluten-free flour mix, such as Cup4cup.

How To Make Spinach Gratin

Spinach GratinSpinach GratinSpinach Gratin

More Vegetable Side Dishes:

Makeover Spinach Gratin

4.94 from 15 votes
Creamy spinach with a hint of nutmeg is baked in the oven topped with melted cheese for a decadent Holiday side dish.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Spinach with cream sauce and cheese
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Yield: 13 servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 cup


  • 3 tbsp whipped butter, I used Land O Lakes
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup flour, use Gluten free AP flour for GF
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 3 lbs frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, I used 3 16-oz packages
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 425F°.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saute pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 10 - 12 minutes.
    sauteed onions
  • Add the flour and nutmeg; cook 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 - 7 minutes.
  • Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.
    Spinach in cream sauce
  • Transfer the spinach to a large baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and the Swiss cheese on top.  Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.
    Spinach with cheese

Last Step:

Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.



Adapted from Ina Garten


Serving: 1 /2 cup, Calories: 111 kcal, Carbohydrates: 9.2 g, Protein: 7.7 g, Fat: 5.5 g, Saturated Fat: 2.5 g, Cholesterol: 17.5 mg, Sodium: 287 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2.6 g


Rate and review this recipe!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this Recipe:

154 comments on “Makeover Spinach Gratin”

  1. Making this today for Christmas Eve dinner- my husband forgot to get whipped butter (got regular instead)- do you use less butter if you don’t have whipped? 

  2. Delicious! Felt the need to double the sauce as my husband and I like it saucy. We also had more of both cheeses. This portion was too big for 2! I recommend halving. Also added some garlic powder for flavor.  Super yummy! 

  3. I made this for a recent family event and it was amazing!
    I had to use mozzarella since I couldn’t find Gruyère. Otherwise followed the directions exactly.

  4. Avatar photo
    Julie O’Neill

    Hi, the recipe is good, but I think there was a mistake on the salt recipe, I feel it must have been a 1 TPS of salt not 1 TBS.

  5. Delicious! I didn’t have time to defrost the spinach so I microwaved it and broke it up to add to the pan so it made it a bit more of a pain, and a bit more watery as I didn’t squeeze out the excess liquid…I ended up removing about 1_2 cup of the milk from the pain to accommodate this. The dish was still excellent and I loved the nutmeg.

    1. You can put the frozen spinach in a colander and rinse it with water to thaw it out quickly then let it drain and put spinach in a towel and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, you’ll have a ball of drain spinach. 

  6. Gina 
    Is it really supposed to be a tablespoon of salt? Lots of comments of it being too salty. Did they maybe use tablesalt and that upped the saltiness? The sodium count in your nutritionals isn’t very high. Just checking. 
    Thanks for recreating my food intake. It’s now so diverse. ❤️

    1. It is as it makes 13 servings, but I say cut it back to your taste. Also, I use Diamon Crystal Kosher which has less sodium than table salt or Mortons, which can also make it saltier.

  7. Avatar photo
    Danielle Lenoir

    This is hands down one of my favorite recipes. I usually save it for pot lucks or holidays, but it is SO good any night. I usually buy Boar’s Head smoked gruyere and that just takes the dish up a notch!

    1. Im going to try substituting 1 lb fresh spinach (sautéed and drained) per 10-11oz frozen spinach. This is what I found in an internet search 🙂

  8. I made this tonight & my husband & I loved it! Definitely a keeper! I didn’t have nutmeg, so left it out & used 1% milk. I also cooked fresh spinach! Absolutely delicious! I use so many of your recipes, Gina-𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 you!

  9. Avatar photo
    Laura Kensicki

    Wow…super yummy! We love onions so we increased the amount to two cups. Changed only a little bit more butter and was the hit of the thanksgivings side dishes, A must try!

  10. Sooo good! I substituted leeks for onions and added some white wine for deglazing. My husband noted it was the second best dish on our thanksgiving table!

  11. Has anyone microwaved it and then put the cheese on top and  broiled it? Oven space is at a premium on Thanksgiving and a quick broil might be all I can get. Anyone?

  12. This looks so good I could print and eat the picture! I am the only spinach eater and would make half the recipe. Has anyone tried freezing the leftovers?

  13. Wonderful, I will do spinach more often this way. Did as a side for 6 for Thanksgiving and cut recipe by 1/3. Put together the day before (do my dressing that way too)refrigerated overnight then warmed slightly in the microwave and popped in oven along side the dressing to get hot thru and bubbly once the turkey was out. Used skim milk and upped the cheese slightly to make up for the loss but didn’t need the extra cheese. It was a addition to our Thanksgiving dishes which made us feel like we ate at least one healthy thing (without tasting healthy!)

  14. I made this using a crockpot for Thanksgiving to avoid taking up oven space–it was great! I doubled the recipe, and prepared as normal on the stove, but took out 1 cup of milk (so used 5 cups instead of 6). I also mixed all the cheese into the sauce instead of putting a layer on top as you would do for the oven. After it was done on the stove, I put it straight into a warm crockpot and left it there about 2 hours before serving. Thank you–delicious!

  15. I made this today and it was a HUGE hit with everyone. My adjustments: halved the recipe, used pecorino romano, halved the salt, used skim milk  and forgot to buy gruyere and substituted 3 cheese Mexican instead. Wow- didn’t realize I strayed that far from the recipe. It was delicious anyway!! It’s now on the regular Thanksgiving menu. Thanks so much ????

  16. This was delicious!  I had mozz on hand instead of gruyere/swiss but it was so creamy, and rich, without all the fat!  MAKE THIS TONIGHT!

  17. Pingback: Makeover Spinach Gratin - MediPal

  18. Hi Gina. Thanks again for another wonderful healthy dish. It’s very similar to a local chef’s recipe.

    How easy would it be to cut the recipe into halves or thirds? Do you have any suggestions? I’m also interested in suggestions to lower the sodium.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  19. Gina, can you sub almond flour and almond milk in this recipe? I’d love to make it, but 9,2g of carbs is half my daily allowance!

  20. Can  this recipe be made a day in advance,  refrigerated overnight, brought to room temperature, and baked ?  My scheduled is such that I wouldn’t be able to do it the same day. 

  21. Gina,
    My husband is on a low sodium diet and  so many of your recipes have high sodium.
     How can I make changes?
    Love your recipes

  22. Pingback: Makeover Spinach Gratin – Lauren Scott – Blog

  23. Pingback: Makeover Spinach Gratin | Skinnytaste | Foodies Blog

  24. Pingback: Makeover Spinach Gratin | Good Kitchen Blog

  25. I just tried this one for the first time and it was unbelievable. I am so happy my family does not eat spinach so I can savor the entire dish!!! At 3 SP’s – I’m thrilled! SkinnyTaste is the absolute best!!!!! Thanks Gina for making my cooking experience so amazing!!!! I’m constantly inspired by your recipes.

  26. Amazing! I shrunk the recipe down to a double portion and had to cover it with foil to stop myself from eating my husband’s portion. Thank you, thank you, Gina!

  27. Avatar photo
    Juliana Kostandini

    Hi, I need your help asap! I made this recipe but it came out kind of liquidy, not like a gratin. I tried baking it for longer with the hope that it would get thicker, but it didn't. What can I do? Thanks!

  28. My family liked this a lot, even my mom who thought she didn't like cooked spinach! However, I do agree with the one commenter who said this dish was too salty- next time I'll definitely back it off a bit. Other than that, awesome.

  29. Love your recipes and I use them all the time. This looks great for Thanksgiving. Do think it could be made the day before and put in fridge? I like to do all I can do the day before so I have time to visit. Thank you for great – yummy – easy recipes!

  30. Recipe is delicious! Just a tip…I mixed some of the leftovers in a vege eggwhite omlet the next day and it was great! Because of the cheese in the spinach I didn't even have to add extra…healthy and delicious!

  31. soy milk is fine, as long as you can find something thicker. The original receipe calls for 2 cups milk and 1 cup cream. She changed it to 3 cups 2% milk so the consistency would work. Using less fatty milk only makes the texture soupier. Thicker the milk = thicker and more decadent veggies. So soy milk is fine, just make sure you use something to bind it all together; Im not sure what's out there to use. Good luck!

  32. The only thing you changed here was cutting down the amount of onions used, cutting 1tb of butter, and swapping a cup of cream for an extra cup of milk instead. For being a simple receipe already I guess you couldnt have done better with this one. Still…2% milk wont be good enough texture wise to be as good as the orginial. Using whole milk (2cups 2%, 1 cup whole) would make a big difference, while still cutting calories.

  33. i have lactose intolerant family members, they can have cheese but milk is a no go. would soy milk work?

  34. I made this for my church potluck yesterday, and everyone loved it! Thanks, and this will definitely be a keeper in my recipes 🙂

  35. What a delicious recipe!! I just ate 10 P+ worth as my dinner and I'm so satisfied. My 4 year old thinks I'm nuts, but another meal of leftover turkey (Canadian Thanksgiving) was not for me!!

  36. I just went to Ruth's Chris last week for my husband's birthday and we had their spinach au gratin, which has 550 calories per serving! And you know what? I think this one tastes better! They use cheddar cheese and I think the Gruyere pairs better with the spinach. I am DEFINITELY making this again. The only thing to note was that mine came out to 7 servings. I forgot to buy a third box of frozen spinach, but even if I had added that I can't see how that adds another six servings and I measured each one out. Other than that, this is a fantastic recipe!

  37. Gina, this was fabulous! I used cornstarch to thicken since I have Celiac … but just awesome! THANK YOU for all your wonderful recipes. I use them often but this is my first comment 🙂 You are making such a difference in my cooking and waisteline!

  38. I brought this to the in-laws for dinner last night. My father in law who claims he isn't much of a spinach eater had 2 helpings and asked to keep some for his lunch today. Needless to say it was DELICIOUS and I will definitely be making it again soon. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  39. Hello All, I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and it was awesome, except it was WAY too salty. 1 tbsp of kosher salt is way too much. I'm thinking the recipe actually called for 1 tsp of salt.

  40. made this for thanksgiving using fresh spinach. it was yummy but a bit liquidy. i used two whole spinach bunches and that may be a little short. tonight- i used the leftovers and stuffed it into chicken breasts, baked in the oven. SO GOOD! made it with the mashed potato patties! such a good dinner and great way to use up my leftovers! thanks again!

  41. Gina,
    i made this for thanksgiving, using fresh broccoli and cheddar cheese and it was so great. I steamed the veggies first, and then rinsed them with cold water to stop the cooking, then continued with the recipe as stated. It was great. no one could tell it was a lite recipe! thanks so much.

  42. I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit! Soooo delicious!! Thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  43. Made this for the first time for Thanksgiving Dinner last night – huge hit! Will be making again – soon!


  44. this is AMAZING! my husband and I just got finished making it together to put in the fridge tomorrow for thanksgiving. didnt add the cheese to the top yet but will do that tomorrow before we bake it, but its so amazing right now after just being mixed together, its heavenly! cannot tell its "skinny" at all! thanks for such a great recipe!

  45. I made a little batch of this recipe to try it out first, and it was great! I used fresh spinach, but it's a lot of work to cook it beforehand. I'm contributing this dish to my sister in laws' Thanksgiving meal. Thanks!

  46. Avatar photo
    Amber L. McElroy

    this looks so yummy! I hope to make my picky family to eat it. Do you think it would be the same cooked in the crockpot? we are limited on oven space.

  47. If I were to make it ahead as you suggested, should I cook the entire thing and then reheat the next day or stop at a certain point?

    We love your recipes at our house. The family doesn't even know they are "skinny-fied" Thanks!

  48. Hi Gina,

    Thanks for this recipe! It looks delicious. I am going to bring it over to Mom's as a side dish on Thanksgiving.


  49. Do you think I could make this a day ahead of time and just throw it in the oven the day of? Or would it get too soggy? Trying to simplify my Thanksgiving DAY. LOL Can't wait to try it! It looks delish!

  50. My father in law can't eat spinach. do you think I could make this with chopped broccoli and cheddar cheese?

  51. Another easy way to squeeze moisture from spinach is to buy it frozen in the small square boxs, thaw in microwave and then wring the moisture whie still in the boxs.

  52. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    I'm sure it would work with skim, it would just be less creamy. I didn't want to use skim since I was using the milk to replace the heavy cream but completely up to you.

    1. I just made it with skim milk & subbed part skim mozzarella for the Swiss cheese, only because it's all I had. So delicious! Probably would be better with 2%, so I'd use that for a special occasion.

  53. I'm super excited to make this recipe. However, I'm wondering if it would work to use skim milk rather than 2%. We have whole milk and skim in our house and I'd love to not have to buy a third kind. 🙂

  54. Avatar photo
    Becky Coleman

    This recipe looks amazing! I'm putting it on my Thanksgiving menu this year. Thanks for sharing, Gina!!!

  55. I always have a hard time when the recipe says use a 1.5 quart pan or anything like that, so I have bookmarked this page to help. Maybe one of you can use it too 🙂

    And Gina, your recipes are AWESOME! Thank you 🙂

  56. Just found your blog on Tastespotting and I love it! It's so great that you include nutrition facts for your recipes. I can't wait to try some out! This will be a nice not-quite-as-heavy dish for Thanksgiving!

  57. Made this last night with a pork tenderloin, mmmmm. SO good! I didn't have any parm left so I used a strong cheddar
    so cheesy and good!

  58. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    Swiss chard I bet would be wonderful.

    I guess if I was to use a different cheese I would use mozzarella.

  59. If you are going to use a kitchen towel to wring out the water from the spinach (as I do), make sure it is a linen towel. Terry cloth might shed.

  60. Hi Gina: we have swiss chard in our freezer (from our garden) – could we use this in place of the spinach? Hope so, it sounds great. Thx, Lee

  61. I've never been a fan of swiss cheese. Can you recommend a substitute (though I know it will change the flavor) – maybe jack? thank you!

  62. Avatar photo

    The cheese looks anaemic but I may try this. I absolutely the combination of spinach and cheese.

  63. Gina this looks delicious! My fiance's grandmother is allergic to parmesan cheese, but I'd like to take this to our holiday meals. Can you suggest a substitute for me?

    Thanks for posting such wonderful recipes. This site is my go-to reference each week before I go to the grocery store!

  64. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    You can use fresh spinach anytime a recipe calls for frozen, but you would have to make a lot!! It really cooks down, I'm not sure off the top of my head how much fresh spinach would yield the same amount of frozen.

    To squeeze the liquid, I usually squeeze it with my hands, then place it in paper towels and squeeze it some more as Sylvia mentioned (thanks Sylvia!)

    Rancholyn, I am dedicated thi whole week and next week to Thanksgiving recipes only. I am also adding Thanksgiving Recipes to my Index.

    Kelli, you can use a 9 x 12 or similar, I usually use one of my oval dishes, not sure how much they hold.

  65. To squeeze water from the frozen spinach: place spinach in the center of a kitchen towel, with the long side of towel facing you. Fold long side of towel closest to you up and over spinach, fold opposite long side of towel down over spinach. Grab the towel with your hands, one directly on each side of the "folded in" spinach and start twisting the towel in opposite directions. Do this over a sink of bowl to catch all the liquid! =)

  66. To the person who has trouble squeezing the water out of frozen spinach.
    Simple solution that is amazing: buy a potato ricer (contraption for making mashed potatoes). Once the spinach has defrosted, place in the ricer, press the handles together, and like magic, all the water comes out without any effort.

  67. Hi Gina. Another great recipe! Thanks so much. Quick question – could you use fresh spinach? Thanks!

  68. Usually this isn't something I would usually go for but this looks too good not to try!

    BTW, I love your whisk! So colorful!

  69. Avatar photo

    What about fresh spinach? or would I need to use waaay too many bags of fresh once it cooked down?


    1. Fresh is always best make sure u wilt the spinach hot water over it it happens fast and then squeeze dry and chop

  70. Looks great! Do you mind sharing your 2011 Thanksgiving menu..? I'm sure I'm not the only curious person…. Thanks

  71. This looks amazing! Can't wait to try it….Do you think the result would be the same with fresh spinach? Would I need a different amount? Thanks 😀

    1. Blanch the spinach and then you will be starting with a similar texture to thawed from frozen. You will probably have to use more.

  72. Hi Gina, This looks delish just like always! I can't wait to try it… I was wondering what size of baking dish you used?