Creamed spinach gets a twist! This Creamed Spinach Gratin gets a hit of cheesy goodness with shredded fontina and nutty parmesan. We then top it with homemade chive drop biscuits and bake. It’s the perfect addition to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a classic steak dinner.
Creamed Spinach Gratin
There are a lot of foods in life most people either love or hate. Oysters. Grits. Orange juice with pulp. Anchovies. Cilantro. All almost as controversial as the outcome of this year’s election…
Ok, maybe not that controversial, but close.
Also on the list? Creamed spinach.
My mom has always loved the stuff, but everyone else in the family? Not so much. I’m not sure she has ever even made it at home, since it probably would have been met with some serious complaints. Along with a stubborn refusal to eat it from my Dad and brother, and as I’ve learned in my 10+ months as a mother, you’ve gotta pick your battles. However almost every single time it was offered as a side option at a restaurant, she would order it. It wasn’t until I was much older that I finally decided to give hers a try, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I adored it.
I am now officially in the “love” creamed spinach camp. Especially when it veers on the side of cheesy creamed spinach.
I love that’s it’s irresistibly creamy. I love that it’s ridiculously easy to throw together. And I love that it makes me feel like I’m secretly eating healthy since it’s packed full of nutritious spinach.
What is creamed spinach?
Typically in a classic creamed spinach, the recipe is exactly what the name implies, spinach with cream in it. There’s also usually hints of nutmeg to compliment the spinach and cream, and maybe some garlic sprinkled throughout.
Because I love to change things up a bit, I thought it would be fun to dot biscuit dough on top, throw a copious amount of cheese into the mix, and call it a spinach gratin.
Which brings us to, What is a spinach gratin?
In its simplest definition, a gratin is a casserole that’s topped with cheese, or some type of crust and baked. In this version, we have both the cheese part of the equation and the bread topping, so it only makes sense to call this cheesy creamed spinach, a creamed spinach gratin.
Ingredients in Creamed Spinach Gratin
Spinach. Lots and lots of spinach. Because spinach cooks down so much, you’re going to need quite a bit. It will look like it won’t cook down, but trust me it will.
Onion and garlic. A little bit of onion and garlic go a long way here in adding just the right amount of flavor to the base of the creamed spinach gratin.
Cream. What’s a creamed spinach gratin without a little bit of cream? Heavy cream is what you’ll need here, and if you want something truly luxurious, I suggest you stick with it.
Cheese. I love the combination of fontina and parmesan cheese here. Fontina has a subtle nutty flavor which I love, and it melts beautifully in this spinach gratin. Parmesan cheese adds another, heavier dose of nuttiness and it is the perfect compliment to spinach.
Seasoning. All you need is plenty of salt and just a little bit of nutmeg.
Ingredients in Drop Biscuits
The dry ingredients. Flour, salt, and baking powder, and a little bit of baking soda.
Herbs. Chives and parsley. I love the subtle onion flavor chives give the drop biscuits. Parsley adds another touch of freshness and color.
Butter. You can’t make biscuits without a little bit of butter. When I usually make biscuits, I want the butter super cold to create a flaky, tall biscuit. Here, it doesn’t matter as much because you want that dropped biscuit look, so we’re using melted butter.
Buttermilk. Always my preferred liquid when it comes to biscuits.
How to make Creamed Spinach Gratin
Sauté the onion and garlic. Start off by sautéing the onion and garlic in just a touch of olive oil over a medium-low heat. You don’t want the onion or garlic to brown, you just want it to sweat and start to soften.
Cook down the spinach. Add the spinach. I know it looks like it won’t cook down, but trust me, it will. Add it a few handfuls at a time until it starts to wilt, then add the next batch.
Add the cream and cheeses. Once the spinach wilts down, add the cream. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cheeses. Toss until they’re combined.
Season. Add the salt and nutmeg. Season to taste to see if it needs any more salt. Pour the creamed spinach into the prepared casserole dish and top with biscuits.
Make the Chive Drop Biscuits
Mix the dry ingredients. Because you want the baking powder, baking soda, and salt evenly dispersed, I like to mix all the dry ingredients first.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
Toss in the herbs. Add in the chopped chives and parsley. Whisk until the herbs are evenly dispersed.
Add everything else. Unlike a traditional biscuit recipe where you cut the butter into the dry ingredients to create little pockets of butter, in a drop biscuit, you just throw all the wet ingredients in and give it a stir. Like a traditional biscuit recipe, you still only want to mix the ingredients until they are just incorporated to keep them light and fluffy.
How do I make this in advance?
You can make creamed spinach gratin up to two days in advance. Here’s how to do it:
- Make the spinach gratin part of the dish in its entirety. So up to transferring it to the baking dish. Cool completely and store with plastic wrap.
- Make the biscuit dough. Keep the dough in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. You can do this one day in advance.
- When you’re ready to bake, pull the biscuit dough out of the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Make as directed. It may need to cook little bit longer since it’s coming from the fridge, just keep an eye on it.
Subustitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- If you already have a bread of choice for your table, feel free to omit the biscuits, because this creamed spinach gratin can absolutely stand on its own.
- For extra creaminess, add in a little bit of cream cheese. Dot 1/2 teaspoons throughout the creamed spinach gratin.
- Even though I’m partial to the combination of fontina and parmesan in this creamed spinach gratin, a combo of your favorite cheese will also work. Here are a few winning combinations: Gruyere and Parmesan. Yellow cheddar and parmesan. Aged white cheddar and fontina. Aged gouda and fontina. The possibilities are endless.
What to serve with Cream Spinach Gratin
If you’re making these for Thanksgiving, then of course, you’re going to need other sides. These Creamy Dreamy Mashed Potatoes are our go-to mashed potato recipe. If you’re craving something a little untraditional, look to our Loaded Baked Mashed Potatoes. These babies taste just like a loaded baked potato, but in mashed potato form.
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 lbs baby spinach
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup minced chives
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
- saute pan
- Baking dish
- Mixing bowl
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
- Add butter to a large pot. Turn the heat on medium and add onion, garlic, and salt. Sautee until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Slowly add in spinach in four batches, stirring with a wooden spoon as the spinach wilts. Once the spinach wilts, add cream. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off and cheese and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour the spinach mixture into the prepared pan. Use a spoon to scoop six biscuits on top of the spinach. Bake until 25-30 minutes until biscuits are golden brown and cooked through.
Chive Drop Biscuits
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add herbs. Whisk to combine again.
- Add in butter and buttermilk. Use a fork to mix until the dry and ingredients and wet ingredients are just incorporated.