How to substitute fresh spinach for frozen spinach! Or, a simple way to saute spinach for an easy side dish.

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Several recipes I’ve attempted lately have called for frozen spinach.

I love spinach, butI have some trouble getting flavorful dishes when I use the frozen spinach.

For example,I’m going to blame frozen spinach for the “healthy spinach artichoke dip” debacle that looked and tasted nothing like dip is supposed to taste.

(Nevermind that I used twice as much spinach as I meant to and it had zero fat/deliciousness added. #learning)

It was before I started thefailed recipesseries so I unfortunately don’thave photographic evidence.

I was starting to think I should avoid recipes that call for frozen spinach altogether when I realized it shouldn’t be that hard to substitutefresh spinach leaves instead!

Obviously it’s a bit easier to use frozen spinach rather than cooking down fresh. But if you’re willing to take the extra step, your tastebuds might thank you. Frozen spinach is usually boiled or blanched, but the method I use is to saute it.

If you’ve ever sauteed spinach before, you probably learned that it cooks down a lot. Here’s what I started with (for perspective, this is 11 ounces of baby spinach in a5-quart pan



After heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sautéing your spinach for 5 minutes, this is what you’re left with. Where’d it all go?!


If you’re using this sautéed spinach as a side dish you will want to add salt and pepper, garlic, butter, lemon juice and/or other flavor.

If you’re using in place of frozen though, just a pinch of salt will do before yousqueeze out as much remainingwater as you can through a colander.


I’ve seen different conversions, but it is my understanding that a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach is equivalent to 1 and 1/2 cups after draining, which is roughly what you can get from cooking down 1 pound of fresh spinach.

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1 lb. fresh spinach (cooks down to 1.5 cups drained) = 10 ounce frozen package

In the above pictures I used just 2/3 of a pound (11 ounces), which already filled my pot pretty well.If you have trouble fitting all the spinach into your pot, cook a little bit of the spinach down for a minuteand then add the rest.