Perfect Sauteed Spinach

Make our easy sautéed spinach recipe in less than 10 minutes! We cook fresh spinach with garlic until perfectly cooked, bright green, and tender. Easy and delicious!

Sauteed Spinach Recipe Video

This sautéed spinach with garlic is one of my favorite spinach recipes on the blog. It’s quick and easy and goes with almost any main dish.

If you have never sautéed spinach before, you need to start. As fresh spinach leaves cook in the pan, they wilt, turn tender and become sweet.

A skillet of sautéed spinach with garlic.

Key Ingredients

  • Spinach: I use fresh spinach leaves. Baby spinach is fine, or use larger bunches of spinach leaves often sold at farmer’s markets or grown at home. I keep frozen spinach for other recipes, like spinach and sausage stuffed shells.
  • Olive oil: I love sauteing the spinach in olive oil. It has the best flavor!
  • Garlic: Before tossing in my fresh spinach, I cook fresh sliced garlic in the olive oil, which gives the olive oil a lovely garlicky flavor.
  • Lemon: It is optional but adds fresh flavor!

How to Make Sautéed Spinach

Spinach is a nutrient powerhouse and rich in vitamins K, C, iron, and potassium. It also tastes fantastic, especially when sautéed with garlic and olive oil. We cook most dark, leafy greens and veggies this way (see our recipes for sautéed kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage).

Unlike other heartier greens (like kale), spinach leaves do not need to be removed from the stems. In this recipe, we cook both the stems and the leaves! 

Making this spinach recipe could not be simpler. Heat some fat in a skillet and add garlic and lemon zest. When warm and starting to smell aromatic, add your spinach leaves and cook, tossing the leaves around the pan until bright green, wilted, and tender. It takes less than 10 minutes! Season the spinach with some salt, and if you like a little heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Spinach sautéed with garlic and lemon

Storing Sautéed Spinach

Cooked spinach lasts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months. Thaw the frozen spinach in the fridge overnight before reheating. When reheating leftover spinach, you might notice a bit of extra moisture; no worries, either squeeze it out before reheating or add it all to a skillet and simmer it to reduce slightly.

What to Serve with Sautéed Spinach

Sauteed spinach with garlic is a quick side for many main dishes. I especially love it with turkey meatballs, baked salmon, baked tofu (so good!), shrimp scampi, and a perfectly cooked steak.

It also goes well with other sides. Try it with something creamy, like macaroni and cheese or mashed sweet potatoes. I love adding it to rice or quinoa bowls, and it’s excellent piled onto a slice of this roasted garlic bread.

More Easy Spinach Recipes

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

Perfect Sauteed Spinach

  • PREP
  • COOK

Sautéed spinach is a tasty, fast and nutritious dish. It’s made in under 10 minutes and so simple! For extra flavor, we cook the spinach with sliced garlic and lemon zest. As the spinach quickly cooks in the pan, it wilts, turns bright green, and becomes tender.

Makes 4 side portions

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

10 ounces spinach leaves (about 10 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 to 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Zest of half a lemon, optional

Pinch sea salt

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional


    1Add olive oil, garlic, and the lemon zest (optional) to a wide skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the oil bubbles around the garlic, about 30 seconds. Do not brown.

    2Pile the spinach leaves into the pan and add a generous pinch of salt. Wait about 30 seconds or until the bottom layer of leaves has started to wilt, and then toss the leaves around the pan. As the spinach cooks, keep tossing so all the leaves hit the bottom of the skillet.

    3When the spinach looks bright green and is mostly wilted, remove the pan from the heat and serve with a pinch of extra salt on top. For a little heat, add a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional).

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • A microplane works nicely to remove lemon zest or you can use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel away the outer yellow skin of the lemon, and then thinly slice the peel (we do this in our video).
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the skillet / Calories 80 / Total Fat 7.4g / Saturated Fat 1.1g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 201.8mg / Carbohydrate 3.4g / Dietary Fiber 1.8g / Total Sugars 0.4g / Protein 2.2g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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5 comments… Leave a Review
  • Jackie May 17, 2024, 5:16 pm

    Fantastic. The sum of more than its parts. Bright, fresh and healthy and a perfect side to so many dishes. Consider me a convert to sautéed spinach! Slicing the garlic IMO instead of mixing, gives an extra texture and interest. On my base rotation now, thanks so much.

  • Davina Powell June 22, 2023, 7:54 pm

    Used sumac instead of lemon rind… for the spinach frying fat used a mix of butter, macadamia nut oil and toasted sesame oil… chucked in some reduced fat Philadelphia cheese at the end and voila! Delicious relish/side to go with our pizza.

  • Gail June 15, 2022, 12:23 pm

    This sauteed spinach recipe is absolutely delicious. I also add some juice from the zested lemon, about 1 T, but we love lemons. This one is a keeper!

  • Nick July 12, 2021, 5:04 am

    Love your recipes yum easy and tasty thank you especially l o v e the pan cooked spinach. Thanks guys. Nick

  • Jane May 22, 2021, 9:10 pm

    Delectable! Went to the store tonight just for these ingredients because it sounded so good. Good one! Try it, everyone! The ref pepper flakes is a great idea.


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