How to Cook Spinach in a Pan

We’ve all come to recognize the staple advantage of spinach in our kitchens. Whether fresh or frozen, they’re great for all kinds of side dishes and salads. The mild flavor of spinach allows it to combine with other ingredients, giving a tasty experience to your plate. And it also makes a splendid inclusion in quiches, omelets, scrambles, and lasagna.

While lots of methods are available for cooking spinach, the pan remains one of the most versatile. The flavor is developed by sautéing the spinach, and the vegetable can be added to tons of other recipes. Plus, the taste profile is further enhanced thanks to the addition of spices and herbs.

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Choosing the Spinach

Before beginning with the recipe, it’s good to note that not all spinach varieties excel in the pan-cooking method. Spinach comes in numerous types, ranging from the fat-leaf options to the curly-leaf types and baby spinach. But among the different varieties, the curly leaf spinach is best improved when sautéed in a pan. Still, you can use any of the other types if they’re all you have.

When picking the spinach, make sure the leaves are vibrant green, and the stems are crisp. And avoid wilted leaves, which indicate loss of quality.

Preparing the Spinach

Before cooking, you have to wash the spinach thoroughly by plunging and swirling it in a bowl of water. This process is essential, especially if the spinach is freshly bought or plucked, as such types tend to contain grit and debris. And if the leaves happen to have stiff stems, break or cut them off, as they may contribute a woody chew to the recipe. Then, once rinsed, dry the spinach in a salad spinner before cooking it in the pan.

Frozen spinach also works for this sautéed recipe. If the ingredients call for six cups of fresh spinach, replace it with ¾ to one cup of reheated frozen spinach. These types are usually pre-chopped, so you’ll get more compared to whole leaves. And they can be defrosted by microwaving or in a colander under running water.

Cooking the Spinach

Put a pan to medium heat, add some olive oil and let it become hot. Also, make sure to tilt the pan so the oil coats the entire surface.

Add aromatics and spices like onions, garlic, chili powder, and bell peppers to the pan. Then, stir with the oil, so it cooks briefly for a few minutes.

Toss the spinach in handfuls into the pan and constantly stir, so it wilts gradually. Add more handfuls and stir till the leaves are thoroughly mixed. Then, keep going until the spinach is fully wilted, or at least to the level you prefer. This process should take about two to four minutes.

Season the leaves to taste with salt and pepper, stir and serve as desired.

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How to Cook Spinach in a Pan.

Sautéed Spinach (4 servings)

  • Author: Bobby


  • One pound spinach; stems removed, washed and spin-dried
  • Two tablespoons olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt


  1. Place the pan to medium, let it grow hot, and pour in the oil. Heat the oil until it shimmer, then tilt the pan, so it coats the entire surface.
  2. Add the spinach in handfuls, stirring as it cooks so the wilting is even.  Let the wilting be complete before adding each handful.
  3. Once all the leaves have been added, sauté for two to four minutes until it’s thoroughly wilted. Then, season with black pepper and salt. Serve as desired and with any pairing you wish.

Another easy pan-cooked spinach recipe can also be found in this video.