How to cook spinach: in just one hot minute

Here's how to cook spinach to make a delicious side dish that goes with virtually anything

how to cook spinach
(Image credit: Getty)

Learning how to cook spinach couldn't be easier – or quicker. Spinach literally needs one minute to cook – overcook it at your peril, as you may end up with a rubbery texture or spinach that falls apart, or even worse, tastes bitter. 

A great source of iron, as well as magnesium and manganese, spinach wilts down when cooked so we'd recommend a good handful per person. It may look like a lot in the pan, but give it a minute and it will soon shrink down to a quarter of the size.

Follow our quick cooking method below for perfect spinach that's ready to serve with your lunch or dinner. For more food preparation tips and recipes, visit our food hub. 

How to cook spinach

As we mentioned above, cooking spinach is a pretty quick – in should literally take you less than a minute or two.


To make enough as a side for two, you will need:

  • Fresh spinach leaves, 400 grams, rinsed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Olive oil, a tablespoon
  • A large garlic clove, peeled
  • A wedge of lemon


1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic clove. Let the garlic soften and infuse the oil, without colouring.

2. Add the spinach and sauté for one minute.

3. Transfer into a bowl, discard the garlic clove. Season with salt and squeeze the lemon wedge over the spinach. Don't use too much lemon, as it'll overpower the delicate flavour. 

Top tip: alternatively, you can also cook your spinach in a sauce – perhaps a pasta sauce, or in a curry – if you're looking to pack in a few more greens. To do so, simply add them to your sauce and watch as they wither in size and blend in with the rest of your sauce.

How to freeze spinach

One of the downsides to spinach is how quickly it goes off, especially once the plastic packaging it usually comes in is opened. To make the most of your spinach, we'd recommend removing the quantity that you think you will eat over the next few days and popping the rest in a container in the freezer. 

From there, you can use it to bulk up smoothies – just add it in as it is, your blender will do a perfectly good job of breaking it down – or stir into a pasta sauce, or curry.

You can buy frozen spinach too which tends to be much cheaper. Look for the leaf variety to add to omelettes, soups and thrifty side dishes like saag aloo. It won't suit your salads but is perfect as an ingredient.

Our favourite spinach recipes