Easy Sautéed Spinach

Popeye was the best thing that ever hit the spinach industry. When I was a kid you couldn’t pay me to eat lima beans or peas, but spinach? I begged for it; we all did.

Especially if it came from a can.

We wanted to be cool like Popeye, who could knock Bluto to Kingdom Come just by downing a can of spinach, which always conveniently found its way to Popeye’s mouth when his situation was most dire.

Our parents worked hard to convince us that cooked fresh spinach was just as good, if not better than the canned stuff.

My father prepares spinach this way at least once or twice a week, usually made with fresh spinach from the farmer’s market. According to dad he overcooked it for years, until he learned that you shouldn’t cook spinach beyond the point that it just wilts.

The trick is to drain and dry the spinach leaves as well as you can, using a salad spinner if need be, before cooking them. His spinach is fabulous, I hope you give it a try.

From the recipe archive, first posted 2007.

Easy Sautéed Spinach Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb
  • Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt to taste


1 Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.

2 Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.


3 Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute.

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4 After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat.


Drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.


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Easy Sauteed Spinach

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Showing 4 of 106 Comments

  • Aukjan

    This is possibly the best way to eat spinach! It just locks in the flavors and color. Normally I just grate a little nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper. I have never tried garlic, but I can’t wait to try it!

    Thanks for the idea!

  • lydia

    This is exactly the way I cook spinach, too — my husband loves the interplay of coarse salt and garlic, and no matter how much I make, he always asks for more.

  • Elena

    Hehe the staple dish of every Chinese restaurant back home in Malaysia…parents feed that to kids because it’s the most kid-friendly tasting veg on the menu (and also because it’s good for you)!

  • Renee

    My husband and son both love spinach too. The other night, I cooked it in the same pan that I had cooked chicken with thyme and black pepper. After removing the chicken, I just added spinach and a little bit of water. It came out tasting so good! It didn’t even need any salt!

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