Here’s how to substitute fresh spinach for frozen. Fresh spinach can be substituted for frozen once you understand how to calculate the substitution!

Commercially frozen spinach is usually chopped then boiled or blanched and flash frozen, resulting in the kind of texture that goes well in soups, spinach dips, casseroles and egg dishes.  Now you can make your own at home and freeze it (or use it fresh in recipes requiring frozen spinach).

Fresh and frozen spinach in a bowl and on a wooden board

Frozen Spinach

Most varieties of frozen spinach come in 10 oz packages and needs to be drained once it’s thawed because it will produce a lot of water. A 10 oz package of frozen spinach is the equivalent about a 1 pound bunch of fresh spinach.

If you’re buying fresh spinach, it’s wise to buy more than you think you’ll need because some bunches will need the stalks trimmed off and that will decrease the weight before cooking.  A good rule of thumb is fresh spinach cooked down equals about a cup and a half, which is roughly the equivalent of a 10 oz frozen package.

Frozen Spinach vs Fresh

Fresh spinach is more fibrous but will cook down considerably and needs to be drained once it’s cooked down. The nice thing about cooking down fresh spinach is that you know it is 100% fresh and you can season it any way you want to while it’s cooking down. Fresh spinach works best in salads or sautéed as a side dish like Creamed Spinach.

The easiest way to cook down spinach is to cut the spinach into small pieces and give it a quick cook in a non-stick pan. After the spinach has cooked down, remove from heat and scoop into a colander so the excess water can drain out and cool enough to be able to handle it.

Fresh spinach on a cutting board

How To Substitute Fresh Spinach for Frozen

Like many dips, you’ll need a package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry. Frozen chopped spinach is a great choice, it’s easy to use and perfect for dips but if I have fresh spinach to use (or don’t have frozen handy) I substitute fresh spinach for frozen spinach.

You will need, just one ingredient… 1 lb of fresh spinach.  This will look like a lot of spinach but don’t worry, it reduces to approximately 1 1/4 cups or so.

spinach on pan

How To Prepare Fresh Spinach For Dips

  • Remove any long or tough stems.
  • Place the fresh spinach in a large non-stick pan for over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the spinach is cooked through (3-4 minutes).
  • Cool slightly. Place spinach on a cutting board and chop.
  • Using your hands, squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as possible.  Separate (or fluff it up) and use as directed in your recipe.

This is a great method to use fresh spinach instead of frozen but it’s also great to use if your spinach is ready to expire.  Simply follow the instructions above and then freeze the cooked and cooled spinach in a freezer bag for future use.

Our Favorite Spinach Recipes

You can find our favorite frozen spinach recipes here.

Frozen and fresh spinach on a board
5 from 14 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

How to Make Frozen Spinach

This recipe replaces 1 package of store bought frozen spinach.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil


  • Wash spinach and spin to dry in a salad spinner (or dab dry).
  • Remove any long or tough stems.
  • Place the fresh spinach in a large non-stick pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the spinach is cooked through (3-4 minutes).
  • Cool slightly. Place spinach on a cutting board and chop.
  • Cool completely and use in place of frozen spinach in your recipe as directed or freeze in a medium sized freezer bag.


Most recipe will require the spinach to be defrosted and squeezed dry before adding to the recipe.
5 from 14 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 30 | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 632mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 10635IU | Vitamin C: 31.8mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 3.1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Fresh and frozen spinach on a wooden board
Fresh and frozen spinach on a cutting board with writing


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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  1. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for fresh but I’m struggling with the cost comparison- even if I get the spinach from Costco for $3.99 – it would only give me a cup and half – whereas if I got frozen from Walmart for $1.97 for 500ml which is just about 2 cups I know exactly what’s in it when I make it but unfortunately the cost plus work just doesn’t work for me. Now if it came out of my garden that would be a different story

  2. I LOVE your recipes! You have become my go-to website whenever I need a recipe and the hubby & I have never been disappointed. I would like to know if you can help with substituting fresh vegetables in place of frozen for a recipe. I understand how to with spinach (now), but the veggies I am lost on are peas, carrots, and green beans. (Google has been NO help with this when I have tried searching. None at all…) I am not a fan of (*ugh*) using canned veggies for anything, and so many recipes call for canned or frozen. I can’t be the only one that prefers to use fresh veggies anytime I can, hoping you can help out.5 stars

    1. I think you could sub the fresh veggies April, but you may need to add a few moments of cooking time to the dish!