Classic French Spinach au Gratin

French spinach gratin
Diana Miller / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
451 Calories
29g Fat
37g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 451
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Sodium 902mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 23mg 116%
Calcium 508mg 39%
Iron 10mg 55%
Potassium 1264mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The perfect comfort food, this French spinach au gratin recipe is a creamy and delicious side dish for any table. Au gratin of any description is considered classic French cooking. A gratin is a baked dish but what makes it distinctive is a light covering of cheese and or breadcrumbs. Within the gratin will be any type of vegetable robust enough to stand up to being baked, root vegetables are one of the best to use. With green vegetables, the favored vegetable is leaf spinach. It may not be a tough root, but it bakes extremely well and keeps its taste. 

This French spinach au gratin recipe will be at home on any dinner menu, be it for a relaxed family supper or a special holiday meal. A touch of thyme and a dusting of cheese sparks up the flavor of this beloved classic dish.


  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 2 pounds spinach, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and butter a gratin dish.

  2. Sauté the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and continue sautéing the mixture for 30 seconds. Add the salt, pepper, dried thyme, and spinach to the pan and stir until the ingredients are combined. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat to low. Allow the spinach to wilt for 3 minutes.

  3. Stir the milk and heavy cream into the spinach mixture and turn it out into the buttered gratin dish. Then stir together the melted butter, bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the gratin.

  4. Bake the spinach gratin in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly, and the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown.

Make Ahead

You can prepare (but not bake) the gratin dish, cover well with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to two days. When baking, you may need to add around 10 minutes time if the casserole is cold.

Recipe Variations

  • In addition to the spinach, add lightly steamed broccoli florets before baking. 
  • Combine the spinach with some curly kale. 
  • In place of or in addition to the Parmesan cheese, you can use a grated Gruyère or Emmenthal or a strong cheddar. 
  • Mix a couple of tablespoons of lightly toasted breadcrumbs into the topping.