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)
533 Calories
32g Fat
49g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 533
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 853mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Protein 17g
Calcium 515mg 40%
*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 ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (crushed)
  • 2 pounds spinach (rinsed, drained, and chopped)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons 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 five 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.

Recipe Variations

This dish is a simple and tasty way of serving healthy spinach. However, there are several, alternatives to using it. 

  • In addition to the spinach, add lightly, steamed florets of broccoli before baking. 
  • Mix the spinach with some curly kale and proceed with the recipe as above. 
  • The choice of cheese can totally alter this dish. Above it is served using Parmesan, to ring the changes use a grated Gruyere or Emmenthal. A strong cheddar also makes a good topping. 
  • Mix a couple of tablespoons of lightly toasted breadcrumbs to the topping.