Stir-Fried Spinach With Garlic

Stir fry spinach with garlic recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
81 Calories
7g Fat
3g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 135mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 20mg 102%
Calcium 72mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 399mg 8%
*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.)

For this recipe, you'll start with fresh spinach leaves. You can use baby spinach, if you prefer. Find these in the grocery store or at a farmers' market in season, or even better—from your garden. Be sure to wash the spinach well to remove any sand or grit.

Even if your family or guests often turn up their noses at this healthy green, they may discover how wonderful spinach is when cooked quickly and perfectly seasoned. It is as far from slimy boiled canned spinach as you can get. The fat and calories are also far less than in creamed spinach, which is often offered as a vegetable side for steak.

This simple Chinese-style spinach stir-fry with garlic pairs nicely with steak. You can also enjoy it with grilled chicken, rice, or noodles. It has a bit of sweet and a bit of spice to blend with the bite of the garlic.


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"The stir-fried spinach with garlic was perfectly seasoned and delicious, and it only took 10 minutes to prep and cook. Make sure you have all of your ingredients measured and ready because the garlic, seasonings, and spinach cook quickly." —Diana Rattray

Stir-Fried Spinach With Garlic/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 tablespoons peanut, or vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon chile paste, more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed and dried

  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for stir-fried spinach with garlic
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Preheat the wok on medium heat. Add the oil, swirling it in the pan to coat the wok about halfway up the sides.

    Oil in wok
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic, chile paste, and salt. Stir for a few seconds until the garlic is aromatic.

    Garlic and spices in wok
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Add the spinach and stir-fry until the leaves are almost wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

    Spinach in a pan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Stir in the sugar and toasted sesame oil.

    Spinach stir-frying in a pan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Sprinkle the spinach with the black pepper, if using. Serve immediately.

    Cooked spinach in a pan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • You can make this recipe in either a wok or a large skillet, and the directions would be the same. If you use a nonstick frying pan, you can reduce the oil a bit.
  • Garlic-spinach will go with a wide variety of cuisines. You can refrigerate any leftovers and reheat them in the microwave. Leftovers can easily be added to noodle and rice dishes or used in an omelet the next morning.
  • As always, how much seasoning to add is a personal preference. Feel free to reduce the amount of salt and/or garlic if desired, or to increase the amount of spinach to 12 ounces. Of course, if you’re a fan of garlic you can always add more.

Recipe Variations

  • Stir-fry about a dozen halved cherry tomatoes with the spinach.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to the wok with the garlic for mild ginger flavor.
  • Garnish the stir-fried spinach with crispy fried shallots or onions.

How to Store Stir-Fry Spinach

  • Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze, transfer the cooked spinach to a resealable freezer bag. Label the bag with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat the spinach in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop.

What does "wilt spinach" mean?

When heat is applied to a tender, leafy green like spinach, it begins to break down and lose some of its water, and in turn, its volume. This is known as wilting. The spinach goes from crisp, perky leaves to a tender, cooked vegetable. Raw spinach is often used in salads, and cooked spinach can be found in soups, stir-fries, and other hot dishes.

What is chili paste?

Asian-style chili paste is made primarily from chili peppers. Labeled chili paste, chili paste with garlic, Szechuan, or sambal oelek, chili paste is found in the Asian section of most large supermarkets. Substitute with a a dash of crushed red pepper flakes or Sriracha sauce.