Cheesy Creamed Kale

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Looking for an easy, yet delicious, dinner idea? Try this Cheesy Creamed Kale recipe! It’s perfect for home cooks of all skill levels, and it’ll please even the pickiest of eaters. Plus, it’s a great way to get your family to eat their greens. So give this recipe a try – you won’t regret it!

If you’ve ever had creamed spinach before, I can guarantee you’ll love this Cheesy Creamed Kale just as much! It’s savory and extra cheesy, easy to make and easy to eat, and goes well as a side dish for just about everything

Cheesy Creamed Kale from (@Whatsgabycookin)

Creamed kale originally caught my eye over on NYT Cooking and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! It’s basically like a spinach dip appetizer that gets served as a side dish and I am so here for it. Can you even imagine?

The recipe on NYT originally gets made in a slow cooker, but if you’re familiar with my Thanksgiving menu, than you know my slow cooker will be re-heating the mashed potatoes on the big day so I gave this a spin on the stove top… it’s genius.

Let’s talk specifics…

Q: Do you have to blanch the kale for Cheesy Creamed Kale?

A: Nope! It gets cooked over about 30 minutes so need to blanch and take that extra step.

Q: Could you make this with Spinach?

A: You absolutely can! Or you could do it with half spinach and half kale. Or throw in some Swiss chard. Bottom line… it’s great with any hearty leafy green.

Q: Can I use frozen kale?

Yes! But make sure you thaw it out completely and then ring it dry to remove all excess moisture!

Cheesy Creamed Kale from (@Whatsgabycookin)
PS – are you thinking of putting this Creamed Kale on your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the full What’s Gaby Cooking menu here along with the master prep schedule to keep things organized and on track!
And if you need more Thanksgiving Ideas check out this roundup of 80+ Thanksgiving Recipes and Ideas
Cheesy Creamed Kale from (@Whatsgabycookin)

Cheesy Creamed Kale

5 from 7 votes
Imagine your favorite restaurant that serves spinach dip as an appetizer and then imagine it as a side dish but with kale… you honestly can't go wrong!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people


  • 3 lbs kale (roughly 3 to 5 large bunches), stems removed and leaves roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
  • 8 ounces grated fontina cheese (white cheddar also delish)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • In a large bowl, add the kale and 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt. Massage the kale for 2-3 minutes so it starts to soften.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in a very large pot or Dutch oven. Add the kale in batches, stirring to wilt until all the kale has been added. Cover the pot and cook on medium-low, stirring every few minutes, until the kale is soft, about 20-30 minutes. Add the balsamic and stir to combine. If the kale starts to brown, reduce heat to low and continue to cook.
  • While the kale is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the panko bread crumbs and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir and sauté until the bread crumbs are golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and remove from the heat.
  • Add the cream cheese in small pieces and into the kale, while still over low heat. Stir the cream cheese until it's melted into the kale. Add the fontina, lemon juice and heavy cream and combine for about 1 minute until the fontina is melted. Transfer the kale mixture to a serving bowl and sprinkle the toasted panko over the top to serve.


    1. I used Mozzarella, not super flavorful, but the dish has such good flavor, it meshed well!

    1. leftovers of the kale specifically – just pop it in an air tight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days

  1. Is there any way to make this ahead? I have to cook a dish for Turkey Day at my hubs fire station in Studio City and would love to bring it in and do a quick re-heat since the ovens and stovetop will most likely have other stuff going on. What do you think? Are there any of your veggie sides that could be made ahead and reheated?

    1. you could serve this out of a slow cooker and it would be great! Just sprinkle the bread crumbs on top at the last minute

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this, it’s amazing. I used a combo of spinach and kale, it great and I wish I had more!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. So I completely misunderstood the weight, bought grams not oz. We ended up with a taste of creamy kale and left our guests wanting more. I’m more of a spinach girl, but this was tasty. I used gruyere and cheddar instead and baked the bread crumbs for the last few minutes. Yummy!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this for thanksgiving, it was the #1 hit of the day! Yes, more beloved than the mashed potatoes, biscuits, and turkey!

    1. I couldn’t get heavy cream because the store was all sold out. Could I sub sour cream for the heavy cream?

  5. Could you scale this way down? If so, would you need to do anything differently? I have most of one large bunch of lacinato kale to use up. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    This was so good! It definitely reminded me of spinach dip in a side dish, so so cheesy. I used curly kale and it was great.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this kale dish today for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I have not put the panko and lemon on it yet. I did a taste test and this stuff is fantastic!!!! I used Kale, Chard and Spinach. To be honest all l want to do is put it in a bowl and eat it now. BUT I will be good and wait until tomorrow! Gaby did it again!

  8. Should it end up like a dip texture? I made this and its yummy but it turned out with a consistency like cheese dip, with some kale. I thought I did all the measurements correctly. Again, it was delicious, just much more thick and heavy on the cheese than I expected. 🙂

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