Cheesy Creamed Kale


Total Time:

40 minutes



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)
Cheesy Creamed Kale from (@Whatsgabycookin)

Cheesy Creamed Kale

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!
5 from 3 votes
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, to taste
  • 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
  • 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 to tenderize for 2-3 minutes. The kale should start to wilt and shrink.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in your largest pot or Dutch oven. Add the kale in batches, stirring to wilt even further until all the kale has been added. Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook on medium-low, stirring every few minutes, until the kale is soft, about 30 minutes. 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.
  • Break the cream cheese into small pieces and drop them into the Dutch oven with the kale, while still over low heat. Stir the cream cheese until it's fully combined 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.

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Recipe Rating


    • Gaby

      you could do gouda! or any mild white cheese that melts well!

    • Stephanie Hoberman

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

  1. Monika

    5 stars
    I recently made a veg lasagna using kale. It was delicious. This one is going to be a winner!!

    • Gaby

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

  2. Dariann

    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?

    • Gaby

      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

  3. Stephanie Hoberman

    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!

  4. Katie

    Any suggestions on making it dairy free? Goat gouda is what I’m thinking for the cheese but the heavy cream…

  5. Eliza P

    Can you make this a few days ahead and keep in fridge? Looking for an easy Christmas!

  6. Clauds

    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!

  7. Abeer

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

  8. Crystal

    How many ounces of baby spinach would you use instead of kale? Unfortunately my husband refuses to eat kale.

    • Alyssa

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