Spinach is a nutrient powerhouse. It’s rich in vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A, and it’s chock-full of essential minerals, like iron and calcium, too. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber and antioxidants. The bottom line is that eating spinach is great for your body. But is it better fresh or frozen? It depends.

Jump to recipes

Is frozen spinach healthier than fresh?

There is a big downside to spinach. When it’s bought fresh, all of its nutritional superpowers start to wilt pretty quickly. 

According to 2005 research from Penn State University, the nutrients in spinach start to degrade quickly. This means that if it has already been shipped long distances before it lands in the grocery store, by the time it gets to your fridge at home, it may have lost much of its nutrient content. 

“When fresh spinach sits during transportation over long distances or stays in your refrigerator for a week, its folate content drops so much that frozen spinach becomes the better source,” Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, wrote for CNBC in 2022.

This is because frozen spinach often goes through a flash-freezing process just hours after it has been harvested, which helps to lock more of its nutrients in. “One cup of frozen spinach has more than four times the amount of nutrients, including iron, vitamin C, and calcium, compared to a cup of fresh spinach,” adds Phipps.

VegNews.spinachonbeans.pexelsPexels 

The catch is while frozen spinach is great for soups, stews, pastas, and so on, it’s not so great for salads. If you’re buying fresh spinach, there are a few important things to look out for. For example, make sure it has dark green, crisp, healthy-looking leaves, and avoid bags of spinach that look yellow and limp. 

It’s also a good idea to check best-before dates, as well as shipping locations, to find out how long the spinach has been on the shelves and how far it has traveled. 

Beyond nutrition: more benefits of cooking with frozen spinach

Frozen spinach is nutritious, but it also offers many other benefits. It helps to cut down on food waste, for example, because after use, it goes back in the freezer ready to be used again, instead of wilting away in the fridge. In fact, frozen spinach can be stored in your freezer for up to a whole year, while fresh spinach is only good for about 10 days or so in the fridge.

Frozen spinach’s long life doesn’t just cut down on waste, but it cuts down on cost, too. Many of us are guilty of buying fresh, using one portion, forgetting about it, and then throwing it away, only to have to buy more soon after. But buying frozen means you get your money’s worth before the spinach has a chance to wilt.

Frozen spinach is also incredibly easy to cook with. Keep a bag on hand in the freezer, and then pull out a few cubes to throw into dishes like bolognese, lasagna, stew, soup, casseroles, and more. It’ll wilt into the food in a matter of minutes, adding an easy boost of extra nutrition. 

How to cook with frozen spinach: 5 vegan recipes to try

VegNews.PumpkinLasagnaRollupsHolly V. Gray

1 Vegan Pumpkin Lasagna Rollups

These tasty, nutrient-dense rollups are made with tofu-spinach ricotta (made with convenient frozen spinach, of course) and a deliciously creamy vegan béchamel sauce. They’re ideal for potlucks, big family dinners, or cozy nights at home.
Get the recipe

VegNews.AsparagusQuicheLinda Soper-Kolton and Sara Boan

2 Fluffy Vegan Sausage Quiche With Spinach and Asparagus

Traditional quiche is made with eggs, but you can get the same delicious texture with tofu and cashews instead. If you prefer to keep it plant-forward, you can skip the sausages and just pack it with your favorite vegetables (but don’t miss out on the frozen spinach!).
Get the recipe

VegNews.BlueberrySmoothieJarJackie Sobon

3 Tropical Vegan Blueberry Smoothie

Stocking your freezer with berries and fruits is a great way to ensure you always have delicious smoothie ingredients on hand. Add in some frozen spinach (which we promise you won’t be able to taste), spices, and water, and you’ve got everything you need for a delicious, nutrient-packed morning beverage.
Get the recipe

VegNews.SmokySweetPotatoSoupJackie Sobon

4 Vegan Smoky Sweet Potato Soup

Featuring frozen spinach for added nutrition, this smoky, sweet, satisfying soup makes for a convenient, nutrient-dense, and deliciously hearty meal. It freezes well, too, so it’s perfect for weekly meal prep.
Get the recipe

VegNews.BreakfastBurritoLinda Soper-Kolton

5 Vegan Freezer-Friendly Black Bean Breakfast Burritos

These hearty burritos, made with frozen spinach and black beans, can be frozen for a satisfying, homemade breakfast option that will last for around three to six months. Plus, they’re not just delicious and convenient, they’re also packed with a hefty 20 grams of protein each.
Get the recipe

For more on vegan cooking, read:
Share this

Don't miss our Vegan Deal of the Week by signing up for our FREE VegNewsletter!

Get it here