Do You Cook Spinach Before Putting It On a Pizza?

Pizza chefs seem to be in two minds about this. You have some that would argue that yes, you do need to cook spinach before it is placed on the pizza. Others will argue that you don’t. But, what is the correct answer? Do you cook spinach before putting it on a pizza? Well, I can see arguments for both, and on this page, I am going to go through them.

Arguments For Not Cooking Spinach Before You Put It On a Pizza

This is the boat I used to sit in.

Technically, you don’t have to cook spinach before you put it on the pizza. Once it is on that pizza, it is going to cook itself. Spinach is loaded up with water, and as that water cooks away, the spinach itself will be cooked.

There are many different leafy plants that you would need to cook before you put them on a pizza. This is because they have hard stalks that wouldn’t create the most pleasing of eating experiences. Spinach is not one of them. It is a soft plant that can be easily eaten, and you get to enjoy that mouthful of flavor.

Still, there are plenty of pizza chefs that don’t go down this route. If they want a tremendous-tasting pizza, they cook spinach before they place it on top. Why? Well, let’s move on to the next section. I’ll explain.

Do You Cook Spinach Before Putting It On a Pizza?

Why You Should Cook Spinach Before You Place It On a Pizza

Spinach is quite watery. If you don’t cook it before you place it on your pizza, then there is a chance that your pizza can end up quite water-logged. This probably isn’t going to be a huge issue if you have only the smallest amount of spinach on the pizza. It won’t produce enough water. However, if like me, you are a lover of spinach and you load that pizza up with the stuff, then giving it a quick cook beforehand could probably help.

Some people also take the opportunity to add a bit of extra flavor to the spinach before they place it on there. For example, sauteing the spinach in a dash of garlic can add a huge amount of flavor. Although, this isn’t something that I am personally a fan of. Spinach can have quite a delicate flavor, and if you are going to be putting it on the top of your pizza, then you don’t want that flavor to be overpowered by whatever you have decided to cook the spinach in. 

Some People Don’t Cook Spinach At All 

There are some parts of the United States where spinach isn’t cooked at all. This means that it isn’t going to cook with the pizza. Instead, when the pizza is done, you take it out of the oven and add your spinach on top of it.

I must admit that I am not a fan of this method either. This is because it can be quite tricky to get right. If the spinach is too cold when you add it to the top of the pizza, then the pizza ends up cooling down far too quickly. That, and I am not a massive fan of the texture that the uncooked spinach has with the rest of the pizza (although, I do love to eat uncooked spinach away from the pizza world!)

You can use this method if you want, just bear in mind that most people probably won’t like it.

How To Cook Spinach Before Placing It On a Pizza

So, by now you probably have a good idea about whether you want to cook your spinach or not. So, I figured that I would run you through the two cooking methods that I use the most when I am about to cook spinach before placing it on a pizza. I am not going to give you instructions on how to flavor the spinach here. Instead, I am just telling you how to cook your spinach.


Boil some water and drop the uncooked spinach in there for a couple of minutes. When you remove the spinach, drop it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Remove the spinach from the ice water and squeeze the excess water out. A lot of people will use a sushi roll for this.

When the spinach is completely dry, you can add it to your pizza. I recommend that you put it in the middle of the pile of ingredients. It tends to protect the spinach a little bit better, which can be delicate under the searing heat of a pizza oven.


Heat up the smallest amount of butter in a frying pan. Add the spinach and sautee for about 30-seconds to 1-minute. You want it to slightly wilt. You don’t want it to burn.

Remove the spinach from the pan and let it sit to cool down. After it has cooled down, gently squeeze any excess water out. There shouldn’t be much. Most of it would have evaporated away during the sautee process.

If You Don’t Plan on Cooking The Spinach Before Going On a Pizza 

If you want to put the spinach on the pizza ‘raw’, then we suggest that you try and bury it in pizza sauce or cheese. This will protect it from the searing heat of the oven. You will still end up with spinach that has been cooked through, but you shouldn’t end up with any of the burnt pieces.

Final Thoughts 

You don’t have to cook spinach before you put it on a pizza. It should cook perfectly fine if you put it on that pizza fresh. However, some people find that spinach can make their pizza soggy, particularly if they are using a lot of it. In this case, giving the spinach a quick cook before you use it can work wonders. You may even want to take the time to add a bit of extra flavor to the spinach by cooking it in various herbs.

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Sam Brett

Sam Brett is the founder and editor of Pizzachefhq, a pizza enthusiast who writes about what he's learned on the way of being a pizza creator and sharing his advice, tips, and research.

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