I'm cooking a bunch of spinach for making a spinach and ricotta filling. I need to get as much water as possible out of the spinach, and I'd prefer not to make a big mess in the process. In the past, I've wrapped a few handfuls at a time in a towel and squeezed out the liquid. This leaves me with a messy, green stained towel and requires a lot of twisting that doesn't seem maximally effective.

16 Answers 16


Use a potato ricer. Just fill it up with a big handful of spinach, and give it a good squeeze in the sink, or over a bowl if you like to drink spinach water. It extracts a ton of liquid quickly, and is a breeze to clean up when you are done.

  • Potato ricer, pure genius. Use the small hole plate. You can take the frozen spinach, water it down to defrost, then immediately put it in the ricer and squeeze it dry a good cupful at a time. This is the best, shortest way I've ever seen to dry frozen spinach, and it is drier than I've ever been able to achieve using my hands or paper towels. – user24091 Mar 29 '14 at 19:56

The important part is to work in small batches. I just use my hands -- grab a handful, squeeze, set it aside, grab another handful, etc.

Most things that you'd be tempted to use just have too large of holes, and let lots of spinach bits through, (and I admit, I miss some spinach as I start getting towards the end and it's mostly water), or they've got too small of holes that it's serious effort to use, and you have to work in small batches anyway.

So, if nothing else, my way leaves you with only your hands to wash, and no extra gear to buy.

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    I have used this method as well, and it does work. The main downside for me is that you can't do it while the spinach is still hot. As far as the holes go, I thought the potato ricer was going to clog too much, but it turned out to be a non-issue. You can use so much pressure it gets a great extraction, and if it does clog a little, you just knock it once on the sink and you are back in business. – Michael Natkin Sep 1 '10 at 15:22
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    @Michael: you process the spinich hot? I just microwave it 'til it's thawed, then squeeze it. (I never cook fresh spinich ... frozen blocks of cooked spinich store easily, and is cheap, so I never see the point of buying spinich just to cook it down) – Joe Sep 1 '10 at 20:49
  • I'm speaking of frozen spinach too, but I don't think you get maximum juice extraction unless you get it all the way hot first, to break down the cells. I like the spinach in my fillings to be as dry as humanly possible. – Michael Natkin Sep 2 '10 at 21:31

I use a sieve that can hang over the sink.

Put the spinach in the sieve. On top of the spinach put a solid bowl, and in the bowl goes some weight. I generally use whatever dry stuff I have lying around, which is normally lentils. You can use blind baking thingies if you have them.

Wait for about 15 minutes.

  • This method works well for pre-chopped frozen spinach which I find contains excessive amounts of water once defrosted. I use a ladle to force the water out. Most other methods mentioned on this page work best when you blanch your own spinach and before chopping. – Chris Steinbach Sep 1 '10 at 20:13

I learned this from Rachael Ray - use a clean (no fabric softener) cloth. Put spinach in small batches & squeeze. Works great. I use a never before used diaper. use it to squeeze moisture out of shredded zucchini too. After done, I soak the cloth in bleach water to remove the green stain then rinse the bleach out.

  • I use this technique all the time. I have a potato ricer and have occasionally used it for the same purpose, but the dishcloth is easier and you don't need to break it up into small batches like you do with the ricer. – Jeff Axelrod Jun 14 '17 at 23:53
  • Thank you for specifying "never used" for the cloth diaper. :D – PoloHoleSet Feb 20 '18 at 22:56

The French method uses a conical strainer ('passoir conique').

It is solid stainless steel, with about a 6" mouth at the top, and holes to let the water through. You simply push the spinach down as far as you feel is appropriate.

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I use two identical plates. On one plate you can put the spinach and with the bottom of the other plate you can squeeze out the liquid.


I use cheesecloth to squeeze my spinach. I put all the cooled spinach in the cheesecloth and then I keep wringing it until all the water is gone. Then I discard the cheesecloth.

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    Just use a dishcloth and wash it afterwards! – Jeff Axelrod Jun 14 '17 at 23:54

I make spinach pie all the time and had the same problem! Here's my solution and it works better than anything I've ever tried!

I have a Waring Juice Extractor. I take the blade disc that usually grinds the vegetables and flip it upside down. Turn the juicer on and feed the cooked spinach into the juicer and it extracts darn near all the liquid from the spinach! Works incredible.

  • +1 for a creative solution. Still, I wonder - doesn't it get too dry? Or does the flipping suffice so that you don't get out too much of the juice from inside the leaves? – rumtscho Feb 5 '17 at 10:21
  • I need to clarify.. when I day I feed the spinach in through the top... I mean I take the top off, put the spinach in.. close up and turn on. Otherwise not enough room for spinach to enter the straining basket through the chute... Just be ready.. cuz if it's really out of balance... you'll know it! – Brad McDonald Feb 5 '17 at 19:10

Alternative Cooking Method: Flash Sauté

While frozen spinach can be more convenient, nothing beats fresh spinach (IMO). Fresh spinach flash sautéd in EVO with minced fresh garlic, salt-to-taste and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon. This method alleviates the water left in the spinach because it cooks off in the high cooking heat. Very flavorful to stuff pasta or as a side dish.


Salad spinner (centrifuge) for a non-destructive method?

  • can also be done while spinach is still hot (beware if spinner is plastic, though) – kajaco Sep 1 '10 at 15:59
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    I've never tried this, but in my imaginary world I wouldn't think this would remove very much of the water. Salad spinners are good at removing surface water but not squeezing it out of the leaves. – Michael Natkin Sep 1 '10 at 19:41
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    True, no squeezing involved, so it won't get as dry as you might want. Result will be somewhere between sitting in a sieve and pressing, I imagine. – Tobias Op Den Brouw Sep 2 '10 at 7:18

I've most recently used a lemon juice squeezer and it worked perfectly! One of these http://www.cajuncookingtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/lemon-squeezer.jpg

Works a treat!


I use my vegetable steamer, open the steamer, put the defrosted spinach in and close the steamer. Press until drained.


For frozen chopped spinach, don't open the bag. Make tiny snips with scissors on one side of bag. Place in bottom of sink and press all over, fold it, whatever works. Less mess; no stained towels, no special equipment, and for those who may have arthritic hands, this works better than any other method I've tried. I just "invented" this method today and will continue using it.


I Think run it through a pasta machine, wrap in cheese cloth. Just came to me . haven't tried yet, on my way to the store to buy one.

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    That seems like overkill. I'd wrap it in cheesecloth and squeeze it with my hands, or at most, a rolling pin. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jan 23 '16 at 22:56
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    It seems like a good idea on the surface, but most pasta machines aren't made to be disassembled to dry out -- I'd be afraid of either rust forming if it's not stainless, or washing away the lubrication applied where the rollers meet the frame. – Joe Jan 23 '16 at 23:39

I always used cheese cloth or a coffee filter.

  • Please do not repeat answers already given... – user34961 Oct 16 '17 at 20:26

My husband came into his idea but haven't tried yet the "mop squeezer." His thinking of sewing pillow cushion from new towel and fill up with thawed spinach and squeeze it onto the mop squeezer. And sanitized the equipment every after used.

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