Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach Rice)

This simple and easy Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach Rice) is made with fresh baby spinach, stock, fresh herbs, and lemon. It’s one of many classic and traditional Greek recipes and one of my personal favourites. This Greek rice recipe makes a great side. It’s a great vegetarian option (simply swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth) full of flavor thanks to the fresh herbs, green onions garlic and lemon! It’s simple, creamy and delicious.

Spanakorizo close up with a spoon

What is Spanakorizo?

As I mentioned above it is a Greek style spinach rice. It’s all in the name as ‘Spanaki’ (σπανάκι) meaning spinach and ‘rizi’ (ρύζι) meaning rice. It is like a creamy spinach risotto in that it is meant to be creamy but I would say spanakorizo tends to be saucier or wetter than risotto. It is loaded with spinach and I mean loaded so therefore it’s a meal with some bonus nutrition as spinach contains vitamins, minerals, like vitamin C, Vitamin A and K, along with fiber. We had this often growing up and most Greek households had this or some variation at least once a week. You either love it or hate. I loved it and still do while my brother loathed it. I can eat it everyday and make a meal of it too with a greek salad and loads of feta - can’t go wrong I say!

Spanakorizo ingredients layed out on a table

Spanakorizo Recipes Ingredients

  • SPINACH: Fresh spinach leaves is best for this recipe. I rough chop the leaves so you don’t end up with super long pieces especially if you are using regular spinach as opposed to baby spinach. I prefer using baby spinach as the leaves are more tender and have a sweeter flavor than those of mature spinach - but either works. Some people have used frozen in a pinch but I recommend thawing and squeezing our excess moisture if you do so.
  • OLIVE OIL: I use extra virgin olive oil to saute the aromatics and for drizzling over the spanakorizo when it’s plated just before serving. I use ¼ cup for sautéing but sometimes I even go up to 1/3 cup for a really rich spanakorizo - as I have mentioned before Greeks don’t stinge on the olive oil
  • ONION: I use a yellow onion but shallots work beautifully here or even red onion
  • GARLIC: Feel free to add as little or as much as you prefer
  • GREEN ONIONS: Love the flavor the green onion adds - so fresh but you could also use a leek which works so well in this dish too, or do both.
  • RICE: The only rice I grew up eating in spanakorizo is arborio rice or risotto rice. It is a short-grain rice used for risotto. Cooking Arborio rice releases its starch, giving risotto its creamy texture. It has the perfect texture for spanakorizo but I have been told that some recipes call for using basmati rice, medium grain rice or long-grain rice. I have not tested this recipe with either of those - the absorption of those varieties of rice are much different so you might have to reduce amounts of broth. I use Approx 1 cup of arborio rice for a creamy spanakorizo but if you prefer a drier spanakorizo feel free to add up to a ½ cup more. No need to pre cook or pre boil the rice.
  • FRESH HERBS: I love to use a blend of fresh parsley, fresh dill and fresh mint. Feel free to use all three or pick the ones you love most. I like to get them in to flavour the rice early but I also like to top mine with some more just before serving too.
  • LEMON JUICE & LEMON ZEST: Freshly squeezed and zested is best. Use as little or as much as you please. I usually end up squeezing in extra cause I love mine lemony.
  • VARIATIONS: Some recipes call for adding oregano - feel free to add it if you like. There are other versions that add 2-3 diced tomatoes or 2 tablespoons (32g) tomato paste or tomato sauce to make it with a red sauce - feel free to do so. Add a protein if you like too like shredded chicken, or although not as traditional this would be great with shrimp - season and saute shrimp - remove from pan and then stir them back in to the spanakorizo when it’s done. If you would like to you could even deglaze the pan with some white wine after you saute the rice for more flavor.

Spanakorizo step by step instructions

How To Make Spanakorizo

  1. Saute onion, garlic and green onions
  2. Sauté the greens.
  3. Stir in the rice
  4. Stir in fresh herbs
  5. Add broth, simmer and cook covered, approx 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and zest, season with more fresh herbs and seasonings as needed
  7. Serve: I love mine with a drizzle of olive oil, feta and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.


Serve Spanakorizo with:

  • Serve as a side dish with grilled meats, souvlaki, fish or any seafood
  • Serve with loads of feta cheese and extra lemon wedges
  • Serve with crusty bread or crostini
  • Roasted Chicken
  • More vegetables like my grilled vegetables, or roasted veggies

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Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25-30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins


  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 4 scallions slices, sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 clove of garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach, rough chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley and/or dill, mint chopped
  • 4 cups broth, chicken broth or vegetable broth (warmed)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups broth, chickne or vegetable (warm)
  • 1 small lemon zested and juiced, plus more for serving


  1. In a wide saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion, scallions and garlic for 3-4 minutes until they are softened.
  2. Add the rice and continue sauteing for another 2-3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the rice is translucent.
  3. Gradually add the spinach to the pot a handful at a time and stir for 4-5 minutes until the whole bunch is in the pan and it has wilted.
  4. Stir in the fresh herbs: parsley, mint and dill if using along with the salt and pepper.
  5. Add the stock, gently stir well, lower the heat, cover with the lid, and simmer for 15 minutes until the rice has puffed up and absorbed most of the liquid. This dish should be and will be saucy.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Serve out into bowls with lemon wedges and a drizzle of olive oil if desired, enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • I use Approx 1 cup of arborio rice for a creamy spanakorizo but if you prefer a drier spanakorizo feel free to add up to a ½ cup more
  • Add-ins: If you’re looking to add some heft in the form of protein, stir in a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas or a few cups of shredded cooked chicken at the end of cooking although not traditional - they are great add ins.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. Reheat stove top or in the microwave.
  • Add some protein to make it a complete dinner – grilled chicken, or pork chops make a great accompaniment. Grilled fish filets would be good too!

Spanakorizo in a bowl ready to eat