Traditional recipes

Easy Polenta recipe

Easy Polenta recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish

This recipe is as easy as polenta gets! It is started on the hob, then finished in the oven with your favourite pasta sauce. Top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

170 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 475ml milk
  • 475ml chicken stock
  • 140g polenta (corn meal)
  • 80g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 500g pasta sauce, or your favourite recipe

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a 23cm square baking dish.
  2. In a large pot, combine the milk and chicken stock. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. When it is at a rolling boil, gradually whisk in the polenta, making sure there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Pour the polenta into the prepared baking dish, and spread pasta sauce over the top.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until sauce is bubbling.

Make it a main dish

Make this a main dish by pan frying chipolata sausages with some onions, and garlic and peppers if desired, then adding to the baking dish before topping with the pasta sauce.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(170)

Reviews in English (133)

by Betty Baker

I'd give this 20 stars if I could! My parents are from Italy and polenta was a staple when we were growing up. Adding chicken broth instead of the traditional water gives it a WONDERFUL flavor. I've also made it using cream instead of milk (yum!), and I've just sprinkled a little cheese on top instead of mixing a whole cup of it in. It's also good with sauteed mushrooms on top. A very good basic recipe - thanks Jaquita!!!-13 Feb 2006

by William Chas.Caccamise Sr, MD

This is an excellent basic polenta recipe. Polenta has a history aa a staple in the Northern Italian diet - especially in the Asiago area - the home of my maternal grandparents. The terms "polentone" - meaning "full of polenta" and "mangiapolenta" meaning "eat polenta" are used by Southern Italians in reference to those of Northern Italy. The following recipe modifications will bring polenta to an even more elevated level: Bring 4 cups of milk with 0.5 cup of whipping cream to a boil without scalding. Reduce the mixture to a simmer. Slowly add 1 cup of Quaker cornmeal. With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture.In the old days, the stirring was alloted to the man of the house - the thickening cornmeal can become quite resistant to stirring. Lumps will have a tendency to form. I have found that an electric hand blender will obviate these problems and will result in a smooth, lumpless (homogeneous), creamy polenta. I continue the process for 30 to 45 minutes. I then add 4 TBS of butter to the hot polenta and continue with the blender for another 5 minutes. I then add 0.5 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese. I continue with the blender for another 5 minutes. The finished polenta is then poured onto a large buttered platter. After the polenta has hardened, it is cut - like a pie - into sections and served with a variety of toppings. Left-over polenta can be served for breakfast: powder the slices with flour, fry in butter, and serve with maple syrup.-05 Dec 2008

by amsuka

Great recipe, and EASY! I used homemade chicken stock, and fresh parmesan cheese, and the flavour was outstanding. To modify for regular polenta, omit the tomato sauce and chill after baking to set.-27 Mar 2007

Creamy Polenta Recipe

Shake off those cornmeal jitters and visions of clumpy, lumpy, dry polenta. Today we're sharing our perfectly creamy, Parmesan-laced, soul-satisfyingly basic polenta recipe.

This recipe didn't work for me. I followed it as written but after 45 minutes I had a soupy half-cooked pot of polenta.

Oh, please. I gist of this recipe is that cooking should be virtually effortless. How nonsensical. Polenta is SO easy and effortless. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil with a whisk gently cascade 2 cups coarse polenta into water and immediately reduce flame to low and set timer for 20 minutes.. Continue whisking until boil subsides then then stir with whisk to keep polenta from sticking to bottom of pot. Continue stirring with whisk every few minutes. At about ten minutes add 1 cup grated parmesan and 12 tbs butter and 1 tbs salt. Occasionally stir mixture until timer expires. One can add cream or not for a stiffer result. Have cooked this method for 20 years with consistant results. This will fill a half sheet pan and when refrigerated overnight results in sliceable sizes the one ca either grill or reheat and top with various veg and a fried egg.

Just like rice or pasta, which are both often used as vehicles for delivering flavorful sauces or toppings, polenta&aposs mild taste and versatile texture makes for a delicious base. Cooked polenta, whether baked or pan-fried, can be served as a meal when smothered in a saucy topping like in our Sausage and Kale Sauté with Polenta. We suggest trying it with a dollop of chili, meaty Bolognese, or curry on top. 

If you&aposre not looking to use tubed polenta for a full meal, a quick trip to the oven can create amazing polenta fries. Cut the polenta into long wedges or strips, coat each with a little bit of olive oil, and then toss these &aposfries&apos into a mixture of breadcrumbs and spices. Bake the fries in a pre-heated 450ଏ oven for 40 minutes, flipping in the middle. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce on the side. 

Tips for the best polenta:

  1. Add as much liquid that is needed. You want to keep cooking polenta until it is creamy soft, just keep adding water as needed. It is perfect when it is both creamy and pulls away from the pan when stirred. The amount of liquid polenta needs depends on the coarseness of the grain. Typically, a firm polenta needs about a 4:1 ratio of water to cornmeal and a creamier polenta needs 5 or 6:1 ratio.
  2. Use broth for added flavor instead of water.
  3. Add cream or olive oil at the end for more richness and creaminess.
  4. If you desire more corn flavor to come through, use water instead of broth and only use minimal butter, cream, cheese at the end.
  5. Don’t use instant polenta.
  6. You may start polenta in cold water and heat from there. The cold water won’t cause any lumps. If you need to add liquid later to hot polenta, you will get lumps but you can easily whisk them out.
  7. You don’t need to stir constantly but you do want to stir often. As the polenta cooks, it will stick to the bottom and can burn.
  8. Soak the cornmeal in its cooking liquid overnight to shorten the cooking time.

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Making this creamy polenta recipe is so incredibly easy that you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before.

It all starts with caramelizing up some chopped yellow onion and finely minced garlic cloves in a small amount of olive oil in a 6 or 8-quart pot. This can take up to 10 minutes or so but will be well worth it when it comes to the result.

Once the onions and garlic are brown in a medium-size pot in olive oil, add in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil.

When the stock is boiling pour in the cornmeal while vigorously whisking constantly to ensure there are no clumps in the polenta. Turn the heat down to medium-low. This is the most important stage of the entire cooking process because the cornmeal needs to be cooked without any chunks in it. This process can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the creamy polenta is finished it should be smooth with no crunch to it. At this point stir in some whole butter, Parmesan cheese and salt, and pepper.

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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Fantastic recipe for introduction to the world of Palenta !
Never made it before. Used the recipe. Pleased. Worked well. Tastes great.
Will recommend. ?

So glad to hear it! Thanks for making it!

My husband and I are also Italian and I have been on the hunt for a great polenta recipe. I made your recipe with our steak Marsala for dinner tonight and it’s FANTASTIC!! Buttery, smooth and the cheese adds makes it creamy with a subtle kick to the flavor. Also a hit with my two boys! 5/5 stars! Thank you!

Wow this is high praise coming from Italians! Thank you SO so much! We are so glad to hear that your boys loved it too. Thank you for making our recipe!

I just made polenta recently for my very first time and I followed this recipe to a T and it turned out PERFECTLY. I made it a second time and same results – perfection.

Then I thought I’d try someone else’s recipe, just to branch out. Bad idea. I don’t know why, but they called for the same amount of polenta but HALF as much water. As you can imagine, 10 minutes in I had polenta burned to the inside of my pan. That was not fun to scrape out.

As my great grandmother always said, “don’t fix what’s not broken.” I’ll be sticking with your recipe from now on! Thank you SO much for sharing it!


Step 1: To a pan, add 3 cups water. Bring to a boil.

Step 2: Add 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water. While people differ on how much salt is appropriate, a good starting point is 1 teaspoon of salt for every cup of raw polenta. (If you're using kosher salt, because it has a larger flake and therefore takes up more room, you'll need to add 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons per cup of raw polenta.)

Step 3: With a whisk or wooden spoon, slowly stir in 1 cup polenta. The traditional method is to hold it in your fist and let it fall into the boiling water in a steady stream as you stir. Depending on how much you're making (not to mention how big your fist is), you'll probably have to do several fistfuls.

Step 4: Continue stirring with a wooden spoon, nearly constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent it from sticking and burning. The whole process takes about 45 to 60 minutes, and the polenta is done when it's thick and wavy and it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Creamy Polenta

This creamy polenta recipe comes together in a flash, thanks to one simple prep step. Serve it as a side dish, or add flavorful toppings to make it a meal.

Everyone raves about Italian pasta and pizza, but if you ask me, polenta deserves just as much love. A north Italian porridge made of coarsely ground cornmeal, polenta is wonderfully creamy, with a lightly sweet, buttery corn flavor. Unlike oat porridge, it’s not a traditional breakfast food. Though I do eat it for breakfast on occasion (see page 49 of Love and Lemons Every Day!), I most often enjoy this smooth, savory porridge for dinner. Topped with cheese, herbs, cooked vegetables, or a flavorful sauce, it transforms into a mouthwatering comfort food.

Below, you’ll find my go-to method for making creamy, soft polenta in no time, plus my favorite ways to serve it. Try it once, and it’ll have a permanent place in your rotation of potatoes, pasta, and bread. It’s simple, healthy, and, most importantly, delicious.

How to Make Polenta

Polenta has a reputation for being a finicky dish – it can take up to an hour of stirring over the stove, and it’s easy to end up with a lump-filled mess instead of a smooth porridge. But when I want polenta, I want it now, so I developed an easy method for making creamy “instant” polenta.

Before I start cooking, I pulse the cornmeal in the blender so that the granules are less coarse. Made with this fine cornmeal, polenta is extra creamy, and it cooks in a fraction of a time. Once you try this method, you won’t make it any other way! Note: this method works perfectly with Bob’s Red Mill’s Coarse Ground Polenta.

After you pulse the cornmeal in the blender, sift through it with your fingers to break up any clumps. Then, bring 3 cups of water to a simmer in a saucepan, and gradually add the polenta, whisking constantly.

Add an additional cup of water to the pan and continue to cook, stirring, for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat as needed if the polenta starts to boil. If the porridge becomes too thick, stir in up to 1/2 cup more water.

Turn off the heat and add a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes before you eat. Enjoy!

Polenta Recipe Tips

  • Sift through the blended cornmeal before you cook it. After you pulse the cornmeal in the blender, the fine grounds will have a tendency to stick together. To avoid ending up with large lumps in your cooked polenta, sift through the blended cornmeal with a fork or your fingers to break up any clumps.
  • Whisk constantly as you pour the cornmeal into the boiling water. Lumps are the biggest pitfall in making polenta, but it’s easy to avoid them. Pour the cornmeal into the water gradually – NOT all at once – and whisk constantly as you do it. The constant whisking will evenly disperse the cornmeal grounds in the water, so they won’t have a chance to clump together.
  • It’ll thicken as it sits. Cooked polenta thickens quickly, so if you don’t plan to eat it right away, you’ll likely need to thin it before you serve it. Reheat the thickened polenta on the stove over low heat, adding more water or olive oil, as needed, to thin it to your desired consistency. Make sure to taste and adjust the seasonings before you serve it. After you add the extra liquid, it’ll likely need another pinch of salt.

Polenta Serving Suggestions

Polenta is a fantastic blank canvas for flavorful toppings. Most simply, I enjoy it as a side dish with a shower of grated Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper. On occasion, I’ll add roasted chickpeas or toasted pine nuts for crunch. Otherwise, I’ll top it with a cooked veggie and a punchy sauce to make it a meal on its own:

  • Cooked veggies are the perfect way to add hearty texture, richness, and flavor to creamy polenta. Try pairing it with roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, butternut squash, or cauliflower, with grilled mixed vegetables or zucchini, or with sautéed mushrooms.
  • A punchy sauce is key for transforming this from a side dish into a show-stopping entrée. I especially like it with homemade marinara sauce, pesto, or chimichurri.

How do you like to serve polenta? Let me know in the comments!

More Cooking Components

If you loved learning how to make polenta, try making one of these healthy cooking components next:

How to Make Polenta: a Basic Italian Recipe

ratio for polenta/corn meal to water is 1:4 (in volume) makes 5 servings

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • one medium to large onion, diced
  • small bunch of rapini, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz) polenta or good quality corn meal or grits (you can put it in the blender to make it more fine or leave as is)
  • 6 cups (48 oz) water (Diamond Crystal)

Step 1

Fry the onion in the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat until translucent and just starting to brown.

Add 4 cups of water to the pot.

Step 2

Then add the chopped rapini and cook for about two minutes.

Next, add the remaining 2 cups of water to the cornmeal placed in a bowl, and stir to moisten. This technique of adding water to the dry ingredient will ensure that you will avoid lumps. However, do not add the water to the polenta until just before adding it to the pot. Add half a teaspoon of Kosher salt at this time, taste and add more as needed.

Step 3

Immediately add the wet polenta to the pot before the water comes to a boil.

Continue stirring, and cook over medium heat (it should be bubbling) for about 25 minutes. Keep scraping the bottom to make sure the polenta doesn’t stick. Be careful not to let it boil too fast or the polenta may bubble which is painful if it squirts onto your hand.

If you are using a quick cooking package, it will be ready in just a few minutes, however the traditional type will need to cook for about 25 minutes, possibly longer. Taste again for salt and remove from heat when it is no longer hard and gritty.

Pour into bowls immediately and serve.

Important Note: If there is any leftover in the pot, put it into a dish which you will want to keep in the refrigerator as it hardens as it cools.

Enjoy this ancient dish!

And if you try it and love it as much as I do, please click the 5 stars on the printable recipe card below!

Watch the video: Πώς να φτιάξετε το Polenta. Σούπερ εύκολη συνταγή. (January 2022).