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  • Food: Creamy Polenta
  • Writer: Lizzie Green
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

Thanks to one quick prep step, this creamy polenta recipe comes together in no time. Serve it as a side dish or create a meal out of it by adding savory toppings.

Everyone loves Italian pasta and pizza, but polenta, in my opinion, is just as deserving.

Polenta is a creamy, gently sweet, buttery maize porridge from northern Italy prepared with roughly ground cornmeal. It is not a traditional breakfast item, unlike oat porridge.

Though I do occasionally eat it in the morning. I prefer this silky, savory porridge for dinner. It morphs into a delectable comfort food when topped with cheese, herbs, cooked veggies, or a savory sauce.

My go-to method for producing creamy, smooth polenta in no time, as well as my favorite ways to serve it, are included below.

Once you’ve tried it, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your potato, pasta, and bread rotation. It’s easy to make, healthful, and, most importantly, tasty.

How to make Polenta?

Polenta has a reputation for being a difficult dish to make; it can take up to an hour of stirring over the stove, and it’s easy to wind up with a lumpy mess rather than a smooth porridge. But, because I want polenta now, I devised a simple way for generating creamy “instant” polenta.

  1. I pulse the cornmeal in the blender to make the granules less coarse before I start cooking. Polenta is extremely creamy and cooks in a fraction of the time when made with this fine cornmeal. You’ll never make it any other way after trying this method! Note: Bob’s Red Mill’s Coarse Ground Polenta is ideal for this procedure.
  2. Sift over the cornmeal with your fingers after pulsing it in the blender to break up any clumps. Then, in a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a simmer and gradually whisk in the polenta, whisking constantly.
  3. Add another cup of water to the pan and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the polenta begins to boil, reduce the heat as needed. Stir in up to 1/2 cup extra water if the porridge gets too thick.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before eating, covered. Enjoy!

Creamy Polenta Recipe Tips

  • Before you boil the combined cornmeal, sift it. The fine grounds in the cornmeal will tend to clump together after you pulse it in the blender. Sift through the mixed cornmeal with a fork or your fingers to break up any clumps to avoid large lumps in your cooked polenta.
  • As you pour the cornmeal into the hot water, whisk frequently. The most common polenta mistake is lumps, although they’re easy to prevent. Pour the cornmeal into the water in a steady stream, not all at once, and whisk frequently. The steady whisking will disseminate the cornmeal grounds in the water evenly, preventing them from clumping together.
  • As it sits, it will thicken. Because cooked polenta thickens rapidly, you’ll probably need to thin it before serving it if you don’t want to eat it right away. Reheat the thickened polenta on the stove over low heat, and thin if required with more water or olive oil. Before serving, taste it and adjust the seasonings if necessary. It’ll probably require another pinch of salt after you add the extra liquid.

Serving Ideas for Polenta

Polenta is a great base for a variety of tasty toppings. Simply served with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper, it’s one of my favorite side dishes.

For crunch, I’ll occasionally add roasted chickpeas or toasted pine nuts. Otherwise, I’ll add a cooked vegetable and a tangy sauce to make it a complete meal:

  • Cooked vegetables are the ideal method to give creamy polenta a robust texture, richness, and flavor. It goes well with roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, butternut squash, or cauliflower, as well as grilled mixed veggies or zucchini and sautéed mushrooms.
  • The secret to transforming this from a side dish to a show-stopping entrée is a zesty sauce. It’s very good with marinara sauce, pesto, or chimichurri.

Creamy Polenta

Time to Prepare: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Time allotted: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

This creamy, silky polenta is a great side dish or main course! It comes together quickly because I pulse the cornmeal in the blender before cooking it, so it’s ideal for hectic nights.


  • 1 cup stone-ground polenta
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

Instructions For Creamy Polenta

  1. Pulse the dry polenta in a blender to make the granules less gritty. This gives the polenta a creamy texture while also allowing it to cook more quickly. Remove the dry polenta from the blender and run your hands through it to make sure there are no lumps.
  2. Bring 3 cups of water to a high simmer in a medium pot. Whisk in the polenta slowly. Stir in 1 cup additional water and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of water if your polenta is too thick. The polenta should have a creamy texture.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the olive oil and salt. Allow for a 5-minute rest period after covering. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.


Polenta thickens as it sits, so keep that in mind. If you aren’t serving it right away, reheat it by whisking in a little more water or olive oil to make it smooth and creamy again.