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When everyone in my household seems bored with rice or pasta-based dishes, I love to put out this creamy polenta recipe. It’s a porridge of sorts made with cornmeal to create a creamy, buttery dish that makes an excellent base for your savory meals. I love putting grilled shrimp on top or just keeping it simple with fresh-grated cheese and cooked veggies.

Best Polenta Recipe

The best polenta recipe comes out with a dreamy and creamy texture. It’s rich and delightful without being overpowering. There’s something so soothing about this savory Italian porridge that you will be sure to love!

Easy Polenta Recipe

If you love buttery corn and creamy textures, you’re going to love polenta. It only takes a few simple ingredients and 10 minutes of prep. In about 30 minutes, it will be ready to serve. Once you master polenta, you’ll find new ways of serving this satisfying dish.

Polenta Ingredients

  • Yellow cornmeal – It all starts with this stuff to make polenta.
  • Water – You’ll need 6 cups of it to turn the cornmeal into polenta.
  • Butter – Use the unsalted variety which will give this a rich taste.
  • Parmesan cheese – For a creamy polenta recipe, grate fresh Parmesan cheese from the block for true Italian flavor.
  • Salt – Just a little is all you need to bring these tastes together.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – For polenta, this is used as a garnish to finish it off just prior to serving.

How do you Make Polenta from Scratch

To start cooking polenta all you need is a large saucepan! You’ll bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Then you’ll whisk the cornmeal in and drop the heat to low. Keep cooking until it thickens and the cornmeal is tender, about 25 minutes. Take it off the heat then add butter and stir until it melts through. Add the parmesan cheese and garnish with the olive oil before serving for the perfect cheesy polenta dish.

Keep calm and eat polenta.

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Polenta Every Time

  • Break up the clumps. Before you cook the cornmeal, take time to go through it with a fork to keep clumps out.
  • Whisk it while pouring. When adding the cornmeal, you’ve got to keep whisking to avoid lumps.
  • Get the right texture. Polenta gets thicker as it sits so if you still have time before serving, plan on thinning it out. You can reheat it over low and add a little more water or olive oil to get it back to the right consistency.

What exactly is polenta?

Polenta is a creamy base dish comes from northern Italy. It has a soft texture like a porridge but isn’t eaten for breakfast. If you’re tired of using rice, potatoes, or pasta for your meals this week, give polenta a try.

What does polenta taste like?

If you enjoy eating corn, you’ll love polenta. It has a corn flavor to it and a texture that is akin to grits. Some even say it tastes like cornbread!

Is polenta and cornmeal the same?

Not exactly. Cornmeal is an ingredient and is the main ingredient used when making traditional polenta.

Can you make polenta with regular cornmeal?

Yes, you absolutely can make polenta with regular cornmeal. Some cornmeal brands even have it on the label that it is suitable for making polenta.

How to Cook Creamy Polenta

Polenta is cooked in a saucepan on the stove. It only requires one basic cooking vessel to make and is very simple, not to mention, delicious too.

Can you overcook polenta?

Yes, you can overcook polenta but the good news is that it is easy to correct. You can adjust the texture again with more liquid until your ratio is perfect. Just remember to taste it before serving since with the addition of more liquid, it may have lost its flavor.

What do you eat polenta with?

Polenta makes a great side dish with just the simple grating of fresh parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper. For a fancy dinner, try it with ossobuco. You can also top it with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, or any other vegetable. It’s great with a drizzle of pesto or marinara too.

What can I do with left over polenta?

Leftover polenta can be brought back to life with more liquid to serve at your next meal. It can also be made into gnocchi, a pizza base, or even fried like French fries.

How to Store Polenta

Polenta should be cooled completely before storing. You should put it in an airtight container in the fridge.

How Long Does Polenta Last?

Properly stored in the fridge, polenta will last about 5 days. If you aren’t planning to eat it right away, putting it in the freezer is another option.

Can You Freeze Polenta?

Polenta is great for freezing! When it cools and becomes thick, you can slice it and store it more easily. It stores for up to 3 months in the freezer.

How to Reheat Polenta?

If frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. When you go to reheat it, add about a quarter to half a cup of water or stock to it on the stove over low heat, whisking until the creamy texture returns.

Watch How To Make Polenta (Video)

The PERFECT Polenta Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 415
This perfect polenta recipe is one that my purists friends rave about! Its soft, creamy, and absolutely delicious. This easy polenta recipe uses only 6 ingredients and makes the perfect side dish to so many dishes.


  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 4 tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • In a large saucepan, bring the 6 cups of water to boil. Add the 2 teaspoons of salt. Whisk in the cornmeal, reducing the heat to low and cooking until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal becomes tender which will take about 25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add in the butter and stir until melted, then add in the parmesan cheese. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil.
Calories: 415kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian


Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 1284mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 57IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3mg

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Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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