Crispy Baked Polenta Fries Recipe (Parmesan Herb)

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Crispy Baked Polenta Fries Recipe (Parmesan Herb)– with a crispy exterior and a creamy interior, these fries will make your heart skip a beat. Seasoned with a blend of herbs and generously coated with Parmesan cheese, each bite brings a yummy delight. Whether hosting a dinner party or treating yourself to a flavorful snack, get ready to savor the magic of these sensational polenta fries that will leave you craving more!

Enjoy as a side with Oven Baked Chicken or Pan Seared Steak.

Crispy polenta fries with herbs dipped in the aioli. Close up photo.
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Best Crispy Polenta Fries

These crispy polenta fries are great for leftover Creamy Polenta. Think of them as french fries, Italian cousin. I use my polenta recipe for these delicious fries.

Get ready for a finger-licking, crispy delight that will have you dancing in your kitchen! We’re about to transform the humble polenta into irresistible baked fries infused with herbs and Parmesan cheese.

These golden beauties are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, perfect for snacking; they make a great appetizer or serve as a side dish to make any meal feel like a celebration.

You will also love Creamy Parmesan Rice Recipe and Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup.

You can also pair this with Pan Fried Chicken Tenders, Hamburger, and Grilled Chicken Sandwich!

Crispy polenta fries with herbs and dipping aioli sauce.

Simple Ingredients

ingredient shot.
  • Quick cooking polenta
  • Boiling water (or chicken stock)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Butter
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Heavy cream or whole milk
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried rosemary
  • Olive oil for brushing 

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Crispy Baked Polenta Fries Recipe Step-By-Step Photo Instructions

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: adding polenta to water.

Polenta

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium-large pot and add 1 tsp. of sea salt.

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: cooking polenta in water.

Gradually add the 16 oz. of quick-cooking yellow corn polenta to the boiling water while stirring vigorously to prevent lumps from forming.

Stir the polenta mixture on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until it thickens.

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: cooked polenta. Mixing with wooden spoon.

Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring for another minute or two to ensure the polenta reaches a creamy consistency.

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: adding cream, butter, and herbs to polenta.

Remove the pot from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter, ½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and ½ cup of heavy cream, whole milk, and herbs.

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: testing if polenta is thick.

Stir the mixture until all the ingredients are well combined and the polenta has a creamy, but firm, texture.

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: spreading the polenta on a cookie sheet.

Once the polenta has a creamy texture, transfer it to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, or glass dish.
Spread the polenta evenly on the baking sheet, forming a layer with a thickness of about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm).

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: letting the polenta cool.

Cover with plastic wrap, allow the polenta to cool, and set for 2 hours and up to overnight in the fridge.

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: cutting the polenta into "fries".

Polenta Fries

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
Once the polenta is set, cut it into fry-like shapes. Transfer the fries onto the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper using a spatula. 
Brush the polenta fries generously with olive oil. Make sure they are coated on both sides. This will make crispy baked polenta fries. 

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: brushing the fries with olive oil.

Arrange the polenta fries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the fries are golden brown and crispy. 

How to make crispy polenta fries step-by-step: baked fries.

Once baked, remove the polenta fries from the oven and sprinkle them with coarse salt and extra freshly grated parmigiano. Garnish with extra fresh herbs, if desired. Serve warm. 

Crispy polenta fries with herbs dipped in the aioli. Close up photo.

Serving: Serve the baked polenta fries with your favorite dipping sauce, aioli, spicy ketchup, or homemade marinara sauce (see blog post for additional dipping sauce recipes). Enjoy them as a flavorful snack or fun side dish.

Variation with Precooked Polenta

I suggest making your own polenta from scratch rather than the premade, but you can still use it! If you have precooked polenta, you can easily transform it into delicious baked polenta fries.

Pre-cooked polenta or tubed polenta (found at any grocery store)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Take out polenta from the package and remove excess moisture. Once firm, cut the polenta into fry shapes, ensuring they are of uniform size to promote even baking. In a bowl, combine extra-virgin olive oil, finely grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Dip each polenta fry into the mixture, coat all sides, and place them on a lined or greased baking sheet.
  • Bake the fries in a preheated oven (425 degrees F)until they turn golden brown and crispy, remembering to flip them halfway through for consistent browning. Serve with extra Parmigiano cheese or your favorite sauce.

Enjoy these irresistible polenta fries!

Crispy polenta fries with herbs and dipping aioli sauce.

Dipping Sauce for Polenta Fries

When it comes to dipping sauces for your delectable polenta fries, the options are as exciting as the fries themselves! Here are a few delicious dips ideas to complement the flavors of your baked polenta fries:

  1. Pesto Sauce: The vibrant and herbaceous flavors of basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in pesto make it a classic pair with polenta fries. It adds a burst of freshness to every bite.
  2. Marinara or Tomato Sauce: A classic tomato-based marinara or red sauce brings your fries a tangy and savory element. Its rich flavor perfectly complements the creamy polenta interior.
  3. Spicy Aioli: Kick up the heat with a spicy aioli by mixing mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, and your favorite hot sauce. It adds a creamy and fiery kick to the fries.
  4. Chipotle Mayo: Blend smoky and spicy chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with mayonnaise to create a zesty and flavorful dipping sauce that adds a hint of heat and smokiness.
  5. Garlic Parmesan Dip: Combine melted butter, minced garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of Italian herbs for a creamy and indulgent dip that enhances the cheesy goodness of the fries.
  6. Sour Cream and Chive Dip: Mix sour cream with finely chopped fresh chives, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper. This dip’s cool and tangy flavors provide a refreshing contrast to the crispy fries.
Crispy polenta fries with herbs dipped in the aioli. Close up photo.

Storing and Reheating Polenta Fries

To store and reheat polenta fries:

  1. Storing: Allow the baked polenta fries to cool completely to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container or a zip-top bag. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Reheating in the oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Arrange the polenta fries on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake them for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking.
  3. Reheating in the air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Place the polenta fries in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Reheat them for about 5-8 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Shake or flip them halfway through for even reheating.
  4. Reheating in a skillet: Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a small amount of oil or butter. Place the polenta fries in the skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes, flipping occasionally, until they are heated through and crispy.

Note: Reheating methods and times may vary depending on your oven or air fryer, so adjust accordingly to achieve the desired crispiness.

It’s best to consume the polenta fries immediately after reheating to enjoy them at their freshest and crispiest state.

Top Tips for Baked Crispy Polenta Fries

Here are some top tips to keep in mind when making crispy baked polenta fries with herbs and Parmesan cheese:

  • Use quick-cooking yellow corn polenta: Quick-cooking polenta will save you time and ensure a smoother texture for your fries.
  • Allow the polenta to cool and set: Letting it cool and set before cutting it into fries will help them hold their shape better during baking.
  • Grease or line the baking sheet: To prevent sticking, either grease it or line it with parchment paper before placing the polenta fries on it.
  • Cut the fries evenly: Aim for uniform sizes when cutting the polenta into fry-like shapes. This will ensure even baking and consistent texture throughout.
  • Flip the fries halfway through baking: To achieve an even crispiness, flip the fries halfway through the baking time. This will allow both sides to brown and become crispy.
  • Adjust cooking time for desired crispiness: Keep an eye on the fries as they bake and adjust the cooking time as needed. You can bake extra crispy for a few minutes longer if you prefer extra crispy.
  • Serve immediately: Baked polenta fries are best enjoyed fresh from the oven while they are still hot and crispy. Serve them as soon as they’re ready for the best texture and flavor.
  • Get creative with seasonings: Feel free to experiment with different herbs, spices, and seasonings to customize the flavor of your fries. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations and find your favorite!

FAQs

How do I prevent polenta fries from being mushy?

Ensure your polenta mixture is thick and well-cooked to prevent mushiness before spreading it to cool. Also, cutting the polenta into uniform sizes and baking at a high temperature helps achieve a crispy exterior.

Can I use an air fryer to make polenta fries?

Yes, an air fryer is a great option for making polenta fries. Follow a similar process as baking in the oven, but adjust cooking times as needed.

Why did my polenta fries turn out too dry?

This could happen if the polenta mixture were overcooked initially or if you used too little oil in the coating. To prevent dryness, make sure the polenta is creamy before spreading it to cool, and use a generous amount of coating.

Can I use instant polenta for this recipe?

Yes, you can use instant polenta, but note that the texture might differ slightly from traditional polenta. Follow the package instructions for preparation and adjust the coating to your taste.

Can I use store-bought polenta for making fries?

Yes, you can use store-bought polenta, either pre-cooked or tube-style. Precooked polenta is convenient, while tube-style polenta can be sliced and used for making fries. I find that making polenta from scratch makes the polenta fries taste a lot better!

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

What to Serve with Crispy Baked Polenta Fries Recipe

These are my favorite dishes to serve with this Polenta Fries Recipe:

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cover photo.

Crispy Baked Polenta Fries Recipe (Parmesan Herb)

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5 from 2 reviews

Crispy Baked Polenta Fries Recipe (Parmesan Herb)– with a crispy exterior and a creamy interior, these fries will make your heart skip a beat. Seasoned with a blend of herbs and generously coated with Parmesan cheese, each bite brings delight. Whether hosting a dinner party or treating yourself to a delicious appetizer and perfect snack. Get ready to savor the magic of these sensational polenta fries that will leave you craving more!

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 16 oz. (1 lb.) quick cooking polenta (if using coarse ground, adjust liquid)
  • 6 cups boiling water (or chicken stock)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, more for serving
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Olive oil for brushing

*see blog post for variation with precooked packaged polenta

Instructions

Polenta

  1. In a medium-large pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. of sea salt.
  2. Gradually add the 16 oz. of quick-cooking yellow corn polenta to the boiling water while stirring vigorously to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Stir the polenta mixture on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until it thickens.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring for another minute or two to ensure the polenta reaches a creamy consistency.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter, ½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and ½ cup of heavy cream or whole milk and herbs.
  6. Stir the mixture until all the ingredients are well combined, and the polenta has a creamy texture.
  7. Once the polenta has a creamy texture, transfer it to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, or glass dish.
  8. Spread the polenta evenly on the baking sheet, forming a layer with a thickness of about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm). Cover with plastic wrap, allow the polenta to cool, and set for 2 hours and up to overnight in the fridge.

Polenta Fries 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Once the polenta is set, cut it into fry-like shapes. Transfer the fries onto the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper using a spatula. 
  3. Brush the polenta fries generously with olive oil. Make sure they are coated on both sides. This will make crispy baked polenta fries. 
  4. Arrange the polenta fries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the fries are golden brown and crispy. 
  6. Once baked, remove the polenta fries from the oven and sprinkle them with coarse salt and extra freshly grated parmigiano. Garnish with extra fresh herbs, if desired. Serve warm. 
  7. Serving: Serve the baked polenta fries with your favorite dipping sauce, aioli, spicy ketchup, or homemade marinara sauce (see blog post for additional dipping sauce recipes). Enjoy them as a flavorful snack or fun side dish.
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 15 min + chilling time
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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3 Comments

  1. My kids ate most of these before I could even try them 😁 I did get one or two and loved the herbs in them!