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creamy polenta in a large grey bowl.

Easy Polenta Recipe

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5 from 5 reviews

The possibilities are endless with this comforting, creamy, smooth, and sensational Italian polenta recipe. With only 4 ingredients and 5 minutes you will have the perfect side to any meal. Polenta is a true Italian speciality! Serve as a side or enjoy plain with added soft cheese of choice!

  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 8 1x


Units Scale
  • 16 oz. (1 lb.) quick cooking yellow corn polenta (if you use coarse ground adjust liquid)
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, or whole milk


  1. Boil water with salt in a medium-large pot. Add polenta and stir vigorously. Stir on medium-high heat for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Turn to low heat and keep stirring for another minute or two.
  2. Take off the heat and add olive oil or butter, parmigiano, and heavy cream. Stir until combined and creamy texture.
  3. Sprinkle with extra cheese and enjoy plain or as a side dish. 



Creamy Polenta
  1. Make as directed in the main recipe, using 2 cups water and 2 cups milk, and cook for 30 minutes.
Cheesy Polenta
  1. Make as directed in the main recipe and cook for 30 minutes, stirring in 1 cup of shredded mozzarella before serving.
Slow Cooker
  1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5–6 hours or high for 1–1 ½ hours.
  1. Place 1 cup polenta, 3 ½ cups water, and ¾ tsp salt in the pot of a multi-cooker. Set the valve to sealing. On manual setting and high pressure, set for 10 minutes. Natural release the pressure for 15 minutes.

How to Make Fried Polenta

Make Parmigiano or Parmesan Polenta: Make as directed in the main recipe and cook for 30 minutes, stirring in 1 cup of shredded parmigiano or parmesan before serving. 

Fried Polenta: Transfer Parmesan Polenta to a plastic-lined 8 x 8-inch pan and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. To fry, unmold polenta and cut into 12–16 rectangles. Heat oil, ½-inch deep, to 350°F.

Working in batches, fry polenta until golden, about 3–5 minutes per side. Remove from oil using a slotted spatula or spoon and let drain on paper towels.

If necessary, keep warm in a 200°F oven. Serve with tomato sauce or your favorite toppings.


It is important to use FINE yellow cornmeal in this recipe. If you use coarse ground adjust the liquid. 

Constant stirring is important so the polenta doesn’t clump. Stir with our handmade custom wooden spoon. Make sure you use salted water to flavor the polenta. adjust salt if using chicken or veggie stock.

Make sure to grate your own cheese. Ready why here: TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese.

Polenta can dry out quickly and even become hard. Make sure to serve hot and keep covered. You can always reheat and add a little more liquid to make the soft polenta again.

What to Serve with Polenta 

Polenta and Mushrooms (with sage and butter) and Creamy Polenta with Polpette al Sugo (meatballs in tomato sauce), or try it with our favorite meat sauces: BEST Italian Beef Short Rib Ragu, Easy Italian Sausage and Peppers Skillet Recipe and Classic Italian Ragu Recipe.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian