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How to Make Perfect Polenta

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Whenever you search “polenta recipe” in your browser, numerous sites comes out.

Different ways and versions are provided but still, some find it difficult to make. Either the instructions were unclear, or they feel too intimidated to give it a try. However, there is no “right way” of making the polenta dish.

Everyone loves creativity, so you are not prohibited from experimenting. We are no longer in the first era where we only stick in the traditional way. Sometimes, people aren’t fully satiated, so they tend to explore new flavors and tastes. It doesn’t matter how you make your personal version as long as it satisfies your cravings.

Just like any other dish, polenta is known to be a simple yet famous recipe. If you have tasted the original version of this recipe, I recommend you should try making it creamier or how you want it to be. In this article, I have provided an easy to follow guide on how to make polenta. Suit yourself and keep reading below.

What is Polenta?

I am referring to the polenta dish. Polenta is an Italian boiled cornmeal dish. Don’t stress yourself and let me explain further. Well, it is a cornmeal porridge which originated in Northern Italy.

As I have mentioned, different versions of this taste can be eaten. You can also side dish meat, cheese, fried egg (read this post to choose best egg frying pan), or other condiments. If ever the porridge you made wasn’t entirely consumed, don’t worry because you can do something about it. Do not throw it out because you can still make various versions out of it.

Once the polenta cooled down, it will solidify and will resemble a loaf. Now, here’s what I’m telling you. The thickened polenta is now ready for frying, grilling, or baking.

The traditional versions of this dish used all sorts of grains and legumes. But as time advanced, it carried its “cornmeal” name. Buckwheat is sometimes mixed with the cornmeal, though. It doesn’t matter what type of corn you will use but make sure to choose the finest variety.

Polenta serves as Northern Italy’s staple food. It is, indeed, loved and enjoyed by the locals.

Things to Remember Before Preparing the Polenta

The preparation is just one of our concerns and the ingredients included. Although there are readily available ingredients now, it is still your choice to choose the trusted products. Always read the label and check the information if you are left with the option of buying cornmeal instead of grinding it for yourself.

When making polenta, it is indefinite as to how long it will take you to prepare it. It differs from the type; sometimes it takes up to 45 minutes to an hour. If you are running out of time, you can also purchase the prepared polenta. It comes in blocks, so you just have to reheat and slice it up.

Here are some considerations that you need to keep in mind:

  1. Cornmeal

The first thing you should remember is that your main ingredient is the cornmeal. Polenta is the cooked cornmeal, and it would be less inexpensive if you make your cornmeal.

The cornmeal could be okay or coarse-ground. This is not actually an issue, but the grinding method has an impact on your dish. If you want a consistent, thin texture, you can use the finely-grind cornmeal. The stoneground offers a chunkier and tastier texture. Coarse-ground cornmeal takes a lengthy time to soften, though. So, this depends on your personal preference.

You may also find various forms including the color variation: white and yellow. Some even added bran or buckwheat in it. The white cornmeal version is usually paired with shrimps or seafood with cheese or meat while the yellow cornmeal is the common version.

  1. The Liquid

While others use milk and stock as a substitute, it turns out that water is still a better option.

Milk can make your polenta creamier and richer. Stock, however, clobbers the flavor of the corn. Polenta doesn’t require too much seasoning since the corn already provides a strong flavor.

In some cases, a mixture of milk and water can also be a much option. The milk and water bring out an extra richness to the polenta. The ratio is usually 4:1, but you can make it 5:1. If you put 4 unit of water and 1 unit of cornmeal, be more cautious before you mess it up.

  1. Stirring

Some say stirring has nothing to do with the texture of your polenta. It is a common issue that one must continuously stir the polenta while it’s cooking. Others, on the other hand, say it isn’t necessary. If that’s the case, then do whatever you believe it’s true. At times, letting it stay in the fire for too long tends to get the bottom burned.

According to some experts, continuous and vigorous stirring yields a better result and flavor. If the texture becomes craggy, you may need to add more liquid. You don’t actually need to stir it continuously. You just have to check and stir from time to time. Imagine shaking the pan for about 45 minutes.

After knowing the basic information, you can now begin preparing your own polenta.


Preparation Time: 15 Minutes | Cooking Time: 45 to 60 Minutes | Servings Made: 4

  • 4 to 5 cups water, milk, or stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup grated cheese

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a large pan, put in water and salt and bring to a boil.
  1. Reduce the heat to low and stir while it simmers to prevent sticking. Cover and cook for 30 minutes but keep stirring in every 5 to 6 minutes.
  1. Once the thick texture becomes creamy and the grains are soft, turn off the stove and gently whisk the butter into the polenta. Add the cheese until it melts with the butter. Cover and wait for another 5 minutes.
  1. Transfer the dish to a serving bowl and garnish it with extra cheese


Paula is the founder of FoodRevPgh, where she blogs about the best food recipes, tips & tricks, and finest tech that will help you make exquisite food in your home. You can find many interesting insights to the finest meals, and guide you through preparing them, all without the hustle. Problems – Solved!

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