How to Cook Polenta | Cupcake Project

How to Cook Polenta

How to Cook Polenta

To find out how to cook polenta, I headed to Eating Out Loud. I needed to find out how to cook polenta because my next cupcake has polenta as an ingredient. Since I was making polenta anyway, we decided to have it for dinner. Polenta is a cheap and easy way to have a dinner that looks incredibly gourmet. For the best effect, be sure to call your polenta dinner “polenta with ragout and pan seared beef” rather than “cornmeal with tomato sauce and hamburger meat.”

Polenta Recipe

Cooking polenta is really easy, and the best part (depending on how you look at it) is that you can cook polenta instead of taking a trip to the gym. It involves stirring a very heavy cornmeal mush for about thirty minutes – an incredible arm workout! First, you’ll need to buy some uncooked polenta. Polenta is essentially cornmeal, and any old cornmeal would work just fine. However, according to a helpful discussion thread on Chowhound, polenta has more of a standardized grain size. I purchased my uncooked polenta from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. Bob’s Red Mill also sells it. Below you’ll find the polenta cooking technique as found on Eating Out Loud, along with my notes.

How to Cook Polenta

How to Cook Polenta


  • 6 C water
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 C uncooked polenta (any cornmeal will work)
  • 3 T unsalted butter


  1. Heat water with salt over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in polenta and reduce to a simmer. It’s important at this point to keep the mixture moving using a strong wooden spoon.
  3. Stir for about 30 minutes — the mixture will thicken immediately, but the consistency and thickness will continue to develop during the 30 minutes. It’s important to keep stirring, don’t give up. (I wanted to give up. I wanted so much to give up. I ended up having my husband help out. He's made polenta before and never stirred for thirty minutes. He didn't see the point until it was all done and the consistency was perfect! If you prefer more of a soft polenta, then I give you the OK to quit.)
  4. After 30 minutes, stir in butter until blended.
  5. Pour the polenta into a greased baking dish and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. The polenta will become firm and can be sliced at this point.
  6. The polenta can be refrigerated or frozen for later use.


Coming Up Next

Coming up next, I’ve got a post about polenta cupcakes that somehow morphed into awesome moist corn muffins.

Did you love this post?
Share It
Get Free Updates

3 Responses to How to Cook Polenta

  1. veggievixen June 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    i love polenta! i’ve made a great recipe where you cook up the polenta, put it in the fridge for a bit, and then cut it into squares and pan-fry it with some rosemary and other spices. delish!

  2. Amy June 18, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    What is on top of the of the Polenta? It looks like what we put on top of the polenta while I was in Peru!

    What is ragout? : )

  3. Happy cook June 18, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    I love tha ttopping, i have only sweet baked with polenta never savoury.
    Looks really yumm.

  4. Ivy June 19, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Ohhhh, you make me laugh with your polenta dinner comments!

  5. Stef June 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    Veggie – Oooh.. that sounds really good.

    Amy – It’s just some tomato sauce with some ground beef.

    Happy – That’s funny. I’ve never had the sweet kind. :)

    Ivy – Glad to hear it!

  6. Tulip's Talking June 20, 2009 at 8:16 am #

    You have received a reward


  7. eatpress June 20, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    For some reason I always thought making good polenta was tricky. I am glad to hear you found it easy, I’ll be trying it tonight with a roasted eggplant and tomato sauce. Thanks!

  8. Eliana June 22, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    I can’t wait to see what your cupcakes are going to look like. Thanks for your creativity and for always keeping us guessing!

  9. Jennifer June 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    YUM!! I love polenta!!! Have you tried making a lasagna from it? I did it once and it was a HUGE hit! Use the sliced polenta in place of noodles in your lasagna recipe. SO good!

  10. Cakespy June 24, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    This sounds awesome. I am a big fan of polenta but had mostly been limited to eating it when other people made it. :-) I had been needing a good recipe to try it myself…this looks like the perfect one!

  11. Katie December 29, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    Thanks for this amusing and informative post! I have never cooked with polenta, but think this might be my motivation to try :-) All that stirring sounds…painful. But definitely better than a trip to the gym!


  1. Lamb Burger Recipe with Chocolate and Homemade Ketchup | Cupcake Project - April 28, 2013

    [...] A: I posted my polenta recipe but didn’t tell you about what went into the tomato meat sauce. That was because Jonathan [...]

  2. Polenta Cupcakes Morphed Into Corn Muffins – A Story with a Moral | Cupcake Project - May 8, 2013

    [...] First, I made some polenta. [...]

Leave a Reply