How to Make Cornmeal Polenta

by Willow Sidhe ; Updated September 28, 2017

Polenta is a traditional Italian dish similar to porridge, and was originally made with maize meal. The name comes from the Latin word for "pearl barley." In modern times, polenta is often made with cornmeal, and is later fried, baked or grilled. This recipe yields approximately four servings of cornmeal polenta.

Add two cups of water, ½ cup of milk and a dash of salt to a medium-sized saucepan. Stir to combine and warm the ingredients over medium-high heat.

Add the cornmeal to the pan just before it reaches a boil. Whisk continually with a wire whisk as you pour the cornmeal to prevent lumps from forming.

Whisk the dried sage leaves and fresh rosemary into the cornmeal polenta. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until thick. The ideal consistency is similar to that of sour cream.

Add the garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese to the polenta. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and cheese have melted completely, and then add a dash of black pepper to taste.

Stir the fresh corn kernels into the polenta just before serving. It can be eaten hot or be left to cool, sliced and then fried or grilled or used in various recipes.


  • If the polenta becomes too thick while simmering, stir in additional water until the desired consistency is reached.

    Almond, rice, oat or hazelnut milk can be used in place of dairy milk if desired or necessary. To make the meal vegan, use 1 tbsp. of olive oil instead of butter and omit the cheese.

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About the Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including