Creamy Polenta

The simplicity of this creamy polenta recipe belies its true wonderfulness. This polenta is so light, so fluffy, so creamy, it could almost be a dessert.

Polenta is made from coarsely ground cornmeal and is a staple of Northern Italy. It makes a wonderful serving base for osso bucco, short ribs or oxtail.

In this recipe the polenta is slowly cooked in water with a little butter, then finished with stirring in some cream cheese and salt. Easy to make and absolutely delicious.

  • Prep: 5 minutes
  • Cook: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

If preparing in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, about 5 minutes on high, just before serving. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (or 1 teaspoon if using salted butter)
  • 1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese


1 Heat salted water (1 1/2 teaspoons of salt for 1 quart of water) to a boil over high heat in a thick-bottomed 2 or 3 quart pan, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated.

2 Lower the heat to a very low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, for 25 minutes.

3 Finish by stirring in the cream cheese until it has melted into the polenta. Taste and add more salt if necessary. (You can also add more cream cheese if you want it to be even creamier.)

Main Ingredients