Creamy Polenta

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Creamy Polenta Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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.)

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Showing 4 of 21 Comments

  • Dimas

    Polenta is a very common dish in Brazil, and we love it. A very good variation to serve with black coffe is a thicker one (I think more cooking or less liquid) fried with a film of oil,

    You cut it in 2 inchs long squared about 1/4 inch (litle bit larger than a potato for French fries) and toast it to brown in a pan. Serve hot.

  • CE

    I am so addicted to this dish!!! My husband requests it at least once a week. I serve it with all kinds of Italian food, but our absolute favorite is to top the polenta with braised balsamic chicken. It’s a moment in paradise!! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. Mangia!

  • Christina Stone

    I just made it with white corn meal and it reminds me of cream of wheat which i loved so much as a kid and coincidentally had been missing of late, except I think I’ll allergic to wheat so had been avoiding it. Now I can have it in polenta form. Thanks. Oh, and kids liked it, always nice surprise at our picky dinner table.

  • Mandy

    I have made this several times now and absolutely love it. Tonight I made it with mascarpone instead of cream cheese. Delish!

  • Rebecca

    Delicious! Used ricotta instead of the cream cheese because I had it on hand and it turned out perfectly. The first night we ate it with chicken paprikas ( your recipe as well :). The next morning my 18 month old and I finished it off for breakfast!

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