Creamy Polenta

Creamy polenta! Perfect for serving with ribs, chicken, lamb chops, or veal.

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

  • 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.


  • 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.)

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Creamy Polenta on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Showing 4 of 22 Comments

  • RNape

    I used all chicken broth for the liquid and subbed goat cheese for the cream cheese. Amazing!

  • Ti

    Wow! I just made my first pot o’ polenta out of many more to come. Instead of water, I used 3 cups chicken stock and 1 cup milk. I also omitted the cream cheese as I used a blend of hard italian cheeses, 1 T honey, and a few gratings of nutmeg. Topped with a hearty mushroom sauce. This polenta could be altered several ways because the foundation is so fantastic! Thanks for such an amazingly simple terrific recipe! I have now subscribed to this tasty blog! :)

  • amurrayrubin

    My mouff is fool off polentha… Mmmmmmmm!

  • Penny

    For breakfast lately I do this: add 1/4 c. polenta to 2 c. boiling water. Simmer and let thicken, then when it’s rich and bubbly, add grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and serve with sauteed mushrooms. For the deluxe version, top with a fried egg. Rainy morning heaven!

  • Anonymous

    Love, love love polenta. I use tofu cream cheese even in cheese cake (I know sounds gross but you cannot tell. I have served to many people and they cannot tell the difference) i am not vegan but love to eat rich food and have high cholesterol so try and find good substitutes. I believe the brand I use in Tofi ( I am not 100 percent sure as I am not looking at it) So after this long winded history am wondering if this would work in polenta?

View More Comments / Leave a Comment
Creamy PolentaCreamy Polenta