Creamy Polenta

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

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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

  • 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.)

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Showing 4 of 22 Comments

  • RNape

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

  • Joni

    I love this recipe! I have made it several times. It is like comfort food for me when I decide to eat carbs.

  • Anonymous

    Tried your recipe tonight….I loved it! It was nice and creamy.

  • Penny

    You really want to make this a great dish, add a cup of each of Fontina and Parmesan (grated)Cheese. Wow it’s good.

  • Mark

    This is my standard polenta recipe and it is foolproof if you follow the directions. We try to do a cheese tasting once a week. Then I’ll take several of the remaining pieces and put them in the food processor with 1 tbs cream, 1 tbs white wine, and puree. That will be the cheese mixture I add to the polenta along with the 1/2 the butter amount at the very end. Tonight a mixture of Rogue River Crater Lake Blue and a ripe french goat cheese (2 to 4 oz total)will finish the polenta and accompany a chanterelle and spinich stuffed pork tenderloin. Don’t count the calories, but it is an amazing combo. Thanks Elise, this is still my favorite food blog!

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