Under 30 Minutes

Quick Soft Polenta

It's easy to prepare this quick and delicious side dish; all it takes is a bit of whisking. Serve polenta straight from the pot, or cool, slice, and broil until crisp.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Everyday Food, 2005


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, or sharp cheddar)
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, very gradually add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking until smooth before adding more.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and butter until smooth. Serve immediately.


For additional flavor, stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, basil or parsley along with the cheese and butter.

Cook's Notes

For the creamiest texture, whisk frequently as the polenta cooks. When it reaches the consistency of oatmeal, it's ready (serve immediately, as polenta thickens as it cools).


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