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Italian Polenta Cookies


Polenta, which is made from cornmeal, is a staple in northern Italy. To achieve an authentic texture, use imported polenta, which is available in most Italian markets and specialty-food stores.

  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2005


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Italian polenta, or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, (1 lemon)
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, polenta, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  2. Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, beating after each addition to combine. Mix in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip (such as Ateco No. 826).

  3. Pipe S shapes about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to wire racks; let cool about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from parchment, and transfer to racks to cool completely.


Martha used a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch star tip (such as Ateco #825), and before baking, chilled the sheet of cookies in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Cook's Notes

Try Polenta Bramata, or any dry, grainy coarse-ground cornmeal or polenta. Regular cornmeal from the supermarket is more finely ground, and will yield cookies with a slightly different texture.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Mn3boys
    20 DEC, 2013
    I found that using half oil/half butter allowed me to pipe them out fairly easily. I also use more lemon rind and then lightly coat them in icing sugar mixed with lemon juice.
  • Sandra7824
    9 JUN, 2011
    When I first mentioned I was making Polenta cookies everyone was wondering what I was up to. After trying them, they are now a make-again. I didn't have the Italian Polenta, so I used regular yellow cornmeal. The lemon flavour is there. :)
  • MS11490223
    17 MAY, 2011
    the taste and texture are great, but I could not squeeze it out of the pastry bag, even without a tip, it is very firm, so I made little buttons, not as pretty but good
  • rebeccajane
    26 FEB, 2011
    I think these cookies are delicious, however I have not been successful on piping them, my dough is always too tough (I use a small scoop and just make rounds, instead). I would love to be able to pipe them, does anyone have any advice?
  • kcblock
    10 FEB, 2011
    I love these cookies but I found it extremely hard to use the pastry bag, it was as if the dough was too thick. I had to fill the bag with very small quantities of dough and warm it in my hands for a long time so I could get it to form a cookie like shown. Anyone got any hints. Martha's video made using the bag look easy
  • Aon
    30 SEP, 2010
    I bought Martha cookie book yesterday and Italian Polanta Cookies was the first one I tried. I found it gritty as well maybe not for everyone who like this feeling on their mouth such as my mum but it is tasty. I have problem that my cookie is going flat during baking, I don't know why ? Can anyone help ?
  • IKelly
    23 AUG, 2010
    Delicious and traditional in Italy! I will add that 'polenta' is a preparation: salted hot boiling water, you add yellow cornmeal flour, and let it cook for about 1,5 hour always stirring. You eat it with meat stew, vegetables or butter and cheese (gorgonzola, i.e. blue cheese); Or, you can fry slices of polenta with cheese upon; For children: when cold, you slice it and spread some sugar. Polenta looks like 'grits'. The flour for the cookies is called 'farina di mais' or 'farina gialla'.
  • JacqJacq
    14 AUG, 2010
    I make these all the time and everyone raves about them. It is a little hard to pipe out at times, but I leave the dough out a bit and pipe out a whole tray. Place the tray in the fridge and about 15 to 20 minutes later I bake off a sheet pan at a time. They come out perfect everytime! Great cookie!!!
  • MidwestSplendor
    1 FEB, 2010
    I found these cookies rather boring. Probably should have tried a better quality corn meal, but I won't bother making these again.
  • cocoisa
    30 JAN, 2010
    Hummm que rico voy a probar nunca hice galletas con polenta Muchas gracias.