Cornmeal polenta in a white oval serving dish, topped with cheese, olive oil and crushed chili peppers.

Creamy Polenta Recipe

This Creamy Polenta Recipe is the ultimate Italian comfort food. Only 5 key steps to making polenta. You are going to love this basic recipe.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Creamy polenta, Easy polenta recipe, How to make polenta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 261kcal
Author Maria Vannelli RD


  • 7.5 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ¾ cup coarse cornmeal
  • ¾ cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • Olive oil to drizzle


  • Over medium-high heat, bring water and salt to a boil.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, whisk together the coarse and finely ground cornmeal in a small bowl.
  • Reduce the heat to low. The cornmeal will splatter when added to the boiling water.
  • While constantly whisking, add the cornmeal slowly, in a thin steady stream.
  • Adjust the heat so that there are just a few bubbles breaking the surface. With a wooden spoon, stir every few minutes for about 35-45 minutes until the polenta is smooth and thick.
  • Remove polenta from heat. Add 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, stir to combine.
  • Serve immediately.
  • If desired, garnish with more grated cheese and drizzle with olive oil.



  • Although polenta can be made with either coarse or fine cornmeal, a combination of both provides the silkiest texture.
  • DO NOT use instant polenta for this recipe.
  • A heavy bottomed saucepan is key to obtaining a rich and creamy textured polenta.
  • Add the polenta slowly, while whisking, to the boiling water in order to avoid getting lumpy polenta.
  • Polenta requires frequent stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and lumps from forming.
  • Cook polenta on a low heat.
  • For a thicker consistency, increase the cooking time.
  • As the polenta cools down, it becomes firmer and retains its shape.
  • Refrigerate polenta for up to 5 days.
Can I double the recipe? Yes, in fact as long as you keep the ratio of 5 cups of liquid to one cup of cornmeal, you can increase (or decrease) the ingredients accordingly. Use caution with salt. 
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 740mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 5g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1.9mg