How to Make Perfect Polenta | CFYL @ Fred Hutch
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Basic Polenta

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4.2 out of 5 stars (based on 115 reviews)

Clock Icon for Prep Time 20 min prep
Person Icon for Serving Size 6 servings
Carrot Icon for Number of Ingredients Size 5 ingredients

Polenta is the all time Italian comfort food. It is made from finely ground cornmeal, and is a great alternative as a side instead of rice or potatoes, or it can be eaten on its...


  • 4 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
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Nutrition Facts


117 cals


3 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

1 g

Monounsaturated Fat

2 g


21 g


1 g


1 g


2 g


434 mg


  1. In a heavy pot bring the water and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in cornmeal, stirring all the while. Turn the heat down to low and stir constantly for about 30 minutes for cornmeal or 15 minutes for instant polenta.
  2. For set polenta, pour into a lightly greased baking pan and allow to cool, then keep in the refrigerator until cold before slicing. If serving the polenta soft, stir in the olive oil or butter and Parmesan cheese, if using, and serve within 20 minutes.

Chef Tips

Always take care to buy quick-cook instant polenta. It’s tastes just as good as regular polenta. Making the real thing requires a lot of stirring and can be quite messy — it bubbles and sputters in the pan like a volcano as it cooks! This recipe makes 6 servings (each 1/2 cup) so remember to adjust the calorie count of your meal if you have more than this.

Registered Dietitian Approved

Our recipes, articles, and videos are reviewed by our oncology-trained dietitians to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society

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