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How to Cook Polenta (Corn Grits)?

Updated on May 2, 2013

Cooking polenta is super easy!

Polenta finds its way to our plates often as it is really easy & quick to make and tastes great so what's not to love! We prepare it as a side dish or as a main course, cooked, fried and baked depending on current inspirations and needs.

This time I am making fried polenta as a side dish so you will be able to learn the basics on how to cook polenta as well as how to fry it! When fried it goes along perfectly with any tomato based stews, you can serve it as a party snack along with some dip sauces, if you have a barbecue it can replace bread and I could go on and on.

Original Photo Credit: Dèsirèe Tonus via Flickr CC

To make the basic polenta all you need is a bag of instant polenta (flour), water and salt. You can serve it like this as a side dish or let it cool and make other tasty meals.

Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 3 min
Ready in: 5 min


  • Polenta
  • Salt
  • Water


  1. Bring salted water to boil and slowly mix in the polenta. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring until the mixture becomes thick.
  2. You need about 2-3 cups water for 1 cup of polenta.
  3. Depending on which dish you are preparing you can mix in all kinds of things while cooking it - you could add herbs (rosemary, time and basil are my favourite), add vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, peppers...), cheese (parmesan will rock your world), even meats (bacon, pepperoni...)...
  4. photo credit: Special*Dark via photopin cc
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Fried Polenta

Tasty side dish or a snack

To fry the polenta you will first need to cook it. You could also use the tubed one.

Before you start cooking the polenta make sure you have a smaller oven tray ready. It's best to cover it with baking paper as this will make it easy to take your corn grits out.

As soon as the polenta is cooked take it off the fire an pour it into the tray. Let it cool for an hour or two (it's best if you put it in to the fridge once it is cool enough).

Cut it to small pieces. If you are serving it as a side dish the pieces can be bigger, if you are making snacks make them thinner.

Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan (I used olive oil). Fry on both sides until it turns golden or brownish depending on how crunchy you want it to be (about a minute on each side).

You might have noticed the specks in the polenta in the picture. I added rosemary to it as this is my favourite herb.

I made it as a side dish - With a nice turkey stake, peppers and beans

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cook the polentaLet it cool in a small traySlice it into small pieces and fry it on both sidesEnjoy your tasty meal
Cook the polenta
Cook the polenta
Let it cool in a small tray
Let it cool in a small tray
Slice it into small pieces and fry it on both sides
Slice it into small pieces and fry it on both sides
Enjoy your tasty meal
Enjoy your tasty meal

Become a corn grits master chef - Sky is the limit

There are so many things you can do with corn grits!

Polenta: 100 Innovative Recipes--From Appetizers to Desserts
Polenta: 100 Innovative Recipes--From Appetizers to Desserts

I admit although I do have corn grits in my little finger when it comes to cooking side dishes and snacks but when it comes to deserts I couldn't be more clueless. Looks like I have some reading to do.


How to cook polenta in a tube?

It's already cooked!

Polenta in a tube is already cooked so there's no need to cook it again.

Polenta Chips with Herbs - Delicious Snack

I sometimes do corn gritz snacks, especially when a friend of mine with a coeliac disease comes over as corn is gluten free and this is one of the things she can eat. I serve them with tomato sauce or cream cheese sauce with onion.

Photo credit: jamieanne via photopin cc

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