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Simple Fried Polenta Recipe

With a firm outer crust and and soft creamy inside, this simple fried polenta recipe makes a delicious side dish for any saucy meal.

Overhead view of fried polenta cut into bite-sized cubes and placed on a white, oval platter.

We love our saucy dishes! From beef goulash, chicken ragu, simple vegetable salsa and pork with mushroom sauce, many of our favourite meals have a sauce base.

But with a sauce we also like a side dish! This simple fried polenta recipe is a great alternative to pasta, rice or potatoes to accompany our favourite sauces.

While traditional polenta, made from ground yellow corn (also called cornmeal) has a mushy, porridge-like consistency.

Although we like using the cornmeal as an alternative to flour-based sides such as pasta, we’re not too crazy about adding a saucy dish to a more liquid polenta.

Instead, we take the extra step to lightly fry the polenta to make it firmer to enjoy along side our sauce-based dishes.

Ingredients Needed for this Corn Polenta Side Dish

  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil (divided)
  • 3 cups corn meal

How to Cook Polenta

Combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pan. Slowly bring to a boil.

Once boiling, stir often for 4-5 minutes to keep the mixture from burning on the bottom. The polenta will thicken as you cook: you are aiming for a thick porridge consistency.

Pour the hot mixture into a large dish so that it is about 1 1/2 inches thick. Let cool completely to set (you can even leave this overnight in the fridge).

A platter of polenta cut into squares.

Once cooled and set, cut into small squares, about 2″ across. Place into heated pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Sear each side for 1-2 minutes, until slightly golden.

Polenta cubes being seared on a stove-top skillet.

Serve and enjoy!

Searing the polenta squares gives the outside a slightly firmer “crust” while the inside remains soft and creamy.

Close up image of four cubes of fried polenta stacked on top of each other on a white plate.

What to Serve with Fried Polenta

This polenta is great as the base for any sauce-type dish including:

Then add a simple dessert such as this easy cuban flan or bite-sized homemade donuts and you’re good to go!

Easy Fried Polenta Recipe

Jane and Sonja
Cooked and then gently seared, this classic fried polenta recipe is a delicious side dish for any saucy meal and simple alternative to pasta or rice.
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cooling time 30 mins
Total Time 42 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 people
Calories 244 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups corn meal

Instructions
 

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pan. Slowly bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, stir often for 4-5 minutes to keep the mixture from burning on the bottom. The polenta will thicken as you cook: you are aiming for a thick porridge consistency.
  • Pour the hot mixture into a large dish so that it is about 1 1/2 inches thick. Let cool completely to set (you can even leave this overnight in the fridge).
  • Once cooled and set, cut into small squares, about 2″ across. Place into heated pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Sear each side for 1-2 minutes, until slightly golden.

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 155mgPotassium: 192mgFiber: 6gSugar: 1gCalcium: 8mgIron: 2mg
Keyword corn meal
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A plate of fried polenta squares

Recipe Rating




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SNK Creation

Wednesday 10th of August 2022

Damn! It's looks so delicious and yummy recipe. i will definitely try this home. Thanks for sharing nice article. https://www.snkcreation.com/

Azlin Bloor

Friday 8th of May 2020

Hi ladies, these polenta cubes look so perfect, I can imagine just how good they must be, on their own or with the sauces you've suggested! Thank you for including the red chilli pesto.

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