Creamy Cheesy Polenta

Creamy Cheesy Polenta

4 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tbsp butter

½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Heat water to boil over medium-high heat. Add salt and cornmeal, whisking gently. Continue to whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk constantly for about 2 minutes or until thick.

Cover the pan and continue to cook for 30-35, whisking vigorously every 5-10 minutes, taking the time to scrape the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and cheese until melted.

Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional butter or cheese if desired.

4 servings, 255 calories per serving

Hack: Polenta can be eaten alone or as a side dish to replace rice or potatoes.

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6 Replies to “Creamy Cheesy Polenta”

  1. Polenta is one of my favorite dishes, we usually have it as a side dish to meat sauces, and sometimes I prepare it for an afternoon snack. I have already combined it with various ingredients, for a snack most often with mixed banana and herbs (lemon balm, peppermint add a great aroma).
    But I haven’t tried it with cheese yet. I’ll try this the next time it’s on the lunch side menu.
    Thanks for a great idea!
    I wish you all the best

    1. Bananas and lemon balm?  Whaaaaaat??  I’m going to try that the next time it’s on my menu!  Thank you for the idea!

  2. Hello there, Cynthia! I actually have not heard of Polenta before. From your picture, it looks a bit like mash potatoes and I love that (only this is with corn and I also love corn). The ingredients list also don’t seem to require much. I am going to have to try to make this and taste it one of these days. I was wondering if it can still be good if made to be on the sweeter side? Thanks for this simple recipe!

    1. Yes!  Polenta is often mixed with sugar and vanilla, usually as a breakfast dish.  Although you should adjust it according to your own taste, I would suggest leaving out the cheese and adding 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Please let me know if this sweeter version worked for you!

  3. Hi Cynthia,

    This Polenta is an awesome side dish like you said, to compliment any meal. It can be very tasty to use as a dish in itself with many varieties of added flavors as mentioned in this article and the comments. 

    I am not sure if folks are aware, it can be very healthy. No additives or preservatives, low in calories. Probably can’t say gluten-free though, maybe Vegan. 

    This dish is one of the staples that kept early Americans alive in the wild frontier. All it takes is a bit of corn, water, and whatever you choose to use as a binder and flavor. Super simple to cook with primitive utensils too.

    Lots of history in this very simple dish.

    Thanks for reminding me of this, will make some tonight!


    1. Thank you for the background story on this delicious dish!  I love to hear about where foods come from and how they came into being.

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