Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta
Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta

Traditional stovetop polenta is a wonderful breakfast, lunch or side dish. But, so many people avoid making it because they have heard it’s hard to make. Just look around the Net and you will find so many “rules” about making polenta.

  • Stir in one direction
  • Boil the water first
  • Only use wooden spoon
  • Gently sprinkle the cornmeal into the boiling water
  • Stir constantly

Ok, that would turn me off too.

Rest assured these rules do not apply. You can even watch the video I made to prove it to you. In the video; I use cold water; I dump all the cornmeal in at once; I use a whisk most of the time; I do not stir constantly; and I certainly do not stir in only one direction. All this rule breaking, and it still comes out creamy and lump-free.

In this recipe, I use medium ground cornmeal and it takes about 30 minutes. I prefer very creamy polenta. If you prefer to use coarse cornmeal, it will take 40-60 minutes.

Using this recipe, you can either make creamy, hot, polenta porridge or you can chill it into a solid. Solid polenta is great for grilling, frying or baking.

By its nature, polenta is quite bland. Think of it as a canvas for other flavours, just like oatmeal or rice. Check the link below to learn more about polenta and how to use it.

This recipe is for a basic, unflavoured polenta. A perfect canvas.


  • Many recipes call for a ratio of 4:1 Water : Cornmeal. I find that a ratio of 5:1 works more consistently.
  • I use baking soda in the water because it helps to soften the cornmeal and it cooks quicker. This is more noticeable when using coarse cornmeal than Medium cornmeal.
  • When making polenta on the stove, the water can easily be changed out for milk or stock. If you are planning to create solid polenta, it is better to just use water.
  • If you want to eat it as porridge, serve it as soon as it is done cooking. When polenta cools it sets quite quickly and it does not return to its creamy texture when reheated.
  • Solid polenta can be frozen and used later. To do this, place the cooked polenta in a greased container and let it chill in the fridge for a few hours. Then slice it up and place the slices on a cookie sheet in one layer. Put this in the freezer. Once the pieces are frozen, place them in an airtight freezer-safe container. When you want to cook the pieces, allow them to thaw first. Use them while they are still quite cold, but not frozen.

Recipe Demonstration Videos

This is a very quick video demonstration showing how easy it is to make stovetop polenta. Don’t worry, it is not hard at all. Watch how I break all the “rules” and it still comes out great.

Stovetop Polenta

This video shows some options for how to use solid, sliced polenta. Even though I use the same base polenta, and the same seasoning, each method of cooking makes them taste different.

Sliced Polenta 3 Ways


Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta Recipe

Print Recipe

Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4 2 minutes 30 minutes

Recipe Notes

  • The liquid can be switched out with milk or stock.
  • Add other spices to the liquid if you like.
  • Can be served with sweet or savoury toppings.


  • 170 grams (1 Cup) Medium Cornmeal
  • 1250 mililitres (5 Cups) Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 28 grams (1 Tablespoon) Unsalted Butter


Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta
Gather your ingredients.
Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta
In a medium saucepan add water, salt, baking soda and cornmeal.
Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta
Stir with a stiff whisk real well so no lumps form.
Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta
Turn the stove element on high. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, turn the heat to its LOWEST setting. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes. Stir every 3-5 minutes so that the polenta does not stick to the bottom. I like to use a timer.
Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta
Once the polenta has thickened, taste to see if it is still gritty. If it is, cook for longer. Once it is cooked through, add butter and stir.
Easy Creamy Stovetop Polenta
Serve as a base to sweet or savory toppings or simply add a bit of Parmesan cheese.
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