← Back to Search Results
Basic Polenta Recipe-1655

Photo by:
Comments: 2


Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 cups water (½ milk, ½ water could be used for a richer taste)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1½ cups coarse yellow cornmeal


In a medium cast-iron saucepan or other heavy pot, bring all ingredients except the cornmeal to simmer over medium heat.

Very slowly, begin to sift the cornmeal into the pan through the fingers of one hand, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk. (This operation will be greatly facilitated if the meal is scooped by the handful from a wide bowl.)

Gradually sift all the meal into the pan, continue to stir, and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to stir constantly until the polenta is smooth and thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan as it is stirred, about 30 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf, pour the polenta into a serving bowl or onto a wooden board, and allow it to rest 10 minutes. To serve from the bowl, dip a large spoon into hot water and scoop the polenta onto individual dishes, dipping the spoon into the water between scoops. To serve from the board, cut the polenta into segments with a thin, taut string or a knife and transfer to plates with a spatula or cake server.


Fried Polenta

Spread the desired amount of hot cooked polenta in a lightly greased pan, in a layer about ¼” thick, and smooth with a rubber spatula dipped in cold water. Refrigerate the polenta until firmly set, then turn it out of the pan and cut it into squares, rectangles, triangles, etc.

In a large skillet, over low heat, melt enough unsalted butter to lightly grease the surface of the pan. Arrange the polenta pieces in the skillet, leaving space between them, increase the heat to medium, and fry about 10 minutes, turning the polenta once, until lightly browned on both sides.

Grilled Polenta

Lightly brush the polenta slices with olive oil and set them on a hot grill. Grill 4–5 minutes on each side.

© 1990 Lidia Bastianich and Jay Jacobs

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on using water.

241kcal (12%)
430mg (18%)
6g (10%)
2g (12%)
8mg (3%)
24mcg RAE (1%)
0mg (0%)
11mg (1%)
2mg (9%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
  • Alheckert

    12.11.12 Flag comment

    We appreciate your feedback there was indeed a typo for the salt measurement. This recipe now reads 1 tablespoon of course salt.

  • parksloper

    10.30.12 Flag comment

    I think there's a typo with this recipe.
    Two tablespoons is a lot of salt. It tastes a bit salty to me.

    I would use two teaspoons.


Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

secrets-of-slow-cooking-creating-extraordinary-food-with-your-slow-cooker Secrets of Slow Cooking: Cr...
by Liana Krissoff
125-best-vegan-recipes 125 Best Vegan Recipes
by Maxine Effenson Chuck, Beth Gurney
hudson-valley-mediterranean-the-gigi-good-food-cookbook Hudson Valley Mediterranean...
by Laura Pensiero
david-rosengarten-entertains-fabulous-parties-for-food-lovers David Rosengarten Entertain...
by David Rosengarten
martin-yans-china Martin Yan's China
by Martin Yan
everyday-chinese-cooking Everyday Chinese Cooking
by Katie Chin, Leeann Chin
sunday-suppers-at-lucques Sunday Suppers at Lucques
by Suzanne Goin
julias-kitchen-wisdom Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
by Julia Child
bistro-cooking-at-home-more-than-150-classic-and-contemporary-dishes Bistro Cooking at Home: Mor...
by Gordon Hamersley
baked-explorations Baked Explorations
by Matt Lewis
cooking-for-friends Cooking for Friends
by Gordon Ramsay
the-sushi-experience The Sushi Experience
by Hiroko Shimbo
amor-y-tacos Amor Y Tacos
by Deborah Schneider
antipasti-fabulous-appetizers-and-small-plates Antipasti: Fabulous Appetiz...
by Joyce Goldstein
nigella-express Nigella Express
by Nigella Lawson
rice Rice
by Bonnie Tandy Leblang, Joanne Lamb Hayes

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?