How to Make Perfect Polenta

How to Make Perfect Polenta

Chef John 22721

"Polenta is nothing more than coarsely ground cornmeal. The classic ratio is 1 part polenta to 4 parts water, but I like to measure the polenta just a little scant of a full cup. I often use chicken broth instead of water. It's a perfect base for any kind of saucy meat or mushroom ragout."
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55 m servings 291 cals
Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 4 servings



  • Calories:
  • 291 kcal
  • 15%
  • Fat:
  • 14.7 g
  • 23%
  • Carbs:
  • 31g
  • 10%
  • Protein:
  • 9.2 g
  • 18%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 33 mg
  • 11%
  • Sodium:
  • 1186 mg
  • 47%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; pour polenta slowly into boiling water, whisking constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. When polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.
  3. Turn off heat and gently stir 2 tablespoons butter into polenta until butter partially melts; mix 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into polenta until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken; stir and taste for salt before transferring to a serving bowl. Top polenta with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and about 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.


  • Cook's Note:
  • Cooking time will depend on the grind of the polenta, so you'll have to adjust accordingly.



Thanksssss!!!!!! I came from Argentina and polenta is really big , but you make it from an instant packet. Here I only can find it in the latin store and is very expensive. This is a great way o...

Watching the video really helped! This was my first time making polenta, but most certainly won't be the last. Thick, creamy, smooth, warm, cheesy, perfect.

made polenta for the first time, but substituted 2 cups water to milk, turned out really nice. I should say be careful with salt, as the cheese also adds it.

Chef John you've done it again....this was perfect as promised. I was looking for a polenta recipe that didn't call for milk or cream and this was it! Followed the recipe exactly with grits (it'...

Used this recipe, and topped with Italian sausage and red sauce, very good, just like mom's. P.S. "fun girl" :D it's Italian all right, but the f-word.

This was great! My picky preteen enjoyed it. He grunted and when done, went to the kitchen to put more in his bowl. I had powdered bouillon that I added to the water and it came out so very flav...

Excellent! So easy to make. I learned you don't have to spend the whole cooking time stirring the pot :)

This was really good and quite easy. It cooked up a lot quicker for me, I have a flat top stove so I probably needed to have it set on a lower setting, I'll remember that next time. Still it cam...

Never made it before, but tried it with Chef John's Pork al Latte. It was outstanding! My husband usually complains about my cooking, but loved this. I made it with leftover turkey stock from ...