Golden and Crunchy Crispy Polenta: A Perfect Side Dish

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Crispy polenta is a delightful side dish that is perfect for those who crave a golden, crunchy texture paired with a creamy interior. This recipe is great for home cooks who are looking for a crispy polenta easy recipe that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Have you ever wondered what makes polenta crispy? The secret lies in the cooking technique and the right combination of ingredients.

crispy polenta

Yields, Prep Time, Cook Time, Total Time, and Calories per Serving

YieldsPrep TimeCook TimeTotal TimeCalories per Serving
4 servings15 minutes45 minutes60 minutes200 kcal


  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)


Step 1: In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp of salt to the water.

Step 2: Gradually whisk in 1 cup of polenta, ensuring there are no lumps. Continue to stir as the mixture thickens.

Step 3: Reduce the heat to low and let the polenta simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until it reaches a thick, creamy consistency.

Step 4: Stir in 2 tbsp of butter and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well until fully incorporated.

Step 5: Pour the polenta into a greased baking dish and spread it evenly. Allow it to cool and set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Step 6: Once set, cut the polenta into sticks, squares, or your desired shape.

Step 7: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the polenta pieces until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 4-6 minutes per side.

Step 8: Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired, and serve hot.

Nutrition Facts

NutrientAmount per Serving
Calories200 kcal

For a visual guide, watch this video on how to make perfect polenta:

Kitchen Equipment Needed

  • Large pot
  • Whisk
  • Greased baking dish
  • Skillet
  • Paper towels

Storage and Reheating

Store any leftover crispy polenta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through and crispy again.

Food and Drink Pairings

This crispy polenta side dish pairs beautifully with a variety of mains, such as grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or a fresh salad. For beverage pairings, a crisp white wine or a refreshing iced tea complements the flavors well.

crispy polenta

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is crispy polenta made of?

A: Crispy polenta is made of polenta (cornmeal), water, salt, butter, and Parmesan cheese. The mixture is cooked until thick, allowed to set, and then fried until golden and crispy.

Q: What is polenta made of?

A: Polenta is made from ground cornmeal. It is a traditional Italian dish that can be served creamy or allowed to set and then sliced and fried.

Q: What does fried polenta taste like?

A: Fried polenta has a delightful contrast of textures with a crispy exterior and a creamy, slightly nutty interior. The addition of butter and cheese adds richness and depth of flavor.

Q: What’s the difference between cornmeal and polenta?

A: The primary difference is in the grind and texture. Cornmeal is finely ground, while polenta is coarser. Polenta also often has a slightly different flavor profile due to the type of corn used.

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