Creamy Polenta Recipe with Parmesan

This Creamy Polenta recipe is a delicious side dish. Irresistibly yummy with parmesan cheese, but simple to make with just 5-ingredients: polenta, parmesan, milk, chicken broth or bone broth and butter. Yum! 

Creamy polenta is one of the most simple side dishes that you can make. It makes a perfect side dish to compliment hearty, saucy dishes like these red wine braised short ribs, smoked beef short ribs, or this sausage ragout, because it soaks up all that delicious sauce.

Also, this easy polenta recipe is super versatile. Don’t have parmesan cheese on hand? You can use any other cheese that you may have, or simply leave it out. No milk, just use extra chicken stock. Want to make vegetarian polenta? Swap out the stock for vegetable broth. No milk? Just use extra broth/stock.

Is polenta the same as cornmeal?

  • Yes. Cornmeal is polenta, but there are different types. Many of them will work in this recipe.

What type of cornmeal to use for polenta?

  • Cornmeal labeled as “Polenta”. This will typically be a medium ground yellow cornmeal.
  • Stone-ground. This type of cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ of the kernels. It will produce polenta with wonderful, creamy texture and delicious corn flavor.
  • Medium. This will produce a more creamy polenta.
  • Coarse. Similar to stone-ground cornmeal, coarse cornmeal will produce a creamy polenta with a bit of texture to it.

As for what cornmeal not to use for polenta, avoid fine ground and instant polenta. Their texture will be a bit more mushy and the corn flavor not as noticeable.

Polenta vs. Grits

  • Though they look somewhat similar, grits and polenta are not the same. Grits are ground finer than polenta and are typically made with white corn hominy rather than yellow corn.

What is creamy polenta made of?

  • Bone Broth or Chicken Broth (or use vegetable stock or parmesan broth
  • Whole Milk 
  • Polenta 
  • Butter 
  • Parmesan 
  • Salt and black pepper

How to make polenta:

  • Bring broth and milk to a gentle simmer and season with salt & pepper.
  • Stir in polenta and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Add butter & parmesan and stir to combine.
  • Season and enjoy!
Cooked polenta in pot.

Is polenta gluten free?

  • Yes. Cornmeal is naturally gluten-free because it doesn’t contain wheat or gluten.

Can you make this polenta recipe ahead of time?

  • You can make polenta up to three days ahead of time. However, the soft polenta will firm up as it cools. See below for how to reheat and serve cheesy polenta.

How to reheat leftover polenta:

  • Add your desired amount of polenta to a saucepan, adding in 3 Tablespoons of liquid (milk, broth or water) for each cup of polenta.
  • Heat over low heat, stirring to combine.

Or, make polenta cakes. 

How to make polenta cakes:

  • Spread hot polenta into a baking tray.
  • Refrigerate until firm.
  • Slice the firm polenta into portions and fry, grill, or bake until crispy and delicious.
  • You can also make polenta fries using the same method but slicing the polenta into fry-like sticks.
Side view of bowl of creamy polenta.
Overhead shot of creamy polenta in white bowl with spoon, topped with parmesan and a sprig of rosemary.

If you loved this Creamy Polenta recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

What to serve with creamy polenta

Serve this traditional side dish with one of these yummy recipes:

More side dish recipes:

Cheesy Polenta Recipe

Two hands holding bowl of cooked polenta.

Creamy Polenta with Parmesan Cheese

This Creamy Polenta recipe makes a delicious side dish. Irresistibly delicious with parmesan cheese, but simple to make with just 5-ingredients: polenta, parmesan, milk, chicken broth and butter. Yum!
4.39 from 21 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 2 ½ cups bone broth (or chicken broth or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup medium or coarse ground polenta
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper


  • In a saucepan, combine chicken broth and milk; season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Add polenta and reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally until combined and thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Add butter and parmesan; stir to combine (if polenta becomes too thick, add more broth or milk).
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 541mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 467IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 213mg | Iron: 1mg

19 thoughts on “Creamy Polenta Recipe with Parmesan”

  1. OMG! My grandma is alive again! So good so creamy just perfect under a garlic/balsamic Pork tenderloin w a double baked stuffed eggplant boat! What a wonderful and easy meal to throw together

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve tried many polenta recipes and this was by far the best! Served it on Christmas beneath slow cooker short ribs and it was fabulous. Thank you!

    • Hi Donna:

      Add your desired amount of polenta to a saucepan, adding in 3 Tablespoons of liquid (milk, broth or water) for each cup of polenta.
      Heat over low heat, stirring to combine.

  3. 5 stars
    Fabulous and easy! I used olive oil instead of butter and drizzled some homemade pesto over the top and I have used it as a bed for a Mexican casserole! I have made it twice this week! So versatile!


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