If your family enjoys dishes like risotto or cheesy pasta, they will love this Parmesan Polenta recipe! It’s easy to make on the stove-top and it’s the perfect recipe for first-timers who want to dress up dinner.
Milk, butter, and grated Parmesan give the polenta a rich flavor and luxurious creamy texture that goes great with any protein and vegetables or, served as a holiday side dish.
Creamy Parmesan Polenta
A delicious creamy parmesan polenta is easy to prepare on the stove-top in a matter of minutes without a lot of babysitting the pot. If you can simmer water and stir, you can make great polenta!
While this recipe takes around 50 minutes to cook, you can leave it on the stove-top while you go about your business.
What is Polenta
Polenta is coarsely ground yellow flint corn, a type of corn with a tough outer layer, not the one you find in the fresh produce aisle. While polenta looks similar to yellow corn grits, it’s not the same and takes 45 to 50 minutes to cook.
Most polenta dishes are served in this recipe’s fashion; creamy, but you can also find it pre-cooked in plastic tubes.
Need to run to the grocery store to grab polenta? You’ll find it next to the pasta and grains in the dry goods aisle. To make this recipe, use regular polenta, not quick-cooking or instant, and definitely not in the plastic tube.
Is Polenta a Side or a Full Dinner?
Polenta is a common side dish or base for roasted meats and vegetables. For instance, you can serve it on the side of roasted chicken or make a base of polenta and place the roasted chicken on top. It also goes great with seafood like seared shrimp and baked fish.
What is in Parmesan Polenta?
This recipe certainly tastes like one of those fancy side dishes you’d get at a 5-start restaurant, but don’t worry; it’s made with simple ingredients like milk, butter, and Parmesan cheese.
- water: the polenta cooks in boiling water until the grains become tender and thicken.
- salt: to season the polenta and enhance the creamy flavor.
- polenta: the MVP for this fancy dish.
- whole milk: just a splash to give the polenta perfect texture. You could also use half & half.
- butter: melts into the hot polenta and makes it extra rich.
- Parmesan: adds depth of flavor and enhances the consistency.
How to Make Creamy Parmesan Polenta
This recipe is a cinch to make. Just keep an eye on it while it’s simmering on the stove-top, and you’re good to go! Here’s how to make creamy polenta!
- Boil water
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the polenta and whisk for 2 minutes until it thickens.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Add the dairy
Once the polenta is tender and thickened, add the butter, milk, and cheese.
- Time to eat
Remove from heat and serve with the rest of your meal.
How easy was that?!
Topping Parmesan Polenta
Dress the finished dish up with one of the toppings below or make it a meal and create your own combination of toppings. I love this Parmesan polenta with a fried egg and roasted vegetables- it’s divine!
- charred tomatoes
- sauteed spinach
- grated cheese
- a fried egg
- roasted vegetables
What to Serve with Polenta for Dinner
Any of these healthy comfort food recipes would pair great with this creamy Parmesan Polenta and won’t leave you feeling weighed down.
- Pan-seared Chicken
- Oven-baked Chicken Thighs
- Easy Roasted Fall Vegetables
- Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
- Honey Glazed Salmon
Simple Parmesan Polenta
Make this easy creamy parmesan polenta recipe for an incredible and delicious dinner side.
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Stovetop
- 4 ½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup polenta (not the instant variety)
- ⅓ cup whole milk, as needed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the polenta and whisk continuously until thickened (like oatmeal).
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer. Let the polenta cook, uncovered, for 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. If the polenta gets too thick, add a splash of milk, and stir.
- Once the polenta is tender, add the butter, remaining milk, and ½ cup cheese. Add more salt, if needed.
- Serve the polenta and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 234
- Sugar: 1.4 g
- Sodium: 578 mg
- Fat: 11.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 6.6 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 24.9 g
- Fiber: 2.2 g
- Protein: 8.9 g
- Cholesterol: 27.7 mg