This Instant Pot Polenta is vegetarian, vegan and healthy. If you haven’t had polenta yet, you’ve got to try this recipe!
Everyone raves about Italian pizza and pasta, but I believe polenta deserves just as much love as these two. This north Italian dish is made with coarse ground cornmeal and is a great option for side dish.
Polenta's taste is similar to Instant Pot Grits and It’s mild and easily customizable—you can top it with cottage cheese, sour cream, or grilled veggies.
This Instant Pot Polenta recipe is kind of like porridge. Although it is not traditionally served as an oatmeal porridge for the breakfast, I like to enjoy some warm polenta early in the morning on occasion.
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works
Polenta is such a plain and simple dish but is surprisingly hard to get right using traditional methods. It requires near constant stirring, much like risotto. You usually need to monitor it and add liquid when needed to achieve the proper consistency.
However, that’s changed due to the Instant Pot. This Instant Pot Polenta recipe makes polenta way easier to make, it’s practically foolproof. If you follow these measurements and timing, that’s all you have to worry about. In the controlled environment of the Instant Pot, it will come out perfect without all the fuss.
Coarse polenta – you definitely want to get a coarse grind rather than finely ground or quick cooking polenta to get the ratio and texture right.
Salt – 2 tablespoons of salt may seem like a lot, but trust me, it’s not too salty. It’s just enough to bring out the flavor of the cornmeal. If you’d like, you can reduce the amount of salt according to your taste and dietary restrictions.
Water – I use water to keep it as neutral and adaptable as possible. But you can also use chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water.
Olive oil – finishing with a little bit of olive oil makes it taste so creamy and decadent! Use high quality extra virgin olive oil. You could also substitute butter.
How to Make Instant Pot Polenta
Gather your ingredients:
Pour water into the Instant Pot. Stir in the polenta and salt, and lock lid. Cook polenta on High pressure for 8 minutes.
When cooking time is complete, wait for a natural pressure release.
Once done, open the lid and stir in olive oil or butter. You can even use homemade Ghee.
Then serve and enjoy 🙂
- To make sure to avoid clumps, when you add the polenta, you have to stir it while you add it. You cannot just pour a mound of polenta into the water or it will clump up.
- I like to add some olive oil or butter to make the polenta richer in taste and smoother in texture, but it’s optional! Or if you like to add more than the recipe calls for, that’s fine too
How to Serve Polenta
You can serve polenta as a side dish, with meat, fish, or poultry. A perfectly cooked polenta is an excellent side dish that goes very well with pulled pork, beef steak or chicken breast.
If you want to turn the polenta into a complete light meal, just top it with your favorite toppings. Here are some options:
Instant Pot Vegan and Healthy Recipes
If you're looking for Instant Pot vegan recipes, we've got plenty of them! Try these next, all offering tons of great health benefits:
What are different types of polenta?
Polenta is ground cornmeal, but there are two types of polenta, coarsely and finely ground. If you have a coarsely ground polenta, you can process one in a food processor until you have a finer polenta. You can sift it before use to get a smooth polenta dish.
How can I avoid polenta that is too thick?
Just follow the instructions I gave for this Instant Pot polenta recipe. At the first, the polenta may look runny, but as it cools down, the polenta will thicken, so there is no need for extra cooking.
Instant Pot polenta
- 2 cups coarse polenta
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 8 cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add water to the Instant Pot, press "saute" and wait for the water to boil.
- Add polenta flour and salt and stir constantly.
- Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
- When cooking time ends, wait for a natural pressure release.
- Once done, open the lid and stir in olive oil.
- Serve and enjoy 🙂
22 thoughts on “Instant Pot Polenta”
High just got a burn notice on my 6qt. Ultra. Wish this had worked.
So sorry to hear that! If you want to try again, add a little more water, or reduce the cook time to prevent this.
Recipe calls for 8 cup water. Is this correct? For 2 cups of cornmeal/ polenta?
Yes, this is the correct ratio. The cornmeal absorbs a lot of liquid as it cooks.
The recipe calls for 2 tbsp salt. Shouldn't that be 2 tsp? It was awfully salty.
I use 2 tbsp. but keep in mind some salt is "saltier" than others. For example, I use 2 tbsp. kosher salt, but 2 tbsp. of table salt may be too salty for your taste. Also check that your polenta doesn't already have salt added, otherwise I would definitely reduce the amount of salt.
My Italian In-laws did a very traditional Italian serving of polenta. They called it polenta-on-the-board. They had a custom made board (as big as their table) and would spread the polenta out on the board when it was ready. Then it would be topped with homemade pasta sauce and ground up and browned homemade sausage and of course a very good italian cheese. We would all sit around the board and you would stake out your claim (by sectioning off an area), pick up your fork and dig in. It was an amazing tradition that I enjoyed so much and it was always delicious.
That sounds lovely! I love a good family style meal. And it sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing.
I grew up like that and we added mushrooms on the top of the sauce on the big wooden board. It was fun.
If I half the recipe..is the cooking time the same ?
You can also pour the hot polenta into a greased shallow baking dish. Smooth out the polenta and let it cool. Place in fridge and let it set and firm up. Cut into squares or circles. Place in a hot saute pan or griddle and brown on both sides. Top with sauce as a main dish.
Thanks for the tip, Dianna!
This us how my nonna used the polenta next day...polenta should be sturdy not soft...
Yes! This is more of the next day version-- creamy polenta. This type is better suited for the Instant Pot.
I grew up with that. We called it cornmeal mush! Loved it. Will try to make it. Reminds me of my childhood!
Ha, love it! That's nice 🙂
We did too! And them we topped it with red eye gravy, which is made from pan drippings from frying country ham. A great breakfast!
I love it. I’d drown in it. You can serve it with several dishes like vegetables, chicken, meat etc.
Ha, what a great compliment! Thanks!
It's just course ground grits . Its Italian rather than Southern grits. Shrimp and grits is another variation of polenta . Southern Italians let it set or chill polenta then pour sauce over it for a quick lunch or a great dinner side or main dish. Italian and Cajun or Creole is very much combined here in Southern Louisiana