Instant Pot Polenta


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. 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.

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.

Polenta with cheese

Recipe Ingredients

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.

To finish, stir in olive oil or butter. You can even use homemade Ghee. Serve polenta warm.

Recipe Notes

  • 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:

Cottage cheese
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Grilled veggies

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:

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

Instant Pot Tofu Pudding

Instant Pot Chickpea Curry

FAQ About Polenta

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

4.5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: coarse polenta, polenta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 2 cups coarse polenta
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 8 cup water
  • 1 tbsp 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 🙂


Calories: 124kcal Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 10g Sodium: 14048mg Potassium: 3mg Calcium: 66mg Iron: 1mg

Instant Pot Polenta Vegan


This recipe is part of our 1001 Instant Pot recipes project, a huge collection of free, easy and delicious recipes.

18 thoughts on “Instant Pot Polenta

    1. 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

  1. 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.

      1. Yes! This is more of the next day version– creamy polenta. This type is better suited for the Instant Pot.

      1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

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