With this Instant Pot polenta recipe, you can make this rich and creamy side dish in less than 30 minutes.
Before we start cooking, let’s learn a few things about this dish.
What Is Polenta?
Polenta is an Italian staple generally made with cornmeal that’s been cooked in a watery liquid to form a thick, smooth consistency. The common types of liquid used to cook polenta include water, broth, milk, or a combination of all three.
You will need to use the liquid four to five times the volume of the cornmeal to cook it.
Seasonings for polenta can be as simple as salt alone. Sometimes black pepper, Parmesan, or herbs can be added to tailor the polenta flavor to the cook’s personal preference.
Once cooked, the polenta will have a thick consistency that resembles porridge or mashed potatoes. You can serve it hot or let it cool and firm up into a loaf.
At this point, the polenta can be cut into thick bars and fried, baked, or pan-seared to get a crispy exterior.
Is This Instant Pot Polenta Healthy?
Polenta may be high in carbohydrates, but it’s still healthy. Here’s why:
The main ingredient of a polenta recipe is cornmeal. While being relatively low in calories, it’s also a great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Both fiber and complex carbs take a lot of time to digest, keeping you full for longer.
As always, this Instant Pot polenta recipe also adheres to our healthy eating guidelines. The amount of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in each recipe is within recommended limits.
Is Polenta Gluten-Free?
Yes, polenta is gluten-free.
As mentioned, polenta is a mixture of cornmeal cooked in milk and water or broth. Generally, a polenta recipe doesn’t use flour as cornmeal is a great thickener on its own.
How to Make Polenta in an Instant Pot
Sometimes a typical stovetop polenta recipe may require you to soak the cornmeal in water before cooking. But since we are pressure-cooking the cornmeal in an Instant Pot, you can skip this step.
With the traditional cooking method, you have to keep an eye on the polenta and stir it constantly. Otherwise, it will become lumpy and scorched on the bottom of the pot.
Fortunately, you don’t have to put so much effort into this side dish. It’s easier and a lot less laborious with the help of an Instant Pot.
Here’s how you make our Instant Pot polenta:
Mix the polenta
Cook the polenta
Add heavy cream
Garnish and serve
For full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions, click here to jump to the recipe section.
Tips for Cooking the Perfect Polenta
We only have one tip for you: pick the right cornmeal.
When you’re at the grocery store, skip the boxes of instant polenta. Those are for stovetop cooking. For today’s recipe, look for fine polenta, fine cornmeal, or grits.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Polenta
To store leftover polenta, put it in an uncovered airtight container and allow it to cool before sealing with a lid. It can last up to 3 days in the fridge or a month in the freezer.
Once cooled and chilled, polenta will have a firm texture. You can either cut it into bars and pan-sear to make polenta cakes or return it to its original form.
Transfer the polenta into a small pot and add a splash of milk, water, or chicken broth. Cook over medium-low heat while stirring constantly until the polenta returns to its soft, mashed potato consistency.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Polenta
Polenta can go well with almost any food, but we highly recommend you pair it with a saucy, meat dish. Any meat cooked in a tomato sauce, gravy, or stew can have polenta on the side.
You can add polenta to a serving plate, put the meat on top, and ladle the sauce over. When you eat it, scoop a spoonful of polenta, meat, and the sauce to experience a delicious, savory, creamy flavor.
Instant Pot Polenta Recipe
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 0.5 oz grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp parsley roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Mix the polenta: Put cornmeal, salt, unsalted butter, grated Parmesan, milk, and chicken broth into your Instant Pot. Whisk well.
- Cook the polenta: Cover with the lid. Turn the valve knob to “sealing position”. Set your Instant Pot to the “Meat Stew” program for 15 minutes.
- Add heavy cream: Once the timer rings, carefully turn the knob to release the steam before opening the lid. Add heavy cream and stir.
- Garnish and serve: Ladle the polenta into a bowl or deep dish. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley, paprika, and black pepper on top before serving.