With this Instant Pot polenta recipe, you can make this rich and creamy side dish in less than 30 minutes and have a dish for Gluten-Free Day (January 13th).
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 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.
Tips for Cooking
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.
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.
How to Store and Reheat the Leftover
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.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
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