Fried Polenta

Polenta is a well known traditional Italian dish of boiled cornmeal. It can be served as a hot porridge, or left to solidify. In this latter case, polenta is then cut into slices before serving. The slices can be baked, fried or grilled, giving it an extra taste. In this recipe, I’m going to share with you a fried polenta version.

Polenta is very easy to make at home, you basically cook cornmeal in water. The only thing that makes it more difficult is that you have to stir it almost constantly during approximately 50 minutes. It is a nice, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan addition to your diet.

Fried Polenta Recipe

In this recipe below, I show you how to make traditional Italian polenta at home that you can cut into slices. This goes very well with roasted meat, like my rosemary pork loin.

Please read my remarks on the ingredient amounts below. I give you exact amounts in both US and metric units.

Note To The Ingredient Amounts

In the US, cornmeal is usually shipped in 24 oz (680 g) packages, while in Europe we use 500 g or 1 kg packages. In order to being able to make polenta from one pack of cornmeal, I give you the ingredient amounts for both systems.

Please note that here I use Himalayan salt, where 1 tablespoon is about 23 grams. Kosher salt is similar, but regular table salt is more dense (about 18 grams per tablespoon), so you need less if using that. I advise you to measure your salt with a scale, and taste your polenta.

Polenta IngredientUS UnitsMetric Units
Cornmeal24 oz (680 g, 4 1/2 cups)500 g (3 1/3 cups)
Water11 1/3 cups (2720 ml)2 liters (8 1/3 cups)
Salt1 1/3 tbsp (31 g)1 tbsp (23 g)
Extra virgin olive oil1 1/3 tbsp1 tbsp

Frying Polenta

The easiest way to kick your polenta up a notch is to fry the slices in a pan before serving.

Heat up 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the polenta slices and fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, until you get the desired color.

Frying polenta slices

Fried Polenta

Balazs Szilagyi
Fried version of the traditional Italian cornmeal porridge
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 servings


  • 4 ½ cups cornmeal 680 g, 24 ounces
  • 11 ⅓ cups water 2720 ml
  • 1 ⅓ tbsp salt 30 g
  • 1 ⅓ tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add salt and oil. Reduce heat to low.
  • Add the cornmeal in smaller batches while stirring constantly.
    If you add the cornmeal at once or even in larger batches, your polenta easily becomes lumpy.
  • Cook the polenta for 50 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
    You don’t have to stir it literally constantly, but make sure you stir it every minute to prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of your pot.
  • Pour the cooked polenta onto a large cutting board and let it cool and solidify for 10 minutes.
  • Cut it in 3/8 inch (1 cm) slices and fry them over 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side, until you get the desired color.


To slice polenta, you can use a sharp thin blade knife. But the traditional method in several places is to use sewing cotton thread. You take about a foot long piece (30-35 cm), twist one end on a finger of your left hand, the other end on a finger of your right hand. Then you can use the thread as a knife to cut the slices. If needed, use light right-and-left motion while cutting.
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