Polenta Creamy Good and Almost No Stir

READY IN: 45mins
Recipe by Rita1652

I was one of few that tested this for Cook's Illustrated. I was very impressed with this method which uses a secret ingredient of baking soda. Baking soda added to the cooking liquid can reduce the time it takes for the gelatinization to occur which in turn shortens the cooking time. You can use vegetable stock or chicken broth in place of the water. I tasted and it was good but wanted to kick it up and added chopped scallions and chopped chipotles for a kick. Just remember to simmer over very low heat so low you don't think it is cooking.

Top Review by Bobbin

I am not sure what to say about this. I had never had polenta before, but had read the Cooks Illustrated article and have been interested since. I don't think I had the best corn meal to start. The flavor was just strange to me. I cooked the corn meal in water with salt and baking soda. Then, added the butter and parmesan cheese to it. The dish started growing on me the more I ate it, but my first impression was not as good. I think I need to go back to the article and read what type of cornmeal to get.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Bring water to boil in a heavy bottom 4 quart pan over medium high heat.
  2. Stir in salt, and baking soda. Slowly pour cornmeal into the water in a steady stream stirring with a wooden spoon.
  3. Bring to a boil stirring consistently for 1 minute.
  4. Reduce to the very lowest heat possible and cover.
  5. After 5 minutes whisk polenta to smooth out any lumps for 15 seconds,scraping down sides and bottom of pan. Cover and continue to cook without stirring until grains are tender but slightly al dente. About 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
  7. Stir in scallions and chipotle if using.

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