Soft Polenta

"This is the "traditional method" based on a recipe by Michele Anna Jordan from her book, Polenta. She says, "This is the classic and most common technique for cooking polenta, and the one that should be used for larger quantities. The amounts can easily be increased to make larger quantities for a crowd." This recipe can also be used as the first step in making firm polenta."
photo by Sharon123 photo by Sharon123
photo by Sharon123
Ready In:
1hr 15mins




  • Bring 3 cups water to a full boil in a heavy pot. Simmer the remaining water close by.
  • Add the salt and rapidly stir the water with a whisk, creating a vortex. Continuing to stir constantly, add the polenta in a thin stream into the vortex.
  • Continue to stir after all the polenta has been added, then lower the heat to a simmer rather than a boil.
  • As the polenta thickens, replace the whisk with a long-handled wooden spoon.
  • Add the 1 cup of remaining water and continue to stir. Break up any lumps with the back of the spoon pressed against the pot.
  • Continue stirring the polenta, reaching to the bottom of the pot as necessary, until it gets thick and pulls away from the sides of the pot.
  • Taste the polenta to test tenderness; add additional water if necessary. The polenta can take 15 to 60 minutes to cook properly, depending on its type.
  • During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the pepper and butter, then add the cheese.
  • Remove from heat.
  • If serving immediately, pour onto a large platter or into a bowl or individual dishes.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Chris from Kansas
    This polenta turned out wonderful! Soft and creamy. Perfect comfort food!
  2. 2Bleu
    I made this for breakfast (like grits) with some eggs and bacon. I loved the butter flavor in this dish and your instructions are spot on.
  3. Sharon123
    Very nice! I had this for breakfast this morning. I cut the recipe back a third. Perfect! Thanks!
  4. LilKiwiChicken
    Thanks mersaydees for posting this. Made for ZWT4. I have another recipe that I use (by Anna del Conte) but thought I'd give this a go. It made a lovely polenta (and the tip about using a whisk at the start is inspired - no lumps) but for me the difference was the butter - Anna's recipe uses olive oil & I think I just prefer that better. This is a good standby though and I would definitely use it again if I was out of olive oil. Thanks for posting.
  5. MarraMamba
    polenta is heavenly and this is a great technique for making it. Served it with a rib sticking stew :)



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