Instant Pot Polenta

instant pot polenta

The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 4
Yield: 2 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
271 Calories
23g Fat
10g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 271
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 1253mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 160mg 12%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 125mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Polenta is an Italian porridge of finely-ground cornmeal with a variety of flavor profiles and methods. With this Instant Pot variation, there's no need to linger over the stovetop, constantly stirring in fear of burning the bottom of the pot. This luscious recipe makes the perfect addition to a hearty bolognese, succulent short ribs, or a mushroom ragu. 

We swap water for broth and mash in a whole garlic clove to take this side to the next level. If you’re looking to cut calories you can leave out the heavy cream and extra butter—it will still be delicious and go well with a variety of meat or vegetarian dishes. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

  • 1 cup quick cooking polenta

  • 1 pinch kosher salt

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

  • Fresh herbs (thyme, basil, parsley), chopped, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    instant pot polenta ingredients
  2. Add the broth, polenta, salt, whole garlic clove, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the insert of your instant pot. Stir to combine the ingredients.

    Tip: If you add hot broth to the pot, the pot will reach pressure quicker and you can save time.

    instant pot filled with polenta ingredients
  3. Place the lid on the instant pot, then set to the porridge setting and change the time to 12 minutes.

    Once the polenta is finished cooking, allow it to naturally release the pressure. If you do it manually your machine will suck the hot polenta through the vent and create a mess of the machine and your kitchen.


  4. Once the pressure is released, mash the garlic clove into the polenta. Stir in the heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and remaining butter until melted and incorporated.

    creamy instant pot polenta
  5. Serve the polenta immediately with a sprinkle of fresh herbs like thyme, basil, or parsley. Then top with more parmesan cheese and butter, if desired. 

    instant pot polenta

Storage

  • Store the polenta in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • You can cut the chilled polenta into cubes and pan fry them to create polenta croutons for a later date.
  • Reheat to the same creamy consistency, by adding milk or broth to a pan, cook the polenta, stirring frequently, until it reaches the desired consistency.

Recipe Variations

Vegan

  • To make this dish vegan, simply replace the butter with vegan butter or olive oil.
  • Omit the cream and use a tablespoon of nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan cheese. 


Cacio e Pepe

  • If you like all things cheesy and peppery, try this classic Italian flavor in this dish. 
  • Add in a 1/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese along with the parmesan cheese. 
  • Stir in a tablespoon of cracked black pepper when it has finished cooking. 
  • Garnish with parsley and grated pecorino cheese.