Slow Cooker Polenta (or Grits) Recipe


The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 7 hrs
Total: 7 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
70 Calories
6g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 70
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 603mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 21mg 0%
*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.)

Did you know that polenta and grits essentially the same? Polenta and grits are both made from stone-ground cornmeal, but they differ slightly in texture because of the different types of corn they're made from. Southern grits are made with dent corn and Italian polenta is usually made from flint corn.

Dent corn, also known as field corn, has more soft starch content and gets its name from the dents in the kernels. ​Flint corn is also known as Indian corn and has a hard outer layer. It is often multi-colored and has a low water content.

The two grains differ slightly in texture, but flavors are nearly the same. Basically, polenta and grits are both medium to coarsely ground cornmeal and may be used interchangeably.

Use grits, stone-ground cornmeal, or polenta in this easy recipe.

Fry the chilled sliced polenta or grits in a little butter and serve it with a topping of red beans, creamed chicken or turkey, shrimp, or a red sauce. Try it with tomato gravy.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

  • 6 cups boiling water

  • 2 cups polenta, stone-ground cornmeal, or grits

  • 2 teaspoons salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Grease the inside of the crock pot with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

  2. Measure the remaining ingredients and add them to slow cooker with remaining butter.

  3. Stir well.

  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 9 hours (3 to 4 hours on high), stirring occasionally.

  5. If desired, transfer the polenta or grits mixture to a greased loaf pan.

  6. Chill thoroughly then cut into 1/4-inch slices.

  7. Fry the slices in butter or bacon drippings until browned. 

  8. Fried polenta or grits cakes make a tasty base for chicken à la king, creamy shrimp or seafood dishes, or a meaty stew or chili.

Tips and Variations

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