Slow Cooker Polenta or Grits


The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 7 hrs
Total: 7 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
119 Calories
4g Fat
19g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 119
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 477mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 2g
Calcium 17mg 1%
*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 melted butter, 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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