Oven Baked Polenta

Baked Polenta is a simple and delicious side dish that is perfect for pretty much any meal. If you’re stuck in a rice and potatoes rut, this baked polenta recipe is a great way to shake things up.

Have you tried polenta? This was the first polenta recipe we tried years ago and it most definitely was not the last. It is completely kid approved but flavorful enough to serve to any discerning adult.

Oven Baked Polenta

I’ve had polenta on the list of foods I want to try for over a year now. I finally decided to make it along with the Twisted Chicken Piccata I posted yesterday. They went together perfectly.

What is polenta?

Polenta refers to a creamy porridge made from coarsely ground cornmeal. It is often prepared with milk and butter. It’s is soft and creamy when it is first cooked, but it hardens into a firmer dish as it cools. The hardened version of polenta can be sliced and served like a loaf.

It is traditionally an Italian dish, although polenta is made all over the world today. With budget-friendly and easy to find ingredients, baked polenta is a side dish you need to try. I guarantee you’ll be as impressed as I was.

Baked Polenta Recipe

While it’s often made on the stovetop, I used the oven-baked method for making this polenta. Seasoned with a simple blend of salt, pepper, and marjoram, I was so impressed by how flavorful the finished side dish was!

This polenta recipe really couldn’t get any easier. All you do is combine cornmeal with water, salt, and pepper in an oven-safe dish. Then cover and bake for 30 minutes. At the halfway point, give the polenta a stir.

After baking, add milk, butter and either dried or fresh marjoram and whisk quickly until the polenta becomes smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

Oven Baked Polenta

Microwave Polenta

I learned by accident that you can also make polenta in the microwave! The first time I made this recipe, my very old oven caught fire and started sparking.

Since the polenta was already partially cooked, I pulled it out of the oven and finished cooking in the microwave.

I simply placed the glass dish in the microwave and continued cooking it that way, stirring every couple of minutes until it was done. It worked out great!

It’s still simpler to pop it in the oven and walk away until it’s done, but in a pinch, the microwave definitely works.

Creamy Baked Polenta

What to Serve with Polenta

When it comes to side dishes, you’re hard-pressed to find anything that goes so well with so many different main dishes. Oven-Baked Crispy Chicken and Pan Fried Italian Chicken Thighs are terrific with polenta.

Baked Polenta would also be a perfect match for Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf. With a mild flavor and creamy texture, polenta is delicious with so many different entrees!

Creamy Polenta is a favorite side dish!

Polenta Recipes

Back when I posted this baked polenta, I was right to predict that we’d be enjoying a lot more often in the future. In the years since I first made polenta, it’s become a regular side dish on my dinner table.

If you like cheesy side dishes, try this Creamy Cheesy Polenta; it’s always a favorite with my kids! For something with a bolder spice level, you might enjoy Paprika Manchego Polenta.

These Polenta Fries are on my list to try soon as well!

I can’t wait for you to try this easy cornmeal side dish made right in the oven or microwave.

Oven Baked Polenta

Recipe from and with thanks to Martha Stewart

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal (I used freshly ground corn, but store bought works as well)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon (optional) dried marjoram (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a covered dish with a lid, whisk together the water, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 30 minutes*, stirring halfway through.
  2. Remove from the oven and add the milk, butter, and marjoram, if desired. Whisk quickly until the polenta is smooth and creamy. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

{originally published 11/8/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/19/20}

Baked Polenta Recipe

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