Menu

Glossary

Polenta

Polenta

Pronounce it: poh-len-tah

An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy.

It is made by grinding corn into flour, or meal. It has a rich yellow, yolk-like colour, and has a slightly sweet flavour.

Polenta can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or allowed to set and then sliced. Serve it instead of pasta, rice or potatoes. Use in place of breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish when frying.

Uncooked polenta makes a delicious addition or gluten-free alternative to flour in cakes, biscuits and pastries. Cakes made with polenta tend to be moist and dense with a pleasantly grainy texture.

Choose the best

Polenta is available in various grades, ranging from coarse to fine. Different types take different lengths of time to cook, some up to 45 minutes, but you can also buy part-cooked instant polenta, which is ready in 5-8 minutes.

Ready-made polenta is available in solid tubes or blocks - this just needs to be sliced and heated up.

Prepare it

Uncooked polenta can be used in place of flour in specific baking recipes. For savoury dishes, pour the polenta into boiling water, following the quantities on the packet, and stir. The length of time it takes to cook depends on type you have bought. It can then be eaten in this way or poured it into a baking tray, allowed to set, sliced, grilled or baked.

To add extra flavour, you can boil polenta in a mix of half water, stock or milk. Add a knob of butter, a handful of grated parmesan or sprinkling of gorgonzola.

Store it

Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

Skills & know how

As well as helping you decide what to cook we can also help you to cook it. From tips on cookery techniques to facts and information about health and nutrition, we’ve a wealth of foodie know how for you to explore.

About BBC Good Food

We’re all about good recipes, and about quality home cooking that everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re looking for some healthy inspiration or learning how to cook a decadent dessert, we’ve trustworthy guidance for all your foodie needs.

Our recipes

All our recipes are tested thoroughly by us to make sure they’re suitable for your kitchen at home. We know many of you are concerned about healthy eating, so we send them to a qualified nutritionist for thorough analysis too.

Tell us what you think…

Love the new look or think we’ve missed the mark? We want to hear your thoughts – good and bad – to make sure we make the new website as useful as possible.

Magazine

Subscribe to BBC Good Food magazine and get triple-tested recipes delivered to your door, every month.

Events

Discover the dates and details of all the BBC Good Food Shows.

On TV

See your favourite chefs on Sky Channel 247, Virgin TV 260 and find their recipes at goodfoodchannel.co.uk

Good Food Apps

Download the BBC Good Food Recipes, tips & cooking tools app and get good food on the go.