Instant Pot Polenta is creamy, savoury, and delicious. It’s an easy side for meals with rich or creamy sauces. Great alternative to rice or potatoes.
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Polenta sounds fancy but it actually is a very simple side dish (or sometimes main dish) made with cornmeal. It is a staple in many countries such as Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and it is also known under different name, Mamalyga, in Moldova and Ukraine. Grits is a close cousin to Polenta and is common in Southern cuisines.
Polenta can be made thin and creamy so that it is easily spooned or thick and firm so that it is sliced. This particular recipe for Instant Pot Polenta is the creamy kind and it is perfect as a side dish to rich stews or creamy meals.
Polenta is usually made by slowly cooking cornmeal on the stove in liquid while constantly stirring. The grains (yes, corn is considered to be a vegetable, a grain, and a fruit at the same time!) absorb the liquid and thicken during cooking.
Although cooking polenta on the stove is not difficult by any means, it is a process that requires supervision and constant involvement. So, making Instant Pot Polenta is a great way to get a delicious side dish on the table without much effort or hands-on cooking time.
Instant Pot Polenta is creamy, savoury, and delicious. It’s a great side for meals with rich or creamy sauces.
Ingredients to make Creamy Polenta in Instant Pot
How to make Instant Pot Polenta
Making Polenta in Instant Pot is super easy, much easier than on the stove.
- Add all the ingredients to Instant Pot.
- Cook for 5 minutes on High Pressure.
- Do a Quick Release.
- Mix really well until creamy.
Done! Isn’t it easy?
Questions and answers about Instant Pot Polenta
Can you cook with cream in Instant Pot?
A lot of recipes and bloggers will say not to cook with dairy under pressure. I have a different opinion about it. I say, there’s absolutely no problems cooking with milk or cream in Instant Pot.
Sometimes milk will separate a little bit into whey and milk solids. Those milk solids is how cheese is made. So, if it separates, all the better – you get cheese. Nothing wrong with that!
Cream doesn’t separate much under pressure, so in this particular recipe I think there’s absolutely no issue using cream during cooking. If you are worried about using cream, feel free to use extra broth instead of cream.
Can you use more liquid?
This particular ratio of 1/2 cup cornmeal to 2 cups liquid makes a creamy, yet thick polenta. It also will keep thickening as it cools.
If you prefer a thinner and a bit runnier polenta, then add more liquid. I would start with extra 1/2 cup broth at first. Then add more the next time to get to your desired consistency of polenta and texture.
Can you make Vegan Polenta?
Sure, you can! Use vegan butter (margarine) instead of regular butter. Also, use vegetable broth in place of cream.
I have not tried cooking with plant-based milk in Instant Pot so I do not know how it would behave. If you try, please let me know and I’ll update the notes here.
Can you flavour polenta?
Yes, you can. Use your favourite spices and herbs. I love polenta studded with rosemary and thyme.
You can add sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, red hot chili flakes, or any other spices, such as cumin, turmeric, caraway seeds, etc.
For even richer and more delicious flavour, add grated parmesan cheese or cheddar.
Remember: on its own, polenta is pretty plain so it needs to be flavoured or served alongside a flavourful meal.
Can you reheat polenta?
Polenta will naturally thicken and firm as it cools and will become mostly solid in the fridge. At this point, you can either slice it up and then pan-fry on high heat in some oil and butter. Or, you can add a bit cream, milk, or broth to a pot and add the thickened polenta to it, then heat up breaking it up with a spoon until it is soft again.
How to serve Instant Pot Polenta
Polenta is a great side for any dish but especially something that has a lot of sauce. Serve Instant Pot Polenta with:
- Instant Pot Poached Salmon
- Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms (mushroom gravy will be especially good over polenta)
- Cranberry-Braised Beef Short Ribs
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- Add all the ingredients to Instant Pot. Optional step: mix everything.
- Close the lid. Turn the valve to sealing.
- Press Manual or Pressure Cooker button (depending on your model) and using the arrow buttons set the cook time to 5 minutes. Use default High Pressure.
Depending on your Instant Pot model, it'll take around 5-7 minutes to come to pressure.
- Once Instant Pot beeps that the 5 minutes of cooking are done, do a Quick Release. It will take approximately 1-2 minutes.
- Open the lid and mix everything really well until Polenta is smooth and creamy.
- Optionally, add more butter and cream to make it even creamier.
Feel free to flavour the polenta to your liking. Add more salt and other spices.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 408mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by a plugin and should not be considered an official nutritional information or medical advice.