Discover the easiest way to make creamy, delicious Instant Pot polenta. This pressure cooking method slashes the cooking time in half! And no nasty burns from the incessant splatters from polenta!
Creamy Instant Pot Polenta
Making creamy polenta in the Instant Pot is a game changer. It’s an easy, hands-off approach that results in perfect polenta every time. You can enjoy this classic dish without constant stirring. With simple ingredients and a short cooking time, it’s a great base for various dishes, from short ribs to beef bourguignon.
Why You’ll Love It
Imagine a recipe that not only tastes great but also saves you time and effort in the kitchen. That’s what you get with an Instant Pot polenta recipe. It’s a real kitchen game changer because it eliminates the need for long hours of stirring and constant attention. This is fantastic for busy people who want a delicious side dish or a meal plan foundation without the fuss. Plus, our use of cream cheese in this polenta recipe gives it a tangy, unique flavor that you won’t find anywhere else!
- Coarsely ground cornmeal
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter
- Whipped cream cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Heavy whipping cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
How to Make Creamy Polenta in the Instant Pot
First, add the polenta, water, and salt to your Instant Pot. Give it a good whisk. Pop the lid on, set the pressure release to sealing, and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. After that, press the natural release button and let the remaining pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes, and then carefully switch the pressure release to venting.
When you take off the lid, don’t be surprised if the polenta looks a bit runny – that’s totally okay! Just give it a good whisk to smooth it out. Now, toss in the butter and whisk again until it’s all mixed in. Finally, stir in your cheeses and cream, and adjust the salt to taste. Enjoy!
- You can use ANY cheese you want! Mascarpone, blue cheese, brie, even cheddar cheese! Just be careful because cheddar will make it very thick!
- You can make this recipe vegan by using veggie broth, some vegan cream cheese, and nutritional yeast.
- I like to use whipped cream cheese because it makes incorporating it easier into the polenta.
- Add a bit more parmesan cheese and some freshly cracked black pepper on top, and make it a cacio e pepe!
- When venting, I always add a towel on top of the steam vent so that it doesn’t splatter everywhere.
- Cheesy Polenta: Add your favorite cheese, like cheddar, parmesan, or gouda, to the cooked polenta. Stir until the cheese melts, creating a creamy and cheesy delight.
- Herbed Polenta: Enhance the flavor with fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil. Just chop them finely and mix them into the cooked polenta for a burst of fresh herbal goodness.
- Creamy Mushroom Polenta: Sauté some mushrooms separately, then mix them into the polenta. The earthy, umami flavor of mushrooms pairs wonderfully with the creamy polenta.
- Garlic and Parmesan Polenta: Add minced garlic while cooking the polenta for a subtle garlic flavor. Finish it off with grated parmesan cheese for a rich and savory twist.
- Spicy Polenta: If you like a kick of heat, add red pepper flakes, cayenne, or hot sauce to your polenta. Spicy polenta pairs well with grilled or roasted meats.
Store leftover polenta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze polenta for up to 3 months.
To reheat refrigerated polenta, you can use the microwave or stovetop.
For the microwave: Place the polenta in a microwave-safe dish, add a splash of water or milk to maintain moisture, cover it, and microwave in short intervals, stirring in between, until it’s heated through.
For the stovetop: Put the polenta in a saucepan, add a little liquid, and gently heat it, stirring often to prevent sticking.
Tip: It’s best to thaw frozen polenta in the refrigerator overnight first to reheat it. Then, you can use the same methods as for refrigerated polenta. Just ensure it’s heated evenly, and you’re ready to enjoy your tasty polenta again.Print
Discover the easiest way to make creamy, delicious Instant Pot polenta. This pressure cooker method slashes the cooking time in half! And no nasty burns from the incessant splatters from polenta!
1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
4.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 ounces whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Combine the polenta, water, and salt in the Instant Pot and whisk. Secure the lid and adjust the pressure release to Sealing. Pressure cook on High for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes, then carefully move the pressure release to Venting.
When removing the lid, you will notice the polenta can look a bit runny or watery, not to worry! Whisk the polenta to smooth out, then add the butter and whisk again until incorporated. Add in your cheeses and cream. Adjust the salt to taste.
You can use ANY cheese you want! Mascarpone, blue cheese, brie even cheddar! Just be careful cheddar will make it very thick!
You can make this recipe vegan by using veggie broth and using some vegan cream cheese and nutritional yeast.
I like to use whipped cream cheese because it makes incorporating it easier into the polenta.
Add a bit more parmesan cheese and some freshly cracked black pepper on top and make it a cacio e pepe!
When venting, I always add a towel on top of the steam vent so that it doesn’t splatter everywhere.
How long does it take to make Instant Pot polenta from start to finish?
The entire process usually takes around 30-40 minutes, including prep time and coming to pressure.
What’s the difference between polenta and grits?
Polenta and grits are quite similar and often get confused, but there are some differences.
Polenta is an Italian dish made from coarse ground cornmeal. It has a smooth and creamy texture and is a staple in Northern Italy. To make polenta, you cook cornmeal with water, broth, or milk until it’s thick and creamy. It’s super versatile and makes the perfect base for various toppings. You can also let the hot polenta solidify, slice it up, and make polenta cakes that can be grilled or fried.
Grits, on the other hand, are a classic Southern dish in the United States. They’re made from ground-dried corn, specifically hominy corn. Southern grits tend to be finer and smoother in texture compared to polenta. The cooking process is similar, but grits often have a milder flavor than polenta.
Is polenta gluten-free?
If you use gluten-free cornmeal, then yes, polenta is naturally gluten-free. It’s an excellent option for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
Can I make a big batch of Instant Pot polenta for meal prep?
Absolutely! Polenta is great for meal prep. You can refrigerate or freeze it, then reheat it when needed. Enjoy a warm, creamy bowl of polenta in minutes!
How do I adjust the consistency of polenta if it’s too thick or thin?
If it’s too thick, stir in a bit of hot water or broth. If it’s too thin, cook it for a little longer with the lid off to evaporate excess liquid.
My Instant Pot shows a “Burn” notice when making polenta. What should I do?
If you encounter the “Burn” message, don’t worry. This usually happens when the polenta sticks to the bottom of the pot. Just stop the cooking process, let it cool a bit, scrape off any stuck bits, and then continue cooking.