Lumpy polenta? Too hot to stand there stirring and stirring? Then I have the fix for you! My slow cooker polenta is lump-free, just about hands off, won’t heat up your kitchen, and tastes like you slaved over the stove.
I think that polenta and the slow cooker were made for each other.
They really are the perfect match. (almost) No stirring. No burning. No lumps. And it is really hard to overcook. You can, but you have to work at it! 🙂
And then, once it’s tender and ready to go, you just put it on warm to keep it happy and finish up dinner while it sits there, patiently waiting to be scooped out into your bowl and topped with whatever yumminess you’ve made to go with it.
How to Make Slow Cooker Polenta
This recipe is as easy as it gets!
Do you have your coarse-ground cornmeal? And your slow cooker? Okay, now you need 5 minutes.
Pour the cornmeal and some water or stock into your slow cooker. Stir everything together a few times until it’s all nice and smooth. Then put the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.
I like to give it a stir once or twice while it’s cooking just to make sure it cooks evenly, but sometimes I forget and it’s still fine!
Once your polenta is cooked through, then add in some milk or half and half along with some shredded cheese. Switch over the slow cooker to high for 30 minutes, or until the milk is absorbed. Then eat!
How to Serve Polenta
Polenta is one of those dishes that is an excellent blank canvas for all sorts of flavors.
Some stock (either vegetable or chicken), or at least salt the water if that’s all you have, and some cream or whole milk is going to get you a nice base of flavor.
And then you need some cheese. I like pick the cheese based on whatever I’m pairing with the polenta. Pulled chicken or pork is going to go great with cheddar. Fontina is lovely with pancetta or a nice, meaty braise. I really like goat cheese with both seafood and vegetable dishes. But really, any cheese you like, or any mix of cheeses you like, that can melt nicely is going to be great in this polenta. The sky’s the limit!
Then, once you have the polenta, there is no end to the number of dishes to layer over it. I’m partial to Italian dishes myself, but anything a little saucy is going to be nice.
And any leftovers you have? Are great shaped into a sliceable log or brick, left to solidify overnight, and then sauteed up to make a whole new – and equally tasty – very different dish.
Recipes to Enjoy with Polenta
- Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta over Polenta
- Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu
- Italian Beef Braised in Barolo
- Italian Braised Pork Shoulder Ragu
- Traditional Bolognese Sauce
- (if you have two slow cookers on hand) Slow Cooker Chicken and Onions
If you try my recipe for Slow Cooker Polenta, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
– Happy Slow Cooking, Annemarie
- 1 cup coarse cornmeal
- 3 cups low sodium stock, vegetable or chicken, or salted water
- 1 cup half and half, or whole milk
- 3 oz shredded cheese
Stir together the cornmeal and stock in the pot of a slow cooker. Close the lid and set it for 3-4 hours on low, stirring occasionally, every 20-30 minutes.
Add the half and half, stir and give it another 30 minutes on high. Stir in the cheese until it all melts. Switch the slow cooker to warm and let the polenta sit while you finish making the rest of dinner.
- I use Bob's Red Mill Polenta/Grits for my polenta.
- Hold Time: The polenta can sit for about an hour on warm without any problems. If you are going to let it sit longer, it may taste a bit overdone and you will want to check to see if needs some more liquid.
- Cheese: I switch up the type of cheese depending on how I am going to use the polenta. I may use parmesan, fontina, mozzarella, or a sharp cheddar or any other flavorful cheese I have in the house which pairs with the rest of dinner.
- Timing: The exact time will depend on how hot your slow cooker is on low. I would suggest trying out the recipe with your set up and then noting the exact time you need.