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Instant Pot

Soft Polenta with Easy Toppings (Fast & Slow)

4 Servings

FAST: 1¼ hours
Slow: 5½ to 6½ hours 10 minutes active

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Thick, creamy polenta is a breeze to make in a pressure cooker, as the cooking is completely hands-off. This polenta is not enriched with butter or cheese, so the sweetness of the corn is front and center. A simple topping (recipes below; each makes enough for four servings) can turn a bowl of plain polenta into a light meal or a delicious first course. Polenta also is a perfect accompaniment to many stews and braises, such as Tuscan Beef and Black Pepper Stew, or serve it in place of pasta with Short Rib Ragu.




Don't use fine yellow cornmeal, which cooks up pasty and gluey. For the best flavor and texture, use coarse stoneground cornmeal; steel-ground cornmeal has less flavor. We especially liked Bob's Red Mill Organic Polenta Corn Grits (cornmeal).

FAST: 1¼ hours
Slow: 5½ to 6½ hours

10 minutes active


  • cups coarse stoneground yellow cornmeal

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


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Ralph M.
December 20, 2022
Possible typo.Too much water!!
No way this amount of polenta needs 7 1/2 cups of water. Is there a corrected amount somewhere?
Katie H.

Easy toppings aren't listed.

Janelle C.

Hi Katie,

The topping variations are listed in the 4th, 5th, and 6th steps.

The Milk Street Team

Yulia D.

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Jovanna K.

So easy and foolproof! I will never make polenta any other way.

Heather M.

Life changing. I’ll never make polenta any other way! Just prior to serving, I mixed in fresh corn sautéed in butter.

Roscoe N.

Polenta and risotto ate favorite uses of the pressure cooker

Peter Chris S.

This is the first time I've ever gotten a "burn" error on my Instant Pot. The recipe couldn't be simpler, so I'm baffled about what went wrong. I scraped the caked-on cornmeal from the bottom of the pot, cleaned it, and tried again, and the same thing happened. Used Bob's Red Mill Coarse Stone-ground Cornmeal. Any idea why this happened? I'm loathe to try again without knowing what to change to get a different result.

daniel c.

This recipe didn’t work for me. I for the “burn” error on on the Instantpot.