Dear SooN Cooks of the Internet,

Ever since my brother Randy was diagnosed with Celiac disease, Polenta became a staple in my house.  I started by just buying it in the tube from Trader Joe’s so that I always had something on hand.  But then the cafeteria at work served a “Creamy Polenta” with a beef stew and that initiated my love for the Italian porridge.  I quickly SooNed a basic recipe and have since learned that the key to Polenta is A LOT of dairy.  Now we eat it about once a week either for brunch with Sicilian Eggs or for dinner with Meat Sauce, Beef Short Ribs or something fancier like Oso Buco.

I cannot wait to learn what you serve it with!  Please share your SooN creations in the comments section.


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Suggested Hardware


  • 1 cup “polenta” grain or medium or coarsely-ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 cups of Parmesan Stock or water
  • 2 cups Microplaned Parmigiano Reggiano (Not packed like brown sugar. However it falls in the measuring cup is fine.)
  • 1 TBS Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Other Critical Information

The liquid to corn meal ratio is 6:1. Yes. That’s 6 parts liquid to every 1 part polenta.

New to SooN Cooking?

No problem! Some quick background on the concept: I love to cook and realized that I often had to adjust my meal plan to accomodate for for my friends and family with dietary requirements when they joined me for a meal.  More often than not, I didn’t know how to modify my recipe to address their dietary needs which launched me into some deep research and left me with a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt that I was preparing the recipe the right way for my guest.  A concept that I now call Meal Planning FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). To combat Meal Planning FUD each of my recipes has eight variations which covers everything from vegetarian to Kosher to gluten-free so that you can cut the Meal Planning FUD out of your life and feel comfortable serving the recipe to a variety of guests.

Check out the SooN Cooking About page for the complete details.

Choose your SooN ADVENTURE™

SooN COOKING Original

  1. Defrost the Parmesan Stock (if using and if frozen).
  2. Microplane the parmesan and set aside.
  3. Combine the cornmeal, garlic powder, salt, pepper and liquid in the stock pot.
  4. Using high heat, bring mixture to a boil while stirring regularly with the whisk.  I say “regularly” because you don’t need to stir continuously but you do need to stir it often to avoid lumps.  For what it’s worth, I typically use this time  prep and cook my main dish so I stir it when I need a break in between tasks. Whatever you decide “regularly” means to you will be fine!
  5. Reduce to low heat and simmer while stirring regularly with the whisk.  (Now here’s my secret if you have someone in the kitchen who wants to “help”.  This is often a child for me but this little trick will work for anyone who is really interested in an assignment and you sort of just need them occupied while you cook. You can have them “stir continuously with the whisk”.  As I said earlier, it is not necessary to do this but it doesn’t *hurt* the polenta which I why it’s my favorite task to assign those helpers.)
  6. Continue to stir regularly/continuously as the polenta thickens.
  7. After ~20-25 minutes, add the parmesan and distribute evenly.
  8. Stir and taste.  Adjust flavor to your liking by adding more garlic powder, salt, parmesan and pepper.
  9. This is where you would need to decide if it is necessary to add the additional water.  Does it taste grainy or course?  Does the texture too closely resemble the dry cornmeal you started with? If “yes” then you need more water. Add it and then cook for another 5-7 minutes. If not, then your Polenta is done!

SooN COOKING Express

One of my pantry staples is Trader Joe’s pre-cooked Polenta.  If you are short on time this is a good substitute.  You can serve it as is. For additional flavor, heat on the stovetop on low with 1/2 cup of water or milk.  Mix liquid in evenly and add grated parmesan to taste.

SooN COOKING Vegetarian

The SooN COOKING Original and SooN COOKING Express are both Vegetarian as is.

Not familiar with a Vegetarian diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder™.


The SooN COOKING Original and SooN COOKING Express are both Kosher dairy as is. Polenta is a go-to paring for a lot of my meat dishes.  If you are planning to serve meat as your main and your guest keeps Kosher then substitute a broth (chicken or beef) for the milk and cream.  Alternatively, you could also use only water. The reason I use the other liquids is to add to the Polenta flavor. Many people prepare Polenta with only water.

Not familiar with a Kosher diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder.


The SooN COOKING Original and SooN COOKING Express are both Halal as is.

Not familiar with a Halal diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder.

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As the title suggests − Polenta is my favorite gluten-free dish.  It is simple to prepare and I think this recipe is delicious, so win-win for the guest with Celiac disease or who follows a gluten-free diet.

Not familiar with a Celiac diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder.

SooN COOKING for One

To make a single serving of polenta – first remember that the water to dry polenta ratio is 6:1.  From there expect the cooked polenta to double after cooking. So a 1/4 cup of dried polenta would become 1/2 cup of cooked polenta after adding 1-1/2 cups of liquid to cook it.

I really like leftover polenta because it is versitile so instead of making a single portion I might reccomend sticking with the SooN COOKING Original or SooN COOKING Express versions and then using the leftover polenta as a substitute for pasta in a variety of other dishes.

SooN COOKING for Kids

My kids don’t like Polenta but that doesn’t stop me from serving it to them anyways.  I always dish up a taste and I’m confident that my persistence will pay out sometime.  If your kid is also not into polenta, then I suggest substituting it for a few tater tots. Tater tots pair well with breakfast and dinner items so it is a versatile substitution for Polenta.

SooN COOKING as a Photo Essay

defrost the parmesan stock (if using)

grate the cheese

start with 1-cup cornmeal

add parmesan stock (or water)

5 cups total

add 1-cup milk

add remaining dry ingredients

bring to boil; stir regularly

simmer on low to thicken ~20-25 minutes

add parmesan

finish based on your preference

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Feedback? Input? Questions?

We cannot wait to hear from you!


  1. Denise Joffe

    So incredibly yummy and easy. Thanks again for the great recipe!

    • Elisha Herzog

      Thanks for the feedback Denise!



  1. MEAT SAUCE - SooN LIVING - […] would need to pair with gluten-free pasta, gnocchi or creamy parmesan polenta when serving to someone with […]

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