Grilled Polenta Recipe (2024)

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This recipe for Grilled Polenta is a gluten-free side dish for your BBQ get-together -eaten as is or topped with some wonderful vegetables. These grilled polenta cakes will quickly become one of your favorite BBQ sides for the summer. Who thought grilling polenta could be so easy?

Grilled Polenta Recipe (1)

Grilled Polenta

Fire up the grill because today we are talking barbecue!

I can’twait to share this recipe for Easy Garlicky Grilled Polenta with all of you.

These grilled polenta cakes not only taste great, but they are so easy to make, especially on the BBQ (if you don’t have a BBQ, you can use an indoor grill pan).

They make a great side for ribs, especially this copycat recipe for Sweet Bar B Barn Ribs(if you are from Montreal, I am sure you know about this landmark restaurant) or perhaps one of Ricardo’s grilled chicken recipe like this Grilled Chicken with Fennel.

They are so convenient that they can also be prepped up to one day ahead.

So forget about those store-bought tubes of polenta… let’s grill some homemade polenta!


This recipe for Grilled Polenta has its humble beginnings in a heavy-bottomed pot. It’s important to have all your ingredients measured and kitchen equipment (i.e. whisk and spatula) ready as this recipe comes together very quickly. You really don’t have time to start measuring your ingredients once you get the recipe underway. Believe me when I tell you when garlic gets burnt it has a bitter taste, which very few people will appreciate.

Grilled Polenta Recipe (2)

So we start by drizzling some olive oil (and a little butter) in the pot; heat and sauté the minced garlic and herbs for about one minute.Then, it’s just a matter of adding the liquidsand bringing the whole mixture to a boil.

Grilled Polenta Recipe (3)

At this point, remove the mixture from the heat and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. (I usuallyuse a combination of coarse and fine cornmeal). Return the pot to the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and starts to boil. Be careful not to burn yourself as the mixture will create air bubbles that pop.

Once the mixture has slightly thickened, remove from heat, incorporate the cheese and pour in a pan. (I will often use a glass Pyrex pan measuring9x 13). It then needs to spend a couple of hours in the refrigerator to firm up. I usually remove the polenta from the fridge one hour before I plan on grilling it. I then cut the polenta in triangle shapes. Once your grill is ready, brush both sides with some olive oil. Grill the polenta and enjoy!

Grilled Polenta Recipe (4)

Recipe origins

I have such a soft spot for polenta. I think I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and supper.

Polenta was a staple growing up in my house. It would usually make an appearance for Saturday supper, served with a SimpleMarinara Sauce and sprinkled with lots of Parmesan cheese. My mom would also make it and then bake it like a pizza. If interested in her signature recipe for Rustic Polenta Pizza with Herbs, just click on the highlighted recipe link.

I have a few “food” obsessions and polenta is definitely one of them. I remember the first time I saw this recipe for Easy Garlicky Grilled Polenta. It was in the food section of my local paper almost 15 years ago. The recipe was adapted from the one and only Barefoot Contessa. I knew it would be tasty, but I wanted to make a lighter version. So I kept just a quarter of the butter, and I replaced the cream with vegetable stock. I’ve been making this recipe for years and it is always well appreciated.

Grilled Polenta Recipe (5)

I love the convenience of this recipe… it can be made up to 24 hours before you need to grill it. Once it’s made, just refrigerate it and then it’s just a matter of brushing both sides with some olive oil and barbecuing it. (As a side note, the polenta can also be pan-seared). It is great on its own or it can be topped with some Marinated Roasted Bell Peppersorgrilled cherry tomatoes. If you like eggplant, this recipe forLina’s Baked Eggplant Caponatais just fantastic with the polenta.

And there you have it, a super simple recipe for Easy Garlicky Grilled Polenta for your barbecue get-togethers. A great side dish that can be eaten as is or topped with some wonderful vegetables.

Have fun grilling!

Thanks for dropping by.

Ciao for now,


Grilled Polenta Recipe (6)


Grilled Polenta Recipe (7)

Easy Garlicky Grilled Polenta

This recipe for Easy Garlicky Grilled Polenta is a gluten free side dish for your BBQ get-together -eaten as is or topped with some wonderful vegetables. These grilled polenta cakes will quickly become one of your favorite BBQ sides for the summer. Who thought grilling polenta could be so easy?

5 from 3 votes

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Prep Time: 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes minutes

Servings: 16 servings

Calories: 149kcal

Author: Maria Vannelli RD


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic about 3-4, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary fresh, minced
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt see note
  • pinch pepper
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups milk 1%
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • olive oil for brushing


  • Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

  • In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil and butter.

  • Add the garlic, rosemary, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

  • Sauté the herbs for about one minute.

  • Add the vegetable broth and the milk and bring to a boil.

  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cornmeal.

  • Return the saucepan to the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to thicken and starts to boil. Be careful not to burn yourself (this takes just a few minutes).

  • Remove from heat.

  • Add the cheese and stir to combine.

  • Spread polenta in a 9 x 13 inch pan (I will use a glass Pyrex dish).

  • Refrigerate until firm.

  • Remove the polenta from the fridge one hour before grilling it.

  • Cut the polenta in triangle shapes (or whatever shape you prefer).

  • Brush both sides with some olive oil.

  • Grill the polenta a few minutes on each side until heated through.

  • Enjoy!

Scroll UP for the STEP by STEP PhotosDon't miss the process shots and videos included in most posts. Simply scroll up the post to find them. Those were created especially for you so that you can make the recipe perfectly every single time you try it.


This recipe can easily be divided in half.
Please include a couple of hours for the polenta to firm up in the fridge.
The amount of salt added depends on personal taste. Feel free to adjust.

If you want polenta rounds, you can place the polenta in a small well-oiled cans or other cylindrical containers. Then it is just a matter of slicing the rounds and grilling. This way there is no waste.

Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.

*adapted from Barefoot Contessa


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 436mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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About Maria

Maria Vannelli is a registered dietitian who lives in a suburb just outside Montreal, Canada. She's the founder of the food blog She Loves Biscotti. Maria hopes to inspire you and bring you and your loved ones closer together at meal times enabling you to create some memorable moments.

Reader Interactions


  1. Barbara Da Dalt

    I’m making this recipe right now. Can I just use 2 cups of regular cornmeal?


    • Maria

      Hi Barbara, Just got in front of my computer. Yes, that works just as well. Enjoy.


  2. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina

    Grilled Polenta Recipe (8)
    My family adores polenta and it comes from humble beginnings from my ancestors too. It’s so interesting that cucina povera is now so popular. The deliciousness of Italian food is the reason why! I love to fry and grill our polenta too the day after we enjoy it soft. It’s such a delicious simple comfort food. Thanks for sharing Maria!


    • Maria

      Thanks Roz! Growing up, I was surrounded with simplicity… This was especially true when it came to food. I truly believe the “deliciousness” as you say, is a direct result of good wholesome ingredients and this simplicity. Plus…it’s polenta! Thanks so much for dropping by 🙂


  3. Cindy's Recipes and Writings

    Your polenta turned out beautifully. I love that you can make this ahead then grill it when ready.


    • Maria

      I agree… easy menu planning… Thanks for dropping by 🙂


  4. Nettie Moore

    Grilled Polenta Recipe (9)
    I have so many different types of polenta that I have been wanting to make, this one is going on my future menu! Nettie


    • Maria

      Great to hear Nettie… it’s always a hit at family gatherings. I modified the original recipe I had to make it a “healthier” version. Appreciate the comment 🙂


  5. Liz @ Books n' Cooks

    I’ve NEVER thought to grill polenta – what a great, unique side to cook on the grill. I look forward to trying it this summer


    • Maria

      Enjoy Liz! Thanks for dropping by 🙂


  6. Meaghan

    I’m with you on the obsession with polenta!! Your grilled polenta has my mouth watering.. wow it looks good!! Definitely going to be trying your recipe 🙂


    • Maria

      Thanks Meaghan! If you have a chance, try it with grilled veggies… Appreciate you dropping by 🙂


  7. Eileen

    This looks so good. Those grills marks are perfection. There’s no end to the topping possibilities.


    • Maria

      Thanks Eileen. My favorite is an eggplant caponata. Thanks so much for dropping by 🙂


  8. David Crowley

    Grilled Polenta Recipe (10)
    wow, this grilled polenta sounds and looks awesome!


    • Maria

      Thanks David! Appreciate you dropping by 🙂


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Grilled Polenta Recipe (2024)
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