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Baked polenta fries with marinara sauce in a bowl.
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5 from 1 review

Crispy Baked Parmesan Polenta Fries

Take a pot of creamy corn grits, then turn it into something new: Crispy Polenta Fries! Mix in lots of grated Parmesan cheese, creamy mascarpone, and whatever fresh herbs you've got on hand. Once cool, cut into sticks, then cook until crispy and golden around the edges. We love serving polenta fries with marinara sauce, but these would also be fantastic with homemade aioli! Gluten-free.
Prep5 minutes
Cook45 minutes
Cool Time1 hour
Total1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: corn grits, cornmeal, Italian grits, porridge
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 192kcal
Author: Ari Laing



  • 1 cup cornmeal polenta
  • 3 ¼ cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • 2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped herbs such as oregano, basil, chives, parsley, tarragon, thyme, rosemary (can use a combination!)
  • Marinara sauce for serving
  • Aioli for serving


  • Cook the polenta. Combine corn grits, chicken stock, and Kosher salt in a medium sauce pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then stir until thick and creamy, about 20 minutes.
  • Flavor the polenta. Stir in butter, parmesan cheese, mascarpone, and fresh herbs until very well mixed and butter and cheese has melted.
  • Transfer to a baking dish. Pour the warm polenta into a 9x13 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Use an offset spatula to flatten as evenly as possible.
  • Cool the polenta. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour.
  • Cut into fries. Turn the cooled polenta out onto a cutting board, then cut into small sticks. To do this, cut the polenta in half lengthwise, then cut the two halves into sticks about ¼" thick. This will yield ~28 polenta fries.
  • Crisp the fries. Preheat an oven to 425 F. Place the polenta fries on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving a little space in between. Cook for 20 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
  • Broil to finish. Carefully flip the fries over. Preheat the broiler to high, then place the polenta fries on the rack closest to the broiler. Cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler, until crispy on the second side. Serve immediately with your favorite sauce (we recommend Rao's marinara, but tarragon aioli would be fabulous too!).


  • Nutrition facts do not include marinara or aioli.
  • Use an offset spatula so smooth the warm polenta into an even layer. Any imperfections will show when you cut the cooled fries!
  • Allow polenta to cool completely before slicing into sticks. Otherwise, the polenta won't hold its shape as well.
  • Use traditional (not quick cooking) polenta.
  • If you can't find polenta, use coarse or medium coarse ground corn grits as opposed to finely ground corn grits, which won't have the same texture.
  • Use any fresh herbs you've got - seriously! This is a great way to use up leftover herbs that are about to go bad.
  • While the polenta fries are edible once cooked, don't skip the step of crisping them up in an oven! You want that crispy texture, and it helps them maintain their shape!


Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 352IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 1mg
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