Crispy Baked Polenta with Herbs
Esalen Team
March 5, 2021

Polenta is easy to cook and a great canvas for all kinds of flavors. This version is rich with herbs, but you could substitute your favorite spices, add cheese, stir in some sauteed mushrooms or spinach — the possibilities are limitless. Top the baked polenta with a vegetable ragout, a hearty stew, or your favorite pasta sauce, or try it as a side dish in place of other starches like potatoes or rice.

If you’re tempted to replace the water in the recipe with more broth: don’t! Too much broth will overwhelm the flavor of the polenta itself.


  • 1 c. polenta
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth (homemade is great, store-bought it fine!)
  • 2 c. water
  • Chopped fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, chives, parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously oil a 9-inch round Pyrex or other nonstick pie pan with olive oil.
  3. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the water and broth to a simmer. Pour the polenta into the saucepan in a thin stream, whisking all the while. Stir continuously until the polenta is smooth, thick, and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in the herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the polenta into the pie pan, and tap the pie pan firmly on the counter to smooth out the surface and get rid of air bubbles. Let the polenta cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Brush or drizzle the remaining olive oil over the surface of the polenta, and bake until golden brown and crispy on the top and bottom.
  7. Remove the polenta from the pan, cut into squares, and serve.