How To Make a Quick Bowl of Polenta in the Microwave

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Polenta is one of my very favorite breakfasts. I love the creamy, nutty taste of golden cornmeal in my bowl; it makes a lovely alternative to oatmeal or cold cereal. And it is even easier to whip up a bowl for breakfast than I realized, too. I used to just eat dinner leftovers for breakfast, but then I discovered that I can make a bowl of polenta in the microwave in five minutes!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This will make one bowl of polenta, plenty for one person. It will be smooth and thick, but probably not entirely free of lumps. Personally I don’t mind them at all, but this isn’t the ultra-smooth polenta you’ll find in restaurants.

You can find the cornmeal called for here in the bulk section at the grocery, or bagged and sold as polenta or coarse ground cornmeal. Bob’s Red Mill makes a nice version.

What You Need


1 cup water
1/4 cup coarse ground cornmeal
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon olive oil, optional
Milk, optional




1. Mix the water, cornmeal, salt, and olive oil, if using. Put the bowl, uncovered, in the microwave, and set the microwave for 5 minutes on HIGH.

2. Halfway through cooking, take the polenta out of the microwave and stir thoroughly. Add a drizzle of milk, if desired. Put the bowl back in the microwave and finish the cooking time. Check at 5 minutes; it should be getting rather thick. (It will thicken even more as it cools.)

3. Eat with a little more milk, plus brown sugar and walnuts — or topped with a poached egg!

Additional Notes:
• Microwaves range in power, of course. My polenta was perfectly done after 5 minutes, but check it halfway through cooking. If it is already thickening rapidly you may want to only cook it for a minute more.

Do you ever eat polenta for breakfast? What do you like to add to it?

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