Confident home cooking
polenta breakfast
Breakfast/Brunch, Economical, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Quick Breakfast Polenta

by Nick

What? You’ve never eaten breakfast out of a mixing bowl with a plastic spoon? Well, you haven’t lived my friend! I’m really living the dream these days.

But seriously, this meal is about as delicious, filling, easy and flexible as breakfast can get.

In fact, I think it’s maybe even easier and more flexible than oatmeal.

Serves 2.
Prep Time
Total Time
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Quick Breakfast Polenta

Quick Breakfast Polenta


  • 1 Cup Dried polenta
  • 3 Cups liquid (I used just water for my version, but you could use milk or any kind of stock as well)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Toppings a-plenty


1) Add polenta to a medium pot.  Add liquid along with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Most polenta needs 3 cups liquid per cup of polenta, but check your packaging.

2) Bring to a simmer and stir constantly until it begins to thicken.  Make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

3) When it's bubbling and the polenta is soft, it's done.  You can thicken it up more if you want but I like mine a bit runny for this dish.

4) Top with any number of delicious things.


In the South, polenta is known as grits. Sometimes restaurants serve polenta as blocks (like this polenta with tomato sauce), but really grits or polenta is just ground corn that has dozens of different preparations.

I’m calling it polenta just because I recently got back from Italy and that’s what they call it there.


Grits? It’s just ground up corn!

Polenta is shockingly simple to cook. Just add it to a medium pot and add liquid along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Most polenta calls for about 3 cups of liquid per cup of polenta but you should check yours for instructions as the amount of liquid might change depending on how course the grind is on your polenta.

I just used water for my version (because that’s all I had), but you could use milk, any sort of stock, or a mixture. Milk will make the polenta really creamy and rich. Something like chicken stock would make it really savory.

Bring the pot to a simmer, stirring frequently to make sure the polenta doesn’t stick. Then turn the heat to low and simmer it, stirring frequently. It should start to thicken in no time.

polenta cooking

Bubble Bubble…

Meanwhile, find some add-ins that you’d like to top the polenta with, but don’t forget to stir the polenta every 30 seconds or so. This is where the real magic of this breakfast comes in. You can add almost anything to this stuff, savory or sweet.

For this version, I added some leftover dried fruits and nuts that I had in my pantry: Dates, apricots, and pecans. I also added in some brown sugar and a bit of butter.

add ins

Endless possibilities really.

The polenta will probably take about 10-15 minutes to cook again depending on your specific kind. I actually like mine a bit on the runny side for this meal. If it gets too thick then it will firm up really quickly as it cools. The corn should be tender but the thickness can vary based on your personal tastes.

This was my finished version after about 15 minutes of stirring and bubbling.

bowl of polenta

Looks kind of bland I know.

Then just top with anything you want and eat immediately!

polenta finished

Awesome breakfast.

This is actually a great meal for if you’ve had a few too many the night before (I made this the night after Betsy and I had a going away party). It’s simple to make and really flavorful and filling.

Here’s 20 things you could add to this that would be really good:

- Chocolate chips
- Cocoa powder
- Maple syrup
- Crumbled bacon
- Crumbled breakfast sausage
- Any dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, blueberries, etc)
- Any nuts at all (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc)
- Seeds (poppy, sunflower, etc)
- Butter
- Brown sugar
- Milk
- Goat cheese
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Roasted peppers
- A poached egg
- Chopped shrimp (shrimp and grits)
- Chopped spinach
- Smoked paprika
- Gorgonzola (blue) cheese
- Shredded cheddar cheese (cheesy grits)

Have anything to add to the add-in list? Leave a comment!