Creamy Polenta with Thyme

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A simple but tasty side dish, creamy polenta with dried thyme is easy to make and can be served in many ways. It is savory, buttery, and full of flavor thanks to cooking in chicken broth and dried thyme and finishing it off with lots of butter and freshly ground black pepper. 

I don’t remember how I got introduced to polenta but I’m glad I did! Usually found on the bottom of homemade pizza crusts, polenta is a grain that is so much more than just dusting flour.  It is coarse and almost nutty with plenty of texture and flavor. Polenta can also be used in a variety of ways. 

Close up on a bowl of creamy polenta with butter.

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One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is to make Rosemary Polenta Cornbread. Because the grains are so chunky, it adds so much flavor and texture to cornbread. 

Another amazing way to enjoy polenta is this creamy polenta recipe with lots of dried thyme. This recipe has soooo much flavor, and I ate most of it right out of the pot with a spoon. It’s just that good!

 Creamy polenta is an easy and tasty side dish to throw together in a matter of minutes, making it a great alternative to potatoes, rice, or pasta. Or you can turn it into a meal and serve it with pan-seared meats or roasted or sauteed vegetables. 

What is polenta?

Close up on a bowl of dried polenta(corn grits).

Polenta is basically coarse ground yellow corn and it is usually boiled to make a cornmeal porridge. Typically served savory, polenta porridge can be topped with meatballs and red sauce, a mountain of shredded cheese, roasted vegetables or meat for dinner, or plain as a tasty side dish. 

What’s the difference between grits, cornmeal, and polenta?

Grits, cornmeal, and polenta are pretty much the same but differ in how coarse or fine the corn has been ground and how each meal is cooked.

A woman's hand showing close up on dried polenta in a bowl.

Polenta grinds are usually the most coarse and have a nutty taste with lots of texture.

Grits are usually made of white corn but yellow corn can sometimes be used as well, and its grinds are medium coarseness.

And lastly, cornmeal has the finest grinds which are usually very fine and soft almost like flour. 

How to Make Creamy Polenta with Thyme Recipe:

Creamy polenta recipe ingredients on a table.

Step one: In a medium sauce pot bring chicken broth, water, salt, and dried thyme to a boil. While whisking, slowly add in the dried polenta. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer. 

Step two: Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the polenta has thickened and is tender. Stir occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn. 

Step three: Whisk in cubes of butter until the polenta is creamy. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and more butter. Enjoy!

Kitchen Items you might need for this recipe

Organic Polenta

Dried thyme


Cooking tips

-Polenta has a blank flavor profile so you can switch up the seasonings any way you like! Dried thyme, rosemary, fresh chives, herbs, chopped garlic, and more.

Boiling the polenta with broth is a must! this recipe is so flavorful because it is cooked in a rich homemade chicken broth. You can also use beef broth or veggie broth instead if you like!

As the polenta cools it will start to thicken. Whisk in a splash of water or broth to get it back to your desired consistency. 

Add ¼ cup of shredded parmesan or cheddar cheese to make cheesy polenta.

-For cooking polenta, you will need a 4:1 ratio – 4 parts liquid and 1 part polenta. I always like my polenta on the looser side so I use a bit more liquid, but 4:1 is the standard cooking ratio

What to serve with creamy polenta

-Pan-seared chicken thighs or roasted chicken

-Sauteed greens – kale, spinach, and swiss chard

-Braised meat and vegetables

-Simply with butter and ground black pepper

-A mix of shredded cheeses

Creamy polenta in a bowl with melted butter.

Frequently Asked Questions —

Are cornmeal and polenta the same?

Polenta and cornmeal are both made by grinding corn but the main difference is how coarse the corn grinds are. Polenta grinds tend to be very coarse and chunky, and cornmeal is very fine almost like flour. 

Looking For More Recipes?

Rosemary Polenta Cornbread

How to Make Homemade Chicken Broth

Pan-seared Boneless Chicken Thighs

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Heavy Cream

Garlic Red Mashed Potatoes

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Creamy Polenta with Thyme

A simple but tasty side dish, creamy polenta with dried thyme is easy to make and can be served in many ways. It is savory, buttery, and full of flavor thanks to cooking in chicken broth and dried thyme and finishing it off with lots of butter and freshly ground black pepper.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 201kcal



  • In a medium-sized sauce pot, bring to a boil chicken broth, water, salt, and dried thyme.
  • While whisking slowly pour in the dried polenta. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the polenta has thickened and is tender about 15 – 20  minutes. 
  • Whisk in cubed butter until creamy. Serve with more butter and enjoy!


The nutrition information is only an estimate and the recipe card may contain affiliate links. 
Can last in an air-tight container for 3-4 days. 
Reheat over the stove with 1 – 2 tablespoons of water or broth. Heat until creamy and warmed through.


Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.01g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 480mg | Potassium: 7mg | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.01mg

All nutrition information is automatically generated and should be only used as a rough estimate. This recipe card may contain affiliate links.

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