What Does Polenta Do in Baking

Polenta is a traditional Italian dish made from boiled cornmeal. It is a versatile ingredient that can be served as a savory or sweet dish.

But have you ever thought of using polenta in baking? If not, you’re missing out on a delicious twist to your favorite recipes. In this article, we’ll explore what polenta does in baking, how to use it, and the benefits it provides. Let’s get started!

What is Polenta?

Polenta is a dish made from boiled cornmeal, which is then left to cool and solidify. The resulting texture is similar to porridge or grits. It’s a staple food in many parts of Italy, where it’s often served as a side dish or used as a base for other dishes.

What Does Polenta Do in Baking?

Polenta can be used in baking to add texture and flavor to your recipes. When used in baking, polenta adds a delicious crunch and a slightly nutty flavor. It also helps to keep your baked goods moist and tender. Here are some of the ways you can use polenta in your baking:

  1. As a coating for breaded items: Polenta can be used in place of breadcrumbs to coat chicken, fish, or vegetables before baking. The result is a crispy, flavorful coating that’s perfect for a healthier version of your favorite fried foods.
  2. In cakes and muffins: Polenta can be added to cakes and muffins to give them a slightly gritty texture and a nutty flavor. It works especially well in citrus-based desserts.
  3. In bread: Polenta can be added to bread dough to give it a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. It’s a great addition to focaccia and other rustic breads.
  4. In pizza crust: Polenta can be used in place of some of the flour in pizza crust to give it a crispy texture and a nutty flavor.

Benefits of Using Polenta in Baking

Using polenta in baking provides a range of benefits, including:

  1. It’s gluten-free: Polenta is made from cornmeal, which is naturally gluten-free. This makes it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
  2. It adds texture: Polenta adds a delicious crunch to your baked goods, which can take your recipes to the next level.
  3. It adds flavor: Polenta has a slightly nutty flavor that can enhance the overall taste of your baked goods.


Is polenta the same as cornmeal?

Polenta is made from cornmeal, but it’s a specific type of cornmeal that has been boiled and left to solidify.

Can I use instant polenta in baking?

Instant polenta can be used in baking, but it may not provide the same texture and flavor as traditional polenta. It’s best to use traditional polenta if possible.

Is polenta healthy?

Polenta is a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. It’s also low in fat and calories, making it a healthy addition to your diet.


Polenta is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can add a new dimension of texture and flavor to your baked goods. Whether you use it as a coating for breaded items or as an ingredient in cakes, muffins, or pizza crust, polenta is sure to impress. Try incorporating polenta into your next baking adventure and see the difference it makes!

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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