Here’s a versatile little dish works equally well as a delicious main or a sumptuous side. Polenta is simmered in equal amounts milk and water, and melded with melty Parmesan cheese, tangy sour cream, and rich butter. All of these ingredients team up to create a lush, creamy consistency.

This creamy polenta recipe makes for a super-satisfying meal simply when sprinkled with a few chopped scallions or topped more heartily with grilled squash, steamed broccoli, or sauteed mushrooms. We also love it as an easy substitute for mashed potatoes: it’s the perfect base for pot roast or stew. When we make this in our house, it’s often a side for my carnivorous guy and a main for me, and we both feel like we got the better part of the deal.

In fact, this stuff is so wonderfully creamy, I almost named it “Uber Creamy Parmesan Sour Cream Polenta,” but then I had a tartlet moment with the word “uber.” You know, that episode of Friends? “Tartlet … tartlet … the word has lost all meaning!”


Note: We use Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits Polenta for this recipe. I thought it was important to mention the specific type of polenta we start with because quite honestly, I had always thought grits and polenta were different things, but perhaps not (can anyone enlighten me?)

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Creamy Parmesan Sour Cream Polenta

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 3 -4 servings
Milk, butter, Parmesan cheese, and sour cream give this cheesy polenta a rich, creamy consistency. Try it in place of your usual mashed potatoes, or top with steamed broccoli for a quick, easy, and satisfying vegetarian meal.


  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup polenta corn grits
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated plus additional for sprinkling on top)
  • Chopped scallions or parsley for garnish (optional)


  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring the milk, water, and salt to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn heat to low and slowly drizzle in the polenta, whisking constantly to prevent clumping.
  • Cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until creamy.
  • Remove pot from stove and stir in the butter, sour cream, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve topped with scallions and/or parsley, if using.

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