These herbed polenta fries are coated in a mixture of breadcrumbs, black pepper, basil and parmesan and shallow-fried until golden brown. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Includes gluten-free option as well!
Breaded polenta fries can be cut into thin French fries like sticks or thicker ones – like I did. If you cut these into thinner fries, you should get way more than I did out of this recipe.
Why make polenta fries?
- Easy recipe and quick as well!
- Perfect for meal prep – make them ahead and store in the freezer until ready to use.
- They are shallow fried – which means you don’t use a lot of oil, but still get nice crispy polenta fries.
- Versatile recipe – this polenta fries recipe can be enjoyed as an appetizer, snack or side (you’ll find more information and serving suggestions below)!
They are delicious!
How to cook polenta?
For these polenta fries, you want your polenta to come out thick, so I use 2 cups water for ½ cup of polenta, add seasoning and cook for a while (you’ll find detailed instructions in the recipe card).
How to make polenta fries
Once you prepared polenta, you will need to chill it until it sets. An 8-inch brownie pan is the perfect size for a batch of this size. Line it with a baking parchment and pour hot polenta in and spread it evenly.
Then, let it cool down before placing it in the fridge for 1 hour or until completely set. I like to do it in the night before I will be making crispy polenta fries.
The following day, I cut the polenta “cake” in half and each half into sticks. I usually cut my polenta fries into 1-inch sticks, because breading them is quicker. However, you can make them thinner, if you are after French fries-look.
For breading, I used corn breadcrumbs, parmesan and dried basil. You can add a pinch of salt, but don’t over-season as polenta is already seasoned. Plus, parmesan and corn breadcrumbs also contain some salt.
Polenta sticks have to be dipped in flour, then beaten egg and finally in the crumb mixture.
They are shallow-fried which means you don’t need a lot of oil – I use about ½ cup and fry them until golden brown.
Making breaded polenta fries gluten-free
Use no flour for breading (note that the crumb coating will not stick so well to the fries, see photo for comparison) or use gluten-free flour and use corn breadcrumbs.
Polenta fries can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer or a side. I like serving them with a simple dip (not very healthy though) of mayonnaise, garlic, a few drops of milk (to thin the dip slightly) and a few drops of Habanero sauce. You can also use cream cheese instead of mayonnaise, if you have this on hand.
As a side, polenta fries go well with simple tossed salad and grilled meats, steak, fish or pork.
- They stay warm quite long after being fried – up to 10-15 minutes, which is great when you want to make a few batches!
- Cold are equally delicious as warm. However, I still prefer the warm ones.
- This polenta fries recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. You will just need a larger tray or rectangular cake pan to pour it in.
More fried appetizers:
- Fried Zucchini Bites
- Fried Manchego Cheese
- Deep Fried Artichoke Hearts
- Zucchini Fritters
- Buffalo Chicken Wings – recipe instructions for both fried and oven-baked versions!
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pre-cooked yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 2 tablespoons parmesan powder (or finely grated parmesan)
For Polenta Fries:
- ¼ cup flour, see note 1
- 1 large egg, beaten with a little water
- ½ cup breadcrumbs, see note 2
- 3 tablespoons parmesan powder (or finely grated)
- 1 tablespoon dried basil, see note 3
- A pinch of black pepper
- ½ cup oil for frying, see note 4
For Polenta - Lump Free Version:
- Pour 1 cup of water in a saucepan and add salt. Bring it to a boil. When you see the water boiling, in a bowl or jug mix together the remaining water with cornmeal and pour it into the boiling water, stirring at all times (Don’t let the cornmeal mixture sit at a counter before you add it to the boiling water as it will thicken – you don’t want this!).
- Continue stirring until you see, polenta starts “spitting”. Then, reduce the heat and stir for 10 minutes. Pour the ready polenta into an 8-inch (20-centimetres) square pan lined with aluminum foil and let it cool down. Transfer to the fridge and chill from 1+ hour up to overnight (when making this in stages).
- Take the chilled polenta out from the pan and cut it into half and each half into 1-inch (2.5-centimetre) or thinner sticks.
For Polenta Fries:
- You will need 3 bowls, preferably shallow. One for flour, one for egg and one for a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan, basil and black pepper.
- Coat each stick in flour, then egg and finally in the breadcrumb mixture.
In a skillet/frying pan, heat the oil and shallow-fry the sticks for about 3-4 minutes per batch, turning them over about halfway into frying or when the bottoms are nicely golden brown.
- If you can’t fit all of them on the same pan, be careful with the second batch. You might need to lower the temperature as they can turn dark quickly.
- Transfer them onto a plate lined with a paper kitchen towel to get the excess oil.
- Enjoy warm or cold!
- You don’t need to use flour for a gluten-free version. Just note that the crumbs will not stick as well to polenta (See photos).
- You can use any kind of dry breadcrumbs you want – homemade, store-bought, made either of bread or corn (for gluten-free version).
- Basil can be substituted with oregano or marjoram. You can also add less. 2 tablespoons are plenty too.
- You will be shallow-frying these polenta sticks which means you don’t need that much oil and ½ cup should be plenty for this batch.
- The quantity of polenta fries you get out of this recipe can vary, depending on how thick/thin you cut the sticks. I would not go thicker than 1-inch (2.5 centimeters) per stick though. This recipe will yield about 3 portions when enjoyed as a snack.
- Please take the nutritional information as a guide only. The count per stick will be lower than shown here as you will not be using all of the breadcrumb mixture, egg nor oil. Unfortunately, it is not possible to state the exact number.
- If in doubt, please have a look at the post above this recipe card. It contains a ton of useful information, including a simple yet delicious dip that goes so well with these fries.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 109Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 130mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g