Crispy Polenta Croutons

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These crispy polenta croutons are the perfect finger food for toddlers and baby-led weaning fans. They’re soft and creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

Polenta is simply cornmeal boiled into a porridge, and eaten creamy and soft or baked, fried or grilled. It is quick and easy to make (if using the instant variety, of course!). Unlike flour made from wheat grains, cornmeal does not contain gluten, which makes for an ideal food to serve those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance.


Due to its mild flavour, polenta lends itself to a variety of spice and herb combinations as well as preparation methods. My go-to method of preparation is usually soft and creamy, topped with marinara sauce or a mushroom cream sauce. I’ve made Baked Polenta in the past, which is a hit with the entire family so I can say that I have that method of preparation under my belt too.

My son is not much of a fan of the super-creamy texture so I had a go at preparing it differently, in order to encourage him to give polenta another chance. My hard work (well, not so much!) and creativity paid off. He gobbled these up! I do think the fact that he was encouraged to use his hands to eat might have had something to do with it too!


Prep time
Cook time
Total time


Yields: 2-3 servings
2 cups water
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup instant cornmeal
2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
sea salt and black pepper to taste


There are two ways you can prepare these crispy polenta croutons, by using ready-made polenta…


Or from scratch using instant polenta. I chose this method of preparation, although the former is much quicker and easier.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to low for 1-2 minutes then slowly pour in the cornmeal. Stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes or until the polenta is dense enough that it comes away easily from the sides of the pot.

Remove the pot from the heat and quickly stir in the Parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Pour the polenta onto a small baking sheet (depending on desired thickness) and spread out evenly with a spatula (coated with cooking spray) until smooth and uniform.

Let sit in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours or until fully cooled and firm.

Remove from the fridge and cut into desired portion sizes.

Heat 1 tbs. of extra-virgin olive oil in a pan on medium-heat for about 1 minute.
Add the polenta cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes, tossing often, or until crispy and browned.


Season with salt and pepper, and more Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve alone or with marinara dipping sauce.


Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


  • Christine-JoyfulParentingWEC

    Making this right now. So easy! I can’t wait for my little people to try it.

    • So, you’ve made them already?! Were they a hit?!

      • Christine-JoyfulParentingWEC

        I think I ate more of them than my little people did :) So quick & easy I will definitely do this again!

        • I usually pick at them while I’m making them…it’s a wonder there’s ever any left for my son, lol!

  • Jennifer Avventura

    I forgot to put my polenta in the fridge! I will try this again and let you know. I’ve been experimenting a bit too much for my hubby’s taste but I’m pretty sure he would love these! Thank you! :)

    • Lisa @bitesforbabies

      Did you just make these now??! That was quick, lol! Just make sure they are nicely browned…btw, your ITALIAN husband doesn’t like polenta??? Maybe he would like it with some fresh “cinghiale” sauce??

      • Jennifer Avventura

        No, I haven’t tried to make polenta since last year when it turned out horrible. My husband does like polenta, just not the time I made it. ;) We’ve had it with cinghiale sauce and it was delicious, I just can’t replicate it.

        • Lisa @bitesforbabies

          Are you cooking with the instant stuff? I don’t always have the time and patience to make “real” polenta, lol! Anyways, the instant turns out just fine, tastes delicious and is so much easier to make ;-)

          • Jennifer Avventura

            Instant sounds good, I just won’t tell husband! ;)

          • Lisa @bitesforbabies

            I bet you 10 euro he won’t notice the difference ;-)))

          • Jennifer Avventura

            LOL! You’ve already won, I ‘know’ he wouldn’t notice the difference. :)