Instant Pot Quick Salt and Pepper Polenta

I admit it. I’m having a love affair with polenta. It’s the creamy, cheesy essential in northern Italian cooking, but preparing it on the stovetop can be a bit fussy. However, with the Instant Pot (get yours here:, polenta just got back into the weekly cooking lineup!

Polenta is an amazing gluten-free staple to have in your pantry. Not only is it amazingly versatile, it is also inexpensive, and can easily be adapted for use in virtually any sweet or savory dish. Made from coarsely ground cornmeal, polenta is an amazing canvas for your next meal.

In this fast and easy recipe–it’s on the table in only 25 minutes–polenta is dressed up with just good quality pecorino, a touch of butter, salt and pepper. It’s by far the least fussy, simplest way to cook this amazing comfort food.

This versatile side dish goes great with all kinds of meats and sauces. Try it with Delightful Caprese Chicken [link], BBQ Pork Chops [link] or Baby Back Pork Ribs [link]. With this recipe, cooking up a batch of smooth and creamy polenta is a snap!

This versatile side dish goes great with all kinds of meats and sauces.


  • 1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
  • 4 cups water, warmed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 4 oz good quality pecorino cheese (or parmesan), finely grated
  • Additional grated pecorino, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to finish


  1. Using the display panel select the SAUTE function.
  2. Add polenta, warmed water, salt and pepper in the Instant Pot and whisk to combine.
  3. Bring to a simmer, then whisk again.
  4. Turn the pot off by selecting CANCEL, then secure the lid, making sure the vent is closed.
  5. Using the display panel select the MANUAL function*. Use the +/- buttons and program the Instant Pot for 0 minutes.
  6. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  7. Whisk the polenta until well-combined and creamy.
  8. Add butter and stir to combine. Add pecorino a little at a time, whisking until melted. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  9. Serve–a wide, shallow bowl is traditional–topped with additional pecorino, salt and a generous grind of pepper.

*The MANUAL and PRESSURE COOK buttons are interchangeable.