Polenta Muffins are simply cornmeal muffins made with softer instant cook polenta. The result is a more cake-like texture
The making of Polenta Muffins
Cornmeal muffins made with instant polenta = Polenta Muffins.
Why use instant polenta rather than cornmeal? Texture.
These Polenta Muffins have a much softer cake-like texture than your normal run of the mill corn muffin, not that there's anything wrong with a regular cornmeal muffin. I just like to change things up. If you want, you can make these exactly the same way as written here and use cornmeal. The only difference will be the texture. See, you have all the control.
"These muffins have a softer texture than your normal run of the mill corn muffin"
Ingredients for Polenta Muffins
- All-purpose or gluten-free all-purpose flour - Use gluten-free if you are trying to keep the muffins gluten-free.
- Instant Polenta or Fine Cornmeal- Be sure to use instant polenta, not regular long cooking polenta. If you use long cooking polenta, you will definitely have a different texture. I would call that texture "crunchy".
- Baking Powder - Best to use Double-Acting.
- Salt - I use Kosher salt for everything. If you use coarse salt, such as Kosher, be sure to use a full amount. If using Iodized salt, use a scant amount (scant means not overflowing).
- Sugar - The recipe calls for 2 - 4 tablespoons. I use the minimum amount but if you like a sweeter muffin, go for the max.
- 2% buttermilk - If you don't have you can make an appropriate alternative with a mixture of ½ yogurt (plain, low-fat) mix with an equal amount of milk, or put 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar in a cup of milk and let it curdle.
- Eggs - Large eggs, always - brown, white, or green, they are all the same. It's the chicken that determines the color.
- ¼ cup oil - You can use all olive, mix olive with another vegetable oil, add a flavored oil, such as basil or jalapeno, or melted butter. I like to keep it a ratio of 50/50 when using flavored oils so the oil doesn't overpower the corniness of the Polenta Muffin.
- Additional oil or Ghee or Butter for the cooking vessel.
Want to keep it Gluten-Free?
If you want to make these gluten-free, it's easy peezy. Just substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour.
Polenta is naturally gluten-free.
And of course, you can make these Polenta Muffins with fine cornmeal as well. But that just doesn't have the same ring. Cornmeal Muffins, how ordinary.
Ways to Cook Polenta Muffins
In Cast Iron - big or small!
If you love a more crunchy bottom muffin, this is the way to go. Although, if you use the larger skillet it really isn't a muffin anymore, it's bread, but the taste is still the same. Only the presentation will change, and perhaps the cooking time will need a few minutes more due to the larger size.
Whether you go big or small with your cast iron, make sure to butter or oil it up, I like to use Ghee, and put them into the oven as the oven pre-heats so the pan is nice and hot when you add the batter. Ah, hear that sizzle? That's the crusty bottom forming.
A Muffin-Tin - With or Without Inserts
The standard for Polenta Muffins. Using inserts ensures the muffins will come easily out of the pan and give them a colorful presentation. If you don't use the inserts then be sure to grease or butter the tin. DO NOT USE COOKING SPRAY. On any metal. All cooking sprays contain propellants that may cause permanent coating to your pans that you cannot remove. And while these chemicals are deemed safe for consumption, I'm always a purest. Better to be safe than to be sorry.
Yes, an oldie but a goodie. The pyrex baking dish. That's the 8 X 8-inch square baking dish. If choosing this option, you will of course need to cut the muffins into squares, but nothing wrong with that. And with glass, you can either spray with a cooking spray, if desired, it doesn't seem to damage glass, or use butter or ghee for best muffin removal. If using a glass baking dish, reduce the oven temperature to 400ºF.
Super Simple Add-on Variations
- Using a combination of regular and flavored oil such as basil or jalapeno.
- Adding some finely chopped jalapeno.
- Adding some finely chopped green onion.
- Add some sweet fresh or thawed sweet frozen corn, even canned will work. Make sure the corn is dry.
- Add some grated cheddar cheese.
These muffins will keep about 2 days without refrigeration. A week with, or a month or so in the freezer, although I'm not a big fan of them reheated. They are best fresh out of the oven, and since they are so easy to make, I make them fresh each time I want to serve them. Since it's just BB and me, I only make half a recipe which is perfect for us.
These muffins are perfect with soup, such as my Leftover's Turkey Soup or 3-Bean Chili con Carne. Or any other chili!
Want to try something different? Try one of these simple, yet delicious, alternatives.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free
- 1 cup instant polenta or fine cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 - 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup vegetable oil I prefer olive oil
- Heat oven to 425°F 218ºCIn a bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Stir well with a fork. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir just to combine. If using a muffin tin: Using a brush, lightly oil a muffin tin with olive oil. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling them about ¾ full. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin. If using a Cast Iron Skillet: Coat the skillet with olive oil or ghee. Place the skillet in the oven as it heats. Once hot, pour the batter into the skillet (if full sized) or spoon the batter into individual mini-skillets. Cook 20 - 25 minutes for a large skillet, 15 - 20 for mini. If using an 8 x 8 glass baking dish: Reduce oven temperature to 400ºF 204ºC. Coat the baking dish with ghee, olive oil, or cooking spray. Cook for 25 minutes, check for doneness with a toothpick. If not cooked cook for another 5 minutes or so. Serve hot.