from my Kitchen to Yours

Polenta Muffins

Polenta Muffins served in mini cast iron pots.

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

A printable recipe card is available at the bottom of this post

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”



All of the ingredients ready to make Polenta Muffins.

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 1/2 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.
  • 1/4 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!


Mini and regular sized cast iron pans ready to heat up for Polenta Muffins.


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


A muffin tin with colorful inserts is ready to bake some delicious muffins.


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. 


A pyrex baking dish to be used for making cornmeal muffins.


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 needs you 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

  1. Using a combination of regular and flavored oil such as basil or jalapeno.
  2. Adding some finely chopped jalapeno.
  3. Adding some finely chopped green onion.
  4. Add some sweet fresh or thawed sweet frozen corn, even canned will work. Make sure the corn is dry.
  5. 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. 


Polenta Muffins served in mini cast iron pots.


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.

Cheddar Black Pepper Drop Biscuit

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Tender Simple Homemade Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Super Simple Cream Biscuits

Yield: 12 muffins

Polenta Muffins

Using instant polenta makes these muffins more cake-like than regular cornmeal muffins. But fine cornmeal will work too!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, or gluten-free
  • 1 cup instant polenta or fine cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I prefer olive oil)


Step 1

Heat oven to 425°F

In 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. Using a brush, lightly oil a muffin tin with olive oil. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling them about 3/4 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. Serve hot.


LindySez: If you don't have any polenta, use fine cornmeal in its place.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 244mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g

Nutritional values may not be 100% accurate.

12 Responses

    1. No buttermilk? Wow, where do you live??? Anyway, you can substitute regular milk that you mix in either a teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. That will mimic the properties of buttermilk. I have also had success in mixing 50/50 yogurt and milk. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy! Cheers ~ Lindy

      1. I live in Argentina and believe it or not we don´t have buttermilk here. I was craving cornmeal muffins but we don´t have cornmeal mix either. I´ll try your recipe with polenta which is a staple in every house. Thank you!

        1. Argentina, good to know they don’t have buttermilk. If you are using a standard coarse polenta, put it into the blender for a few minutes to get it into a finer grain, then it’s good to go. The course one will not give you a smooth texture. Hope you enjoy.

          1. Too late! Thought they might mix in with the wet ingredients. They’re crunch I’ll try again another time

    2. I use powdered buttermilk and it keeps forever in the refrigerator. The brand at our market is “The Saco Pantry Cultured Buttermilk Blend for Cooking and Baking” and all you need is water to make fresh buttermilk. I bought it a year ago and is good until June 2020.

      1. That sounds like a good product. I remember dry milk when we used to camp. Hated to drink it, but it was great for cooking with. Thanks for sharing. Cheers ~ Lindy

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