What to do with leftover polenta? Rather than dumping it away, storing it in the fridge for a midnight snack doesn’t seem like a bad idea. But how to reheat polenta?
The process is straightforward and doesn’t take long to do. In today’s article, we’re going to show you different ways to reheat polenta and the tips to store this creamy dish to retain its tasty flavor.
What Is Polenta?
Polenta is an Italian-based dish made of coarsely ground kernels. Freshly cooked, the recipe is creamy and soft, explaining why it’s a great sauce bed. For this reason, polenta goes really well with warm pasta. Since it is gluten-free, you can enjoy a healthier version of spaghetti or lunini in polenta sauce.
Some people have trouble distinguishing polenta and grits, which makes sense because grits are also made from corn. However, polenta is more coarse and flakier than grits. Plus, grits are often eaten for breakfast, whereas the other is mainly served as a side dish or even a main course.
How To Reheat Polenta Step By Step
We all love the creaminess and smoothness of this corn-based dish. So knowing how to reheat creamy polenta to retain its signature texture is crucial in your kitchen. Here are 4 easy ways:
Using A Skillet
Using a skillet is considered the best way to reheat your polenta. This may also answer your question: how to fry polenta. There are many ways to make use of your skillet when reheating polenta: either cut the frozen polenta into smaller logs and fry them in the skillet or just fry the whole thing.
It may not be a good idea to make soft polenta with a skillet. But if you have some hard polenta laying around, why not make some deep-fried polenta sticks?
Here are 2 easy steps:
- Heat up your skillet over medium-high heat with 2 cups of frying oil. Drop in the polenta pieces and fry until the sticks turn golden brown.
- Place the polenta batch on dry paper towels to drain any leftover oil.
Voilà, you can now sit back and have yourself warm polenta fries as a snack – crunchy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside. This is a great twist on the traditional french fry that you should totally try. Add marinara sauce and grated Parmesan cheese, and you’ll regret not cooking polenta log sooner!
Using A Saucepan
If you plan to reheat cold polenta into a creamy consistency, it’s a good idea to use a saucepan. The key to reviving polenta to its initial form is to add more liquid – water, milk, broth, etc.
- Heat up your pan with a bit of butter.
- As the butter melts, add in your polenta and start whisking. Since the corn block has been in the fridge for a few days now, it’s definitely harder than it was before, so be patient when you’re trying to whisk it.
- Add a bit of liquid and keep on stirring until the polenta is creamy to your liking.
- Remove the pan from the heat and enjoy your easy cheesy polenta!
Using An Oven
Another easy way to reheat polenta is to use an oven. Many people prefer this method over the others as you don’t need to thaw the polenta beforehand. When heated in the oven, steam released from the frozen polenta will revive its original creamy consistency without compromising its texture.
- Preheat your oven at 365℉.
- While waiting for the oven to heat up, cut up your chilled polenta into sticks and place them on a baking sheet.
- Lightly oil each stick and allow them to cook in the oven for 20 minutes. If you want them crunchier, another 5 minutes will do.
Using A Microwave
Reheating polenta in a microwave is a quick and easy-to-do option if you don’t want to make a mess with the saucepan. So how to cook polenta in the microwave?
- Preheat the microwave at 365℉, just like you do with the oven method.
- Put the polenta bowl in and allow it to heat up for a minute.
- Take it out, add a little bit of liquid (water, milk, etc.), and stir.
- Repeat the final step 2-3 times until the polenta is cooked to your desired consistency.
And that’s how to make pre cooked polenta creamy! You may feel like it’s a little inconvenient to keep taking the bowl in and out, but the final result will definitely be worth it!
Can You Freeze Cooked Polenta?
Just like most cornmeal-based recipes, polenta will freeze excellently! In fact, freezing polenta is also the best way to store this corn-based dish. When you cook more polenta than the amount needed (which happens quite often as polenta expands once cooked), you can freeze it to use later.
The taste and texture are likely to stay unaffected by freezing. The frozen cornmeal will stay good for up to 3 months in the freezer.
How Long Does Polenta Last In The Fridge?
Up to 2-3 days. The leftover polenta will dry out and become out of texture if left in the fridge any longer than this time. Before storing it in the refrigerator, allow the polenta to cool down to room temperature.
There is a tip to help with dried-out polenta, though. Instead of using a bowl like you normally do, you’re going to wrap the polenta in a clean cloth.
You can also let it set on a plate and cover some paper towels on top and seal with plastic wraps. This way, the moisture can’t escape the dish, keeping it good to use in the upcoming days.
Making polenta can be tricky as you tend to end up with too much leftover. Since polenta can last up to 3 months in the freezer, you don’t have to worry about this problem anymore.Knowing how to reheat polenta properly allows you to make different leftover polenta recipes like polenta fries or cheesy baked polenta in tomato sauce. Follow our guides and enjoy your polenta!