Polenta is a popular Italian dish made from boiled cornmeal, usually served as a hot porridge, or cooled and solidified into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled. It would be a pity to throw away any leftovers, especially because there are a lot of recipes that use leftover polenta to make some other great dishes.
What is the best way to reheat polenta? The best way to reheat polenta is to use an oven, if you’re reheating hard polenta, or to use a skillet if you’re reheating soft polenta. You can also use a microwave if you want a really quick method.
The Best Ways To Reheat Polenta
Reheating polenta isn’t a difficult task, but the first thing to keep in mind is that it’s necessary to store your plate of polenta correctly if you want to be able to enjoy it for the few next days.
If you want to eat your polenta leftovers in the next few days (up to three), the easiest way is to store them in the fridge. This can make polenta dry a little bit, but it’s still the quickest and safest way to store polenta.
There are a few tips that can help you avoid the drying issue: let your polenta cool completely before putting it in the fridge, and wrap it in a clean cloth or cover it with a few paper towels, then seal it with plastic wrap. Aluminum foil doesn’t work, but you could also try to vacuum seal your polenta.
You could also store it in the freezer, but you need to make sure there’s no water loss involved, otherwise, your polenta will risk a loss of its shape and texture. There are a few tips for this storage method, too.
First of all, you need to let your polenta cool and then cut it into slices: wrap the slices in aluminum foil and put them in a food bag before storing them in the freezer. You can also freeze polenta on a tray, leaving space between one slice of polenta and the other, so you can store the slices in a ziplock bag when they’re frozen.
Polenta can be left in the freezer for up to three months, and it’s better to consume defrosted portions within 24 hours.
Once you know how to store polenta correctly, there are a few different methods you can use to reheat it, and the best one depends mostly on the kitchen appliances you can use. All the methods we’ve listed work well, so the decision is completely up to you!
The method you’ll choose will also depend on which kind of polenta you’re going to reheat: there are methods that work best to reheat creamy polenta and methods that work better to reheat baked polenta.
We have prepared this handy guide to help you choose the best method to get the perfect consistency and flavor when you reheat leftover polenta.
How to reheat polenta in a skillet
One of the best methods to reheat polenta is to use a skillet: you can cut your already chilled polenta into smaller pieces and then crisp them in a skillet, or you could even fry your leftover polenta!
This method doesn’t work if you want to reheat creamy polenta, but it’s amazing if you have some hard polenta and you want to try something new.
Remember to make sure you’re using completely cooled polenta, and to use a bit of butter to avoid your polenta sticking to the skillet.
If you want to fry your leftover polenta, you just have to add as much oil as you need (depending on how much polenta you have on your hands) and fry the small polenta pieces until they’re golden.
Here are the steps to reheat polenta in a skillet:
- Cut your leftover polenta into smaller pieces.
- Heat up a skillet with a little bit of butter.
- Grill the pieces for 5 minutes.
- Turn them around and grill them for 5 more minutes.
How to reheat polenta in a saucepan
If your goal is to reheat creamy polenta, a saucepan can be your best friend! The trick to get from chilled, refrigerated polenta, to its previous soft and delicious state is to be patient… and to add more liquid!
The main problem when you’re trying to reheat soft polenta is that, after a few days in the fridge, your leftover polenta is definitely harder than it was before.
This is why you need to add more liquid to get back to its original consistency. Once you’ve added more liquid, it’s just a matter of whisking all the lumps away, and you’re done.
Here are the steps to reheat polenta in a saucepan:
- Heat up a saucepan with a bit of butter.
- Add your leftover polenta and start whisking.
- Add a bit of water or milk as you go.
- Keep whisking until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
- Add more liquid if needed.
How to reheat polenta in the oven
Another really simple method you can use is to reheat polenta in the oven: this is a quick and easy method that can get your perfectly good polenta in just a short while, and it’s perfect when you want to reheat frozen polenta.
The only thing you need to keep in mind is that, when you’re reheating polenta in an oven, you need to use your leftovers when they’re still cold.
There’s no need to let polenta thaw: this way the water in the polenta will be released in the oven and will immediately dry without compromising the texture.
Here are the steps to reheat polenta in an oven:
- Turn on the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 356 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your chilled slices of polenta on an oven-safe dish.
- Heat them for 20 minutes.
- If you want them crispier you can use the grill for the last 5 minutes.
How to reheat polenta in the microwave
The third method you can use to reheat polenta is using a microwave: this is another really quick and easy option that works really well for soft polenta, too.
When you’re looking to reheat pre-cooked polenta in a microwave, you need to make sure to add more liquid (a little bit of water or milk as needed) to your dish to get the polenta back to a creamy consistency.
Just like when you’re using the oven, there’s no need to let polenta thaw: your leftover polenta will release water in the microwave, and this will ensure the texture will remain the same.
Here are the steps to reheat polenta in a microwave:
- Put your leftover polenta in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat the dish for a minute, then remove the dish and stir.
- Add a few drops of water or milk if needed.
- Repeat the last two steps until the polenta is heated evenly and has reached the desired consistency.
Can you reheat polenta?
The answer to this question is yes, you can reheat your leftover polenta so that you can enjoy this delicious dish for a few days: you just have to remember to store it and reheat it properly.
You can choose your preferred method for reheating polenta between the ones we’ve listed above: each one works for different needs and based on the availability of your kitchen appliances.
If you want to reheat soft polenta you can choose between two different methods: you can use a microwave, making sure to heat at short intervals and to check the temperature, or you can use a saucepan.
With both of these methods, you need to add a little bit more liquid, milk or water, to make sure your polenta gets back to its original texture and consistency. Add a few drops of liquid when you start and then add some more as you go, depending on your needs.
You can also try to reheat polenta in a skillet, cutting your previously chilled polenta into smaller pieces and simply grilling them on the stove. This is a really quick way to enjoy leftover polenta, and you could even try to fry it.
The last thing you can do is to reheat polenta in an oven, making sure you’re using polenta that’s still chilled, straight from the fridge or the freezer. This is the best way to reheat hard polenta, and it’s really quick and simple too!
Whatever method you choose, keep in mind that your number one goal is to try to get the original texture and consistency of polenta, so use the tips we gave you to achieve just that.
There are a lot of recipes that call for leftover polenta: you could also take a look at some of those, and take advantage of your leftovers to make something completely new.
Follow our step-by-step guide to make sure you’re reheating polenta in the correct way, and you can be sure to enjoy your leftover polenta even in the next few days!