Baked Polenta Fries (with Spicy Lime Mayo)

in Appetizers, Sides, Snacks

I’ve had exactly four cups of coffee today. My hand is shaking (just slightly). And I really need to trim my bangs. But I’m scared. I think I have reason to be…

I also cannot stop thinking about homemade fish sticks. How will I do this?! How will I make homemade fish sticks? Huh?

Still not sure. But if you have ideas/thoughts/experiences of the fish stick variety, I’m all ears. Also, if you know secrets about cutting your own bangs, I’d like to hear those too.

These are important life things. Fish sticks. And haircuts.

I’m all about fish sticks right now, but really I should be convincing you how incredible these sticks made from polenta are. They really are. It’s just that I made these about a week ago when I was back home and now I’ve moved on to something else.

I often times feel like I have the attention span of Ellen Degeneres’s character in Finding Nemo. You a goldfish.

(Weird how Ellen Degeneres is a fish and I was talking aobut fish sticks, right?! RIGHT?! Totally wasn’t planned.)

Back to polenta fries…I’m a huge proponent of fries that aren’t made from potatoes. You know this. Evidence: here, here, here, AND lastly, here.

I love everything about fries. I love their bite-sizeness. I love that I can gab and gossip while simultaneously eating an entire plate. They offer breaks in between. The dipping sauce situation that goes along with fries is always important.

These have everything I love about a French fry, actually. They’re crispy on the outside with a smooth center. In this case, their smoothness is helped by a heaping handful of shredded Parmesan. Add a bit more if you like (or another kind of cheese), and you’ll have Cheesy Baked Polenta Fries. HELLO DELICIOUSNESS!

They taste even better with this spicy lime mayo, which comes together with a dash of hot sauce, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of salt.

Baked Polenta Fries with Spicy Lime Mayo

Print this recipe!

4 cups whole milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons kosher salt, and more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons olive oil

Chili Lime Mayo:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 dashes Cholulua (or Tobasco)
1 teaspoon lime juice
Pinch salt

1. Spray non-stick cooking spray on a baking sheet (or casserole dish). Bring milk, 1 cup water and butter to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and cook until polenta is very thick and starts to pull away from sides of pan, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in cheese and salt. Add more salt if you like. Immediately transfer polenta to prepared baking sheet, spreading mixture to a 1-inch thickness. Mine filled up half of the baking sheet. No biggie. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool and firm, about 1 hour. (You can totally do this a day ahead. Just be sure to cover and keep refrigerated.)

3. Cut polenta lengthwise in pan into three-inch-wide rectangles. Cut each rectangle crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Set polenta strips aside.

4. Preheat oven to 450F. Transfer polenta fries to lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of kosher salt and some olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the fries at the 10 minute mark. Fries, when done, will be slightly golden brown at the edges.

5. Meanwhile, mix together the mayo, hot sauce, lime juice and pinch of salt.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Yields two and a half dozen fries

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle January 6, 2012 at 4:29 am

Polenta with cheese? YUM! Polenta fries? Yummier still!

BANGS – my no fail approach . . . gather bangs together at the tip of your nose with your thumb on/under your nose and your index finger on the other side of the bangs. Turn your hand so that the middle section of your index finger is now touching your nose and your thumb is on the outside. Use the scissors in your other hand to cut the bangs – below your index finger is you want then longer and above if you want them shorter. This should give you a face flattering /framing look – it has always worked for me. Good Luck!!


Lisa [With Style and Grace] January 7, 2012 at 12:02 am

I’m totally obsessed with sweet potato fries, but this would be a nice change. I think I just might need to give these a try – thanks for the inspiration!


Becki's Whole Life January 8, 2012 at 4:15 am

I had polenta fries when I was in Oregon last year and they were amazing. I think they had a gorgonzola/butter dipping sauce…seriously they were amazing.

My mom used to put a piece of tape under the the area I wanted to keep….then she would cut along the top of the tape….not only did this give you a line to cut, but it kept all of the hair from flying away…I have no idea if that is a good/right way to do it, but it always seemed to work.


Greer January 9, 2012 at 1:22 am

Yum! Will be giving these a try. Have you tried chickpea fries? Delicious! made from chickpea flour (besan) – they’re amazing!


Di January 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

made these over the weekend, and I discovered that I couldn’t be lazy and pan fry them===> holy disaster!….well, i mean the shape of the “fry” totally fell apart but i had a mound of crispy pan-friend polenta which I ate like a giant yummy cookie haha … but anyway, so I made the other half of the batch in the oven like you said and they came out super yummy goodness. I made them with coconut milk because the manfriend and I stopped drinking regular milk and I had to bake them somewhat longer to get the desired crispyness, but they still tasted fab! … so in summary, thanks!


Adrianna January 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Ahhh yes I’ve done this too actually. If you want to fry them, they definitely have to be a deep fry. So glad they worked out in the oven. And coconut milk? I dig it.


Bailey S. January 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I just took a shot at these, and my cornmeal got thick in about 8 SECONDS, not minutes! It looks all okay otherwise, but I wonder why mine got thick so quick! We’ll see how they bake tomorrow. I added a salt-less garlic spice mix in instead of the salt and they smell yummy.


Adrianna January 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

8 seconds? So weird. Hmm…not sure. Hope they turn out awesome. :)


Stacy January 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Yea, mine thickened in about 8 seconds also. I was like ok, do I keep cooking them. I took them off and spread them on the pan. Hopefully the turn out.


Adrianna January 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm

This is so strange/weird. Well I’ll put a note in the recipe, but it took me a a full 8 minutes. :/


Christine S February 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I didn’t take the time to read the entire comment thread, but in case you need to cut your bangs again, I do have a tip for you! Gather up all of your bangs. Twist them together – all the way to the bottom. Now just cut (always less than you think you need) a straight line across this single strand that you have created. If a straight line is too blunt for you, then fan out the end a little and make a couple vertical snips into your bangs like they do at the salon. Try straight first though. Good luck! ((Might try the recipe this weekend))


Joyce March 25, 2012 at 2:05 am

I wonder if I can sub vegan ingredients for the non-vegan stuff.


Adrianna March 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

This should work. I imagine if you used soy milk (non-sweetened) it should work the same. And I haven’t found a good meltable vegan cheese but if you have then that should be fine too.


Anika Huq April 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Can i substitute couscous for the polenta?


Adrianna April 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Unfortunately not. I doubt the couscous will stay together in the same way that polenta does. :(


Cecily April 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Just made these using Trader Joe’s packaged polenta loaf (for those who want a vegan option)…. SOOOO GOOD! Thank you for the recipe!


Adrianna April 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

High five!


Chris July 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I can attest to the tastiness of these guys – crispy and addicting.


Nancy January 12, 2014 at 5:17 am

Loved this recipe! I added a bit of fresh Thyme and Rosemary to the polenta. I lightly brushed the sticks with olive oil and sprinkled fresh cracked black pepper and Maldon salt before baking. They came out with beautiful color and were perfect with a nice crusty outside. I thought they tasted best after sitting a few minutes rather than just off the pan. The Chili-Lime Mayo was a nice accompaniment also. Thanks for posting this!


Mimi February 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Mine thickened in 8 seconds also…but my mistake was dumping in all the cornmeal at once instead of whisking it in gradually. Oops. It’s a bit lumpy, but I have no doubt the fries will still be delicious!


Catherine Zarcone May 21, 2014 at 8:10 pm

great recipe for baked polenta fries


Charles Zarcone May 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm

great baked polenta fries recipe


Charles Zarcone May 21, 2014 at 8:21 pm

great baked polenta fries


C Hughes March 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

Mine do not look this pretty :( Hopefully they will taste good though!!


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