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 }

Emily D. January 4, 2012 at 4:17 am

These look super tasty.
As far as cutting your own bangs, I usually just go for it and hope I don’t screw up too much. Just start by cutting off way less than you ultimately plan to.


Annie @ Annie's Cooking Lab January 4, 2012 at 4:20 am

Those look so good!

I always cut my own bangs- usually it goes fine but every now and then I’ll cut them a bit uneven and then start cutting off more and more trying to make them even… never ends well. Now I’ve learned to just be less fussy about making them perfect :)


Elisse January 4, 2012 at 4:21 am

Yum! Those look delicious. As for cutting your own bangs, I suggest buying a pair of thinning shears. In college, my roommate and I used to drink red bulls (yuck) and cut our bangs. The thinning shears will give you more of a piece-y look that hairstylists are so good at. An actual hairstylist would probably kill me for this, but sometimes you’re a lady on a budget.


Heather (Heather's Dish) January 4, 2012 at 4:46 am

it’s official, i’m making these this weekend. oh, and for the super bowl. and just for fun :)


Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen January 4, 2012 at 5:04 am

These look delicious! I bet that dipping sauce would be heavenly on sweet potato fries too.


Layla Asgari January 4, 2012 at 5:19 am

Great recipe! Not only do they look delectable but they are gluten free as well. Will try it out soon. Thanks


Diane January 4, 2012 at 5:38 am

Get good sissors. If you cut them uneven by accident hold pieces of them straight up in the air and snip off the longest piece. This makes them all jagged and work together. You’ll get better at it. Think of yourself as a canvas!


Diane January 4, 2012 at 5:53 am

BTW, I think your time date stamp is messed up. My comment was on 1/3/12 at about 9:51 PM PST but you website says 1/4/12 at 5:38 AM. Are you in Australia by any chance?


Adrianna January 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I think it is messed up. I need to figure out how to fix that–it’s annoying! :)


Ryan January 4, 2012 at 5:57 am

Whaaaat? These things look crazy awesome! And I feel like maybe they’re slightly healthier than french fries… or I at least feel that I can pretend they are ๐Ÿ˜›
PS: I totally have the attention span of a goldfish, as well.


Dame January 4, 2012 at 6:13 am

Is there a trick to keeping the polenta together? I’ve tried to make polenta fries twice before and while they got crispy on the outside the always feel apart when I tried to move them. Still tasty but not exactly to plan!


Adrianna January 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm

When I spread the polenta out onto the baking sheet, I packed it together pretty tight. I found that the part that I didn’t pack tight fell apart. So perhaps that’s the secret!


danielle January 4, 2012 at 6:33 am

Yum! The dipping sauce looks delicious!


Yvonne V. January 4, 2012 at 6:55 am

My hairdresser gave me a pretty good way to trim my own bangs in case I tried/needed to do so in between haircuts (my hair grows super fast!). Gather all your bangs together and twist them together until you only have a little at the top and trim from there. Cut a little at a time so you can get to the right length without going too short. I’ve done it quite a few times and it works quite well if you don’t want to go get them trimmed. Hope this helps!


Adrianna January 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Ahhh! This is a super good tip. I’m going to try this.


Jamie-Lee January 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm

This is the way I’ve been doing it for years since I saw a stylist do it to herself! Works every time!


DessertForTwo January 4, 2012 at 6:57 am

Wow! Baked polenta fries!! I love polenta fries, but everytime I try to fry polenta, the water in the cornmeal mush spatters and peppers my arms and clothes. But you solved my biggest problem with this recipe ๐Ÿ˜‰


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

Looking good! And the mayo…that I could slather on just about anything…yum. I love a great dippin’ sauce.


Kristin January 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

It looks really good! Fishsticks from Norway ๐Ÿ˜› 400 g block of frosen fish (cod or coalfish) 3 tbsp of flower + 1ts salt + some pepper (flower mix) 2 eggs + 2tbsp water + 1-2 piece of garlic + salt + pepper + (chili powder) (egg mix) Griljemel (breadcrumbs) butter I really love homemade fishsticks, I have no idea what kind of products you have available, because im from norway. but I will try to explaine. I start out with frozen fish (in a block if that makes any sence ), usualy i use cod or coalfish (u find a lot of it in norway).I prepare a plate with some flower mixed with salt and pepper, I cut the blok of fish into smaler pieces, and dip the pieces into the flower, just so that it gets some flower on all the sides(dont think this is necessary tho just never tried it without doing it, and the flower makes it a lot easyer if the fish is not frozen). I mix 2 eggs, 1-2 pieces of chrused garlic, salt, pepper, and sometimes chilipowder, and two tbsp of water, with a fork i put the pices one at a time into the egg mix, and then in griljemel (I dont know how to translate it, but i guess its like breadcrumbs or something like that). Then just use a pan and butter :) As I said i usualy make it with frozen fish, but it works out just the same when its not froze. but it makes it harder to have the typical fishstick shape ๐Ÿ˜› I really like it, and I hope that I gave u some ideas :)


Adrianna January 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm

OMG! I’m doing this. THANK YOU!!!


Kathryn January 4, 2012 at 9:13 am

I have a recipe for polenta fries which involves frying them which just seems like such a pain and bound to end in disaster. These, on the other hand, look even more delicious and don’t involve any boiling oil which is a bonus! And that spicy mayo looks heavenly.


Mira January 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

You always do so great photo’s. I don’t do much cooking, but I have to look through the blog anyway, because the photo’s are always so clean and perfect.


Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life January 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

I just started playing with polenta… so this recipe makes me happy.

And cut your bangs while they are dry to prevent chopping them too short. (My mum is a hairdresser and that was her advice when I left home.)


Jessica @ How Sweet January 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

oh man. i just lost it. i need these.


Amber January 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Giada has an amazing fish stick recipe using parm cheese in the breading and a marinara dipping sauce.


Kate January 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

So Adrianna. My mother has been a serious coffee drinker my entire life–including the period during my childhood in which she trimmed my bangs every few months–so I have reason to say DON’T DO IT. All I’m saying is she may or may not have chopped off my entire eyebrow with a pair of scissors one day.


Adrianna January 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm

HA! This is amazing. No coffee during hair trims. Check.


Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy January 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Oh my goodness, these look delicious! I need to make these!


Amanda January 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

These look delicious though cornmeal is off limits for me – gives me migraines. No bueno. As for fish sticks, I use and play around with this recipe all the time so maybe you can put your own spin on it. I’m a celiac and paleo so regular flour and breading is a no-no for me but perhaps a regular flour and panko combo might work if you were going for a non-celiac/non-paleo variation.


Adrianna January 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Yeah for sure. That looks really good. THANKS!


Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau January 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Love love love these! They look like so much fun and those edges looks deliciously crispy.


Heidi @ Food Doodles January 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Awesome! I’ve been meaning to make polenta fries for ages now. Like, years. I can’t believe I forgot about them, they look so delicious. These are going to the top of my to-try list :) Can’t wait!


Jen of My Tiny Oven January 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I love homemade fish sticks! I found a great recipe and adapted it a bit! Panko is the key!!
makes them super crunchy!
I even made homemade tarter sauce, which ended up being really easy and tasty!!


Adrianna January 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Word. Panko seems like the way to go.


Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet January 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Yum! I too love fries made from ingredients other than potatoes…I once had some really wicked zucchini fries at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Delish!


NicoleD January 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Oh yeah, these look great! I like non-potato fries, too!


alyse January 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm

These look amazing. I have been seeing crispy polenta croutons on more and more salads lately but hadn’t thought to bake polenta into fries. And chili lime mayo is one of the best things in the world. It’s my go-to sauce for making fish tacos at home. Can’t wait to try this recipe!


Lauren @ FoodIsTherapy January 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Oh YUM! I love fries, ESPECIALLY with a good sauce!!

As for those bangs, I cut my own, but I tend to only do a good job about every other time. Key is a really good pair of hair shears and moderation. I tend to hold mine straight out between two fingers and only cut a little at a time following the exact same line that exists (I have swoopy bangs, so mine are cut at an angle which it probably why I screw them up so often…that slope has to be juuuuuust right). Might wait until you have less coffee in the system though – just some advice/I might be speaking from experience ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck!!


Justice Fergie January 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm

This landing in my inbox was a gift from above. (heh heh) I just happen to have a package of Polenta sitting in my crisper waiting to be used. Can I still make the fries if I am starting with prepared polenta (as opposed to cornmeal)???


Adrianna January 4, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Totally. I would basically just heat up the polenta, fold in the cheese (maybe add a little bit of milk if it’s too thick) and go from there! Should work just fine.


Bev Weidner January 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I’ve gone blind. But I’m still able to open my mouth and let you feed me these. Please?


gwen January 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I’m very, very scared of cutting my own bangs, but I have mustered up the courage to make my own fish sticks, even though I’m not usually a fan of fish. I made these Parmesan-Garlic Tilapia Sticks — — and lo and behold, I can handle fish now! They’re yummy and EASY. I’m definitely adding these polenta fries to my list of recipes to try, as well. YUM!


Adrianna January 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Those look super delicious. LIKE!


chelsea January 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

oh my these look fabulous!


Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe January 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Yessssss. Love it.


Lisa @ The Cooking Bride January 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Oh my gosh yes, I am totally pinning this somewhere to make SOON! I love all things polenta.


April was in CT now CA January 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm

These look sooooo good!!!

For fish sticks definitely use panko, it gets so crunchy good when baked and absolutely make your own tartar sauce because it’s heavenly. This is one of my favorite meals and so quick to make! Dredge in seasoned flour (Cajun seasoning is good), dip in egg then in panko and bake. I’ve used talapia and cod so far, any whitefish should be good. Try to make the tartar sauce earlier in the day so it gets really tasty.

I suggest if you cut your bangs after 4 cups of coffee you take before/after pictures to share with us all. That’s my only advice.


Adrianna January 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Thanks for the fish stick advice. Following it. And maybe I’ll do the before and after…MAYBE. :)


Dana B @ thebakingbooth January 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Polenta fries? Seriously?? Maybe it’ll make my kids like polenta :) Hubby would love this, too, especially with the spicy lime mayo. Fish sticks. So many options in the coating, but I think the best I’ve found so far is double dipping with crushed cornflakes. Bangs. You wouldn’t like my philosophy :) Comes from an old neighbor – the difference between a good haircut and a bad one? one week :) So I just give it a go and don’t worry about it. It can be evened up later if it’s that bad and it will always grow out. More important things to stress over :)


Joy January 4, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Yum-my! Comfort food. It’s rainy and dreary in Seattle today, so these look like the perfect pick-me-up. I’m on my third Americano, by the way. As for the bangs: go for it! While they are dry, gather them in the center of your forehead holding them pinched with your thumb on the backside (so you are looking at your thumb). Using good, sharp shears, trim around the tip of your thumb (erring on the side of caution length-wise). This is the way I do it, and I always seem to get compliments on my bangs ๐Ÿ˜‰


Jillian @ Newlybread January 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I LOVE polenta! These look incredible and I’ll definitely be trying them soon! Thanks!


France January 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

I love polenta. We serve polenta fries at the restaurant I work at but as you can imagine they are deep fried. This is a lovely way of trying them at home. Fries dipped in mayo is one of my favorite naughty treats!


Nina @ Ambrosia January 5, 2012 at 4:10 am

I’m usually not a big fan of polenta, but I have to say that these polenta fries may just make me change my mind, they look so good! Not to mention the spicy lime mayo, I can think of so many delicious things to pair it with! Delicious recipe!


Zee January 5, 2012 at 5:46 am

Look like very healthy fries since they are baked.. And yeah I cut my own bangs too :)


Nicole January 5, 2012 at 11:09 am

Whenever I cut my bangs (fringe, since I’m Australian) I:

-wet the fringe
-divide it in half, nose to ear (since lets face it, I always let them get too long to see under)
-clamp the hair between two fingers so I get somewhat of a straight line
-chop a tiny bit at a time
-check if I can see yet


aoife January 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm

with regards to making fish-sticks at home……in a uk tv programme this man makes factory-produced food at home to see how they do it and get as close to the real deal as possible, its mainly entertainment value but im sure you could pick up some tips.

ps. my boyfriends and m favourite treat breakfast is your croque madams – sooo decadent and tasty. we had them as a new years day brunch…..

pps. i always cut my own fringe: tie the rest of your hair back, take the first horizontal layer of hair (the one closest to your forehead), loosely clipping the rest of the prospective fringe back while you cut the first thin layer, then slower add the rest of the hair in horizontal layers until you’ve cut it all. works for me in anycase!

love your blog x


Adrianna January 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I’m so in love with that show. I’ve watched, like, two now. Thank you for sharing! So interesting!

So glad he loves the croque madames. They’re so decadent and delicious. I need to revisit that recipe!


Nicole Franzen January 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

50 comments bc this looks ridiculously yummy. I had some polenta fries the other day and I couldnt stop eating them. Total fatty alert. Totes gonna make this :)


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

This makes my life happy!!


Caroline January 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Yummy! Just found you via Saveur. :)
When cutting bangs, after your horizontal cut, hold the scissors vertically and snip the edges so they don’t look so blunt. It makes it look less like you cut your own bangs!


yummy supper January 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Damn do these look good, Adrianna! I have always been scared to attempt polenta fries. First, I worry I would make them crumbly and bland and not nearly as nice as those you made. Second, I worry that if I could make them as beautiful and tasty as those beauties of yours, I would never stop scarfing;)
Happy New Year to you!


Aline January 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I made these today…. YU-MMY. Seriously delicious. Not as cute as yours because Iยดm horrible at the spreading evenly department, but still… YU-MMY!!!


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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