Cornmeal and spices baked into a tasty cake that is then pan fried to crispy perfection. These Fried Polenta Cakes are a unique, delicious side dish!
On my birthday two years ago, my husband and I went with some friends to an Argentinian restaurant in Baltimore. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I think about everything we ate that night often. In fact, I still enjoy looking at the restaurant’s menu for recipe inspiration.
For dinner we had a huge variety of meats and vegetables with tasty sauces. One of the dishes my husband ordered had a fried polenta cake, and I loved it.
Fried Polenta Cakes
I tried to recreate the restaurant’s polenta cakes multiple times since that dinner. Most were tasty, but it took me multiple attempts to get the taste and consistency I wanted.
I have made this with both white and yellow cornmeal. Honestly, I cannot tell a difference in the taste, consistency, or overall outcome.
My preference is yellow cornmeal simply because I like the look of the cakes better. But if you have white cornmeal around, go for it.
Spices for Polenta Cakes
The spices for this recipe are:
- Black pepper
- Ground dried thyme
- Dried oregano
I played around with the combination of spices multiple times. I ended up loving the little bit of thyme and oregano.
Depending on your personal salt preference and the brand or type of chicken broth you use, you may need to adjust the added salt content.
Baking Polenta Cakes
The batter is very watery. You will probably look at it and think “I’ve messed up.” You have not. It will bake into cakes!
When baking, the spices tend to rise to the top. That’s okay! When you saute the cakes the spices will brown beautifully.
Cutting and Browning
I have a few tips for you here:
- Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan. Then use a knife to loosen the edges. Next, place a wooden cutting board, or another flat, solid surface over the top of the pan. Flip the pan over so that the cake falls onto the board.
- Cut the cake into desired shapes. You can do this with a biscuit cutter, or a large knife. I love the look of the round cakes, but since more of the polenta gets wasted that way, I tend to do squares.
- Place the cutouts into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You want them to be nice and cool before you brown them.
- Do not skimp on oil in the pan when you brown! If you do not have enough oil, parts of your cakes will stick to the bottom of the pan.
These Fried Polenta Cakes are a unique, delicious side for you next dinner!
Fried Polenta Cakes
- 1 cup stone ground cornmeal yellow or white
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dry ground thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2-4 tablespoons corn oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, thyme, oregano, sugar, pepper, and salt. Then, stir in chicken broth until well combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking pan (mixture is very liquid, but it does firm up in the oven). Bake until top is golden brown, 33-34 minutes.
- Let cool for 30 minutes in pan, then turn pan over on cutting board. Transfer cake/cutting board to refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- After cake has cooled, cut into 9, 3-inch squares.
- Heat ~1 tablespoon of corn oil into pan over medium-high heat. Add as many cakes as you can fit into pan without the cakes touching. Let cook until side down is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat for other side.
- Remove cakes from pan and repeat with remaining cakes, adding oil as needed in pan.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed these Fried Polenta Cakes, you might also enjoy these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Chimichurri Chicken and Rice
The Best Cornbread
Instant Pot Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings
Skillet Fried Corn Fritters
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