Cheddar Chive Polenta, a simple cornmeal side dish with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chives that’s ready in only ten minutes. You’ll love this easy 4-ingredient recipe!

a bowl of cheddar chese polenta on a blue table

Who knew something as simple as polenta could taste so good? This cheddar cheese polenta is bursting with big, bold flavor. It's easy to make with a no-fuss ingredient list, and it's easy to adjust based on your preferences. Enjoy it as a side dish or serve it by itself – you'll love it no matter what!

👉 Ready to learn how to make this simple cheddar chive polenta? Let's do it!


🧀 Ingredients

We weren't kidding about the super simple ingredients used to make cheddar cheese polenta. Here's what you'll need:

  • Polenta: You can find polenta at most grocery stores! It's an ingredient made of coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. When cooked, it's soft and creamy–the perfect comfort food for any time of year.
  • Vegetable broth: This recipe requires about 4 cups of broth, which is used to help prevent the polenta to become too thick when cooked. We recommend keeping some extra on hand just in case you need a little more for this dish.
  • Cheddar cheese: You'll need 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese for this polenta recipe. You can also use other types of cheese, or use vegan cheese, if you'd like.
  • Chives: We kept the seasoning of this recipe super simple with chives and a little salt and pepper. If you want even more flavor, you can experiment with any herbs and spices that you like. Try it with sage, parsley, or garlic!
  • Recommended tools: Large saucepan, wooden spoon, cheese grater, knife set
dry polenta in a bowl with herbs on a white table

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Cook the polenta

First things first, add the polenta and vegetable broth to a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat.

When the polenta starts to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover, stirring often. If the polenta is too thick, stir in more broth or water and stir until desired consistency is reached.

Cooking until the polenta is thick, but still stir-able. This will take about 10 minutes.


2️⃣ Step Two: Mix in the flavorings + serve

Next, remove the polenta from the heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, cheddar, and half of the chives. Don't be afraid to experiment with other herbs and flavorings!

When ready to serve, top the polenta with the remaining chives and any other toppings that you'd like. Serve as a side dish or as a base for stews or roasted vegetables.

a step-by-step photo instructions for how to make polenta

💡 Ideas for serving

The best part about polenta is how versatile that it is. Here are a few of our favorite ways to serve it:

  • As a side dish: There's nothing better than side dishes that are quick and flavorful, and this cheddar polenta is just that. Serve it alongside meat-based or plant-based dishes, like with our Braised Mushroom Carrot Polenta dish.
  • As a main course: This polenta recipe is filling enough to make a full meal, and you can also use it as a foundational food for stews, roasts, and anything else that you'd like to use it in.
  • As a substitute: Polenta can be served as a substitute for mashed potatoes or rice. If you're looking for a new carb to serve with your meals, this is a great one to start with.
  • Make it vegan: You can make this dish vegan by omitting the cheese, or replacing it with a plant-based cheese. Add a bit of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor without the dairy!
polenta with cheddar and chives on a white napkin

🧊 How to store and reheat

Polenta makes for great leftovers and is easy to store. Simply allow the polenta to cool, and then store in an airtight container for up to four days. Reheat it in a sauce pan, stirring in broth or water until smooth.


👉 More seasonal side dishes

Looking for more seasonal side dish recipes? We've got you covered:

4-Ingredient Cheddar Chive Polenta

Cheddar Chive Polenta, a simple cornmeal side dish with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chives that’s ready in only ten minutes. You’ll love this easy 4-ingredient recipe!
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups polenta, about 1 package
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped

Instructions 

  • Cook the polenta: Add polenta and vegetable broth to a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until polenta is thick.
  • Mix in the flavorings: Remove the polenta from heat, then stir in salt, pepper, cheddar, and half of the chives until the cheese has melted and is well combined with polenta.
  • Garnish and serve: Top the polenta with remaining chives and serve as a side dish or as a base for stews or roasted vegetables.

Notes

  • Tools needed: large saucepan, wooden spoon, cheese grater, knife set
  • Consistency notes: If polenta is too thick, stir in more broth or water and stir until desired consistency
  • Leftovers and storage: Let polenta cool and store in an airtight container for up to four days. Reheat in a sauce pan, stirring in broth or water until smooth.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 365kcal, Carbohydrates: 67g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 1043mg, Potassium: 123mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 856IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 1mg

UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in December 2018 and updated for clarity in May 2022.