These polenta fries are SO delicious and easy to make. Brush them with olive oil, bake them in the oven, sprinkle fresh rosemary and Parmesan cheese on top, and enjoy!

Polenta fries topped with rosemary and Parmesan cheese on a wooden serving tray.

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When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what about when your garden gives you rosemary? As in lots and lots, and LOTS of rosemary?

White wall covered with bougainvillea and rosemary.

You make these irresistible polenta fries.

As in a heaping batch of deliciously crispy golden brown polenta fries flecked with savory parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary, they’re a fun alternative to traditional french fries and make a great appetizer or fun side dish.

What you’ll love about this polenta fries recipe:


  • Healthy-ish Comfort Food – Did someone say crispy polenta fries? Enough said!
  • Fun Food – Don’t get me wrong. Potato fries are yummy too, but why not try something fun & new?
  • Toppings! – Fresh rosemary and Parmesan cheese are a match made in heaven!

What is polenta?

Polenta is a traditional dish from Northern Italy made with ground yellow corn. It’s cooked with water, broth, or milk and served warm. Or it can be allowed to cool and set, then cut into slices.

If this is your first time making these delicious fries, you’re in for a real treat!

While I love creamy polenta with simple salt and pepper, or cheese, one of my favorite ways to serve it is in the form of these fries. Once you make them, I think you will too!

Check out the ingredients, substitutions, and technique for making polenta fries below. See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for complete ingredients and instructions.

Easy Polenta Fries Ingredients

Four photo collage with polenta, olive oil, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Tube of pre-cooked polenta.*
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Parmesan cheese.
  • Fresh or dried rosemary.

*I have made these polenta fries with Ancient Harvest polenta and Trader Joe’s pre-cooked polenta. Both work equally well. You used to be able to buy Ancient Harvest polenta with quinoa, which is why my fries are speckled πŸ™‚

Sadly it’s no longer available. However, if you make your own polenta (see “how to” instructions below), you can add cooked quinoa to it. Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for complete ingredient measurements and instructions.

Substitutions & Optional Ingredients.

  • Polenta. If you can’t find a tube of pre-cooked polenta, make your own. I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Corn Grits/Polenta and make the basic recipe for quick grits (see package instructions) with water, vegetable, or chicken stock, spread it on a rimmed baking sheet or square baking dish lined with plastic wrap, and let it set for 2 hours or overnight, then cut it into fries.
  • Oil. Olive oil spray or avocado cooking spray.
  • Seasonings. Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, other fresh herbs, or dried Italian herbs.
  • Cheese. Other cheese, like feta or goat cheese. Or vegan Parmesan cheese if desired.
  • Sauce. Tomato sauce or any favorite dip to dunk your crispy fries in.

How to Make Crispy Baked Polenta Fries

Oh, my goodness! These crispy polenta fries are so easy to make. So delicious. And, dare I say it, a little bit healthy too!

Five photo collage showing how to make polenta fries.
  1. Cut the pre-cooked polenta tube in half on a cutting board. Then cut each half into 16 fries. So you’ll have 32 fries altogether. This is the perfect thickness, IMO, but you can cut your tube of cornmeal into more giant steak fries or thinner fries as you like.
  2. Lay polenta fries in an even layer on a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Too many fries? Use another baking sheet to ensure a single layer and ultra-crispy crunchy fries! Brush fries with olive oil or olive oil or avocado oil spray.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes* until light brown and crispy. You may wish to turn the fries every 15 minutes to get them extra crispy.
  4. While the fries are baking, combine the rosemary and parmesan cheese and set aside in a small bowl. Remove fries from oven when done. Place them on a serving dish and sprinkle the parmesan cheese/rosemary mixture on top. Serve while nice and hot.

Note: I haven’t tried making air fryer polenta fries, but I think this method would work well, and the baking time would be much quicker. If you try it, let me know!

Close up photo of polenta fries topped with rosemary and Parmesan cheese on a wood platter.

What to Serve with Polenta Fries

These polenta fries are all kinds of carby deliciousness! But, since we’re into balanced meals here at The Spicy RD, we serve them with protein and lots of veggies. Ok? I like to pair these with pan-seared salmon or a rotisserie chicken and veggies for a super easy meal. Or, try them paired with any of the salads below.

Nutrition

  • These polenta fries are naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, Mediterranean diet and low FODMAP diet friendly. Omit the cheese, and they’re vegan.
  • Rosemary is an anti-inflammatory herb and may help prevent cancer due to its antioxidant carnosol. (1) A small study found drinking rosemary water may improve cognition. (2) And inhaling rosemary essential oil may help ease stress and anxiety. (3)
  • Each serving of fries provides 11 grams of fat, but most is from heart-healthy and brain-healthy extra virgin olive oil.

You may also like: 7 Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan-Healthy, Delicious, & Gluten-Free

Close up photo of polenta fries topped with rosemary and Parmesan cheese on a wood platter.

Easy Polenta Fries with Rosemary and Parmesan

Got rosemary & Parmesan cheese? Whip up a batch of these DELICIOUS 4-ingredient Quinoa Polenta Fries. Perfect for a fun appetizer or easy side dish!
5 from 6 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tube polenta, i.e. Ancient Harvest or Trader Joes, ~18-oz
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut polenta tube in half, then cut each half in to 16 "fries". You should have 32 fries from an 18-oz tube.
  • Place polenta fries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush olive oil on fries.
  • Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until light brown and crispy. You may wish to turn the fries every 15 minutes to get them extra crispy.
  • While the fries are baking, combine the rosemary and parmesan cheese and set aside in a small bowl.
  • Remove fries from oven when done. Place them on a serving dish and sprinkle the parmesan cheese/rosemary mixture on top. Serve while nice and hot.

Notes

Make your own polenta:

If you can’t find a tube of pre-cooked polenta, make your own. I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Corn Grits/Polenta and make the basic recipe for quick grits (see package instructions) with water, vegetable, or chicken stock, spread it on a rimmed baking sheet or square baking dish lined with plastic wrap, and let it set for 2 hours or overnight, then cut it into fries.

Substitutions & Optional Ingredients.

  • Olive oil spray or avocado cooking spray.
  • Additional seasonings. Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, other fresh herbs, or dried Italian herbs.
  • Other cheese, like feta or goat cheese. Or vegan Parmesan cheese if desired.
  • Tomato sauce or any favorite dip to dunk your crispy fries in.

Nutrition

Serving: 8fries | Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 172IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 3mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword gluten free recipes, healthy recipes, low fodmap, polenta, polenta fries
Diet Gluten Free, Low FODMAP, MIND Diet, Vegetarian
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5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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44 Comments

  1. Oh my, these look amazing!!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks so much Chandice! They definitely go quickly in my house πŸ™‚ Cheers!

  2. Deena kakaya says:

    I’m a fan of the moist interior and crisp shell of polenta fries and yours look dusted to perfection x

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks Deena!!! xo

  3. Ok, at the risk of sounding stupid, exactly what is polenta & quinoa polenta? Organic is very appealing to me because I have a liver disease and am trying to hold out for new meds that cure with no side effects. Otherwise I have to have a liver transplant. So this sounds great, but what is polenta? πŸ˜‰

    Thanks,
    BarbaraT

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      There are no stupid questions πŸ™‚ Polenta is cornmeal that has been cooked into a porridge with water. You can eat it like a hot cereal, or you can let it sit for awhile until it firms up. You can buy ready-to eat tubes of polenta that you can cut in to pieces to bake, grill, fry, etc. The kind I used is made by Ancient Harvest, and just happens to have quinoa added to it-very yummy! Hope this helps!!

  4. Mary Frances @ LOVE - the secret ingredient says:

    Your garden is so beautiful! I wish I had one at my home in New York City! These fries look wonderful! Better than anything I’ve seen in a restaurant πŸ™‚

  5. sangeeta khanna says:

    Wow..so much rosemary in your garden. I am jealous. Loved this polenta fries with this herb and parmesan. Would try with cornmeal polenta soon.

  6. You can buy it at any grocery store.

  7. Hi, I loved reading this and kind of tasting it virtually but where would one buy this kind of polenta, other than online? Thanks

  8. Soooooo glad I came across your site!!!! Can’t wait to make this for my family.

  9. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious says:

    Rosemary is truly my favorite herb, even more so in desserts believe it or not, these fries look amazing!!

  10. EA, look at that beautiful rosemary! I remember being in LV and heading into the grocery store. On my list … rosemary … but lo and behold, what was the landscaping in the parking lot … ROSEMARY! Let’s just say I didn’t pay for : )

  11. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. I loooove these! I think I’m going to put them on my meal plan for next week! I’ve never seen that polenta before, but perhaps if I can’t find it, I’ll try making it myself?

  12. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Great idea! Rosemary is such a great herb!

  13. Sanjeeta KK says:

    This is simply awesome, EA.. quinoa polenta and a healthy and yum recipe from it..I in love with those bars!

  14. Melanie @ Nutritious Eats says:

    Polenta in a tube is great- doesn’t get more convenient than that! The dish looks wonderful! I bet your backyard smells fantastic πŸ˜‰

  15. I’ve never seen polenta in a tube before but these fries look wonderful!

  16. kellie@foodtoglow says:

    Believe it or not here in Scotland rosemary not only grows but thrives. I love rosemary in most anything (chocolate and rosemary ice cream, anyone!) and when paired with something as simple as this it is a must-make. Hopefully it will work just as well with home-cooked ‘proper’ polenta. But I would like to add in a handful of leftover cooked quinoa to keep with the spirit of this lovely recipe. Yum! Would be nice with a spicy salsa I imagine.

  17. I have had polenta fries before but I have never made them myself. I would love to try that quinoa polenta, but sadly I haven’t seen it at our commissary. Darn!

  18. The Spicy RD says:

    Great minds indeed πŸ™‚ I hope you can track down a polenta chub to try Terra!

  19. THAT is a lot of rosemary! And again, the photos – even of the one of your brush dripping with oil – are beautiful!! You’ve inspired me to make polenta…haven’t made it forever…excellent idea for fries before potatoes are ready!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      LOL! And, this is only one little bit of my rosemary…The wall wraps around our courtyard, so there is way more rosemary to be had! Thanks Serena πŸ™‚

  20. Kitchen Vignettes says:

    Thanks so much for linking to my blog, this looks wonderful! I’m a huge quinoa fan, and never thought to put it in polenta, looks delicious, gorgeous photos!! Aube

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      No, thank YOU for the inspiration and for your sweet comment!

  21. I have yet to try polenta but this did the trick – must try!!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment Renae πŸ™‚ I hope you finally get to try some polenta!

  22. Kristen (swanky dietitian) says:

    Oh wow! This looks fabulous!!
    I have only made polenta once before but I love this take. Delicious!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks Swanky!!

  23. Vanessa @Vanperrone says:

    These look so delicious. I’ve never seen quinoa polenta before but will be on the lookout! Thx!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      I hope you find some Vanessa! Thanks so much for your comment πŸ™‚

  24. teri@managedmacros says:

    HOLY CRAP…look at all that rosemary!!!!! WOW!!! I bet that is so fragrant!! I love the pungent smell of rosemary!! I have seen the ‘chubs’ of polenta but I have not seen this variety. Look how full of goodness it is! I hope I can find this at my market because I am all over making this recipe…how easy and delicious it looks! YES, I love plolenta but rarely eat it. Beautiful post!!!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks so much Teri! If you can’t find the quinoa polenta this would be yummy with the plain kind too, although the quinoa adds a nice little bit of crunch. Happy hunting!

  25. Junia @ Mis Pensamientos says:

    wow, i never thought about making polenta into fries!!! and i’ve never seen quinoa polenta before. thanks for the creative recipe EA!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks Junia, and you’re most welcome πŸ™‚

  26. The Spicy RD says:

    Thanks Tanya~Let me know how it turns out!

  27. Deanna Segrave-Daly says:

    Drooling – love polenta, rosemary + parmesan so these look like heaven. Have never seen quinoa polenta – very interesting. I never liked rosemary until I was adult and now I’m obsessed – would kill for that gorgeous plant of yours but alas, I have a black thumb. Love rosemary + olive oil baked into any type of bread, roll, pizza, etc. and in pasta fagioli πŸ™‚

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Deanna-I have kind of a black thumb too, but my rosemary is prolific. It is planted with my bougainvillea which is on a drip system {light water} and that’s it! I know you could grow it too under these conditions πŸ™‚

  28. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    Now I’m jealous. Super jealous! Rosemary doesn’t grow as a perennial in Colorado so I have to start each year with a little plant and really watch how much I use so that I leave enough for more to grow. The two herbs I love the most are rosemary and basil and they are the two that are not prolific. Murphy and his law at work? πŸ™

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      If you ever come out to SanDiego you are invited to come to my house and pick as much rosemary as you want πŸ™‚ I am a basil lover too! {And cilantro}

  29. Laura @ Family Spice says:

    WOW! Now this polenta I can really eat! Pinning it!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks Laura! Feel free to stop by my garden anytime and pick some rosemary πŸ™‚

  30. Gina (The Candid RD) says:

    These sound amazing. I love polenta, love parmesan, and LOVE rosemary. Pinning this pronto!

    1. EA-The spicy rd says:

      I hope you love these as much as I do Gina πŸ™‚