Utah Bites

Creamy Polenta with Cheddar

Here is a recipe for a creamy polenta with cheddar that can be used instead of grits in shrimp and grits recipe.


Last week I cooked one of my wife’s favorite dishes: shrimp and grits. Although, instead of traditional grits I made a creamy polenta with cheddar. Next week I’ll share my shrimp recipe to go along with this one for polenta. 


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2–3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal (medium grind or a blend of medium and fine grind)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, 2 cups of the water, and a very large pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add the cornmeal in a slow and steady stream, constantly whisking to prevent lumps.
  2. Cook the polenta at a bare simmer – with bubbles just occasionally breaking through the surface – for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. If the mixture gets too thick, and it probably will, add water, 1/2 cup at a time to get the correct consistency.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the butter and the olive oil along with the cheddar cheese. Stir to combine well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve. 



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Food writer Ted SchefflerOriginally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.

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