Air Fryer Polenta

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Make these Air Fryer Polenta Fries as the perfect side dish for a quick weeknight dinner! With the option to customize with your favorite seasonings, this is a versatile recipe with a satisfying and comforting result.

air fryer polenta fries in a small fries basket

Why you will love this air fryer polenta recipe

Next time you’re not sure what side to pair with your main course, I suggest making these super easy polenta fries. This great recipe only requires a few ingredients and a bit of sitting time, so it’s perfect to make ahead of time.

Whether you need something to pair with air fryer banana peppers or cheese bites for an appetizer platter or great side dish companion to any dinner, you’ll love the fast prep of this recipe!

Best of all, this air fryer polenta is perfect to pair with your favorite dipping sauce. You won’t be able to get enough of this unique and tasty take on crispy fries!

What is polenta?

Polenta can refer both to ground cornmeal and a specific kind of paste or dough made from yellow corn meal. It’s especially popular in Italian cuisine, and it can be roasted, fried, grilled, and more!

Can you air fry polenta?

Absolutely! This is a quick and easy way to get your polenta cooked. It’ll be crispy on the outside and nice and tender on the inside, which makes it a great substitute for classic french fries.

instant polenta, water, oil, and spices in small ingredient bowls

Ingredients you will need

Water: helps form the dough that will become your polenta fries.

Salt: using a bit of salt provides a good flavor base. I like to use kosher salt, or even a bit of sea salt.

Instant Polenta: unlike typical polenta, the instant variety is ground extra fine and cooks much faster.

Garlic Powder: everything tastes better with garlic!

Italian Seasoning: if you don’t have Italian seasoning, use some combination of oregano, rosemary, basil, red pepper flakes or chili flakes, and even extra herbs and spices like marjoram, thyme, or black pepper.

Olive Oil Spray: a little spritz of olive oil (or your cooking oil of choice) ensures your polenta fries get nice and crispy on the outside. Avocado oil is another good option.

steps for how to make air fryer polenta

How to make air fryer polenta fries

1. Boil water. Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot or saucepan, then add the salt.

2. Cook the polenta. Stir your instant polenta powder into the boiling water, then add the garlic and Italian seasoning. Be sure to combine everything well and stir continuously until you have a thickened, creamy polenta.

3. Cool the polenta. Pour the polenta mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a spatula or knife to flatten the hot porridge, then cool to room temperature and transfer to the fridge for at least 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap to avoid drying out.

4. Slice the polenta. Once fully set, transfer your polenta to a cutting board and slice into fry-like shapes.

5. Air fry polenta. Arrange the polenta fries in a single layer in your air fryer basket, lightly spritz with cooking spray, and air fry for ten minutes or until golden brown. Give them a flip or shake about halfway through for even cooking.

air fryer polenta fries on a sheet pan

Recipe tips and variations

  • Air fry in batches. If you have too many polenta fries crowding the air fryer basket, they may not cook evenly.
  • Go light on the oil. All you need is a little oil to ensure crispy polenta fries.
  • Preheat your air fryer. Adding the fries to a preheated air fryer tray will ensure the exteriors get crispy without having to overcook the insides.
  • Slice evenly. Try to make your fries as even as possible so they cook at the same rate.
  • Switch up the flavors. Because this recipe is so simple, it leaves lots of room to experiment with different flavors! Add different herbs and spices like smoked paprika, mustard powder, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, or garnish with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.
  • Don’t overcook the polenta. It’s actually pretty hard to overcook polenta luckily. Just be sure you stir constantly and the dough should come together fine.
  • Use tubed polenta. If you’re really in a time crunch, a store bought polenta tube could also be rolled out and sliced into fries.
air fryer polenta fries with ketchup

How to serve polenta fries

This air fryer polenta is excellent to pair with your favorite sauce. Ketchup is a classic choice, but you could also pair them with marinara sauce, chipotle mayo, garlic aioli, and more!

Use whatever makes sense with your main dish or whatever dipping sauce you like with your fries.

Are polenta fries healthy?

Compared to regular french fries, this is definitely a healthier option. Polenta fries are lower in carbs and have less sodium and calories.

Because they’re only sprayed with a small amount of oil instead of deep fried, they’re also lighter and less fatty.


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air fryer polenta fries
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5 from 5 votes

Air Fryer Polenta Fries

Make these Air Fryer Polenta Fries as the perfect side dish for a quick weeknight dinner! With the option to customize with your favorite seasonings, this is a versatile recipe with a satisfying and comforting result.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Cooling Time2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes
Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer polenta, air fryer polenta fries, polenta fries
Servings: 4
Calories: 153kcal



  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • olive oil spray, for cooking

To serve

  • marinara sauce or ketchup


  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Gradually stir in the instant polenta and add the garlic powder with the Italian seasoning to the mixture while stirring the mixture constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until the water is fully absorbed and the polenta becomes thick, which should take about 5 minutes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the cooked polenta into the pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the polenta mixture evenly over the pan and flatten the top surface. Allow the polenta to cool to room temperature, then place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until it is thoroughly chilled and even in the center.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 350℉.
  • Once chilled, remove the polenta from the fridge and carefully transfer the solid block of polenta onto a cutting board. Slice it into strips, resembling French fries.
  • Arrange the sliced polenta pieces on the basket in a single layer. Lightly spray the uncooked polenta fries or brush them with olive oil.
    Air fry the polenta fries for 10 minutes or until they become crispy, tossing halfway through. After cooking, sprinkle the polenta fries with coarse salt and allow them to cool by placing them on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then serve with marinara sauce or ketchup.


Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 106IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.

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  1. 5 stars
    These polenta fries are incredible. I served them with marinara sauce and the whole family loved it. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Oooh, such a fantastic recipe for the air fryer. I love how easily these polenta fries come together and the texture sounds amazing.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried making polenta in the air fryer before but thought it sounded like a great idea so I gave it a try and boy was it GOOD! Thank you for this delicious polenta recipe.

5 from 5 votes

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