posted in All Time Faves

Creamy Coconut Polenta

Have you discovered polenta yet?  I just started experimenting with it in the last couple of years, and I worry that it’s an under-appreciated and undiscovered ingredient for many people.  I LOVE IT!!  There is an appetizer recipe in The Recipe Girl Cookbook for BLT Polenta Squares.  That recipe features polenta in solid form- flavored with fresh herbs and topped with sundried tomato, creamy cheese and watercress.  I could eat a million of those.  The recipe I’m sharing today is also in my cookbook.  But this polenta recipe turns out a very creamy and wonderful side dish:  Creamy Coconut Polenta

Creamy Coconut Polenta 1

This polenta may be eaten as a lovely side dish to chicken or beef or seafood… or you may wish to top it with something too (see the photo far down below for an idea…)

Creamy Coconut Polenta 2

Creamy Coconut Polenta 4

Creamy Coconut Polenta 3

This polenta recipe is cooked slowly on the stove with coconut milk and whole milk (much like you slowly cook risotto to get it to its tender state) before topping it off with butter, kosher salt and chives.

Creamy Coconut Polenta with Sweet Chili Pulled Pork -

I topped my Creamy Coconut Polenta with another recipe from The Recipe Girl Cookbook:  Sweet Chili Pulled Pork.  They’re a perfect match, and they’re two of my favorite recipes in the book.  The best part is that they’re both easy-to-prepare, and they are family-friendly too.  You’re in luck > My friend Sommer from the food blog A Spicy Perspective is featuring my recipe for Sweet Chili Pulled Pork today!  So you get two recipes in one.  And all of the recipes below are featured on blogs too!  Since there are 195 recipes in The Recipe Girl Cookbook, you get a little hint of what’s in the book by trying out some of the recipes that are being shared.


Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Creamy Coconut Polenta


1 (13.66-ounce) can coconut milk (see Tips)
3/4 cup whole grain polenta (see Tips)
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


1. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 1 cup of the milk and stir. Continue to stir and simmer for 6 to 7 more minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of milk and continue to simmer, still stirring often, until the polenta is thick and creamy, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the butter, salt and pepper. Serve immediately and top with chives


*This recipe is gluten-free adaptable: just be sure to use a brand of polenta that is known to be GF.
*Using regular coconut milk for this recipe (instead of the light version) will turn out a much more creamy polenta.
*Do not use quick-cooking polenta for this recipe as it is not cooked in the same manner.

Source:  Re-printed with permission from The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Copyright 2013)

The Recipe Girl Cookbook
may be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound.  It’s beginning to show up in local bookstores too, and should be everywhere very soon!

THERE’S MORE! 6 of my blogging friends are celebrating The Recipe Girl Cookbook this week too!  They’re each sharing a recipe from the book + a giveaway for a KitchenAid Blender and a Recipe Girl Cookbook.  Be sure to check them out!  THANKS A BUNCH TO KITCHENAID FOR PARTNERING WITH RECIPEGIRL THIS WEEK and LAST FOR THE CELEBRATION!

And here are the recipes that were featured last week!


  1. postedApr 25, 2013 4:19 AM

    Cooking with coconut milk (or oil) is my favorite! I bet this was so creamy and good!

  2. postedApr 25, 2013 5:03 AM

    Oh, this is right up my alley. LOVE baking and cooking with coconut milk as well as coconut oil. It makes everything more delicious! Such a great idea to incorporate coconut milk into polenta for a new twist on a favorite classic, Lori!

  3. postedApr 25, 2013 5:13 AM

    I love coconut milk! What an awesome idea to make polenta with it!! I am so trying this recipe!

  4. postedApr 25, 2013 5:42 AM

    This is an absolutely genius combination of flavors! This is definitely going to be made ASAP – we love polenta in our house!!! Pinned!

  5. postedApr 25, 2013 7:28 AM

    Love coconut milk – I bet this tastes amazing!!! Yum!!!

  6. postedApr 25, 2013 7:30 AM

    Tasty stuff!

  7. postedApr 25, 2013 8:31 AM

    I’ve never made polenta, but I do like it. I’ll eat anything made with coconut milk, so this looks delicious (especially with the pork!). I ordered your cookbook yesterday and can’t wait to get it!

  8. postedApr 25, 2013 8:59 AM

    I always see polenta in my grocery store but never have tried it. Can anyone describe the taste for me?

  9. postedApr 25, 2013 9:54 AM

    Wow, this is such a great idea! Never thought to use coconut milk with polenta.

  10. postedApr 25, 2013 10:02 AM

    I am a HUGE polenta fan but have never paired it with coconut before! How fun! I bet this could also be turned into a sweet breakfast. Mmm.

  11. postedApr 25, 2013 5:26 PM

    Have not tried making it with coconut milk – bet it’s amazing! Thanks! 🙂

  12. postedApr 26, 2013 3:59 AM

    Looks delicious and the last picture has pulled me in. I need to try this recipe!

  13. postedApr 26, 2013 7:30 AM

    I have yet to try polenta, so this will be added to my grocery list. This looks so yummy, thanks for sharing this recipe. 🙂

  14. postedApr 26, 2013 2:37 PM

    Such a great idea to twist up polenta with coconut and serve it with pork. Thanks for the inspiration, Lori!

  15. postedApr 26, 2013 9:30 PM

    This looks delicious & I can’t wait to try making it. I have a question though, I’ve never made polenta before, but isn’t it just cornmeal? Or is it a different form of it that I have to buy? Thanks!

  16. postedApr 27, 2013 9:00 AM

    I love polenta, but I only have one creamy polenta recipe that I make. This coconut version sounds great for spring, and perfect with the pulled pork!

  17. postedApr 28, 2013 9:23 AM

    I looove coconut milk! Never thought of using it in polenta! Pinning!

  18. postedApr 28, 2013 11:26 AM
    Carolyn M

    Polenta is a corn product so you must be careful to buy a certified non-GMO brand. Polenta is a favorite in the south and in Latin American dishes. It looks and feels much like corn meal.

  19. postedApr 28, 2013 6:30 PM

    I love this 🙂 I cook with coconut milk whenever I get a chance! This looks so delicious.

  20. postedApr 28, 2013 10:44 PM
    Michelle Owens

    I have never tried polenta but that looks delicious. Thanks for all the amazing inspiration in the kitchen. 🙂

  21. postedApr 28, 2013 11:20 PM

    I love polenta and I am so intrigued by the idea of putting coconut milk in it!

  22. postedApr 30, 2013 3:21 PM

    I have never had polenta! This really needs to change 🙂

  23. postedMar 18, 2014 7:44 AM

    Hi Lori!
    I searched for this recipe just now as I had the idea to cook polenta with coconut milk and some thai flavours…is there a reason that you don’t advise using the quick-cook polenta? (that’s all I have at home) 🙂
    Thanks for your time,

    • postedMar 18, 2014 12:42 PM

      I suppose you could try- I just always use the slow cooking kind because I think it turns out best!

  24. postedJul 6, 2015 6:14 PM

    Polenta cooked with coconut milk is the basis of a Caribbean dish called coo coo. We also put okra, peppers and onions and other herbs. Very popular in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Barbados.

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