Cheesy Breakfast Polenta

Mar 31, 2022 | Recipes

Polenta is an Italian dish that is essentially porridge made with ground dried corn. Today, we will turn that dried corn into Cheesy Breakfast Polenta. You may be thinking, “Hey, isn’t that grits?”. The answer is nope. Grits are made with hominy which is dried corn that has been treated in an alkaline solution to make it more easily digestible. Hominy is what’s used to make masa for making tortillas. Cornmeal is simply dried and ground corn that is untreated. Make sense? Italians have been making this kind of dish since ancient Rome and probably beyond, so it makes sense that when corn arrived from the new world, they used it to make a dish they knew well. I’m very excited to share this recipe with you, so let’s get to it. You can find the recipe directly below, but keep reading for a more in-depth look.

Getting Started


As I said in the intro, this recipe uses cornmeal. You can find cornmeal in any grocery store, and any type will do. But, if you can find some fine ground cornmeal it will cook quicker and have a better texture than the more coarsely ground stuff. As you can see in the picture below, I used Bob’s Red Mill medium grind cornmeal, and it worked perfectly. If you’d like, and if you live in an area of the world where you can get it, you can use grits in place of the cornmeal. They aren’t available where I live, but they would work well. Check this Wikipedia article to learn more about what grits are and how they’re made.

Round-Up The Ingredients

For this recipe, it’s essential that you have all your ingredients ready to go. You don’t want to be running around and grating cheese while cooking your polenta. The ingredients are cornmeal, milk (2% or Whole Milk), old cheddar cheese, cajun seasoning, butter, salt, pepper, eggs, and vinegar.

How To Make Breakfast Polenta

Start with the eggs

In my experience, the best way to poach eggs is to first let the eggs sit in a little vinegar for a few minutes. The vinegar starts to set the egg white, helping the eggs stay together when added to the simmering water. You can break the eggs into one bowl with the vinegar, but I find keeping them separate works a little better. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar to each of two ramekins or small bowls. Crack the eggs into the ramekins and leave them alone for a few minutes. Once the eggs are cracked and in the vinegar, grab a medium pot, fill it three-quarters full of hot water and put it on the stove on high heat to bring to a boil.

How To Make Polenta

To make the polenta, put the milk in a medium pot, and turn it on medium-high heat. Once the milk is just below a boil, whisk in the cornmeal and cajun seasoning. You must whisk as you add the cornmeal; otherwise, you may have uncooked lumps. After adding the cornmeal and seasoning, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook while stirring for about ten minutes or until the polenta resembles the texture of scrambled eggs. Remove the polenta from the heat, season with salt and whisk in the butter and cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

How To Poach Eggs

The hardest part of making this whole dish is getting the timing right so that the eggs and polenta are ready at the same time or there about. So, once you add cornmeal to the milk, set a ten-minute timer. When the timer has four minutes left, start cooking the eggs. The poaching water should be at a boil. Don’t worry about salting the water. The water is boiling, turn it down to medium and stir the water to create a cyclone in the center of the pot. One at a time, put your ramekins are close to the surface of the water as you can and pour the eggs into the centre of the cyclone. Now, leave the eggs alone until the timer goes off. If the water starts to boil, turn the heat down a little more. Once the timer goes off, gently scoop the eggs out of the water one at a time with a slotted spoon. Place the eggs in a bowl or on a plate lined with a paper towel or a clean dishtowel. The eggs can sit like this for a few minutes while you finish the polenta.

Cheesy Breakfast Polenta Timing Break Down

I realize that the timing of everything for this Cheesy Breakfast Polenta may be a little confusing. So, I will break it down in point form below to make it a little clearer. Here we go.

  • Gather and prepare ingredients.
  • Break eggs into ramekins with vinegar.
  • Put poaching pot on the stove on high heat.
  • Put milk in a pot on the stove on medium-high heat.
  • Poaching pot boiling. Milk is just under a boil.
  • Add polenta and cajun seasoning to milk while whisking. Turn the heat down to medium-low and set a ten-minute timer.
  • The timer reaches four minutes left. Stir the poaching water, gently drop eggs into the cyclone. Turn poaching pot down to medium-low.
  • The ten-minute timer goes off. Remove the polenta pot from the burner and set it aside.
  • Remove the eggs from the poaching water and place them on a towel.
  • Whisk the butter, cheese, and salt into the polenta. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Plate and serve.

I hope that clarifies and simplifies the process.

Finishing the Cheesy Breakfast Polenta

To serve the Cheesy Breakfast Polenta, divide the polenta between two bowls and top each with a poached egg. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Top with a bit of hot sauce (optional), and make it beautiful with two chives placed crosswise over the egg. Finally, dig in and enjoy. When I conceptualized this recipe, I intended to add sausage or bacon to it. At the last minute, I changed my mind and made it as you see it here. I’m glad I did because it really doesn’t need anything else. This Cheesy Breakfast Polenta is perfect the way it is.

The Wrap-Up

This Cheesy Breakfast Polenta is my new favourite breakfast. It’s delicious, easy to make, and filling. Even though you probably don’t automatically think of polenta when you think of breakfast, maybe it’s time to start. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Thanks for reading! Remember that sharing is caring, so share this with your friends and leave a comment below to tell me what you think. Have a great day! I’ll see you back here next Thursday. Oh, and if you want to learn more about polenta, check out this post I did called Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Polenta.

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Cheesy Breakfast Polenta with Soft Poached Egg

Porridge as we know it is typically made with oatmeal, but other parts of the world make similar dishes with whatever they have on hand, be it rice, barley, or in this case, corn. Porridge made with ground dried corn generally goes by the Italian name, polenta. This specific polenta is made with cheddar cheese, a little cajun seasoning and topped with a poached egg to make it the perfect breakfast to start your day.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Canadian, Italian
Keyword: Eggs, Hearty Breakfast, Quick Breakfast
Servings: 2 servings


  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning optional
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp white vinegar


  • Break the eggs into two ramekins and add the vinegar.
  • Fill a medium pot 3/4 full with water and put it on the stove on high heat.
  • Pour the milk into a second pot and put on the stove on medium-high heat.
  • Once the milk is just under a boil, whisk in the cornmeal and cajun seasoning.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk until the polenta is the texture of scrambled eggs. This will take about 10 minutes. I suggest setting a ten minutes timer. When there are four minutes left on the timer, put the eggs in the water.
  • Once the pot of water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-high. Stir the water to make a funnel in the middle then add in the eggs one at a time. Cook the eggs for four minutes, then scoop them out of the water using a slotted spoon. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Take the polenta off the stove and whisk in the butter then the cheese. Divide the polenta among two bowls and top with the poached eggs. A few drops of hot sauce will really make the polenta pop.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Anonymous

    I will try this and share with my other celiac and gluten sensitive family.

  2. Chef Ben Kelly

    I’m glad to hear that!

  3. Renate

    5 stars
    thanks for sharing…..was very interesting….how to poach eggs ….hugs

  4. Kellie Russell

    5 stars
    This dish was amazing, thank you for the recipe and helpful tips.

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