Delicious Air Fryer Recipes for Polenta and Grits

Looking to add a healthy and tasty twist to your polenta and grits recipes? Look no further! In this article, you will discover delicious air fryer recipes that will transform these classic dishes into crispy, golden perfection. Whether you’re a fan of creamy polenta or hearty grits, we’ve got you covered with easy-to-follow steps and mouthwatering results. Get ready to elevate your cooking game and delight your taste buds with these irresistible air fryer recipes for polenta and grits.

Polenta Recipes

Polenta is a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Whether you prefer it fried, stuffed, or as a tasty side dish, polenta offers endless possibilities. Here, we will explore some classic polenta recipes that are perfect for air frying.

Classic Fried Polenta

The classic fried polenta is a favorite among polenta enthusiasts. It is simple yet incredibly satisfying. To make this dish, all you need is some pre-cooked polenta, which you can easily find at your local grocery store. Cut the polenta into desired shapes, such as sticks or squares, and coat them with a suitable coating like breadcrumbs or cornmeal. Air fry the polenta at a high temperature until it turns golden brown and crispy. Serve it with your favorite dipping sauce, and you have a mouthwatering appetizer or snack.

Parmesan Crusted Polenta Fries

If you’re a fan of French fries, you’ll love this twist on the classic fried polenta. Parmesan crusted polenta fries are a delightful combination of crispy and cheesy. Similar to the classic fried polenta, you’ll start by cutting pre-cooked polenta into fry-like shapes. Next, coat the polenta fries with a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Air fry the polenta fries until they are golden brown and the cheese has melted into a crispy crust. Serve them as a delicious side dish or even as a fun party appetizer.

Herb and Garlic Polenta Bites

For a burst of flavor in every bite, herb and garlic polenta bites are the way to go. These bite-sized treats are perfect for snacking or serving as appetizers. To prepare them, add chopped fresh herbs and minced garlic to your pre-cooked polenta. Mix well and let the flavors infuse for a few minutes. Shape the polenta mixture into small balls or bite-sized patties and air fry until they are golden and slightly crispy on the outside. These herb and garlic polenta bites are incredibly fragrant and tasty and are sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Polenta Stuffed Mushrooms

If you’re looking for a more elegant and sophisticated way to enjoy polenta, look no further than polenta stuffed mushrooms. This dish combines the earthy flavors of mushrooms with the creamy texture of polenta. Simply remove the stems from large mushrooms and fill the caps with a mixture of cooked polenta, cheese, herbs, and spices. Place the stuffed mushrooms in the air fryer and cook until the mushrooms are tender and the polenta filling is warmed through and slightly golden. These stuffed mushrooms make for a visually stunning and utterly delicious appetizer that will impress your guests.

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Grits Recipes

Grits, a Southern staple, are made from ground corn and are often enjoyed for breakfast or as a comforting side dish. Their creamy and smooth texture is perfect for air frying, offering a delightful crunch on the outside. Let’s explore some delicious grits recipes that you can easily prepare in your air fryer.

Crispy Cajun Grits

If you’re a fan of Cajun flavors and love a bit of spice, crispy Cajun grits are a must-try. To make this dish, start by cooking grits according to the package instructions. Once cooked, season the grits with Cajun spices, including paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Spread the seasoned grits onto a baking sheet and let them cool and solidify in the refrigerator. Once firm, cut the grits into desired shapes, such as squares or triangles, and air fry until they turn golden and crispy. These crispy Cajun grits offer a delightful blend of flavors and textures that will leave you craving more.

Cheesy Grits Balls

Cheesy grits balls take the traditional Southern dish to a whole new level of deliciousness. To make this recipe, you’ll start by cooking grits until they are smooth and creamy. Stir in shredded cheese, such as cheddar or mozzarella, until it melts and creates a gooey mixture. Let the mixture cool and solidify in the refrigerator before shaping it into small balls. Roll the balls in breadcrumbs or cornmeal and air fry until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. These cheesy grits balls are perfect as a snack, appetizer, or even as a unique addition to your next party platter.

Grits and Sausage Patties

Looking for a hearty and satisfying breakfast option? Grits and sausage patties are a match made in heaven. To prepare this dish, cook the grits according to package instructions and set them aside to cool. In the meantime, prepare some flavorful sausage patties by combining ground sausage with a combination of herbs and spices, such as sage, thyme, and black pepper. Shape the sausage mixture into patties and cook them on a skillet until fully cooked. Air fry the cooked grits until they are crispy, and serve them alongside the sausage patties for a breakfast that will keep you fueled throughout the day.

Grits-stuffed Bell Peppers

For a unique and visually appealing dish, try making grits-stuffed bell peppers. This recipe combines the creamy texture of grits with the sweetness of bell peppers. Cook the grits until they are smooth and creamy, and then mix in your favorite ingredients, such as sautéed onions, bell peppers, and cheese. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Stuff the bell peppers with the grits mixture and sprinkle some cheese on top. Air fry the stuffed bell peppers until they are tender and the cheese is melted and slightly golden. These grits-stuffed bell peppers make for a delightful main course or side dish that will surely impress your family and friends.

Polenta and Grits Toppings

Now that we have explored some delicious recipes for both polenta and grits, it’s time to talk about the myriad of toppings that can elevate these dishes to a whole new level. From savory to indulgent, the right topping can transform your polenta or grits into a culinary masterpiece. Here are some mouthwatering topping options to consider:

Marinara Sauce

A classic topping for polenta, marinara sauce adds a burst of tangy and savory flavors to the dish. Whether you prefer a homemade marinara sauce or a store-bought version, it pairs perfectly with fried polenta or grits. Top your polenta or grits with a generous amount of marinara sauce, and finish it off with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a delightful combination of flavors.

Mushroom and Onion Gravy

For a rich and indulgent topping, mushroom and onion gravy is the way to go. To make this topping, sauté sliced mushrooms and onions in butter until they are caramelized and golden brown. Add some vegetable or mushroom broth, along with herbs and spices of your choice, and simmer until the flavors meld together. Pour the mushroom and onion gravy over your polenta or grits, and enjoy the comforting combination of flavors and textures.

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Sautéed Spinach and Feta

If you’re looking to add some freshness and a touch of elegance to your polenta or grits, sautéed spinach and feta are the perfect toppings. Sauté fresh spinach in olive oil until wilted, and then mix in crumbled feta cheese for a creamy and tangy twist. Spoon the sautéed spinach and feta mixture over your polenta or grits, and savor the harmony of flavors and contrasting textures.

Bacon and Cheddar

For those who enjoy a hearty and indulgent topping, bacon and cheddar are a winning combination. Cook some crispy bacon until it reaches your desired level of crispiness, and crumble it into small pieces. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles generously over your polenta or grits, and top it off with a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese. Pop your dish back into the air fryer for a few minutes to melt the cheese, and brace yourself for a flavor explosion that will leave you wanting more.

Sweet Polenta and Grits

Polenta and grits aren’t just limited to savory dishes. With the right ingredients and a touch of sweetness, you can create delicious and satisfying sweet polenta and grits that are perfect for breakfast or dessert.

Cinnamon Sugar Polenta Sticks

Looking for a delightful breakfast treat or a unique dessert option? Cinnamon sugar polenta sticks are a must-try. To make this sweet dish, prepare pre-cooked polenta according to the package instructions. Cut the polenta into stick-like shapes and coat them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Air fry the polenta sticks until they are crispy on the outside and slightly softened on the inside. Serve them with a side of maple syrup or your favorite dipping sauce for a delightful balance of flavors.

Blueberry Grits Cobbler

Transform your favorite breakfast staple into a delicious and comforting dessert with blueberry grits cobbler. Cook grits according to package instructions and let them cool slightly. Mix in fresh or frozen blueberries and a touch of sugar to add natural sweetness. Transfer the grits and blueberry mixture into an oven-safe baking dish and top it with a crumbly mixture made of flour, sugar, butter, and oats. Air fry the cobbler until the topping turns golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a truly decadent sweet treat.

Honey Butter Polenta Bites

If you’re craving something sweet and buttery, honey butter polenta bites will hit the spot. Begin by preparing pre-cooked polenta and letting it cool until it is firm. Cut the polenta into bite-sized pieces and air fry until they turn golden brown and slightly crispy. Melt some butter and mix it with honey to create a sweet and luscious glaze. Drizzle the honey butter glaze over the polenta bites and allow it to soak into the warm polenta. These honey butter polenta bites are incredibly delicious and will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Maple Pecan Grits

Indulge in the flavors of fall with maple pecan grits. Cook grits until they are creamy and smooth, and then stir in pure maple syrup and chopped pecans. The maple syrup adds a delightful sweetness, while the crunchy pecans provide a satisfying texture. Once the flavor is infused, transfer the grits into small ramekins or oven-safe dishes and air fry until they are slightly golden and bubbling. The result is a comforting and heartwarming dish that is perfect for chilly mornings or cozy evenings.

Tips for Air Frying Polenta and Grits

Air frying polenta and grits can be a fun and delicious way to enjoy these dishes. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve the perfect texture and flavor. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

Choose the right type of polenta or grits

When it comes to air frying polenta or grits, choosing the right type is crucial. Opt for pre-cooked polenta or quick-cooking grits, as they require less cooking time and can hold their shape better in the air fryer.

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Pre-cook the polenta or grits

Before air frying, make sure to pre-cook the polenta or grits according to the package instructions. This step ensures that the polenta or grits are fully cooked and have the right consistency before being air fried.

Cut polenta or grits into desired shapes

To achieve uniform cooking and a visually appealing presentation, cut the polenta or grits into desired shapes. This can include sticks, squares, triangles, or any other shape that suits your recipe.

Coat polenta or grits with a suitable coating

For a crispy and golden exterior, coat the polenta or grits with a suitable coating before air frying. This can include breadcrumbs, cornmeal, or even a mixture of grated cheese and breadcrumbs.

Preheat the air fryer

To ensure even cooking and optimum results, preheat your air fryer before adding the polenta or grits. This helps create a stable and consistent cooking environment.

Arrange the polenta or grits in a single layer

To promote even cooking and crispy exterior, arrange the polenta or grits in a single layer in the air fryer basket. This allows hot air to circulate around each piece, resulting in a perfectly cooked dish.

Rotate or flip halfway through cooking

To ensure even browning and crispy texture on all sides, rotate or flip the polenta or grits halfway through the cooking process. This helps achieve a consistent and delicious end result.

Adjust cooking time and temperature as needed

The cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer model and the thickness of your polenta or grits. Keep an eye on the cooking process and adjust the time and temperature as needed to achieve the desired outcome.

Serve immediately for best texture and flavor

For the best texture and flavor, serve the air fried polenta or grits immediately after cooking. This helps maintain their crispy exterior and creamy interior, ensuring a delightful experience.

Experiment with different seasonings and toppings

Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different seasonings and toppings for your air fried polenta or grits. From herbs and spices to sauces and cheeses, there are endless possibilities to suit your taste preferences. Let your imagination run wild and discover new flavor combinations that will delight your senses.

FAQs about Air Fryer Polenta and Grits

Can I use instant polenta or grits?

While it is possible to use instant polenta or grits, they may not hold their shape as well as pre-cooked polenta or regular grits. Instant polenta or grits tend to have a finer texture and may turn mushy when air fried. However, if you prefer a smoother and creamier texture, you can give it a try and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I use frozen pre-cooked polenta?

Yes, you can use frozen pre-cooked polenta for air frying. Allow the frozen polenta to thaw completely before cutting and coating it. Adjust the cooking time as needed, as frozen polenta may take slightly longer to cook compared to fresh or refrigerated polenta.

What are some alternative coatings for polenta or grits?

If you’re looking to switch things up and add different flavors and textures to your polenta or grits, you can try alternative coatings. This can include crushed potato chips, finely chopped nuts, or even a mixture of spices and flour. Get creative and experiment with different coatings to add a unique twist to your air fried polenta or grits.

How do I reheat air fried polenta or grits?

To reheat air fried polenta or grits, preheat your air fryer to a medium-high temperature. Place the leftover polenta or grits in the air fryer basket and heat them until they are warmed through. Make sure to monitor the reheating process closely to prevent them from drying out or becoming overheated.

Can I make polenta or grits in advance and air fry later?

Yes, you can prepare polenta or grits in advance and air fry them later. Simply cook the polenta or grits according to the package instructions, let them cool, and refrigerate them until you’re ready to air fry. When you’re ready to serve, cut and coat the polenta or grits, and air fry them until they are golden and crispy. This allows you to save time and still enjoy delicious air fried polenta or grits whenever you desire.


Air frying polenta and grits opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to enjoying these versatile dishes. From classic fried polenta to savory grits-stuffed bell peppers, there are endless options to explore. The right seasonings, coatings, and toppings can elevate your polenta and grits to new heights of deliciousness. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different flavors and textures. With these comprehensive recipes, helpful tips, and FAQs, you have all the tools you need to create mouthwatering air fried polenta and grits that will impress and delight. So fire up your air fryer and embark on a culinary adventure with these delectable treats!

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Jenny Jones

About the Author: Jenny Jones

Driven by her desire to share her newfound love for air frying and healthy cooking, Jenny decided to start her own blog. Through her platform, she shares mouthwatering recipes, insightful tips, and step-by-step tutorials, all geared towards helping her readers make healthier choices without compromising taste.