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Dec 29, 2004 12:24 PM

What is the difference between cornmeal porridge and polenta and cooking them?

  • l


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  1. In general, nothing.

    Polenta is cornmeal. Cornmeal can be ground to varying degrees of corseness. Polenta is generally ground very coarse. Grits, which is white cornmeal, is typically ground a little finer. I've usually heard "cornmeal porridge" referred to as a dish, not the raw ingredient of cornmeal. Most recipes I've seen for cornmeal porridge start with ground cornmeal (i.e. polenta) and then add stuff.

    6 Replies
    1. re: DL

      Grits is not white corn meal. You can actually get yellow or white grits as well as cornmeal. Grits is corn that has been processed into hominy then dried and coarsely ground. Really good grits, speckled heart, still have the germ of the corn and must be either used quickly or kept stored in the freezer. Cornmeal can vary too in color and quality. Stone or water ground corn meal is the best.

      1. re: Candy

        Actually, that's not exactly true. Hominey grits are one thing. But all grits are not hominey. Hominey grits refers to a type of processing. For lack of a better term, "regular" corn grits are essentially the same thing as polenta: ground corn meal.

        1. re: alfonseca

          No you are wrong. Cornmeal is cornmeal, grits is exactly as I explained. I have been eating and then later cooking grits since the 50's. The flavor and texture is totally different.

          1. re: Candy

            I make polenta in the Crock-Pot using 4 cups cold water to 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal and 1 tsp salt. Cook it overnight. The next morning add 1/2-1 lb sharp cheddar cheese (either use the shredded kind or put solid cheese through Cuisinart). Also add a pinch of cayenne or flaked hot chili pepper. Stir until cheese melts. Refrigerate in bread pans until very stiff. Slice and saute. The combination of corn and cheese is deliciious.

            1. re: Candy

              Actually, you are incorrect, Candy. Here's a good link with descriptions of both corn and hominy (your definition) grits:


              1. re: Candy

                grits basicly refers to the size particle. hominy and corn are both made into grits. cracker barel restraunt has made corn grits more popular recently but all grits still are much more known used and available in the south. both hominy and corn grits may be white or yellow. Corn meal is a finer grind but can vary from almost flour to almost grit size depending on the milling. Dry hominy is also made to fine grind flour and called masa or masa harina used for tortilla making particularly by mexican people. corn meal is typicly courser than flour but finer than grits. I am not real familiar with polenta but from what i know it is basicly the same thing northerners in USA call cornmeal mush. Cornmeal cooked down to thick poorage then cooled to set. I think cornmeal or cornmeal with some grits for texture would be the best ingredients. I have never seen white polenta always yellow. the cheese version above sounds good for non breakfast use. Mush is normally used as a breakfast cake sliced fried (preferably in bacon greese) then served as pancake waffle or french toast with syrup powdered sugar etc. grits is typicly served as a hot cereal often drowned in gravy sometimes redeye gravy which is a thin gravy of cofee used to deglaze the fry pan from ham or bacon pus pepper.