Polenta Fries in the Air Fryer

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Polenta Fries are golden brown and crispy on the outside, and wonderfully tender and creamy on the inside! Such a fun and tasty update to regular fries, these pair well with all of your favorite dipping sauces. Simply slice, season, and air fry and you’ll be munching on air fried polenta before you know it.

titled: Air Fryer Polenta Fries


Polenta Fries

Have you guys tried polenta yet? It’s such a tasty alternative to pasta, rice, or potatoes! 

This Italian dish is made from cornmeal and is often served as a side. You can eat it as is, like in this steak with polenta recipe, or you can slice it into shapes for frying or grilling.

I recently decided to slice it into sticks so that I could make fries! I took out my trusty air fryer and let it do its magic and boom! This polenta fries recipe was born.

I’m using pre-cooked polenta to make things super easy, and all I add to it before air frying is a simple mixture of olive oil and my favorite seasonings.

The results were crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside… in other words, the perfect fry!

You’re going to want to add air fried polenta to your weekly meal rotation as soon as you try this recipe!!

ingredients for polenta fries

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Polenta – Make sure to use pre-cooked polenta to make things easier on yourself. You can usually find it in the refrigerated section at the supermarket. 

    Opting for pre-cooked will save you time — and give your fries a uniform texture!
  • Olive Oil – You only need a few tablespoons thanks to the air fryer! I like olive oil best, but you could also use avocado oil.
  • Seasonings – Here’s where most of the flavor comes from.

    I like my all-time favorite combination of garlic powder, salt, and black pepper for that perfect garlicy taste, plus some fresh chopped parsley as a garnish.

    If you like things spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder! Don’t be afraid to experiment with your personal favorites. 
pre-cooked polenta sliced into fries

Tips and Tricks to Make Perfect Air Fried Polenta

  • Slice the polenta evenly.

Just like any homemade fries recipe, you need to slice the polenta into evenly sized pieces. 

Not only does this ensure that everyone gets an equal serving, but it also helps the polenta fries cook evenly.

If you cut them into different-sized pieces, you’ll end up with some that are undercooked — and others may end up burnt.

Aim for ½ inch sized slices.

  • Don’t forget to preheat!

This is key for getting super crispy and crunchy results!

I know that some air fryer recipes don’t require any preheating, but when it comes to making polenta fries in the air fryer, you want it to be hot right from the start.

  • Cook in a single layer.

When you add the polenta fries to the air fryer basket, make sure not to overcrowd them.

You need to leave some space in between each fry — this way the hot air can circulate freely around them. 

Overcrowding the air fryer basket can lead to uneven cooking and soggy results. Your best bet is to cook them in batches if your air fryer isn’t large enough!

  • Fun variations to try.

My polenta fries recipe can easily serve as the base for so many fun flavor combinations!

Try sprinkling some grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese over the fries before you pop them in air fryer. The cheese will form a delicious, crispy, golden crust as it fries!

Or, add an herbaceous twist and mix fresh chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano into the olive oil mixture.

You could also use dried herbs if that’s all you have on hand.

Got a thing for the spicy stuff? Mix some Cajun or Creole seasoning with the olive oil for an added kick.

You can even sprinkle some extra seasoning on the fries after they’ve come out of the air fryer for more flavor.

This variation would pair perfectly with a side of Chipotle Lime Mayo for dipping!

polenta fries seasoned in a large bowl

Prep Ahead

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F
  • Slice the polenta
  • Make the olive oil herb mixture

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Air Fryer – Different brands and sizes may require different cooking times, so be familiar with your model and make adjustments as needed.
  • Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
fried polenta fried in the air fryer

Serving Suggestions 

Enjoy your air fryer polenta fries while they’re hot and fresh! You’re going to want to serve these guys ASAP to preserve their crispy texture.

There are so many different dipping sauces to pair them with!

Classic marinara brings a nice contrast thanks to its tangy tomato flavor, and creamy garlic aioli complements the flavor of the polenta wonderfully. 

Or, create your own spicy mayo by combining some mayonnaise with Sriracha hot sauce. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze on top is another option!

To make it a meal, I love serving air fried polenta with cheeseburgers, sandwiches, roasted veggies, and meatballs

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

Once your fries have cooled completely, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Pop them back in the air fryer at 350°F for about 3-5 minutes, or until crispy.

You can also make a big batch of fries and freeze them for future meals.

When cool, place the fries on a baking sheet in the freezer and flash-freeze them before placing in a freezer-safe bag. 

They will keep for about 3 months, and you can air fry directly from frozen when you’re ready to serve. Just add a few more minutes to the cooking time and you’re golden!

Polenta Fries Recipe FAQ

What is polenta made from?

Polenta is made from coarsely ground cornmeal that’s cooked in water or broth to create a thick and creamy, almost porridge-like consistency. It originated in northern Italy and is often served as a side dish. You can bake it, grill it, or air fry it like I did here!

How do I keep my polenta fries from sticking to the air fryer basket?

You can lightly coat the basket in nonstick cooking spray, or use parchment paper or a silicone mat if sticking is a real concern. 

Also, make sure the fries are thoroughly coated in the olive oil and seasonings mixture before you add them to the basket. Don’t forget to leave some room in between each one too!

Are polenta fries gluten-free?

Yes, they are! Cornmeal is naturally gluten-free, making polenta GF as well.

Do I have to use pre-cooked polenta?

You don’t have to, but it will make your life so much easier! You can make my polenta fries recipe totally from scratch by cooking polenta in water or broth until thickened, spreading it onto a baking sheet to cool and set, and then slicing it into fries. 

Both methods work for making polenta fries in an air fryer, it just depends on how much time (and motivation!) you have.

golden brown polenta fries

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air fryer polenta fry dipped in ketchup

closeup of polenta fries recipe

Polenta Fries in the Air Fryer

Donna Elick
Try my Polenta Fries for a unique side dish! Crispy and golden thanks to the air fryer, add your favorite seasonings, air fry, and enjoy!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Air Fryer
Servings 4



  • 1 package pre-cooked polenta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped


  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F for about 5 minutes to ensure it’s nice and hot for cooking.
  • While the air fryer is preheating, prepare the polenta. Slice the pre-cooked polenta into fries-like shapes, about 1/2 inch thick. You can adjust the thickness according to your preference.
  • In a bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix well until the seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the oil.
  • Place the polenta fries in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the seasoned olive oil mixture over them. Gently toss the fries to ensure they are evenly coated with the seasoned oil.
  • Once the air fryer is preheated, arrange the polenta fries in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they are not overcrowded. You may need to cook them in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Air fry the polenta fries at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. Keep an eye on them to ensure they reach your desired level of crispiness without burning.
  • Once the polenta fries are golden brown and crispy on the outside, remove them from the air fryer and transfer them to a serving platter.
  • Sprinkle the freshly chopped parsley over the hot fries.
  • Serve your Air Fryer Polenta Fries immediately with your favorite dipping sauce or enjoy them as is!

Donna’s Notes

Opt for pre-cooked polenta for convenience. You can usually find it in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. This saves you time in the kitchen and ensures a consistent texture for your fries.
When slicing the polenta into fries, aim for uniform thickness. This helps ensure even cooking, so you don’t end up with some fries undercooked while others are overly crispy.
Preheating the air fryer is crucial for achieving that crispy exterior. It helps jump-start the cooking process and ensures the fries cook evenly from the start.
Arrange the polenta fries in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving some space between them. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and soggy fries. Cook them in batches if necessary.
Feel free to adjust the seasonings in the olive oil mixture to suit your preferences. If you like it spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder. Experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavor to your liking.
Air Fryer Polenta Fries are best enjoyed hot and fresh from the air fryer. Serve them immediately to preserve their crispy texture.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 98cal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 583mg | Sugar: 0.03g | Fiber: 0.3g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Air Fryer Polenta Fries - PIN

Originally published June 2024

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