Italian Herb Parmesan Polenta Croutons

4.8 from 5 votes
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Parmesan Polenta Croutons are a crunchy and gluten free addition to your bowl of greens. Start with leftover polenta or make a fresh batch that is seasoned with garlic, Italian herbs, and parmesan cheese and get ready to enjoy the flavor and texture this baked polenta crouton adds to all of your favorite salads.

Italian Herb Parmesan Polenta Croutons - a crispy salad topping that's naturally gluten free

Originally published on May 20, 2012. Updated on January 24, 2017.

Sometimes I make components to a recipe that each deserve their own post because they can really be used in so many recipes. Plus it makes my life easier when I want to share a “new” post with you all but don’t really have a “new” post. You may call it “lazy blogging”, but I’ll call it efficient.

And I don’t think anyone can argue with me that sometimes life calls for efficiency.

Plus while this crouton recipe was created for my Healthy Chicken Caesar Salad, are there really any salads that aren’t better when you add these little golden nuggets of crispy deliciousness?

Or just eat them straight off the pan. Whatever.

A small bowl of baked polenta croutons with lettuce, tomatoes, and a jar of dressing in the background

Italian Herb Parmesan Polenta Croutons

They are a naturally gluten free way to add texture to a salad, especially when you can’t have classic croutons. In fact, there might even be better than come of those super hard, stale-tasting croutons. They are crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, instead of rock hard bits.

  • Cornmeal or polenta
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning


  1. Bring cornmeal, water, and salt to a boil, then cook until the polenta is thick and sticky.
  2. Stir in the cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Transfer plastic wrap or in a baking dish sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray and shape into a rectangle about 1/2 in. thick.
  4. Refrigerate until cooled.
  5. Cut the polenta into cubes and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 450°F until browned and crispy.


These have classic Italian herbs and parmesan, but you can try other cheese and seasoning combinations, like

  • Cheddar and smoked paprika
  • Monterey jack, chili powder, and cumin
  • Swiss cheese and dill
  • White cheddar and thyme

Or just leave them with basic salt and pepper.

A heaping bowl of polenta croutons

Gluten free tips

Polenta is made from corn, so it is not a gluten-containing grain. However, be sure to read labels and packages closely, especially if you have celiac disease or are highly sensitive to cross-contamination. Some brands of cornmeal are manufactured and processed in facilities than handle wheat.

I usually use Arrowhead Mills or Bob’s Red Mill.

Finished recipe in a owl to be put on a salad

Try polenta croutons on these salads

4.8 from 5 votes

Italian Herb and Parmesan Polenta Croutons

A lightly seasoned crouton made from cornmeal that’s an easy, gluten free way to top your salads.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
chilling time 1 hour
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes



  • Whisk the cornmeal, water, and salt together in a medium saucepan, and place over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil, then cook, stirring almost constantly, for 15-20 minutes, or until the polenta is thick and sticky.
  • Stir in the cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
  • Remove the polenta from the pot and place onto plastic wrap or in a baking dish sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.
  • Shape into a rectangle, about 1/2 in. thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until cooled.
  • Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  • Cut the polenta into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a single layer, not touching, on a baking sheet coated with olive oil or cooking spray. Spray some more olive oil or cooking spray over the cubes.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning every 8-10 minutes, until browned and crispy.
  • Serve over your favorite salad.
Nutrition Facts
Italian Herb and Parmesan Polenta Croutons
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 70 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 267mg11%
Potassium 51mg1%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 15IU0%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimers: Please discuss your individual dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) with a physician. Even when not specified, be sure to verify all ingredients are gluten free, if needed, by reading labels on all packaging and/or confirming with the manufacturer this varies by brand and can change at any time. Nutrition information shown is an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.


More cornmeal and polenta recipes


    1. Kellie

      I’m assuming this meant 15-20 seconds while cooking the cornmeal? Mine went thick and sticky almost immediately upon boiling.

4.80 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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