Having the same old French fries can get boring Try changing things up with Cheddar Bacon Baked Polenta Fries dipped in Chipotle Aioli Sauce!
This is a great recipe for you to try if you have never cooked with polenta, a cornmeal-based soft food. You will get a soft and tender interior texture like a potato, with a crispy outside that gives you the feeling of a french fry with a deeper flavor and texture. Pair your polenta fries with this smokey and slightly tangy sauce to dip them in and you will have a new favorite side dish for your burgers and chicken.
Why you’ll love Cheddar Bacon Bake Polenta Fries
Loaded fries meet polenta fries in this delicious recipe that includes a fantastic dipping sauce. This recipe works with cheese and bacon or without depending on your flavor craving. You can even change up the add-ins to try other fun combinations!
Other Recipes to Serve with Cheddar Bacon Baked Polenta Fries
- Jalapeno Popper Burgers – burgers and fries just go together, and this recipe brings some heat
- Easy Wedge Salad – a nice wedge salad goes well with just about anything, filling and easy to make any day of the week
Polenta: You want to use “instant” or “quick-cooking” polenta for this recipe. Regular polenta takes 30-40 minutes to cook, where instant polenta is ready in about 5 minutes. You can get instant polenta at the grocery store or on Amazon.
Seasoning: We’re using a yummy combination of garlic, thyme, and chives. It’s like upgraded loaded potatoes toppings! Add in the bacon and cheddar for some serious wow factor!
Sauce: This is a spicy and smokey variation of a traditional aioli that is ah-mazing with these polenta fries!
How to Make Cheddar Bacon Baked Polenta Fries
STEP ONE: Stir the instant polenta, garlic, herbs, cheese, bacon, salt, and pepper into boiling water in a medium pan. Keep stirring until the polenta thickens. Let rest for 5 minutes off the heat.
STEP TWO: Pour the polenta into a square baking dish lined with parchment paper and then freeze for 15 minutes. (The paper makes it easy to lift out the polenta later.)
STEP THREE: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the polenta out of the baking dish and cut it into 1/4-inch thick “fries”. Put the fries on a greased baking sheet. Then gently coat in with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
STEP FOUR: Backe for 30 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through. Mix up the aioli ingredients and serve with the fries once they’ve cooled enough to eat.
Tips for Success
- Freeze the polenta in a pan that will allow it to be thick enough to cut into fries. If you double the recipe, use a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish instead.
- You can use bacon bits in a pinch if you don’t have fresh bacon on hand.
- Garlic powder can be used in place of minced garlic – you will need one teaspoon of garlic powder for this substiution.
- If you like your dip extra spicy, use two chipotle peppers instead of one for the aoili.
How do I store and reheat polenta fries?
You can store them in the refrigerator, and to reheat the best option is to heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake again for 15-20 minutes until heated through.
What are polenta fries?
Polenta is a cornmeal-based food similar to cornmeal or grits. When the polenta is cooked, it has a thick and creamy oatmeal-ish texture. When frozen into a thick sheet, the polenta becomes firm and can be cut into french fry-shaped sticks. Then bake the sticks as a great alternative to potato french fries.
Other “french fry” recipes
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the polenta, garlic, thyme, chives, cheddar cheese, bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until the polenta is thick, about 3 minutes. Then turn the heat off, cover the saucepan, and let the polenta sit for 5 minutes.
- Line an 8-inch x 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Scoop the polenta into the baking dish and spread it into an even layer. Freeze it for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Lift the polenta out of the baking dish and cut it into "fries" that are about 1/2-inch thick. Place the polenta fries onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Then gently coat the fries in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Spread the fries in an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway in between cooking.
- Mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, chipotles, smoked paprika, and garlic powder until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Sprinkle the cooked polenta fries with chives and serve with chipotle aioli. Enjoy!