Crispy Air Fryer Polenta Truffle Fries

Polenta fries combine the creamy texture of polenta with the crispy, crunchy texture or french fries. The addition of both truffle salt and truffle oil makes for a sensational and savory side dish or appetizer. 

I’ve been a die-hard polenta fan for nearly 20 years. I was first introduced to polenta by a nutritionist who recommended it as a healthy carb to experiment with. Needless to say, I fell in love. Pre-made polenta, instant polenta, slow-cooked polenta, I don’t discriminate. That’s why when I say recipes for polenta fries circling the internet, I just had to try them myself. 

What’s different about these polenta fries from others is the luxurious addition of truffle flavor. There are a few different ways (and price points) to accomplish that truffle taste, which we’ll address below. But first, let’s cover a bit about polenta in its various and delicious forms.

What is polenta?

Polenta is coarsely ground cornmeal, boiled in water or broth to create its characteristic porridge-like consistency. It can be made out of both white and yellow corn. 

Polenta as a dish is incredibly versatile and reminds me of tofu, as in what you add to it or cook it with, it will take on that flavor. Though I will say that plain polenta is naturally more flavorful than tofu and, of course, has a very different texture. 

Depending on what you’re making, different types of polenta will work better for different types of dishes. For instance, if you’re looking to make a smooth, creamy and cheesy polenta recipe, you probably will not want to go with pre-made polenta. But if you’re interested in frying up some yummy butter and garlic to get crisp edges, pre-made polenta that comes in a tube is perfect.

The best thing about polenta (at least in my humble opinion) is that it’s gluten-free. It makes it a great option if you’re in the mood for pasta but can’t get your hands on a decent box of gluten-free pasta. Let’s be honest, not all gluten-free pasta is created equal. But that’s a whole other post…

Pre-Cooked vs. Instant or Quick Cook Polenta

Pre-Cooked Polenta

Pre-Cooked or pre-made polenta is the easiest and fastest way to make polenta. That’s because it’s already made for you. It’s edible directly from the package, which is typically a tube shape. (I’ve never seen it not in a tube, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!)

You can also find pre-made polenta with different herbs and seasonings added to it. But honestly, the kind with Italian seasoning (such as dried oregano and thyme) doesn’t taste all that different. It’s typically how you cook the polenta or what you serve it with that provides that flavor. 

This type of polenta you’ll often find in the refrigerated case near produce, though sometimes you might also find it on the shelf near the pasta. Since this polenta is firmer, it’s best used in dishes where you plan on slicing it and frying it.

Instant or Quick Cook Polenta

Instant polenta or quick cooked polenta is not edible directly from the package, unlike its pre-made counterpart. That said, it does live up to its name of instant or quick. Typically it takes about 10 minutes but can be ready in as little as 3 minutes!

I recommend going with the instant or quick-cook kind if you’re looking for a softer or creamier version. The consistency will come out similarly to that of grits. 

Considering all that, there is the actual slow-cooking type of polenta. It does, however, take up to 45 minutes to make. So for this recipe, I don’t recommend either instant or traditional polenta. You’d have to cool it overnight in the fridge to get that firm texture. 

So save the smooth, creamy polenta for another recipe. 

ingredients for truffle fries laid out on the counter

How to Make Polenta Fries in An Air Fryer

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tube of pre-cooked polenta
  • Olive oil spray
  • Truffle salt (about one teaspoon salt)
  • Truffle-infused olive oil
  • Shredded cheese or grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Remove the tube of polenta from the wrapping and pat dry with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  1. When your air fryer is hot, it will beep when it’s ready to add food. Layer the wedges of your raw truffle polenta fries in the air fryer basket. Be careful that your fries don’t touch each other. Do it in two separate batches if you have to. But because of how air fryers work, you want space between food so the air can circulate. Spray with olive oil spray on all sides, tossing to ensure that every side is coated. Sprinkle liberally with truffle salt.
  1. Air fryer for 20 minutes, tossing once when your air fryer beeps. Add your cheese one or two minutes before your polenta fries are done to give it time to melt but not enough time to burn.
  1. Finally, drizzle with truffle oil, serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or eat plain. They are that good!
close up of truffle fries with cheese on top
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Crispy Air Fryer Polenta Truffle Fries

These delicious fries are crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside. A delightful side dish!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: air fryer polenta fries, polenta fries, truffle polenta fries
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 248kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 tube Pre-cooked polenta
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 tsp Truffle salt
  • 2 tsp Truffle-infused olive oil enough to drizzle
  • 3 tbsp Shredded cheese Or grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the tube of polenta from the wrapping and pat dry with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  • Slice polenta into pieces that resemble the size and shape of steak fries.
  • When your air fryer is hot, it will beep when it's ready to add food, layer the wedges of your raw truffle polenta fries in the air fryer basket. Be careful that your fries don't touch each other. Do it in two separate batches if you have to. But because of how air fryers work, you want space between food so the air can circulate. Spray with olive oil spray on all sides, tossing to ensure that every side is coated. Sprinkle liberally with truffle salt.
  • Air fryer for 20 minutes, tossing once when your air fryer beeps. Add your cheese one or two minutes before your polenta fries are done to give it time to melt but not enough time to burn.
  • Finally, drizzle with truffle oil, serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or eat plain. They are that good!

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 1340mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 209IU | Calcium: 263mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Can you bake polenta fries?

You absolutely can bake polenta truffle fries instead of air frying them. I will say, however, it will take longer. But if you don’t have an air fryer, go for it. You’ll want to follow the above directions in terms of slicing your polenta and seasoning, and then follow the baking directions below:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Toss your polenta wedges in olive oil, arrange them on a baking sheet or in a large baking dish, and season with truffle salt. Since you’re not using an air fryer for this recipe, you want to use more than the amount of oil recommended above. Why? Because air fryers are mini convection ovens. And convection ovens are really, really great at making things crispy. So instead of just using olive oil spray and drizzling the truffle oil on top, I recommend tossing them in regular olive oil and drizzling the truffle oil at the end. Why not toss them in truffle oil from the start? Truffle oil is expensive, and it might be a little overpowering.
  1. When your oven is hot, bake your polenta truffle fries for 30-35 minutes (depending on how crispy you like), flipping them once halfway through.

Where do you get truffle salt and truffle oil?

Great question! Truffle oil and truffle salt aren’t typically found in your big box grocery store. But both can be easily found in your local specialty store or online. 

In my experience, truffle salt is a better bang for your buck. You can easily drop $20 dollars on less than 7 ounces of truffle oil. Truffle oil is expensive because truffles are scarce. On the other hand, Truffle salt might not be as concentrated but will give you a good umami taste. It will also be much kinder on your wallet. Here is my go-to truffle salt. I buy it again and again!

Get Creative With Seasoning

Just because I went full-on truffle seasoning with these fries doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re a regular on this site, we encourage you to cook what tastes good to you. So try this truffle flavor, or don’t! Don’t love truffles or want to mix it up? Here are a few creative options to try.

Dry Seasoning Ideas

Everything Bagel Seasoning

Za’atar Seasoning

Dried Rosemary

Umami Mushroom Seasoning

Old Bay

French Fry Topping Ideas

Lime and Garlic with Cilantro

Animal Style Fries

Sweet and Spicy Thai French Fries

Pizza Fries

Dipping Sauces for Polenta Fries

Boom Boom Sauce

20-Minute Easy Marinara Sauce

Sweet and Tangy Dr. Pepper Sauce

White Gravy Sauce

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Pomodoro Sauce

Sweet and Spicy Coca-Cola Sauce

Storing Leftover Polenta Fries

To store leftover polenta fries, allow them to cool completely. Then, place them in an air-tight container and store them in the refrigerator. They should last 2-3 days. To reheat them, throw them back in your air fryer for 3-5 minutes. 

I personally don’t recommend freezing leftover polenta fries. I tried it once, and the texture just wasn’t the same. They fell apart and were a bit crumbly. At the end of the day, it also took longer to defrost and reheat them than it would have to make a fresh batch of fries. And to be honest, they rarely last a full day in my fridge. They are just too darn good!

Are Polenta Fries Keto?

Unfortunately, polenta fries are not keto-friendly. With that said, they are healthy and gluten-free! Pure polenta is a healthy alternative to some of your favorite carbs. Below is the nutritional information for a 1/2 cup serving of plain polenta

Calories: 102

Fat: 0.46 grams 

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 115 mg

Carbohydrates: 21.73 mg

Protein: 2.37 grams

Recipes That Go Well With Polenta Fries 

I might go as far as to say I prefer these over potato fries! But what do you serve with them? (If you aren’t just eating them as a snack.) Here are a few of our favorite in-house recipes to use as a main dish alongside this standout side dish. 

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pancetta

Air Fryer Rib Eye Steak

Mediterranean Cucumber Salad

Teriyaki Turkey Burger

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Sizzle Steak

Oven Baked Barbecue Ribs

polenta fries in a blue bowl with pesto - pinterest pin

Have questions or suggestions? Leave them in the comments below. Until next time: Stay salty, and sweet 😉

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