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Extra crispy and heavy on the parmesan, these Garlic Parmesan Herb Butter Polenta Fries with Lemon Aioli make for the best simple summer appetizer! A quick batch of instant polenta is easily turned into crispy oven-baked polenta fries that are beyond delicious. Toss these crispy fries with garlic parmesan herb butter and serve with creamy lemon aioli…plus a side of ketchup. The best, slightly addicting summer appetizer, afternoon snack, or side dish to accompany just about any meal!

overhead photo of Garlic Parmesan Herb Butter Polenta Fries with Lemon Aioli

I didn’t think there could be a way to make polenta (or french fries for that matter) any better, but this recipe does just that. Oh my gosh, these polenta fries are GOOD. Plus fun and easy too!

You guys, I am in love with this recipe. There is just something so good about these fries. They’re garlicky (but in a non-overpowering way), cheesy, and heavy on all the summer garden herbs.

They’re crispy on the outside, but somewhat soft and creamy inside. Best of both worlds and just beyond delicious. Yes, I’m being dramatic, but I promise, I’m telling it like it is.

prep photo of polenta slab before cutting into fries

The story.

I’ve actually been wanting to make polenta fries for years. They’ve been on my never-ending list of “recipes to test” for what seems like forever.

A few weekends ago I was reminded of polenta fries once again by none other than my sister in law, Lyndsie. She said she’s been craving polenta fries. The second she brought up the idea I knew I was making them. But oven-baked, and with lots and lots of herbs.

When I set out to make these fries I knew they needed to include a few things before I could share the recipe. First, extra crispy was a must. I love a crispy french fry, so the crisp factor had to be GOOD. That said, I wanted the inside to be creamy and soft, more polenta like.

And second? These fries also needed to be a little garlicky, slightly cheesy, and extra herby.

With an overflowing herb garden, every last recipe has to be heavy on the herbs right now. I’m loving it.

polenta fries before baking

The (simple and easy) process.

I wasn’t sure how hard these fries would be. I know making polenta is easy, but what about polenta fries? Well, turns out they are just as easy. I actually had a lot of fun making these cute little fries!

Here’s how this works. Start out by making a fast batch of quick-cooking polenta. I like to use Bob’s Red Mill quick-cooking polenta. They take just minutes to make and are super easy. To that creamy polenta, add garlic, some parmesan, and fresh herbs too. Once the polenta is cooked, simply spread it out in a square baking dish and freeze until the polenta stiffens up. This takes only fifteen minutes or so, it’s quick.

Garlic Parmesan Herb Butter Polenta Fries on baking sheet after baking

Now, pull the polenta out of the pan and cut it into fries. Yes, it’s that easy. Once the polenta is firm, it’s so simple to work with, you’ll be shocked…which for some reason makes the process even more fun and exciting.

Once the polenta is cut into fries, gently toss the fries with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then bake until crispy.

close up photo of Lemon Aioli

Now, the herb butter and that lemon mayo.

While the fries bake, mix up some melted salted butter, garlic, and plenty of fresh herbs. I like to use a mix of fresh basil and oregano, but you can use whatever you love most. Rosemary would be great with these!

Tossing the fries in garlicky herb butter takes them from really good to really amazing and gives the fries an extra special touch.

For the mayo, I made a “cheaters” mayo. I just used my favorite avocado oil mayo, lots of fresh lemon, and a good pinch of cayenne pepper for some added heat. I kept this mayo simple. I just wanted a creamy dip for the fries that wouldn’t actually outshine the fries themselves. The mayo dip just makes them better.

close up photo of Garlic Parmesan Herb Butter Polenta Fries with Lemon Aioli

Finish it up.

Once the fries come out of the oven, toss them with the herb butter while still hot. Then serve immediately with aioli and a side of ketchup too…I can’t do fries without ketchup.

Oh. So. Very. Good!

I’m warning you now, these fries are a little addicting. My recommendation…make a double batch…these fries disappear fast. Oh, and add extra flaky sea salt on top too.

Excited to serve these all summer long and even into the fall for game-day. They’re going to make the perfect appetizer, snack, and or dinner accompaniment to just about any meal…see tomorrow’s recipe for more on that!

close up photo of Garlic Parmesan Herb Butter Polenta Fries with Lemon Aioli\

Looking for other fun side dish and appetizer recipes? Here are a few ideas: 

Marinated Goat Cheese Strawberry Crostini

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Oven Fried Zucchini Bites

Parmesan Popovers with Crispy Sage Garlic Butter

Sweet Potato Parmesan Tater Tots

Lastly, if you make these garlic parmesan herb butter polenta fries with lemon aioli, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch the How To Video:

Garlic Parmesan Herb Butter Polenta Fries with Lemon Aioli

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 378 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Lemon Aioli

Instructions

  • 1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta, 1 clove garlic, the thyme, sage, 1/4 cup parmesan, and season with salt. Stir until the polenta is soft and thick, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let the polenta sit 5 minutes.
    2. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the polenta in an even layer in the baking dish. Freeze 15-20 minutes, until set, or 1 hour in the fridge.
    3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lift the polenta out of the baking dish and cut into 1/4 inch thick "fries". Place the fries on a baking sheet and gently toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the fries in an even layer. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip. Bake for 15-20 minutes more, until extra crispy.
    4. Meanwhile, mix together the melted butter, 1 clove garlic, parmesan, basil, and oregano. Remove the fries from the oven and gently toss with the butter.
    5. To make the aioli. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Season with salt. Serve the fries with lemon aioli and ketchup. ENJOY!

overhead horizontal photo of Garlic Parmesan Herb Butter Polenta Fries with Lemon Aioli

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Comments

    1. Hey Sara,
      So sorry I have never tested these in the air fryer so I am unsure of the results and yes you can totally make extra to freeze. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  1. Is it ok to make these the day before and leave in the refrigerator overnight before baking the next day?

    1. Hey Kelly,
      Yes, that would be totally fine to do! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  2. I want to make these tonight but all I have on me is the Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal in the medium grind. Will this work to make the polenta? If so I just need to make sure I have the right amount of water for the consistency to be the same.

    1. Hey Shannon,
      I have not tested this, but I think it should work just fine for you. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    The flavor of these is incredible! I have only been able to find the polenta in a tube thus far, and have not been able to get the fries to keep their shape. Whenever I bake them, they turn to blobs immediately. It’s driving me nuts because they’re incredible, so I’ve made them 5+ times, they just always lose their shape in the oven. Any recommendations on how to avoid this??

    1. Hey Jordan,
      Thanks so much for trying the recipe! I would recommend ordering dry polenta from Amazon, I think you might have better results with this. I hope this helps! xTieghan

    1. Hey Megan,
      So sorry I have not tested this so I am not quite sure what your results would be. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Crubchy was the sellikg point for me as well as the mayonnaise ♡ I skipped the butter at the end because they were already a bit greasy. But oohhhhhhh what a delicious recipe!!!

  5. 5 stars
    We keep an emergency stash of these in the freezer. Much healthier alternative to store bought fries. Plus, it’s one of the greatest PMS foods ever! Thanks for this recipe…it’s everything!

  6. YUM
    \was just thinking though, do you happen to have any other recipes that are like this (garlic, parmesan, herb butter)?
    just that it sounds so yum but i a little unsure about working with polenta

    🙂 cheers!

    1. Hey,
      Here’s some other recipes you might enjoy! You could also do this seasoning over regular fries if you aren’t a fan of the polenta fries.
      https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/swirled-garlic-herb-bread/
      https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/no-knead-rosemary-garlic-parmesan-bread/
      https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/garlic-parmesan-sweet-potato-fries/
      https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/tuscan-fries/
      I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I used pre cooked tubed polenta and dried herbs, but this turned out absolutely divine! So crispy!
    Also may or may not have used less butter so I’d feel less guilty while indulging haha.

  8. 5 stars
    One of my sisters always RAVED about your recipes and I didn’t know what the hype was all about but now that I’ve tried several of your recipes, including this scrumptious polenta fries, I know why she’s so hooked to your recipes and cookbooks! I currently live in Nicaragua and most of your ingredients are so easy to get, even here! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipes with us!

  9. 5 stars
    Amazing ! I made these, but left out the butter and herb part at the end just because my 2.5 year old and 3.5 year old couldn’t wait to eat them! Everyone absolutely loved them ! I used garlic salt instead of fresh grated garlic and they were still amazing ! We ate them as is with out any dips and they were gone so quickly. I want to make them again tomorrow with the herbed butter. I don’t know how you always come up with unique amazing recipes but I am so thankful !

    1. Thank you so much Alyssa!! I am so glad this recipe turned out so well for you!! I hope you continue to enjoy my recipes! xTieghan

  10. Hi: I bought Aurora traditional polenta (it’s in a package and shaped like a big sausage). Can I use that for this recipe? Not sure what to do with this polenta, but I bought it for this recipe and then realized the recipe calls for a different type of polenta.

    1. Hey Laura! I would just slice the circles into 3 sticks, then toss with the herbs and butter. Bake as directed! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

    1. Hey Eden! Yes, you can use tubes of polenta. I would just slice the circles into 3 sticks, then toss with the herbs and butter. Bake as directed! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

    1. Hey Amy,
      I would assemble and cut the fries and then bake at your friend’s house. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  11. This looks like another amazing recipe of yours! Is it possible to do the first two steps one day, and then the rest the next day? I can’t wait to have them! Thank you!

    1. Hey Michelle,
      Yes that would totally work! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    So delicious! Good thing we went for a bike ride since it said 6 servings and we are only two people! It got gobbled up.

  13. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday and they were SO GOOD!!
    I will definitely be making it again and again and again!

  14. Hi! Is it ok to use dried herbs?
    Thank you so, much!
    You have the best recipes I’ve ever tried 🙂

    1. Hi Yanna,
      Absolutely dried herbs would be totally fine! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  15. 5 stars
    first time making or even eating polenta but when I saw the recipe I bought some to make this tonight! no fresh herbs except fresh basil but subbed everything else with dried herbs and turned out delicious! definitely a make again!

  16. 5 stars
    The aioli really works great with this. It’s so easy to make and both crispy and delicious. Had these with a pepper jack cheeseburger- great pairing.

  17. I have 2 tubes of already – prepared polenta in the fridge. Wonder if they would work? They wouldn’t have the herbs and garlic mixed through, but maybe worth a try??

    1. Hey Meryl,
      I would say to go for it! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  18. 5 stars
    Made these tonight! Only mistake was not greasing the pan but they still turned out yummy without the middle flip!

  19. A person shouldn’t be this excited about polenta fries, but I am! Can’t wait to try these! There’s an amazing restaurant in my town, Morristown, NJ called South & Pine @southandpine. When you come back to NYC, you should definitely make the short trip and try their polenta fries. Truly delicious. Every dish is amazing just like yours. Something tells me chef Leia Gaccione and you should meet!

    1. Haha I love that you are! I will definitely try to get there! Thank you for the suggestion, JoAnn! I hope you try this recipe if you get a chance! xTieghan

    1. Hi Mia,
      So sorry but I do not own an air fryer, so I am unsure of how these would turn out. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Love that!! I am really glad you like this and I hope it turns out amazing for you, Johanna! Thank you! xTieghan