Savory Polenta-Herbed Muffins

16 January 2011

Polenta and Herbs

Savory baking has been more appealing to me these days. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s my love and need to bake but not necessarily trying to feed a wavering sweet tooth. Maybe it’s me trying to feel better about what I’m eating and that it compliments breakfast or dinner without feeling like dessert. Whatever it is, I’m not complaining.   There are some polenta based recipes I’m looking forward to trying, and even though these muffins weren’t originally on my list…my eyes lit up when I read “savory” and “polenta.”

Polenta is classified as “peasant food” and is an Italian national dish. It is ground white or yellow cornmeal (it was originally made of chestnut meal).

Besides the subtle herbed-packed flavors throughout these muffins, what I really liked was the rustic texture. The polenta lends fantastic coarse textures and its flavor compliments the chives, parsley and basil.  Serve these savories warm with a smather of cold butter next to a warm bowl of homemade soup or a green salad with succulent roasted chicken slices.

This is one of the many moments when having planted an herb garden paid off ten-fold.   Although the basil from my garden finally died off about a month ago {so sad!}, it’s such a comfort and joy to gather fresh herbs from your garden, regardless if it is winter in Southern California.

This recipe is from one of my all-time favorite books The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Muffins. If you like sweet or savory muffins, you won’t regret investing in adding this book to your collection.

Savory Polenta-Herbed Muffins

source modified from The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins
Savory Polenta-Herbed Muffins - Prep


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups polenta (regular or instant)
3/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, fresh, packed and chopped
2 tablespoons chives, fresh and minced
2 tablespoons basil, fresh and minced


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, polenta, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter and olive oil – then add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until thick crumbs form. Add the eggs, buttermilk, parsley, chives and basil. Mix just until the batter is blended and the herbs and distributed throughout the mixture.

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup up to the rim of each well.

Bake for about 20-23 minutes -or- until they are golden and when inserting a toothpick through the center of muffins, it comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Unmold the muffins and serve them warm or at room temperature with butter.

Store in an airtight container.

Savory Polenta-Herbed Muffins

Note to FoodBuzz Foodie Friends:

Moving forward this year, I will be easing away from sending updates through the “Inbox” feature on FoodBuzz. I hope you will continue to follow Teenie Cakes and stay connected through Facebook, a reader or sign up for email updates. It’s going to be a fantastic year and I look forward to sharing and exchanging inspiration, recipes and ideas with you!

by Cristina A-Moore

Breads & Quick Breads · Muffin Madness

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Comments :)


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Ewa February 20, 2013

I love this recipe and I’d like to try it but I have one question: how big is the cup you use? I mean how many grams is in a standard cup? 200 g?
Thanks in advance for the answer.
Greetings from Poland!


Cristina February 20, 2013

Hi Ewa: Converting from cups to grams will depend on what you are measuring because cups = volume & grams = mass. I’ve looked up a quick reference for you on the suggested conversion at How many grams are in a cup?. I hope this is helpful.

Thank you for visiting TC. :)


Ewa February 20, 2013

Thank you for your help :) I’ll use the information from this website and I hope my muffins will turn out as pretty as yours :)


Roxana GreenGirl June 7, 2011

Hi Cristina,
Thank you so much for the recipe, the muffins turned out better than I was expecting, even my picky husband loved them.
Definitely a keep-sake recipe!


Junia @ Mis Pensamientos February 10, 2011

wow, i never thought about putting polenta into muffins before!!! love this idea!!!


Katie January 21, 2011

Saved! Yum these look spectacular


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen January 21, 2011

These look like a more refined version of cornbread muffins. I’m sure they are a nice canvas for all kinds of different herbs and seasonings too.


Cakewhiz January 19, 2011

Oh yum! These would taste so good with soups and especially your tomato-basil soup. They are both on my “to try” list…hehe


Dimah January 19, 2011

mmm, looks amazingly delicious!


Devaki @ weavethousandflavors January 19, 2011

These are fantastic and I LOVE the use of polenta to make these savory muffins – we ought to make more savory muffins and how marvelous with a bowl of soup :)

chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors


Devaki @ weavethousandflavors January 19, 2011

These are fantastic and I LOVE the use of polenta to make these savory muffins – we ought to make more savory muffins and hoe marvelous with a bowl of soup :)

chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors


Magic of Spice January 18, 2011

These muffins look amazing…I am more of a savory lover myself ;) My basil has gotten a bit week too lately, it is sad but will come back…Still many wonderful fresh herbs though, and I imagine any herbs would be delightful here.
P.S. I do follow on facebook as well as email subscription…I am just always catching up, the day job has got to go!


Biren @ Roti n Rice January 18, 2011

I love the idea of savory muffins. These sound wonderful. I am sure they are delicious and comforting with a bowl of soup.


5 Star Foodie January 18, 2011

I love the idea of savory muffins with polenta! Terrific flavors with chives and basil!


Barbara Bakes January 18, 2011

Polenta is something I’ve been wanting to try at home for a long time now. These muffins seem like a perfect first time recipe.


Cassie January 18, 2011

These savory muffins would go well with just about any soup and fantastic with a salad. This is my kind of baking and eats. Need to find some polenta and will try this. Thanks!


blackbookkitchendiaries January 18, 2011

I wish I could take a big bite out these. The mix of polenta and fresh herbs is a great combo. These would go great with any dish


Priscilla - She's Cookin' January 17, 2011

Muffins are about the only baking I do and I love this recipe because its savory and the polenta! The perfect accompaniment to tomato soup – or almost any soup. Thanks for sharing – and I use my blogroll as a reader, so I’ll still be checking in :)


Tiffany January 17, 2011

Oh, these look so tasty! I love the inclusion of the polenta! These would be great for breakfast, or perhaps with some veggie chili!


Juliana January 17, 2011

Cristina, these polentas muffins look so tasty with all the herbs in it…perfectly done :-)


torviewtoronto January 17, 2011

delicious muffins to go with the soup


briarrose January 17, 2011

Great muffin recipe. I love the herbs. I admit I favor sweet muffins, but there is room in my heart for an awesome savory. ;)


Simply Life January 17, 2011

Oh this is so creative- what a delicious muffin!


Patty Price January 17, 2011

These are wonderful little muffins to go with your tomato basil soup:-) I think it’s sad when the basil all dies, thank goodness for the hearty mint plant that never goes away!


Rich January 17, 2011

Polenta muffins? With parsley and chives? Yeah, I’m pretty much all about these – they look delicious!


Apicius' Apprentice January 17, 2011

These look wonderful! I love the addition of the fresh herbs to the polenta. I never quite understood why it’s classified as peasant food. It can be so decadent! (Or so I think :p )


denise @ bread expectations January 17, 2011

Cristina – I so relate to the yearning to bake without stuffing yourself silly with sweet things! Savoury muffins are always welcome and are wonderful for breakfast or late morning coffee. These are gorgeous and would be so welcome in my kitchen :)

I love the aerial shot of the herbs and polenta! Thanks for the background on polenta – I had no idea it was original made from chestnut meal!


Cristina January 17, 2011

I’ve never made savoury muffins (my husband doesn’t find them appealing…) but these could make him change his mind…I’m hungry!


Monet January 16, 2011

I have also found myself wanting to bake more savory goods. These muffins sound like a great recipe to try! I love different textures, and I’m sure the polenta adds just the right amount of crunch. I have almost all the ingredients I need for these muffins, so I maybe I’ll get baking in the morning. Thank you for sharing your recipe with me. I can’t believe the weekend is already over…I hope you have a fabulous start to your week!


redkathy January 16, 2011

New muffins to try yeah! These look perfect Christine, I am going to make them this week. Enjoying your lovely photos as always :)

BTW- The foodbuzz inbox thing is way too time consuming. I follow all my foodbuzz friends, including you, with a reader.


Imwaytoobusy January 16, 2011

Oh…my…deliciousness! I fell in love with polenta last year and wouldn’t mind getting a little crazy with it! I will have to try this out. As always, fantastic photos!


Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking January 16, 2011

These muffins look delicious, Cristina! I make something similar for my husband every two weeks, but with Italian sausage, bell peppers and spices. These look like a moist and yummy vegetarian option, though. Thanks for sharing! I hope you’ve had a great weekend.


bunkycooks January 16, 2011

Hi Cristina,

I am with you. The sweet tooth is not what it used to be and these muffins sound so good with the fresh herbs. I like the use of polenta and cake flour in place of regular cornmeal, too. I am the texture is a bit lighter.

Hope your weekend was great!



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