Air fryer polenta fries are so easy to make using store-bought tubed polenta. Just cut the tube into sticks, season, and cook.
They make a satisfying & delicious snack or appetizer. Vegan and gluten free.
If so, you’ll love air fryer polenta fries.
They have the mild, cozy flavors of cornmeal, but with the texture and bite of a french fry.
Best of all, they’re super easy to make, thanks to the help of prepared polenta in a tube. It’s just a matter of cutting, seasoning, and air frying. Can’t beat that!
Air fryer polenta fries get beautifully crispy on the outside, while the inside is creamy and tender.
(Don’t have an air fryer? There are oven directions in the notes section of the recipe card below.)
They are perfect for dunking into warmed marinara, ranch dressing, or barbecue sauce.
Enjoy them on their own. Or have them as a side dish with a sandwich or soup. They’re loved by kids & adults alike.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this polenta fries recipe.
Tubed polenta: Look for tubed polenta in the center aisles of your grocery store. It’s often near other Italian foods like pasta, shelf stable gnocchi, and spaghetti sauce. You can also find it online.
(The polenta pictured here is from Trader Joe’s, but it’s been discontinued, sadly.)
Tubed polenta is a shelf stable item that you can store in the pantry until you’re ready to open it. Once opened, it must be stored in the refrigerator.
Oil spray: Any oil spray will work for this recipe. Buy it in a can or use a refillable oil sprayer.
Or if you’d rather, drizzle a little oil on the fries, and gently coat them evenly with your hands.
Dried herbs & seasonings: Finish with dried basil, dried oregano, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper.
How to cut tubed polenta into fries
1. Open a tube of prepared polenta.
2. Lay it on its side. Cut in half.
3. Stand the halves up, cut side down. Cut each one straight down the middle.
4. Now you have 4 sections. Cut each one in half, straight down the middle.
5. Now you have 8 slabs total. Lay them flat.
6. Cut each slab into 4 equal-sized fries.
How to cook them
Here’s how to cook polenta fries at a glance. For complete instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Put the cut polenta fries into a large mixing bowl.
Spray with oil & season with the following:
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Granulated garlic
Use your hands to gently toss the fries, so that they’re evenly coated with herbs. Give another spray of oil if you like.
Put the fries in a single layer in an air fryer basket, being careful not to overcrowd.
(Overcrowded baskets don’t brown as nicely. And it’s tough to flip the fries when it’s too full. You’ll likely need to work in batches.)
Air fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until they’re starting to get crispy and browned on the exterior.
Gently flip & air fry for 2 to 4 minutes more. (Remember, air fryers vary. Yours may take a little longer or shorter, depending on the model.) Remove from basket.
Continue with the next batch until all of the fries are golden brown. (Second batches usually cook in less time, because the air fryer is hot.)
Make them your own
You can make this polenta fries recipe your own by varying the seasonings.
Omit the herbs & garlic
If you have tubed polenta that’s already seasoned, or if you just prefer to go the simpler route, you can simply oil the fries, season with salt & pepper, and air fry.
Vary the spices
Or you can vary the seasonings by using a generous sprinkle of Italian seasoning, pizza seasoning, smoked paprika, chili powder, or Cajun seasoning salt.
Cut the polenta into different shapes
You can cut it into wedges or rounds. Keep in mind that the air frying time will vary, depending on how thickly or thinly you cut it.
Keep an eye on it, and flip once it looks fairly browned. (Polenta can be a little floppy & difficult to flip if it isn’t done enough.)
Dipping sauce options
You can certainly enjoy air fried polenta on its own. But it’s even more fun & delicious with a dipping sauce.
Warmed marinara is a great option if you want to lean into those Italian vibes. Use jarred or homemade marinara sauce.
But my personal favorite dipping sauce is vegan ranch dressing.
Here are some other dip ideas:
What to serve with polenta fries
Polenta fries are a tasty snack in their own right. And since they’re so pantry-friendly, it’s easy to whip up a batch when you’re feeling peckish.
They also work well as a side dish, anywhere you’d typically serve baked fries or alongside dishes with an Italian bent.
- Eggplant parmesan sandwich
- Meatball burger
- Air fryer stuffed peppers
- Creamy tomato soup
- Three bean chili
- BBQ jackfruit sandwich
- Buffalo chickpea sandwich
(For more air fryer inspiration, check out these vegan air fryer recipes.)
Air fryer polenta fries
- Remove polenta from plastic tube. If it's damp, gently dry it off with a clean kitchen towel.
- Now its time to cut the polenta into fries. (See the blog post for detailed pictures showing how to do it.) Start by laying the polenta log on its side on a cutting board. Cut it in half. Then stand those halves on their ends, cut side down. Cut them in half straight down the middle. Then cut each half into halves. Now you should have 8 flat slabs total. Lay the slabs flat, and cut them into fry-shaped sticks (4 sticks per slab).
- Put the polenta fries into a large mixing bowl. Spray with oil. Then sprinkle on dried basil, dried oregano (or dried parsley), granulated garlic, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper. Use your hands to carefully toss the polenta fries in the spices, so that they're evenly coated. Be gentle, so that they don't break. Give another spray of oil, if you like.
- Place about half of the seasoned polenta fries into the air fryer basket. (Be careful not to overcrowd, or they won't brown as nicely. You'll likely need to cook in batches.)Air fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until they are starting to look brown & crispy around the edges. Carefully flip with a spatula. Air fry at 400 degrees for 2 to 4 more minutes, until they are browned & crisp all over.
- Remove the polenta fries from the air fryer basket & put on a serving plate. Cook the remaining polenta fries in the same fashion. Be aware that they may cook slightly faster since the air fryer is now hot.