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This Southern Grits recipe makes the best creamy grits. Stone-ground grits are cooked to perfection and are great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Learn how to cook the best Southern Grits recipe. Cooked correctly, grits really only require a little butter and seasonings to be just right. They are perfect alongside eggs and bacon for breakfast or with blackened shrimp for dinner. I also love to make them as a baked cheese grits casserole for an easy breakfast or side dish!

Bowl of southern-style grits in a white bowl.
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What are Grits?

Grits are generally made from ground yellow or white corn. You’ll typically find that grits are made from a less sweet variety of corn, such as dent corn.

Varieties of Grits

  • Stone ground grits, also called old-fashioned grits, have a coarse texture and are more flavorful than the other varieties. Dried kernels of dent corn are ground to produce a coarse grit. Since the corn is ground with the germ intact, you will find dark specks in the grits. You can purchase stone ground grits at many grocery stores, especially in the South. I also like to grind my own grits using my grain mill. You can also pulse the dent corn in your food processor. Freshly ground grits are less processed and are more perishable. I prefer to store them in my freezer in an airtight container.
  • Hominy grits are grits that are made from corn that has soaked in an alkaline substance such as lye or lime to remove the husk. The corn is then dried and ground.
  • Quick cooking grits cook more quickly since they have been more finely milled.
  • Instant grits are processed to be cooked by rehydrating them in boiling water.

Grits vs Polenta

You may see polenta in the grocery store and wonder if you can use it to make grits. While you can cook polenta very similarly, polenta and grits are different. Polenta is made from flint corn rather than dent corn used for grits. Since flint corn is less starchy than dent corn, polenta will not be as creamy as grits.

How to Cook Grits Recipe

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

To make these grits, you’ll need five simple ingredients: grits (I prefer to use stone-ground grits. See my note above.), water, butter, salt, and pepper (optional).

  • Chicken stock – you can also use chicken stock instead of water for serving with savory, main dish meals.
  • Cheese – add your favorite cheese (I love sharp cheddar cheese or a smoked gouda) to your grits along with the butter and seasonings.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prep. Add the grits to a bowl of cool water. Any chaff will float to the top and can easily be removed with a spoon. Drain the grits and set them aside.

Cook the grits. Add water to a Dutch oven or large pot set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Slowly add the grits to the boiling water, stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil.

Grits cooking in Dutch oven with a wooden spoon.

Simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, frequently stirring, until the grits are tender and thick about 25 – 30 minutes.

Butter, salt and pepper being stirred into grits.

Add butter and seasonings. Stir in the butter, salt, and pepper.

Cooked grits in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat. Remove the grits from the heat and serve. Add more butter or salt to taste.

Variations

Cheese Grits Recipe – Add 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese or your favorite cheese (we also love smoked Gouda) along with the butter and seasonings. Stir well to combine.

Shrimp and Grits Recipe – Cook grits as directed. Top with Blackened Shrimp, Garlic Shrimp, or Shrimp Creole for a delicious shrimp and grits recipe.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions

To make ahead. Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat and serve with additional butter and/ or salt as needed.

To freeze. Store in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat and serve with additional butter and/ or salt as needed.

Grits Recipe

30 Minutes or Less 30 mins

Bowl of southern-style grits in a white bowl.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 4
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone
This Southern Grits Recipe makes the best creamy grits. Stone-ground grits are cooked to perfection are great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup grits Stone Ground
  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Prep. Add the grits to a bowl of cool water. Any chaff will float to the top and can easily be removed with a spoon. Drain the grits and set aside.
  • Cook the grits. Bring the water to a boil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Slowly pour in the grits, stirring constantly. Bring the water back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook the grits on simmer until creamy and thick, about 25 minutes.
    Grits cooking in Dutch oven with a wooden spoon.
  • Add butter and seasonings. Stir in the butter, salt and pepper (if using).
    Butter, salt and pepper being stirred into grits.
  • Serve warm with additional butter and salt to taste.
    Cooked grits in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon.

Notes

Substitutions and Additions

Chicken stock – you can also use chicken stock instead of water for serving with savory, main dish meals.
Cheese – add your favorite cheese to your grits. 

Variations

Cheese Grits Recipe – Add 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese or your favorite cheese (we also love smoked Gouda) along with the butter and seasonings. Stir well to combine.
Shrimp and Grits Recipe – Cook grits as directed. Top with Blackened Shrimp, Garlic Shrimp, or Shrimp Creole for a delicious shrimp and grits recipe.

Make-Ahead and Freezer Instructions

To make ahead. Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat and serve with additional butter and/ or salt as needed.
To freeze. Store in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat and serve with additional butter and/ or salt as needed.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 684mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Recipe Review




Comments

  1. Not only add cheese, but add bacon bits or ham pieces, and poach an egg in the mixture. Powdered garlic and/or a touch of powdered onion is good.

    One pot, one bowl, one spoon. Tasty annnd convenient.

    1. I’ve never tried a poached egg in the grits, Bob. Sounds good. I usually make my grits and have the eggs, ham, or bacon on the side.

  2. I was searching Pinterest when I stumbled across your site. We are Southern and eat grits all the time. Grits and butter, Grits with a fried egg on top, Cheese grits. Shrimp and grits, Link sausage and grits. Take care

    1. Dee, we fellow Southerners do love our grits, don’t we? I hope you find many recipes on this site that you enjoy!

  3. Hi. I made these this afternoon for brunch. They were absolutely delicious (even if I forgot the butter! 🙀)
    Love all your recipes!
    LisaG

    1. Lisa, I’m happy you loved the grits, even without the butter. I appreciate you letting me know that you like my recipes.