This easy recipe for creamy grits is a classic southern staple. Made with stone-ground grits, butter, and cheese, these cheesy grits are sure to become a family favorite!
These Cheese Grits are the perfect finishing touch on a comforting breakfast when served alongside Homemade Breakfast Sausage and Homemade Biscuits. But they also make a delicious side for entrees like Grilled Shrimp or Baked Pork Tenderloin.
What are Grits?
Grits are a classic southern dish that is often served for breakfast or alongside shrimp. Simply put, grits are ground-up corn or hominy kernels that are softened by simmering in liquid.
My recipe for grits, which was perfected after living in the south for over 15 years, is made with corn grits. I simmer the grits in stock and butter and finish with cheese and cream to create luscious, creamy, cheesy grits that are downright swoon-worthy!
Notes on Ingredients
- Grits: Select either white or yellow stone-ground grits work for this recipe. This is not the time to use quick-cooking or instant grits.
- Chicken Stock: To add flavor to the grits, I recommend using either chicken stock or vegetable broth. Look for low-sodium broth to control the sodium content.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter to give these grits so much richness.
- Cream: Heavy cream adds flavor and creaminess to the grits. If you don't have heavy cream feel free to use half and half.
- Cheese: Use white or yellow cheddar. Extra-sharp cheese is best to give these grits a super cheesy taste. And if you can, grate the cheese yourself. It will melt more evenly into the grits.
How to Make Grits
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.
- Once the liquid is boiling, whisk in the garlic and rinsed grits. Be sure to really whisk the grits in well to the liquid to prevent lumps from forming.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
- Every 3 to 4 minutes, remove the lid on the pan and whisk the grits vigorously. This is really important to keep the grits super creamy--no one wants lumps in their grits!
- Cook the grits for 20-25 minutes, or until the grits are tender have absorbed most of the liquid.
- Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese, and cream.
- Serve immediately.
How to Store Grits
Grits are best served immediately after preparation, as they become stiff and thick as they sit.
However, if you happen to have any leftover grits, allow them to cool and store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, place the leftover grits in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and a splash of milk, stock, or water. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently, adding more liquid as needed to allow the grits to loosen up and warm through.
Variations on Flavor
- Classic Southern Grits: Instead of simmering the grits in broth, use water and omit the cheese. Finish with salt, pepper, and a spash of cream.
- Creamy Grits: Use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of broth to simmer the grits. Keep in mind that the milk can easily scald, so keep a close eye on the grits as they simmer and whisk frequently. Season with cheese, heavy cream, and salt and pepper as this recipe directs.
- Sweet Grits: Instead of broth, use water to simmer the grits. Once the grits are tender, stir in ¼ to ⅓ cup maple syrup or brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
Grits are naturally gluten-free. However, you MUST check your package to guarantee that they are labeled gluten-free, as some brands are manufactured in a way that has cross-contamination with gluten. You also want to ensure your stock/broth is gluten-free.
Absolutely! This recipe makes 8 small servings, so if you are only looking for 4 servings, cut the recipe in half, with no change to cooking time.
Washing grits refers to the process of soaking uncooked grits in water for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. The hull will separate from the meal and float to the top of the water. Then you skim off the hull that floats on the surface of the water and discard it. The remaining meal needs to be strained over a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and then cooked as directed. With most store-bought stone-ground grits on the market today, I personally find this step produces a lot of work for little change in texture.
How to Serve Grits
Grits are perfect served at breakfast or as a side dish. Think about serving them in place of anywhere you would serve mashed potatoes. I have shared a few of my favorite combinations below.
- Pair Instant Pot Pork Chops or Rotisserie Chicken with a side of cheesy grits and some steamed vegetables for a comforting family dinner.
- Serve grits on the side of biscuits, scrambled eggs, baked bacon, and/or breakfast sausage for a hearty, breakfast feast.
- Serve grilled shrimp on top of these cheesy grits for a quick version of Shrimp and Grits.
- Instead of serving Instant Pot Short Ribs over mashed potatoes or polenta, use these cheesy grits as the base--delicious!
If you enjoyed this recipe for homemade cheesy grits, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth * See notes
- 1 cup stone-ground grits not instant grits
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
- Once the broth is boiling, add the garlic and slowly whisk in the grits. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Remove the lid every couple of minutes to give the mixture a good whisk, which will prevent lumps from forming. Cook until the grits are tender and the liquid is mostly evaporated. This will take about 20-25 minutes. If your liquid evaporates before your grits are tender, add in ¼ cup more liquid if needed.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter, and cream. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.