Cheesy Shrimp and Grits are a cozy Southern staple topped with a creamy sauce & loaded with cheddar cheese that’s ready in just half an hour!
Shrimp recipes are a staple for my family because they’re cheap and easy! This Cheesy Shrimp and Grits recipe is perfect for dinner parties and simple enough for a weeknight dinner.
CHEESY SHRIMP AND GRITS
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The yellow stone-ground grits are packed with cheese, smothered in a savory sauce, and topped with bacon and perfectly cooked shrimp. Make these Southern shrimp and grits spicy or keep it mild — your call!
If you have more grits than you need, don’t worry! This is a great leftovers-for-breakfast meal with bacon and eggs, too.
Ingredients for Shrimp and Grits
GRITS: Grits are a Southern staple! You can use fast-cooking grits or stone-ground yellow grits for this shrimp and grits recipe. I prefer stone-ground for my shrimp and grits because they have a better texture and stronger flavor than instant or fast-cooking grits.
SAUCE: This sauce really makes this shrimp and cheese grits recipe extraordinary. It’s made with onion, garlic, green bell pepper, chicken broth, cream, butter, hot sauce, lemon juice, parsley, green onions, and Old Bay seasoning. If you prep everything before you start, it’s a breeze.
You can use fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe. Just make sure they’re peeled and deveined before you cook them.
How to Make Shrimp and Grits
- First, bring your water, milk, and salt to a gentle boil in a heavy-bottom saucepot before whisking in the grits. Much like rice, you’re looking for the grits to thicken and absorb most of the liquid. Once they’re creamy, they’re done!
- Once the grits have finished cooking, take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Turn the heat to low and put the pot back on the burner to keep the grits warm. (I usually start the grits and bacon at the same time so everything is ready together-ish.)
- Then, toss your cleaned and dry shrimp in Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. You can set it aside for now. You’re going to cook the shrimp last.
- Next, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Then transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. But save the bacon fat! Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, crumble it up.
- After the bacon is done, cook the onions, green pepper, and garlic in the leftover grease until the onions are translucent. It should take about 5 minutes.
- Then, sprinkle the flour in slowly, stirring constantly, before adding the chicken broth. Keep whisking until it’s thickened nicely.
- Once thick, add the heavy cream, butter, some parsley, some onions, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Let it simmer a bit.
- Now, add the shrimp with a little olive oil to another skillet over medium heat until they’re pink. Then remove them from the heat. This only takes a couple of minutes at most, so don’t walk away.
To plate the best shrimp and grits recipe around – Ladle a large helping of cheese grits into a wide bowl. Then add some sauce and a quarter pound of shrimp. Garnish everything with some crumbled bacon, parsley, and green onions. I like to add a lemon slice sometimes too.
What Goes with Shrimp and Grits?
Cheesy Shrimp and Grits is a one-dish meal to me, but you can always add extra sides!
Roasted veggies are a great hands-off side dish. Try this Roasted Asparagus or these Citrus Roasted Brussels Sprouts. They both perfectly complement to these cheesy grits and take up no extra stovetop space.
If you wanna celebrate National Bacon Day for dinner, serve these grits with another Southern dish — Green Beans with Bacon. The acidic marinade is great with this creamy sauce.
For your 3-course dinner party menu, start with this Chipotle Tomato Wedge Salad for a stunning salad with a kick.
What is the Grain in Grits?
Grits are a well-known Southern side dish served all day long, but what ARE grits, anyway?
Simply put, grits are corn! They’re ground corn, which is why they’re always white or yellow. The corn is soaked to remove the hard hull and leaves hominy behind.
There are three types of grits: stone-ground, fast-cooking, and instant.
Stone-ground grits are the best option to use when making a shrimp and grits recipe. I always use yellow grits because of the stronger flavor and gorgeous color, but white grits also work.
However, steer clear of cornmeal, masa harina, and polenta when shopping! They’re all made from corn but very different in texture.
Grits are similar to polenta, which is an Italian preparation and made from cornmeal. They have a different texture but look similar. Most often, polenta is served in cakes while grits are looser.
What Dessert Goes with Shrimp and Grits?
When I have a rich dinner like this one, I prefer to follow it with a light, fruity dessert.
There’s nothing lighter and fluffier than Strawberry Shortcake. This summer classic is topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
Keep it simple with these simple Cranberry Pistachio Russian Tea Cakes for a tiny bite of sugar after dinner.
I love a casserole dish dessert because everyone can serve themselves. This homemade peach cobbler is a great sweet and fruity baked way to end the night.
More Filling Family Dinner Recipes
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
- Spaghetti Casserole
- Crab Mac and Cheese
- Zucchini Lasagna
- More MAIN DISH recipes…
Tools used to make this Cheesy Shrimp and Grits recipe
Heavy-bottom sauce pot: You want a sturdy pot when you’re cooking grains like rice and grits. This one comes with a lid and makes the perfect cheese grits.
Whisk: I used to break a whisk a year until I committed to buying a quality one. You want a strong whisk to get all the bits off the pan before they stick and burn.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup grits (course ground yellow or 5 minute)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
Shrimp & Sauce
- 1 pound raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 slices bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup green onion thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 lemon slices for garnish (optional)
- Bring water, milk, and salt to a gentle boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid. Whisk in grits and cook according to package directions. They will get tender, thick, and creamy as they cook.
- Remove grits from heat and stir in butter and cheddar cheese. Keep warm over low heat. (I make the grits while starting the bacon so everything finished as close together as possible.)
- Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and place in a bowl. Season with Old Bay Seasoning, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Set aside.
- Cook bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave bacon grease in the skillet. Once bacon is cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon.
- Add onions, green pepper, and garlic to the same skillet. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour to the veggie and stir to coat. Pour in chicken broth and whisk until thickened.
- Whisk in heavy cream, butter, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons green onion, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Let simmer for 1 minute. Turn heat to low and keep warm while you cook the shrimp.
- Place a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink all the way through, flipping once. Remove shrimp from heat.
- To assemble: Spoon a generous helping of cheesy grits into a bowl. Add a ladle of sauce over the grits. Then place a quarter pound of shrimp on top of the sauce. Garnish with crumbled bacon, a sprinkle of parsley, and green onion. Serve immediately.