Growing up in Indiana, grits were something I ate exactly zero times before the age of 18.  25-ish, actually.  The first time I ever tried grits, I made the mistake of using a recipe online that called for instant grits.  That seemed convenient in theory, since it was the only type of grits my grocery store carried, but one bite was all I needed to learn that they had no texture and were suspiciously similar to cream of wheat (something I have detested since I was a child).  I backed off for a while, figuring grits were just not my thing.  However, I finally had an opportunity to try real, honest to goodness shrimp and grits in Charleston.  Those grits were fab and I realized quickly, the texture of stone ground grits made all the difference.  And then I experienced (to me) the best shrimp and grits yet while visiting Richmond.  They were extra spicy and made even more awesome with the addition of poached eggs on top.  AYKM?!

Anyway, it may have taken me twenty-some years to fully appreciate the greatness of shrimp and grits, but I’m all caught up now.  Good quality grits are key!  Ben was previously uninitiated, but one time was all he needed and he was sold.  In fact, I believe he said something like, “Why haven’t we been eating this every day?”


1½ lbs. medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of 1 lemon
Tabasco sauce
6 cups water
1½ tsp. salt, divided
1½ cups stone-ground grits (not instant)
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1-2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup grated medium to sharp cheddar cheese


  • 01

    In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, lemon juice and a few dashes of hot sauce.  Toss gently; set aside.

  • 02

    To make the grits, combine the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil.  Whisk in the grits a handful at a time.  Decrease the heat to a very low simmer and cook over low heat for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally at first and increasing more towards the end of the cooking time.

  • 03

    While the grits are cooking, make the gravy.  Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the bacon until browned but not crisp.  Mix in the onion, green pepper, and garlic.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the scallions and flour and mix well.  Continue to cook, about 5 minutes more.  Stir in the chicken stock and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.  Remove the pan from the heat.

  • 04

    When the grits are thick and creamy, stir in the butter a small bit at a time to taste.  Stir in the cheese and a dash of hot sauce.  Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit while you finish the gravy.

  • 05

    Return the gravy to medium heat.  Stir in the shrimp.  Cook, turning once, just until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes total.  Scoop the grits into warmed serving bowls and top with spoonfuls of the shrimp gravy.  Serve immediately.

  • Michelle

    I’m from Ohio and never tried them either until I moved to Georgia at 23. I too tried the instant first and was totally turned off by them. Then at 25, my now husband introduced me to grits with butter and brown sugar as a breakfast item and I’ve been hooked ever since. I think we have that every Saturday morning for breakfast. I also love grits mixed with cream cheese, but Shrimp and Grits is hands down my favorite . . . except for breakfast, our B&B in Savannah served them for breakfast and that was weird to me…

  • You know, I haven’t tried them either. Which is weird, because we eat so much shrimp and I’m in the quasi-South. I have been looking for a nice spicy recipe to try though, and this looks just like what I was imagining. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Samantha Erb

    According to my Southern husband, it’s important that you can “see the cheese” melted on top– but these look delicious! I’ll have to try it.

  • et-tu-tutu

    I’ve never had grits before! Mind you, I live in Canada which is pretty much the antithesis of the South. If I can find them in the grocery store though, maybe I’ll give this recipe a try!


  • Jen

    Also from Ohio and I don’t think I tried or liked grits til I lived in Atlanta for a year (although I do love Cream of Wheat!) I’m putting this on my list of dinner recipes! Also, I live 30 minutes from Richmond, IN. For a few seconds I was excited to know that there was some great Southern-style restaurant there…and then I realized you had shrimp & grits in Richmond, VIRGINIA! So sad :-(

  • I LOVE shrimp and polenta. I’ve never made grits (but I’ve had cheesy grits in Texas and they were amazing).

  • Misty Lynn

    Sounds good. Not really how this Carolina girl eats her shrimp and grits, but this does sound like it would be tasty. Ever been to Flying Biscuit? Creamy, dreamy grits. Seriously, heaven in a bowl.

  • Emily Baker

    Oohhhhhhh my goodness, welcome to grits!! I like the stone ground as well, and I don’t mean to be a self promoter here, but my *all time favorite* grits recipe is here:

    The Flying Biscuit Cafe in GA is famous for their “creamy dreamy grits” and I just can never get enough of the poblano variation on them. Definitely the opposite spectrum of stone ground, but not in the same realm as the gross instant grits whatsoever.

  • Caroline L.

    This is the first year I’ve tried grits & I’m in love. You are so right – a poached egg would make this over the top!

  • annieseats

    Aw, sorry to psych you out :( But yes, you’ll have to try these!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe

    I have not “officially” tried grits before. I say that because I have been unable to find stone-ground grits anywhere! I mistakenly tried to sub in cornmeal for these elusive grits (I know, what was I thinking?!) and well, you can imagine how that turned out. But I have been dying to try shrimp and grits, and am going to make it my mission to do that, one way or another, this year!

  • Holli Keaton

    So glad you have found the joy that is grits! As someone raised in Alabama…I eat them a lot! Shrimp and grits, yes please!

  • Cate Hartnett

    I love, love, LOVE grits! So glad you shared this recipe!

  • disqus_84NeNifl07

    I tried grits for the first time in the Army (Basic Training) in New Jersey. Thought I was ordering Cream of Wheat, but the guy looked at me and told me in the deepest most Southern drawl I had EVER heard until that moment, “Private Benjamin, dat ain’t Cream of Wheat, dem is GRITS.” I have loved them ever since that moment (which was a long time ago). – on a side note, can I substitute turkey bacon? I don’t eat pork or beef. Thank you for your lovely website by-the-way. My daughter loves (LOVES) the sugar cookies!

  • Maggi

    Oooh! I’m going to try this rendition. To me, there’s no ‘right’ way to eat grits. There are so many tasty variations. Whenever I see a blog post about grits that talk about how unpleasant instant grits are, I keep flashing back to the movie My Cousin Vinny at the point where Joe Pesci is cross examining the witness and says, “How could it take you five minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit-eating world 20 minutes” Hilarious…

  • Love that you came to our hometown! Can’t believe that neither of us have eat at Juleps or LuLus. They are on our list of places to dine now! Thanks for sharing your recipe!
    Jayme & Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravings

  • Emiko

    Grits are even better made with half milk, half water. All milk is also great!

  • Next time you dine out in B-town you will have to go to Sweet Grass and try their Shrimp and Grits. Jordan raves about it! I’m not a seafood girl (unfortunately)…

  • Aimee Conrad-Hill

    I have never liked grits but if there was a recipe that I would enjoy, I’m sure it would be one that you posted. Also I just noticed that all of Annie’s picks in the featured section are healthy recipes for ringing in the new year but all the reader’s picks are cupcakes and pizza. lol.

  • annieseats

    Oh girl, we have got to work on that!

  • Seriously

  • Looks great! I was super reluctant about making shrimp and grits before, but turns out it might be the best thing in this world. I’ll have to try your version soon!

  • Nancy Long

    Love Shrimp and Grits – have a terrible time trying to find reg. grits here in St. Pete, FL – for that matter couldn’t even find them in Knoxville, TN – Really miss the stores in the MD.DC.VA area. usually have to use quick grits and just cook them a little longer. Can’t stand instant grits. To the commenter that used cornmeal; it can work if done correctly. you need to mix 1 cup cornmeal in 1 cup of cold water before stirring into 3 cups of boiling water. It is called ‘Mush’ and was one of my fav things for breakfast with a little butter on it when I was a kid.

  • Kayla W

    This looks delicious. I may have to try this. I’ve been trying to think where I’ve seen grits around this part of Illinois/Indiana and all I can think of is Cracker Barrel…not sure those count though!

  • A girl after my own Southern heart!! Love shrimp and grits, and yours looks delicious :)

  • Michelle L. Goth

    Made this tonight and it was a hit! The gravy is soooooooo good. Thank you!

  • Ken

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! Here in the south shrimp and grits have become a delicacy! As a matter of fact S&G are now served at most upscale wedding receptions. Plate in champagne glasses…not the fluted ones of course !

  • Kim

    I knew I had to make this recipe as soon as I saw it, even though my boyfriend and I have only eaten grits once or twice before…if it’s any indication of how it went over, after two bites Aaron said something like “this is the best thing you’ve ever made…no, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” THANK YOU for a new favorite meal!

  • Felicity @ Our Little Beehive

    I’ve never has grits before despite living in the South for nearly five years now. Are you kidding me? I’ve missed this?!? So freaking good! We left out the butter and used a reduced fat cheese to lighten things up. Amazeballs. Thank you!

  • Laura

    Nancy, you can get real stone-ground grits at Rollin’ Oats!

  • Dawn White

    These turned out fabulously! Every single thing I make from your blog is close to perfection! Your life is enviable! Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  • John Barolo

    Whole Foods and Fresh Market have them.

  • Jenalee

    I used to have “mush” as a kid! The way I had it was it was actually rolled into a log and sliced, then fried with butter and topped with syrup, yum!

  • Heidi Schermerhorn

    This is seriously SO good, I think this is about the 4/5th time Ive made it!