Readers’ Grits Recipes

Winnie asked in last week’s newsletter how to make her grits creamier. I got a bunch of feedback.

Kerry said, “Simplest answer, use real grits and cook ’em low and slow.” Reminds me of that scene from My Cousin Vinny:

No self-respectin’ Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.

Barbara was a bit more specific:

The only trick to making creamy grits, is to add grits to pot first then add water and salt and stir. Use four times more water than grits. (i.e. 1/2 cup grits and 2 cups water, 1/8 tsp salt)

Stir often and well, and lower heat after water starts to boil. Cook on very low heat, stirring often, until thick and creamy. I like to add a lid to the pot after lowering heat, and stir often.

I also like to add butter (1 stick) and American cheese (5 slices Kraft) for really tasty and creamy grits. My family loves it. It’s fabulous with eggs and bacon!


I’m definitely not a Southerner. But that Kraft cheese bit sounds like the kind of thing some Southerners are going to get up in arms about.

Darcy had another pretty thorough response:

Coming from the south, we learn early on that it is important to know how to buy and cook our grits so that they are creamy. Watery, bland, grits will be left uneaten on the plate every time.

The first thing Winnie should do is purchase white or yellow, speckled, stone-ground grits. These are not quick cooking grits so she’ll need to be prepared to stay with them for 20-30 minutes while they cook. I recommend using a non-stick pot and she’ll need to watch them and add water as needed so they don’t stick (even the best non-stick pots have been foiled by grits).

The best grits I’ve found can be purchased from Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store. I’m not advertising for them, I just prefer their product after trying and discarding several store brands throughout the years. If you prefer not to pass on this information, it’s fine by me.

She should definitely shop around and find the brand she likes best.

I add butter (for the recipe shown below, I use about a tablespoon and a half), salt and pepper to the water before it ever comes to a boil but recipes vary as do quantities. The basic grits recipe from Nora Mill Granary is this:

Basic Grits Recipe
1 cup grits
3 cups water
salt and margarine to taste

Bring 3 cups of water (add salt and butter at this time) to a rapid boil in a heavy saucepan. Add grits and stir until water boils again. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes stirring often and adding water if necessary. Add salt and butter if you have not already done so.

I follow this recipe and always have creamy grits. I’ve even been known to add fresh shrimp, sautéed scallions and garlic for an easy shrimp and grits breakfast.

Good luck to Winnie in her quest for creamy grits.

Finally, Karen sends along a link to Paula Deen’s grits recipe. She’s a little more Southern than me, so yeah.


  1. I love that movie. I use the “Yeah, you blend,” quote all the time.

    Why would southerners get up in arms about cheese in grits? Cheese grits are pretty standard. I also like to crumble bacon in mine, which has nothing to do with creaminess, but everything to do with yumminess.

    • I’d never heard of cheese in grits. Since I try to learn at least one new thing each day, that means I just got my quota.

      • My favorite is Grits cooked Paula Dean’s way, except I like course stone ground grits… then Colby-Jack cheese mixed in, a good couple grinds of fresh white pepper and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce. Very good.

  2. I’m no southerner (unless you count growing up wayyyy south of the border :D) but I make grits all the time – and I find there’s one secret to “creaminess” that will “fix” even a bad batch of grits served at a restaurant (in NC).

    Fat. Specifically – butter. (And it’s super yummy with coconut oil! :D)

    I use a basic 1:3 ratio of grits/water. Bring water and salt-to-taste up to boil, slowly stir in grits (with a whisk works best to prevent lumpiness), bring back to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, lower to a simmer and cook for 20-30 min, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom. I always test for doneness by taste: if it’s cooked through, and doesn’t set your teeth on edge (as not-fully-cooked stone ground corn is want to do). It should be thick, with boil bubbles that pop open on the surface . Remove from heat, briskly stir in fat (butter/coconut oil/bacon fat) in a 1/2 – 1 T per 1 C cooked grits ratio – keep stirring ’til fully incorporated. You will see a noticeable change in texture; it will turn creamy right before your eyes – I mean really creamy! Adjust salt as needed – enjoy! :)

  3. Cheese grits are standard, but the thought of Kraft singles (which is what I thought of when reading the letter) definitely made the Southern part of me twitch a little. Still, I grew up with a Northern Dad who put jelly in his grits (grape or raspberry) so you never know. And, pink grits do have a certain appeal to a kid. (: Real Southerners (IMO) are want to mix their eggs and bacon in with the grits, which is just divine!

    As for cooking, I think I remember Mom telling me you could soak grits before cooking. Anyone have more info on that? Am I misremembering?

    Thanks for the great cooking tips for grits! Southerner or no, they’re one food I’ve yet to attempt as bad grits are just horrible.

    • Hey, I AM a real southerner! :) My family is from TN and TX, and as sourthern as they come. I was raised on grits, and sometimes that was our entire breakfast. For years now I have added Kraft American cheese slices in my grits. I don’t know why a southerner would shudder at that. I find that it melts and blends better than any other cheese. Try it. It’s delicious!

      And another thing, quick cooking grits (NEVER INSTANT!) is just fine as long as you add enough water, cook slowly, put a lid on the pot, and stir often. Of course adding the butter and cheese makes it even creamier, though not required for creamy grits.

      I got the idea to add cheese over 35 years ago when a lady in our bowling league would always bring a baked grits/cheese/garlic casserole to all our get-togethers. It was so good and was a great side dish for a meal. It’s very good, but definitely not for breakfast. I wish I had asked her for the recipe. I see recipes on grits boxes, but haven’t seen one that looks the same.

  4. @AA mixing your egg with your bacon and grits is the ONLY way this southerner was raised to eat her grits in the morning time….and for dinner or supper we ate ours with shrimp! Yummy Yummy!

    @Drew thanks for the My Cousin Vinny clip this morning! I love that movie!

  5. After listening to you all (y’all) talking about making grits, it sounds very similar to making risotto. The creamy-ness supposedly comes from stiring the rice and making the starch sticky or some such. Maybe some of you more scientific cooks can weigh in on that.

    I’m an export – Born in North Carolina but brought to Boston to grow up! AA -No, I don’t put jelly in my grits (hehe) but then again, I was not really brought up on them either. Absoutely NO ketchup either! Eggs over easy with bacon mixed into sounds yummy. I’ll have to try a batch.

  6. Grits with cheese, cream cheese, cream, and butter. Yum.

    Does anyone know the secret to blue cheese grits? I made some grits and mixed in the blue cheese and the whole pot turned to water. This has never happened with other cheeses (cheddar and the like).

  7. I was born and raised in the south and have been preparing and consuming grits (a.k.a. hominy grits) my entire life.
    There is no “quick” method for achieving creamy grits because they take a certain amount of time to absorb the water and (as noted in the movie) the laws of physics are pretty much immutable.
    There are ways of achieving a very good result by the use of a Crockpot or slow cooker, still using the regular grits, preferably heirloom and preferably medium to coarse.
    I don’t have a recipe per se, I’ve been cooking them for 60+ years and use they way they cling to a spoon (wooden) to determine when they are done.

    This website has everything you could possibly want to know about grits:


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