How to make shrimp and grits

Gather Ingredients

Making the perfect shrimp and grits requires gathering the right ingredients. You’ll need grits, butter, half and half, garlic, jalapenos, onion, bacon, shrimp, parsley, cajun seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Additionally, you’ll need some kitchen utensils, such as a large skillet and a medium-size pot.

Once you have all of these ingredients and utensils, you’re ready to start cooking!


When it comes to making shrimp and grits, having the right ingredients is essential. For the shrimp, you will need 1 lb. peeled, deveined raw shrimp (large or jumbo size). Thoroughly rinse the shrimp under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. If desired, cut into 12-14 pieces per lb.

To help ensure a flavorful experience when cooking with these ingredients, choose wild caught American shrimp rather than farmed imported shrimp whenever possible. Additionally, apply a light layer of olive oil to the seasoned raw shrimp prior to cooking them in the pan for maximum flavor and texture.


Grits are a staple in Southern cooking and can be found in many dishes, most famously shrimp and grits. To make shrimp and grits, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Grits: Quick-cooking or instant type is recommended. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging for preparation. Grits cooked too long can become overpowered by the other ingredients in this dish.
  • Milk: For extra creaminess, milk is added to the grits while they are being cooked.
  • Butter: A few pat of butter add a rich flavor and creamy texture to your finished dish.
  • Cheese: This ingredients adds flavor, texture, and also helps bind all of the components together. Choose your favorite cheese for this recipe – cheddar cheese is traditional for shrimp and grits but any melting cheese will work just as well.


Butter is an essential ingredient in making shrimp and grits. It can be melted over low heat on the stove, microwaved in a bowl, or softened at room temperature. For this recipe, it is best to use real butter that has been unsalted. Since salted butter is firmer than unsalted butter, it will affect how the grits will cook as well as alter the taste of the dish. Unsalted butter will give you more control over how salty your shrimp and grits come out when it’s time to season them with salt and pepper.


Milk is an important component in shrimp and grits. It adds a layer of creaminess to the grits that helps to balance the flavors of the dish. For a richer flavor, use whole milk or half-and-half. A light version can be made with skimmed or low-fat milk, though you will lose some of the richness in flavor.

Depending on how thick you like your grits, use between 1/4 cup and 1 cup of milk for every half cup of creamy grits (uncooked).


Salt is an essential ingredient when it comes to making shrimp and grits. In order to ensure that the flavors are well-balanced and the meal has enough sodium, use tablespoons of table or kosher salt. The amount of salt can be adjusted according to your preferred level of saltiness. Keep in mind that the shrimp and cheese will add some additional sodium as well, so err on the side of caution when seasoning with table or kosher salt.

For those who prefer their meals with a bit more kick, using seasoned salts can be a great way to get flavor without having to add more ingredients.


Pepper is an important part of shrimp and grits flavor profile. To get the best flavor, we recommend starting with freshly ground pepper. You’ll need about 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper for this recipe.

If you do not have a pepper grinder, you can also purchase pre-ground pepper. For every teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, use 1/2 teaspoon of pre-ground as an alternative.

Alternatively, if you prefer not to use black pepper, red or white peppers could also be substituted depending on your preferences. Whichever type you choose, make sure to adjust the amount depending on personal preference and desired spice level.


Garlic is a key component in making the perfect shrimp and grits. You’ll need two tablespoons of minced garlic to add to the mixture. Before you add it you’ll want to make sure it is properly prepared. Most recipes call for pre-minced garlic, but you can certainly mince your own if preferred.

To mince your own garlic, start by peeling off each clove’s papery skin and discarding it. Place the peeled cloves in a chopping block and hold a chefs knife in your dominant hand with the blade pointing away from you at an angle of thirty degrees from the board. Gently press down on the blade with your knuckles. Give yourself plenty of space as you work – whatever you do, don’t try to chop all of the cloves at once!

Move from side to side and use a light chiffonade motion as you press down so that the cloves eventually break into small pieces instead of becoming a paste or purée underneath your knife blade. Once all cloves are chopped, transfer them onto a cutting board or dish before adding to recipe.


Onion is a key ingredient in the savory classic shrimp and grits dish. When selecting an onion, look for one that is firm and has no soft spots. Avoid onions with blemishes or watery patches, which may indicate spoilage. Red onions are commonly used in shrimp and grits, however yellow or white onions can also be used depending on preference.

For the best flavor when preparing this dish, you may want to select sweet varieties such as Walla Walla or Vidalia onions. These contain higher levels of natural sugar that adds a subtle sweetness to contrast with the savory notes from other ingredients and spices.


Cheese is an essential ingredient when making shrimp and grits. From sharp Cheddar to smoky gouda, different cheese varieties will give your dish a rich, flavorful depth that can’t be achieved by any other ingredient.

Your choice of cheese will depend on flavor and texture preference. Sharp cheddar has a strong taste that balances out the subtle shrimp and grits flavors, while smoked gouda adds a smoky depth of flavor. For vegetarian options, you could try mozzarella or ricotta for a milder taste. To bring some heat to the dish, add pepper jack for a kick of spice.

No matter what type of cheese you choose, make sure it is fresh before using it in your recipe.

Prepare Grits

Grits are a popular classic Southern dish that can be cooked in many different ways, but the most traditional way is to cook it over the stovetop with butter and stock. Grits are a great way to add some delicious and creamy texture to any dish.

To begin, start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Then, add in the grits and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir the grits occasionally to ensure that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. After about 20 minutes, the grits should be creamy and thick. Once the grits are finished cooking, remove them from heat and stir in butter, cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Now you have creamy, delicious grits to add to your dish!

Boil water in a pot

To begin making shrimp and grits, bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Once boiling, add 1 cup of coarse ground cornmeal or instant grits. Reduce heat to low and stir the liquid vigorously while bringing it back up to a boil. Once boiling again, reduce the heat back to low and cover. Make sure the lid is slightly off-center, so that steam can escape as the water reduces.

Cook covered on low for about 15 minutes (or as indicated on packaging). Stir several times throughout this process to ensure the grits are breaking down evenly. If there is liquid left in the pot after 15 minutes, continue cooking uncovered until they reach their desired consistency. Grits should be soft and creamy when done – add a bit more water if necessary for creamier texture will still retaining body. Once reached desired texture, season with salt and pepper (or other preferred seasonings) before serving with shrimp or any other desired accompaniments.

Add salt and grits to boiling water

When preparing grits, the main ingredients are water and grits or cornmeal. To begin, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. As you wait for the water to come to a rolling boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Once boiling, slowly incorporate the grits or cornmeal while whisking with a spoon or a small whisk. Use ¾ cup of dried grits or cornmeal for every 4 cups of water.

Once all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. For creamy yet slightly firm and chewy grits, simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon or whisk to keep them from clumping together. If desired you can add butter to make creamy and smoother in texture. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving so that it has time absorb all liquids and thicken up slightly. Enjoy!

Stir mixture and reduce heat

After stirring the grits into the boiling water, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Grits should be cooked uncovered and stirred occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 25 minutes, stirring more frequently toward the end of cooking time, until thickened and creamy. If grits become too thick before they are done cooking, you can add a small amount of water or milk to thin them out.

Once cooked, remove from heat and serve in individual bowls topped with cheese and shrimp mixture. Enjoy!

Simmer for 10-15 minutes

Grits are made from kernels of boiled corn, and there are three varieties of grinds – quick, regular and stone-ground.

  • Quick grits are best for people who want to prepare a dish quickly; they take the least amount of time to cook.
  • Regular grits require a longer cooking time but melt better in your mouth.
  • Stone-ground grits have the most flavor, but they also take the longest to prepare as they have not been ground as finely as other types.

Once you have selected your desired grind, you will need to bring four cups of water or stock to boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add one cup of grits and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or whisk. If desired, add butter, salt and pepper for added flavor. Serve hot with favorite accompaniments such as shrimp or cheese. Enjoy!

Add butter and cheese to mixture

Once the grits are done cooking, stir in ingredients such as butter, salt and Parmesan or cheddar cheese to add flavor to the dish. Adding butter helps to make the grits creamy and smooth. The cheese should be stirred in at the end for a melty texture that adds a salty element to the dish. Stir until all of these ingredients are fully combined into the grits before serving.

Cook Shrimp

To get started on making shrimp and grits, the first step is to cook the shrimp. You will need to peel and devein the shrimp and rinse them in cold water. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add one tablespoon of oil. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about two minutes until the shrimp turn pink. Flip and cook for another one to two minutes, until cooked through.

Heat oil in a pan

In a large pot set over medium-high heat, heat oil (1/4 cup preferred) until shimmering. Then, add sliced fennel and red onion to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more, or until fragrant. Add shrimp to the pan in a single layer; cook un-stirred until pink and firm on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip over shrimp, add white wine or chicken stock, and bring liquid to a simmer. Simmer until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute longer. Transfer shrimp with the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.

Turn heat under skillet down to medium-low and add butter; stir in tomato sauce and hot sauce (as desired) into the butter in the pan until it begins to bubble around edges of pan, about 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper as necessary; leave mixture in pan.

Add garlic, onion, and shrimp to pan

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the pan. Once pan is hot and butter is melted, add ½ cup sliced onion and 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook until vegetables are almost tender stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.

Next add 1 pound of medium shrimp (peeled and deveined). Cook for 2 -3 minutes stirring constantly, or until shrimp turns slightly pink in color and becomes opaque throughout.

Once cooked through, transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside for later use. DO NOT discard the cooked onion mixture in pan as you will be using it later to make your grits!

Cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through

Time is of the essence when it comes to perfectly cooked shrimp. If you cook for too long your shrimp will be tough and chewy.

Start by covering the pan with a lid, cooking the shrimp over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until they are pink and opaque throughout. For extra flavor, season the shrimp with salt and freshly ground pepper before cooking.

To check doneness, use a fork to peek inside a couple of shrimp; if they’re cooked through, move them from the pan onto a plate to cool slightly before proceeding with the recipe.

Assemble Dish

Shrimp and grits is a Southern classic comfort food dish, full of flavor and texture. To assemble the dish, you’ll need cooked shrimp and a prepared grits recipe or cheese grits. You’ll also need a few savory ingredients on hand to complement the dish. Let’s walk through how to assemble a delicious plate of shrimp and grits.

  • Start by cooking the grits according to the recipe or package instructions.
  • While the grits are cooking, prepare the other ingredients.
  • Saute the shrimp in a pan with butter, garlic, and your choice of herbs and spices.
  • Once the shrimp is cooked, add it to the cooked grits.
  • Add the other ingredients, such as bacon, onions, peppers, and cheese.
  • Stir everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Combine cooked grits and shrimp in a bowl

Once the grits have been cooked and the shrimp has been seasoned and cooked, it’s time to combine the two in a bowl to assemble the dish.

  • Place 2 cups of cooked grits into a bowl, along with 1 cup of cooked shrimp.
  • Stir until both ingredients are combined.
  • Once everything is evenly mixed together, add desired seasonings such as salt, pepper or other spices as desired.
  • Transfer the bowl of shrimp and grits onto a plate or serving dish and finish with desired topping such as diced tomatoes, parmesan cheese or fresh herbs.
  • Enjoy!

Add milk, salt, and pepper to taste

Once the grits are cooked, you will want to stir in one cup of low fat evaporated or regular milk to the mixture. This will create a creamy texture, which is perfect for this dish. To make the perfect shrimp and grits, season with salt and freshly ground pepper to your desired taste. Stir in ½ cup of shredded white Cheddar cheese for added flavor. If you like your dish spicier, add a pinch of dried red pepper flakes (or more if desired) for even more zing!

Serve and enjoy

Once the shrimp and grits is fully cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve! Serve the cheesy grits in a bowl and top it with shrimp. Season with additional salt, pepper and garlic powder for flavor. To complete the dish, add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish, and/or drizzle with a teaspoon (or more) of your favorite hot sauce.

Shrimp and grits are incredibly easy to customize with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Feel free to add other vegetables like diced tomatoes or bell peppers for crunch. Serve it with sliced crusty bread if desired and enjoy!