This recipe for Shrimp and Cheddar Grits is a homespun family favorite. In it, tender shrimp are boldly seasoned and smothered with a buttery lemon sauce then served ladled over a bowl of cheesy stone ground grits. It’s a classic that can only be described as lip smacking comfort food that’s guaranteed to be devoured.
Easy Shrimp and Cheddar Grits Recipe
What are Southern grits? If you aren’t familiar, grits are to a Southerner what polenta is to an Italian. The difference is in how the corn is prepared for grinding and the texture. Grits have a more finely ground texture than polenta which is ground from whole kernel corn. Southern grits are made with corn kernels that have had the hull removed which lends a more fine texture. If you’d like to start a spirited debate, ask a group of Southerners whether grits should be served sweet or savory. You’re likely to hear strong opinions whether cream and sugar should ever touch a bowl of grits. In my kitchen, all grits are welcome and while I most often serve them savory, I have offered cream and sugar to those who prefer them sweetened for breakfast.
How to Make the Best Shrimp and Cheddar Grits Recipe
Classic Southern shrimp and grits were originally thought of as a breakfast dish. These days, this iconic low country dish has a plethora of flavor and ingredient variations and it’s perfectly acceptable to be served at any meal and for any occasion. Shrimp and grits together are a bonefide savory treat and one classic Southern dish I’m delighted to share.
- How do you make shrimp and grits? Traditionally, the two are made separately and then served together. Shrimp cooks so quickly, for this recipe you’ll begin by cooking the stone ground cheddar grits.
- What kind of shrimp is best? For this recipe you’ll need medium-large raw shrimp that have been peeled and deveined and tails removed. You can use large shrimp if desired, simply adjust the cooking time as needed.
- How long does it take to make easy shrimp and grits? Stone ground grits take around 25-30 minutes to cook. The lemon butter sauce and the shrimp cook rather quickly and the two can be done simultaneously to save time.
- How do your reheat shrimp and grits? While the grits can be reheated, adding additional liquid to thin, reheating cooked shrimp can be tricky. I don’t recommend reheating shrimp or the texture could become tough. This is one of these recipes that you should make and enjoy fresh.
- Can I omit the bacon? Bacon is a delicious addition to this recipe and I wouldn’t omit it. That said, you may opt to use andouille sausage or ham or even pancetta to expand the flavor profile.
More Ways to Serve Southern Grits
Grits compliment so many entrees and living in North Carolina I can tell you firsthand we love our grits topped with almost anything depending on the time of day. Often they’re served at breakfast topped with sausage or bacon and eggs, or for dinner topped with beef stew or pot roast. You may also like this recipe for Grits Cakes with Eggs and Gravy from My Recipes.
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Shrimp and Cheddar Grits
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 cup stone ground grits
- 1 cup shredded white or yellow sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 bacon slices
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup green bell pepper or poblano pepper diced
- 1 bunch green onions thinly sliced
- 1 pound medium-size shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp Old Bay or Seafood Magic seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt divided
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth plus additional as needed to thin sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
- To make grits: In a medium-size heavy bottomed saucepan bring the chicken broth. half-and-half and salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits gradually.
- Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook covered for 20-30 minutes or until the grits are tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Stir in the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese and butter. Mix until combined. Keep warm until serving.
- To make shrimp: In a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain, then crumble and set aside. Reserve 1 Tbsp bacon drippings in skillet.
- Add butter to bacon drippings. Over medium high saute the diced pepper until softened and beginning to brown .Add the green onion. Cook for 1 minute longer
- Sprinkle shrimp with flour, Old Bay seasoning, 1/4 tsp garlic salt until evenly coated.
- Add the seasoned shrimp and garlic to the pan and continue to saute until the shrimp are browned about 2 minutes over medium-high.
- Add the broth, lemon juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
- Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits and cook for 2 minutes longer until slightly thickened. Add the parsley and crumbled bacon.
- Serve immediately ladled over hot cheddar grits.
- Garnish with additional bacon and green onion, if desired. .