Today we have a super yummy and easy Shrimp and Grits recipe for you all! I love the different layers and textures within this meal, from the smoky shrimp to the extra creamy and cheesy grits. The first time I heard of the dish I knew I was going to love it. It reminded me of other similar type dishes I grew up eating like jook and congee, or asian-style rice porridge.
What are Shrimp and Grits?
It’s a traditionally southern dish consisting of creamy cooked cornmeal (similarly to polenta) topped with butter sautéed shrimp.
History of Shrimp and Grits
Grits are said to be one of America’s first foods, as Native Americans have been known to eat a dish made of soft, ground corn for countless generations. Alternatively shrimp and grits has long been a popular dish in the ‘low country’ of South Carolina. It was a simple and casual breakfast dish for fisherman and their families, especially during shrimp season. It wasn’t until the mid 80’s when the dish became elevated and popularized by Chef Bill Neal, a self-taught chef who popularized the dish at his Chapel Hill restaurant named Crook’s Corner.
How to make Shrimp and Grits
Our Shrimp and Grits recipe is pretty simple to make. Here we have broken it down into 6 steps.
- Gather all your ingredients for the recipe together, and portion out the appropriate amounts. This is called mise en place!
- Start by making the grits. First by bringing the water, grits and salt to a boil then simmer for 25 – 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Toss shrimp with seasonings
- Sauté sausage with butter for 2 – 3 minutes. Then add shrimp and sauté until fully cooked.
- Add chicken stock to the pan, and cover 1 minute. This will create steam and allow the shrimp to cook through.
- Spoon sausage and shrimp over grits and serve with green onions.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure to salt the water before adding grits because cooked grits don’t absorb anymore salt.
- It’s important that grits are made low and slow to ensure the starches are released and you get a creamy and smooth texture.
- For an extra creamy texture, finish grits with a little bit of heavy cream when stirring in the cheese and butter.
This meal is so simple to make and super cozy. It makes a really hearty breakfast or dinner that can be enjoyed year round. While I enjoy grits of all kinds, I especially love slow cooked stone ground grits. I just don’t think quick cook or instant grits can quite compare in taste and texture. If you love this dish as much as I do, you’ll also love our Hot Shrimp over Cheesy Corn Grits or our Fried Shrimp and Grits.
Hungry for more?
Shrimp and Grits
white cheddar grits
- 1 cup white stone-ground grits
- 4 ounces shredded white cheddar
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails intact
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 andouille sausage, diced
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (water is fine)
- 2 thinly sliced green onion
- For grits: Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Generously salt water and stir in grits. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer mixture for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter until fully incorporated and melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- For shrimp: Place shrimp, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, cumin, pepper, cayenne, and garlic into a mixing bowl and toss together. Set aside.
- Melt butter into a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and brown for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add shrimp and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze pan with chicken stock (or water) and cover for 1 minute. Remove from heat and divide mixture over each bowl of grits.
- Garnish with sliced green onions and serve.