The classic combo of Shrimp and Grits hails from the American south and is pure perfection. The creamy cheesy grits, perfectly seasoned shrimp, salty bacon, and a medley of red bell pepper and green onion marry together in this iconic dish that’s so easy you’ll want to make it all the time.

White bowl with shrimp and grits topped with bacon and green onions.


When I think of my favorite comfort meals, Shrimp and Grits is near the top of my list.

The flavors are nothing short of incredible, and the contrast in textures from the creamy white corn grits, the firm but succulent shrimp, and the crunchy vegetables come together in the best way possible.

And since creamy grits and shrimp can be ready in less than an hour, it’s an excellent choice for busy weeknights when you want something simple but refuse to compromise on taste.

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: milk, water, grits, cheddar cheese, butter, bacon, bell pepper, garlic, onion, green onions, celery, chicken stock, spices, lemon, and shrimp.
  • Grits. Grits are made from corn and you can use either white grits, as I’m using here, or yellow cornmeal (similar to what I used for my creamy polenta recipe).
  • Shrimp. Larger-sized shrimp are best for shrimp and grits. Look for shrimp that are u16 or larger (16 shrimp per pound). Buying shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined will save you a lot of time!
  • Baking soda. To brine the shrimp and help keep them juicy.
  • Cajun seasoning. You can either use storebought, but homemade cajun seasoning is even better and gives you better control over sodium levels.
  • Bacon. Use any good quality bacon you’d like.
  • Cheddar. I used a good quality medium cheddar, but you can use any cheddar, from mild to sharp.
  • Whole milk and butter. For super creamy grits.
  • Chicken stock. Use either stock made from low-sodium chicken base or homemade chicken stock for best results.
  • Veggies. I love the combination of red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and green onion. You can use any color bell peppers you’d like, and if you prefer chives, you can do that instead of the green onion.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Shred 1 1/2 cups of medium cheddar cheese and chop 6 slices of bacon. Mince 5 cloves of garlic, and dice 1 celery rib, 1 medium onion, and 1/2 red bell pepper. Slice 5 green onions and juice enough lemon for 1 tablespoon of juice. To a large bowl add 1 1/2 pounds of peeled and deveined U16 or larger shrimp, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning and mix until combined and set aside. (Photo #1)
  2. To a deep pot add 2 1/2 cups of whole milk and 3 cups of water and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, whisk in 1 1/4 cups of grits and stir frequently. Once the grits start splattering, lower the heat to low and cover with a partially cracked lid. Continue to cook the grits stirring every so often while scraping down the sides of the pot until they’re smooth and creamy, about 30 minutes. (Photo #2)
Shrimp and grits recipe process collage group one showing mixing of shrimp with spices, cooking grits, cooking bacon and cooking shrimp.
  1. While the grits cook, heat a large pan to medium heat, add the bacon, and cook for 7-10 minutes or until crisp, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (Photo #3)
  2. Turn the pan heat up to a touch higher than medium and add the shrimp. (Photo #4)
  3. Cook the shrimp for 60-90 seconds per side, then remove them from the pan and place on a plate tented with foil. (Photo #5)
  4. To the same pan add 2 tablespoons of butter, the bell pepper, celery, and onion and sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. (Photo #6)
Recipe collage group two showing cooked shrimp on plate, sauteing of vegetables in pan, and adding stock to the pan and boiling.
  1. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant, then add 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and mix until the white spots are gone. (Photo #7)
  2. Add 3/4 cup of low-sodium chicken stock and turn the heat up to high. Bring the mixture to a boil while scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits. Cook until the sauce reduces by about half. (Photo #8)
  3. Lower the heat to medium and return the shrimp and bacon to the pan. (Photo #10)
  4. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are hot, then remove the pan from the heat. (Photo #10)
Recipe collage three showing adding the shrimp to the pan, squeezing lemon juice into pan, and adding cheddar cheese to the grits.
  1. Add the lemon juice and green onions and mix well. (Photo #11)
  2. Add the shredded cheese to the grits along with 3 tablespoons of butter, and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix until combined. Serve the grits in bowls and top with the shrimp mixture. Enjoy! (Photo #12)

Top tips

  • Shrimp. I mentioned above that U16 shrimp or larger are best for shrimp and grits as they make the best presentation. I also think leaving the tails on the shrimp make a great presentation, but if you’d like to remove the tails you can certainly do so.
  • Eat promptly. Shrimp and grits are best eaten right away to maintain the best possible texture of the grits as well as the shrimp.
  • Thick/stiff grits. If you find your grits get too thick while waiting for the shrimp to cook, simply add a few ounces of water at a time over low heat and stir until you reach your desired grit consistency.

White bowl with shrimp and grits with fork dipped into grits.

More comfort food classics

If you love shrimp and grits I think you’ll love these other incredibly comforting meals!

  • Jambalaya – the Louisiana classic with shrimp, chicken, andouille, and rice.
  • Gumbo – Cajun style gumbo with shrimp and andouille.
  • Shrimp Alfredo – creamy fettuccine tossed with plump shrimp.

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Shrimp and Grits

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Shrimp and Grits is a comfort meal that hails from the American south and combines creamy cheesy grits topped with shrimp and bacon sauteed with onions, garlic, and peppers, and finished with chopped green onion.

Ingredients 

For the grits

  • 1 1/4 cup grits
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups water plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups medium cheddar cheese shredded
  • 3 tablespoons butter

For the shrimp

  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled, deveined, u16 or larger recommended
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 rib celery finely diced
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 5 green onions sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions 

For the grits

  • Bring a deep pot filled with water and milk to a low boil.
  • Once boiling whisk in the grits and stir frequently. Once the grits start splattering, lower the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid partially cracked open.
  • Continue to cook at moderate heat, stirring every so often while wiping down the sides of the pot, until the grits are smooth and creamy (about 30 minutes).
  • Mix in the cheddar cheese, salt, and butter.

For the shrimp (start while the grits are cooking)

  • Meanwhile, add the shrimp, baking soda, and Cajun seasoning to a mixing bowl and combine. Set the bowl of shrimp aside.
  • Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until crisp (about 7-10 minutes) then remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Turn the pan heat up to a touch higher than medium. Add the shrimp and cook for 60-90 seconds per side or until almost cooked through. Place the shrimp on a plate and tent with foil.
  • Add the butter, bell pepper, celery, and onion to the pan. Saute until soft (about 5 minutes) then add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Add the flour and mix until no white spots appear.
  • Add the stock and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil while scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits. Cook until the sauce reduces by about half.
  • Lower the heat to medium and return the shrimp and bacon to the pan. Cook until the shrimp are hot (about 2 minutes) then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add the lemon juice and green onions and mix well. Serve the grits in bowls and top with the shrimp. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Any size shrimp can be used, but extra-large or colossal shrimp give a great presentation.
  • If the grits dry out while waiting for the shrimp, simply cook over low heat and add a few ounces of water at a time until the consistency is back to your liking.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave, though this dish is best eaten right away.

Nutrition

Calories: 771kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.2g | Protein: 61.7g | Fat: 39.7g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 463mg | Sodium: 1268mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 5.2g | Calcium: 588mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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3 Comments

  1. Your recipe is very similar to mine except I use less cheese, I mix red and green bell peppers and I add about a tbsp of chopped fresno or serrano chili. I’ve also never used celery but I reckon that’ll add even more flavour. I’m giving your recipe a go this weekend!