Easy Cheesy Shrimp and Grits
A classic Southern dish you can make at home in minutes, Cheesy Shrimp and Grits is a creamy, comforting bowl of happy. Cheesy grits are topped with a healthy helping of tender shrimp swimming in a slightly spicy cream sauce that will keep you digging in for more.
Originally published in December 2016 and updated in August 2019.
I spent years frequenting Hilton Head, SC visiting my mother in law. It was kind of a luxury having a relative that lived smack dab in the middle of “low country.” When I was a teenager, I had the chance to spend two weeks right outside Charleston and that’s when my love affair with the south began.
So, it had been almost 15 years before I was able to get down there again….but after that I was a regular visitor biking along the coast while the Spanish moss blew in the breeze around me. Like a scene from a Nicholas Sparks novel minus the strapping young heartbreaker there to steal my heart. And maybe a few more bugs smacking me in the face while I cruised along….things that would, naturally, be edited from a Nick Sparks novel.
It’s a magical place with equally magical food, if you ever have the chance to visit…you must go. You MUST. One of my favorite things to eat every time I visited was Shrimp and Grits. And everywhere you order it…it’s just a little bit different. Each restaurant has their own spin, their own secret recipe that has it’s own magical flavor that you just can’t get enough of.
A classic Southern dish you can make at home in minutes, Easy Cheesy Shrimp and Grits is a creamy, comforting bowl of happy. Cheesy grits are topped with a healthy helping of tender shrimp swimming in a slightly spicy cream sauce that will keep you digging in for more.
Everyone has their own take on Shrimp and Grits. Even me, I love my grits extra creamy and loaded with cheese….hence, Cheesy Shrimp and Grits. A lot of places skip the cheese and you can too, but try it with the cheese and I promise you you’ll love it.
The Shrimp and Grits sauce is slightly creamy but not overly thick. It’s the perfect blanket for your shrimp, not too heavy….not too light. Just right. And I used yellow cornmeal grits….you can use white if you prefer but I love the vibrant yellow color it adds to the dish.
It’s like a bowl full of southern sunshine…but with shrimp and bacon and other goodness just ready for you to dig into. Drooling yet?
How to Make Shrimp and Grits
Cheesy Shrimp and Grits couldn’t be easier to make. I like to make the grits first so they’re perfect and smooth. They take a few minutes of your attention at the beginning but the result is a velvety smooth bowl of heaven. Don’t.Stop.Stirring. Just don’t…until their done.
- Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and set aside.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet, cook 1-2 minutes on each side and then transfer to a platter. Keep warm.
- Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Sprinkle with cornstarch and stir to coat. Cook for an additional minute.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until slightly thickened.
- Stir in the cream, cayenne, butter, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened.
- Return the shrimp to the pan and cook until done. Stir in the bacon, green onions and parsley.
- Serve over grits.
What are Grits?
Grits are a dish made from boiled cornmeal and are similar in texture to cream of wheat. Corn Grits are super versatile with a mild flavor so they are great with a variety of mix-ins either sweet or savory.
These cheesy grits are loaded with cheddar cheese for a sharp buttery flavor that goes well with the shrimp and gravy.
What to Serve with Shrimp and Grits
A basic sauteed collard green recipe would go well with this easy Shrimp and Grits recipe but here are a few more of our favorites:
The shrimp and gravy comes together in about 15 minutes making this an easy weeknight dinner that will transport your tastebuds on a mini vacation. I love them so much I even made a version for brunch for a Southern spin on Eggs Benedict.
I can guarantee you’ll want to add this to your weekly rotation! For more amazingly easy dinner recipes follow us on Instagram!
MORE SHRIMP RECIPES
- Easy Baked Shrimp Scampi
- The very BEST Shrimp Ceviche
- Pasta Primavera with Shrimp
- Simple Shrimp Po Boy
- Easy Shrimp Fried Rice
- Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Easy Cheesy Shrimp and Grits
Quick and easy, Cheesy Shrimp and Grits comes together quickly and simply!
- 2 cups low fat milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal grits
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
SHRIMP & SAUCE:
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled & de-veined
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
PREPARE THE GRITS:
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the milk, water and salt. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the grits and continue whisking until they begin to thicken. (This will help eliminate lumps.) Continue to cook the grits for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Stir in the butter and cheese. Cover and set aside.
PREPARE THE SHRIMP & SAUCE:
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined platter using a slotted spoon to drain.
- Return the skillet to the heat and add the shrimp to the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and keep warm.
- Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the onions/garlic and cook for an additional minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Whisk in the cream, butter, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the sauce starts to thicken more. Return the shrimp to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes- making sure not to overcook the shrimp. Stir in the bacon, green onions and parsley.
- Spoon about 1 cup grits onto a plate and top with 4 to 5 shrimp. Pour about 1 cup gravy over the shrimp. Repeat with remaining grits and shrimp. Serve immediately.