This recipe combines succulent tender shrimp cooked to perfection in a tangy spicy sauce over creamy cheese grits.
This classic Southern recipe is a quick and tasty way to put a quick dinner on the table. Not only is this a feel good comfort food kind of meal, but paired with a nice green salad it makes for an easy dinner your seafood loving family will love!
Why this recipe works:
- Quick and easy: Shrimp is one of the fastest dinner meats to cook, and grits are quick to cook as well. Although the recipe instructs you to cook the grits first and then the shrimp, you can also cook the shrimp at the same time as the cheese grits for an even quicker meal.
- Super flavorful: Just the right amount of fat, salt, seasonings and liquid are added to the shrimp to create a delicious sauce that sinks into the grits. The sharp cheddar grits are also delicious because they are cooked with a combination of seafood stock and wine instead of water.
Exact quantities are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- For the cheese grits: Seafood stock, white wine, water, salt, grits, heavy cream, butter, sharp cheddar cheese
- For the shrimp: large uncooked shrimp, olive oil, pepper, garlic, parsley, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice
How to make Shrimp and Cheese Grits:
Detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
Step 1: Cook the grits
- Heat liquid: Combine seafood stock, wine, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add grits: Whisk in the grits and continue to stir as they cook.
- Add cream and cheese: Once the grits are done, add the heavy cream and grated sharp cheddar, stir, cover, and remove from heat.
Step 2: Cook the shrimp
- Heat pan: Add oil to large sauté pan and add the shrimp in a single layer.
- Cook shrimp: Cook until they start to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes, then turn and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Create sauce: Add remaining ingredients to shrimp, stir, and remove from heat.
To serve, spoon shrimp with sauce over warm cheese grits.
Grits vs. polenta:
Grits and polenta are extremely similar, but not exactly the same. They are both made from ground corn, but they vary slightly.
- Polenta is more typically found in Italian cuisine. It is made from ground yellow corn. The texture of polenta is often more coarse than that of grits. My favorite way to enjoy polenta is actually mixed with goat cheese and topped with ratatouille!
- Grits are also made from ground corn, but grits are from white corn instead of yellow corn. Like I said above, grits have a finer texture than polenta making the finished cooked product more smooth.
Cooking tips for best results:
- Prep the ingredients: Since both shrimp and grits are quick to cook, be sure to prepare and measure all of the ingredients before cooking.
- Serving recommendations: Shrimp and grits only need a nice green vegetable to round out the meal. If you want to add a nice Southern flare, you can't beat Collard Greens with Bacon. Wilted Garlic Spinach or Creamed Spinach are a nice addition. A simple green salad always works too.
- Reheating and storage: Shrimp are best if eaten when cooked. If there are leftovers, store in an air tight container and consume within a few days. To reheat, do so gently. You will only want to warm the shrimp and not cook it, so low power in the microwave in 1-minute increments should do the trick.
Love shrimp recipes? You'll have to try these:
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Cheesy Shrimp and Grits
- 15 ounces seafood stock
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup grits (I use Bob's Red Mill)
- 3 tablespoon heavy cream
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (or bacon grease)
- 1 lb shrimp (shelled and deveined large raw shrimp)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves (minced, should be a heaping teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes hot sauce (i.e. Tabasco)
- 4 teaspoon lemon juice (usually equivalent to the juice of 1 whole lemon)
- Heat liquid for grits: In a medium saucepan, bring the stock, white wine, water, and salt to a boil.
- Cook grits: Whisk in the grits and cook over moderately high heat. Continue to stir periodically until thickened and the grits are tender- about 5-10 minutes total. Add the cream, butter, and cheese and gently stir. Cover and remove from heat. Set aside.
- Cook shrimp: To cook the shrimp, heat oil (or bacon grease if available) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat shrimp with black pepper and cook in skillet until they start to turn golden brown for approximately 3 minutes. Once turned, stir in remaining ingredients to create a sauce and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until they are fully cooked.
- To serve, spoon the warm cheesy grits into a bowl and top with shrimp with a bit of sauce. Serve hot and enjoy!
This recipe was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don't worry - the recipe hasn't changed!