Shrimp and Grits Are A Southern Classic

by Alli

Grits. It’s more than Girls Raised In The South. It’s more than just Kiss my Grits, the saying that the sitcom, Alice, made famous in the ’70s. Grits are a southern classic. And when it comes to Shrimp and Grits, I’m in heaven. 

We serve this southern staple piping hot with over-easy eggs for breakfast and we gussy them up with shrimp for fine dining. You can find this southern favorite as a side dish at any proper southern fish fry.

We salt and pepper them. We butter them. Growing up, I saw them covered in red-eye gravy. We’ve been known to throw in an entire package of cheddar cheese.

We’ve even experimented with gourmet cheeses . . .  but served with sugar and/or milk? Why you’ve blasphemed everything that’s holy about grits. Honey, if you want sugar, eat a doughnut and wash it down with chocolate milk (another favorite, but rarely eaten breakfast).

I hear non-southern people speak of grits as an “acquired taste.” Acquired taste? Every baby south of the Mason-Dixon line was introduced to (and loved) them before they even had a swallow reflex. I mean, grits just slide down on their own.

Decades ago, when my sister first moved to Colorado, my mom would have to mail grits (and self-rising flour) to her. I mean, a sunny side up egg must be mixed with something. All of that runny yoke has to go somewhere.

You can find lots of varieties of grits:  5-minute, stone-ground, slow cooking or microwavable packets. Grits are just ground corn that is boiled with water. That’s all. But to me, they’re part of my southern heritage.

Bowl of Grits topped with shirmp

Quotes About Grits

“Grits are hot; they are abundant, and they will by-gosh stick to your ribs. Give your farmhands (that is, your children) cold cereal for breakfast and see how many rows they hoe. Make them a pot of grits and butter, and they’ll hoe till dinner and be glad to do it.”― Janis Owens

“If there was ever a time to boil up some grits it is now.”
―  Tavari Jones 

Grits - Southern Delicacy

There was a time when I’d only order shrimp and grits when I was dining out in one of my favorite southern restaurants. These days, I make shrimp and grits often at home. It’s so easy.

Shrimp and Grits

When it comes to shrimp and grits, quality matters. Make sure you use the best grits and shrimp.

If you must buy your shrimp in the grocery store, it’s best to buy frozen shrimp. If you do buy fresh shrimp, avoid shrimp that smells like ammonia or if the shells feel soft or slimy. 

Fortunately, I live close enough to the coast to buy fresh, amazing shrimp. Once you’ve had fresh, it’s hard to go back to the grocery store variety. 

My local fishmonger (one who sells fresh fish) is the best and the name of his shop is Off The Hook Seafood. He lives up to the name and if I buy fish that I’ve never cooked before, he shares his favorite tips and tricks. 

I always use Palmetto Farms grits. They’re stone-ground right here in South Carolina. I order them from Amazon and they arrive the next day.

Yield: 6 servings

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Creamy, cheesy grits are topped with bacon, onions, and shrimp.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 4 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits (slow cooking)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • Minced garlic (to equal one clove)


  1. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
  2. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. Add shrimp to the bacon grease. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, onion, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  3. Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 385Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 224mgSodium 1258mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 31g

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