Classic southern style Cheese Grits are a super easy and delicious side dish your family will love! They whip up in less than 15 minutes!!
Serve up creamy grits alongside Oven Baked BBQ Ribs, Instant Pot Beef Brisket, or Crispy Cornflake Chicken Tenders. Cheese Grits stir shredded cheddar and parmesan into smooth creamy grits for the most incredibly creamy, cheesy grits ever!
Creamy + Cheesy
Grits are made from ground corn, typically from less sweet, starchy varieties often referred to as dent corn. It is similar to an oatmeal or porridge.
The cheesiest, creamiest grits can be made with all cheddar, grated parmesan, and even soft crumbled goat cheese, depending on how you’re planning to serve them. For my creamy grits I used both cheddar and parmesan for an added depth of flavor.
Cheese grits are so warm and homey. They are perfect as a side dish and can even be whipped up for a savory breakfast! I mean they are that yummy. If you need some inspiration on what to serve with these grits try Pulled Pork, Chicken Thighs, or even a Glazed Ham!
How to make cheese grits
GRITS. Add water, half and half and salt to a pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, slowly add the grits while constantly whisking.
SIMMER. Turn the heat down to low heat, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir several times, to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pot, until it has thickened but has some moisture left.
CHEESE. Turn off the heat. Stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, butter and pepper until everything is melted and smooth.
GARNISH + SERVE. Adjust the salt if needed. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve warm.
Variations and Toppings
Cheese grits offer a versatile canvas that can cater to a variety of taste buds. From meaty toppings to vegetarian delights, there’s a grits variation for everyone.
- Meat Lovers:
Sausage, Bacon, Ham: These classic breakfast meats add a savory note to your grits.
Chicken or Steak: Consider adding diced chicken or leftover steak for a protein-packed twist.
Shrimp: A classic southern combination, shrimp pairs exceptionally well with creamy grits.
- Vegetarian Options:
Red Peppers, Green Onions, Caramelized Onions: These veggies add a burst of flavor and color.
Mushrooms, Zucchini, Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach, or Kale: For a vegetarian version, sauté these veggies and mix them into your grits.
- Seafood Twist:
Scallops or Crab Meat: Add a seaside flavor to your grits with these seafood options.
- Spicy Kick:
Jalapenos, Hot Sauce, Smoked Paprika, or Cayenne Pepper: If you like a bit of heat, these can spice up your dish.
- Sweet Version:
Add a bit of sugar, vanilla extract, and top with fresh berries, powdered sugar, or a drizzle of maple syrup for a sweet twist on grits.
- Additional Toppings:
Cheeses: Any cheese that melts well can be substituted for the mild cheddar. Monterey jack, swiss, colby, provolone or extra sharp cheddar cheese would all work well. More cheese never hurts! Consider feta, blue cheese, or cream cheese for extra creaminess.
Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or chives can add freshness and color.
Toasted Nuts: Sprinkle some toasted pecans, walnuts, or almond slices for a bit of crunch.
Crispy Toppings: Crispy fried onions or garlic could add a nice contrasting texture.
Salsa or Pico de Gallo: For a southwestern twist, top the grits with some fresh pico de gallo or salsa.
- Don’t forget the classics:
A Fried or Poached Egg: This makes for a hearty breakfast option.
Your creativity can really shine through with this dish. Feel free to mix and match the ingredients and create your own personal cheese grits masterpiece. Enjoy!
This rich and creamy side dish would be perfect to accompany almost any meal. Cheese grits are so versatile that you will want to bring them back again and again! Here are a few tips when making them:
- If you are using stone ground instead of quick grits you will want to follow the cooking directions on the packaging as they will need to cook longer and require a different ratio of liquid. Cheeses and butter can then be added according to this recipe.
- If your grits are thicker than desired add in another ¼-½ cup of water and stir. Keep in mind that they will also thicken as they cool.
STORE leftover cheese grits in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.
FREEZE leftovers in an airtight container for up to a month. Be sure to let your grits cool to room temperature before freezing. Thaw overnight in the fridge when ready to enjoy again.
Whether storing in the fridge or freezer it is recommended to spray the bottom of the storage container with some cooking spray before adding the grits for easy release later on. Warm up leftovers in a pan on the stovetop adding a little water or milk for your desired consistency.
More of our favorite side dishes:
- Skillet Mac And Cheese
- Brussel Sprout Casserole
- Oven Baked Beans
- Whipped Potatoes
- Instant Pot Corn On The Cob
Cheese Grits Recipe
- 2 cup water
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup quick grits
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese - room temperature
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese - room temperature
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- pepper to taste
- Add water, half and half and salt to a pot and bring to a boil.
- As soon as it starts to boil, slowly add the grits while constantly whisking.
- Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir several times, to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pot, until it has thickened but has some moisture left.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, butter and pepper until everything is melted and smooth.
- Adjust the salt if needed.
- It will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve warm.