Creamy Cheese Grits Recipe
I won’t lie. I’m not of “southern heritage” and I know the art of preparing grits is a sacred process in many parts of the south. I’m not here to say I am the Creamy Cheese Grits queen or that I have a new technique or that THIS is the only way to prepare them.
Creamy Cheese Grits are the perfect addition to any breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make the perfect consistency and taste every time!
What I will say is that Ms. Ina Garten has a darn good recipe for creamy cheddar grits and I’ve adapted it. So any criticisms or compliments should be ushered in her direction. Wink, wink.
Without fail, every time I make creamy cheddar grits, my husband will walk into the room to ask me “how I like my grits, creamy or al dente”. He has that ridiculous ability to remember every line from every movie there ever was, but not what time I told him we have dinner reservations on Friday.
This one is from My Cousin Vinny, a cult classic that can be found on some third rate television station every weekend. I will say, it makes me smile no matter how many times he says it.
So back to the important stuff, how do you like your grits? The truth is, I want my grits to be both creamy and a little al dente. I’m complicated.
I like the richness of cream and cheese, but I also want to taste the gritty texture of the corn to remind me these are indeed grits and not mashed potatoes.
Or rice. Our nephew once grew very irritated with us insisting that grits were “cheesy rice” at a Waffle House when he was four. To this day we refer to grits at a restaurant as cheesy rice. He is now fourteen, doesn’t remember the scenario and gets embarrassed everytime we tell the story.
Creamy Cheese Grits are also super simple to make. Switch out the type of cheese to change the flavor profile or stir in some other lovely ingredients, like roasted red peppers, tomatoes, bacon, scallions or even jalapenos.
Serve for any meal of the day, breakfast, lunch or dinner and as a side or the base of a fabulous shrimp and grits, like my Southwestern Shrimp and Grits.
If you like my Creamy Cheddar Grits, here are a few more southern inspired recipes you might enjoy.
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Whistle Stop Sandwich
- New Orleans Gumbo
- Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders
- Southern Sweet Iced Tea
Tools for making Creamy Cheese grits:
Heavy Bottom Sauce Pan– this will be one of your most used kitchen tools. Having something that is heavy bottom will distribute heat better and prevent burning whether you are using an electric or gas range.
Wooden Spoons– I like use wood spoons because they don’t ding up my metal cookware, but they are also good for creamy and sticky items. When they get yucky, I just throw them out. I buy them in bulk!
Questions you might have about how to make grits:
Oddly enough one of the questions I get most frequently is how to cook grits? Which is odd because this whole post is a recipe about how to make grits.
The basic answer is that the grits are slowly simmered and rehydrated with flavor in a creamy sauce made from half and half and cheese.
What are grits made of? Grits are typically made from finely ground white corn, also known as hominy.
What is the difference between grits and polenta? Grits are southern American and polenta is Italian. Polenta is typically made from ground yellow corn, although it is a coarser grain.
Are grits gluten free? Grits alone are gluten free because they are made from corn, however different recipes can vary. These Creamy Cheese Grits are a gluten free grits recipe.
Are grits healthy? Geez… I hate this question! Everyone’s definition of healthy is different. Grits are made from corn, however my recipe uses half and half, cheese and butter… so I am going to go with not really.
Are grits a grain? No, grits are corn.
Can grits be reheated? Of course they can! I would recommend adding a little bit of liquid to rehydrate them. Water, milk, cream… whatever you’ve got works.
Can grits be frozen? Raw grits don’t need to be frozen as they stay fresh in the pantry for quite a while if kept dry. You can put dry grits in the freezer to elongate their life. You can also freeze cooked grits, just make sure they are in an airtight bag, have room for expansion and are only kept there for 3-4 months.
Creamy Cheese Grits
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup fine quick-cooking grits not instant
- 1 1/4 cups half and half
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions for garnish
- sharp cheddar cheese for garnish
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large, heavy bottom saucepan.
- Add Kosher salt and then slowly add quick cooking grits, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the grits thicken, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add half-and-half and butter to the grits, stir. The mixture will thicken as it cooks. Bring back up to a low simmer.
- Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and fold in sharp Cheddar cheese.
- Garnish with additional grated cheddar cheese and scallions.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!