Easy shrimp and grits recipe! Meaty shrimp swimming in a savory sauce, spooned over creamy, cheesy grits and topped with bacon & scallions.

Shrimp and grits in a wide ceramic bowl.

Today I’m sharing one of our family’s favorite easy dinners: Shrimp and grits!

I love this meal because it’s quick to make and only dirties up 2 pans, but my kiddos love it because it’s so savory and scrumptious!

I’m talking juicy, succulent shrimp seasoned to perfection and bathed in a savory sauce, ladled over creamy, cheesy grits and sprinkled with crispy bacon and fresh green onions. This shrimp and grits recipe is pure comfort food in a bowl!

Absolute perfection and just the kind of meal you’ll love for a busy weeknight!

Check out my main dish recipes category page for lots of other great ideas, including our favorite chicken bacon ranch pizza, lemon pasta, and reverse sear steak recipes!

Shrimp and grits recipe, prepared and garnished with bacon and scallions.

Table of Contents

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What is shrimp and grits?

This is a classic Southern dish that consists of seared shrimp cooked in a savory sauce and ladled over creamy grits.

We like to add cheese to the grits (I mean why not?) for added flavor, and smoky bacon and fresh scallions to the shrimp. These add-ins bring so much additional flavor to the dish, plus they’re very traditional.

Why this is the best shrimp and grits recipe

  1. Tastes amazing: Cheese, smoky bacon, fresh green onions, and a balance of flavorful seasonings bring a unique flavor to the dish.
  2. Few ingredients: This recipe consists mostly of pantry staples you are likely to already have on hand.
  3. Easy to make: This dinner is done in just a few minutes.
  4. Versatile: Add in additional veggies to round out this meal and make it well-balanced and nutritious.

What does this recipe for shrimp and grits taste like?

The contrast between the sharp, cheesy grits and the savory, slightly tanginess of the sauce is outta this world! Add succulent shrimp and crisp bacon to that and it’s a real party in your mouth!

Ingredients

Ingredients for making shrimp and grits, with text labels.

Stock

Stock flavors the grits as well as the sauce the shrimp is simmered in. I’m using chicken stock here, but shrimp stock or seafood stock would also be fantastic, as would vegetable stock.

Grits

I like quick-cooking grits as they seem to be the easiest to cook without getting lumpy. Grits are basically a hot cereal made from corn or hominy (which is dried corn soaked in an alkaline solution, to soften it).

Cheese

I love shredded white cheddar best. It gives a powerful hit of cheesy flavor with a creamy, melty texture.

Sour cream

I like to add sour cream too, to make the grits even creamier and add a cool tang.

Butter

We are going to mount the grits with butter as well as the shrimp sauce. This will add a richer texture and help all the luscious flavors to linger on the tongue. Unsalted butter is best, so you can know exactly how much salt to add, regardless of the brand you are using.

Bacon

The shrimp are sauteed in bacon fat and then the final dish gets a shower of crispy bacon bits on top.

Shrimp

Larger shrimp have a meaty quality that just can’t be beat. I’ll often choose extra-jumbo shrimp for this reason. But smaller ones can be really good too because they’re just the right size for your fork. Today, I’m using large shrimp.

Seasonings

This dish is spiked with a variety of different seasonings, including Cajun seasoning or Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt (I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any bitter-tasting additives like iodine).

Flour

A little bit of all-purpose flour helps to thicken and give body to the sauce. For gluten-free shrimp and grits, swap in half the amount of cornstarch instead.

Scallions

Freshly sliced scallions add a hit of fresh, sweet flavor to the final dish that is *chef’s kiss!*

Special equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Follow my guide on how to measure ingredients.
  • Pot: A large, heavy-bottomed pot will heat the grits evenly and keep them warm for longer. I like an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven.
  • Whisk: Prevents lumpy grits and lumpy sauce.
  • Skillet: Reach for one that’s large and wide, with a heavy bottom for even cooking.
  • Tongs: For fishing the bacon or individual shrimp out of the pan.
  • Paper towels: These will drain excess fat from the bacon as well as blot the shrimp dry so they don’t pop and spit too much as they cook.
  • Wooden spatula: A great tool for scraping flavorful browned bits up off the bottom of the pan and into the sauce.

How to make cheesy shrimp and grits

This easy recipe comes together in 4 simple steps

Step 1: Make the cheesy grits

Start by bringing a large pot of stock to a boil over medium heat.

Stream in the grits while whisking.

Whisking grits into boiling chicken stock.

Continue to whisk until the grits thicken up into a loose gruel. This usually takes around 5 minutes.

Adding shredded cheese to grits.

Next, whisk in the cheese until it melts and spreads all throughout.

Adding sour cream and butter to cheesy grits.

Finally, add the sour cream, butter, and salt.

Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, pop a lid on the pot, and keep the cheesy grits warm while you get going on the shrimp.

Step 2: Cook bacon

Crisp up the bacon in a large, wide skillet over medium heat.

Rendering bacon in a large stainless steel skillet.

Remove the bacon from the pan once it’s crisp and allow it to drain on paper towels.

Step 3: Season and sear the shrimp

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, then sprinkle them with Cajun seasoning or Old Bay on both sides.

Seasoning peeled and deveined shrimp with cajun seasoning or Old Bay.

Add them to the hot pan and allow them to sear in the bacon fat.

Searing shrimp in bacon fat.

Step 4: Make the sauce

Then, sprinkle the flour all over and stir it around so it coats every shrimp and forms a film on the bottom of the pan. We are making a roux!

Sprinkling flour over searing shrimp to create a roux.

Once everything is coated and has had a minute or so to cook, pour in the stock while whisking.

Adding chicken stock to shrimp and roux to make a sauce.

Keep stirring the sauce as it cooks and thickens up, doing your best to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and into the sauce. The brown stuff is called “fond,” and it adds a ton of savory flavor to your sauce!

The last step is to season the sauce with Worcestershire, hot sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder, then whisk in the butter for added glossiness and richness.

How to serve grits and shrimp

Serve this dish hot off the stove.

Ladle a spoonful of cheesy grits in the bottom of the bowl, creating a well in the center.

Then spoon in the flavorful shrimp in their savory sauce.

Crush a slice of cooked bacon on top, and sprinkle on some sliced scallions for a hit of freshness.

And dive in!

Shrimp and grits can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or even as a little appetizer!

Expert tips

Fond: You may notice a lot of gunk getting stuck to the bottom of the pan as you’re making your sauce. Don’t worry! This is supposed to happen. That gunk is called “fond” and it will make your sauce incredibly delicious. It scrapes up easily once the stock goes in, so your pan will be easy to clean!

Whisk: When making both the grits and the sauce, it’s important to whisk a lot so you don’t get lumps.

Veg: Give this meal even more healthy fiber and nutrition by adding frozen sweet corn kernels to the grits, and chopped onion and bell pepper to the shrimp. Allow the onions and peppers to sweat along with the shrimp as they sear. They should be tender before adding the stock and other seasonings.

Recipe for shrimp and grits, cooked and served in bowls with green onions.

Frequently asked questions

Can shrimp and grits be made ahead?


Yes!

Cook up your grits several hours before serving, cover, and keep them warm on the lowest setting on your stovetop. Just give them a quick stir every so often to make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Or, make them days ahead, chill in the fridge, and reheat over a low flame or in the microwave until warmed through. You may need to thin them out with additional stock or water, as they can stiffen up a lot as they sit.

The shrimp can be made ahead too. Reheat them over low heat until warmed through, taking care not to overcook or they could become rubbery.

How to store leftover shrimp and grits


Pop any leftovers into airtight containers and stash them in the fridge or freezer.

They should last several days in the fridge or a month or so in the freezer.

Thaw in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop, stirring, over very low heat.

Dairy-free shrimp and grits


If you use cornstarch instead of flour, this is a gluten-free shrimp and grits recipe.

For a dairy-free version, swap in your favorite dairy-free cheese, sour cream, and butter substitutes.

What is the serving size?


This recipe makes enough to serve 4 people.

The nutritional info below reflects a serving size of 1/4th of the whole batch. It does not include any additional vegetables. It’s just for the ingredients listed in the recipe card.

Best shrimp and grits recipe with bacon, scallions, and cheddar cheese.

A few more of my best shrimp recipes

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Shrimp and grits in a wide ceramic bowl.
5 stars (1 rating)

Shrimp and Grits

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Easy shrimp and grits recipe! Meaty shrimp swimming in a savory sauce, spooned over creamy, cheesy grits and topped with bacon & scallions.

Ingredients

For the Cheesy Grits

  • 4 cups (940 g) stock, (chicken stock, seafood stock, or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup (156 g) quick-cooking grits
  • 8 ounces (226.8 g) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt

For the Shrimp

Instructions
 

To Make the Cheesy Grits

  • Place the stock in a large pot over medium heat, cover, and bring to a simmer.
  • Stream the grits in while whisking.
  • Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and the grits have softened (approx. 5 to 7 minutes).
  • Whisk in the cheese.
  • Whisk in the sour cream, butter, and salt, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to its lowest setting to keep the grits warm.

To Make the Shrimp

  • Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, flipping, until crisp (approx. 7 to 10 minutes).
  • Remove the cooked bacon from the pan to drain on paper towels.
  • Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season with Cajun seasoning or Old Bay.
  • Add them to the hot bacon fat and sear, stirring, until pink on both sides (approx. 3 to 5 minutes).
  • Sprinkle the flour all over the pan and continue to cook, stirring, until the shrimp are evenly coated and there is a film on the bottom of the pan.
  • Whisk in the stock, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and into the sauce.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Whisk in the butter.

To Assemble the Dish

  • Spoon the grits into a bowl.
  • Ladle the shrimp and sauce on top.
  • Crumble on bacon and sprinkle with freshly sliced scallions.
Serving: 0.25batch, Calories: 753kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 44g, Fat: 46g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 301mg, Sodium: 2330mg, Potassium: 573mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2164IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 525mg, Iron: 3mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course
Tried this recipe?Mention @bakingamoment on Instagram or tag #bakingamoment.

Author

  • Allie

    Allie is the creator and owner of Baking a Moment. She has been developing, photographing, videographing, and writing and sharing recipes here since 2012.

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