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These cheese grits are perfectly rich, creamy, and cheesy – the very best way to eat grits if you ask this Southern girl! With options for stone-ground grits or quick grits, this might just be the only grits recipe you’ll ever need.

Overhead, close-up view of a bowl of grits with shredded cheese, a pat of butter, and black pepper.

What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • Spend 5 minutes in the South and odds are good you’ll find grits on a menu. They’re a staple around here! We eat them for breakfast with eggs and bacon, for brunch with tender shrimp, and for dinner with pork chops or braised short ribs. Ask 10 different people the best way to make grits and you’ll probably get 9 different answers. Suffice it to say, I’ve tried a lot of versions of grits, and these might just be my favorite.
  • You absolutely can’t not like these cheese grits! Now, before you say “Oh, I’ve had grits before, I don’t like them”, hear me out. If you’ve only ever eaten crappy, dehydrated, pre-packaged instant grits they give out for free at a Best Western or Holiday Inn breakfast, those don’t count. Those grits aren’t these grits. Depending on who you ask, those grits aren’t even grits. These grits, though, are mind-blowingly rich and creamy and melt-in-your-mouth buttery and cheesy and honestly I’m kind of obsessed with them.
  • This is a really quick recipe, and you can make it even quicker just depending on the type of grits you use. I’ve included instructions below for both quick cheese grits and stone-ground cheese grits. They’re both super simple! Stone-ground grits will take a little longer to cook, but not much.

Chef’s Tips

  • To keep the half and half (or cream) from curdling when you add it to the grits mixture, make sure it’s close to room temperature to start, then add it to the mixture very slowly, stirring constantly. The same goes for the cheese, which can clump and become stringy. Removing the saucepan from the heat while you add these ingredients will help, too.
  • You can season your grits any way you like! I kept this recipe really simple, with just a little salt, so the grits, butter, and cheddar can shine. You could also season your cheese grits with a mixture of cayenne, smoked paprika, and garlic for a savory side. Red pepper flakes or rosemary would be good, too!
  • The consistency of the cheese grits is entirely up to you! If you like your grits a little runnier, you can add a little more half and half (or heavy cream, or milk). If they’re too runny, let them cook a little longer to reduce more of the liquid.
Overhead view of creamy grits in a large silver saucepan with cheese and black pepper.

Other Southern Recipes You’ll Love

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik
5 from 1 vote

Cheese Grits (Stone-Ground & Quick Grits Options)


Prep 10 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 40 minutes
With options for stone-ground grits or quick grits, this might just be the only grits recipe you'll ever need.
4 servings

Equipment

  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Large wooden spoon or silicone spatula

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup grits stone-ground OR quick grits
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup half and half or heavy cream or milk, divided
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheese

Instructions

For Quick Grits

  • Bring water to brisk boil in large saucepan, then slowly stir in grits and salt.
    Overhead view of grits and water in large silver saucepan.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cover saucepan with lid. Stirring occasionally, cook approximately 5 minutes, or until thickened.
    Overhead view of grits and water in large silver saucepan.
  • Remove lid. Stir in butter and ¼ cup of half and half. Continue stirring, adding remaining half & half in one tablespoon increments. Stir until mixture thickens and begins to sputter slightly. This should happen quickly, about the same time you finish stirring in cream.
    Overhead view of grits, water, butter, and heavy cream in a large silver saucepan.
  • Taste grits and add more salt, if desired. Stir in shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Top with additional shredded cheese (optional) and serve hot.
    Overhead view of grits and cream in a heavy saucepan with fresh shredded cheese.

For Stone-Ground Grits (Recommended)

  • Bring 4 cups salted water and 1 tablespoon butter to boil in large saucepan.
    Overhead view of grits and water in large silver saucepan.
  • Slowly add in stone-ground grits. Stir constantly to avoid lumps.
    Overhead view of grits and water in large silver saucepan.
  • Add ½ teaspoon salt and partially cover saucepan with lid. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Simmer mixture approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Note: grits should simmer, bubbling slightly but not violently. My stove runs hot so I usually simmer on medium-low.
  • Remove lid and stir in remaining butter and ¼ cup of half and half. Continue stirring, adding remaining half and half in 1 tablespoon increments, until mixture thickens and begins to sputter slightly, approximately 15 minutes.
    Overhead view of grits, water, butter, and heavy cream in a large silver saucepan.
  • Taste grits and add more salt, if desired. Stir in shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Top with additional shredded cheese (optional) and serve hot.
  • Don’t walk away from the stove! It’s important to continually stir the grits, to prevent them from stick to the sides of the saucepan. 
  • To keep the half and half or cream from curdling, and the cheese from clumping, make sure both ingredients are close to room temperature before adding them to the grits. Remove the saucepan from the heat when you add them, and add them in slowly.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 410calProtein: 14gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 580mgPotassium: 128mgTotal Carbs: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gNet Carbs: 32gVitamin A: 824IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 255mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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2 Comments

  1. Been making various versions of grits for 4,5 yrs, always in an Instant Pot. Always with a “burn notice”; the grits tend to be done “just enough” & taste great, but it’s a pain in the neck. Tried this recipe with shrimp last wk, wife & I loved it. Getting ready to do it again- soon as I finish giving a well-deserved 5 stars- with some salmon I smoked 2 days ago.5 stars

    1. Avatar Jessica | 40 Aprons Team says:

      So glad you and your wife loved it! Smoked salmon sounds like a delicious addition, too! 😋

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