Grits come in many different varieties, and can be prepared in number of ways.  This is a basic recipe for breakfast grits, with a hint of sweetness. 

Dora Charles, author of A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen, says, “You dare not serve anyone in the South breakfast without some well-cooked grits.”  Yes, grits are served at meals all throughout the day, snuggling up to seafood, soaking up sauces, or taking on copious amounts of cheese and herbs, but breakfast grits are a category unto themselves.  

How to Make Grits

What Are the Different Kinds of Grits

Grits can be white or yellow, but the most important differential in the types is how they are ground.  Stone ground grits are coarser and “grittier” than those produced in commercial mills.  Commercially produced grits have a longer shelf life because the oils in the center of the grains is removed.   Try and buy stone ground grits directly from the producer and store them in the fridge or freezer.    Or, buy grits that are made by a company that knows their grits and from a store (online or brick and mortar) with high turnover.

There are instant grits, quick cooking grits, and old-fashioned or regular grits.  Instant grits are par-cooked, and cook in minutes.  Most Southerners don’t consider them to be true grits, but they sure are good in a pinch.

How to Make Grits

Quick Cooking vs. Regular Grits

Quick cooking and old-fashioned or regular grits both take longer to cook, but the difference is siubstantial. Although the package for the quick cooking grits may promise a shorter cooking time, most grits aficionados agree that to get the creamiest grits you want to give them at least ½ hour so that they achieve maximum plumpness and smoothness. 

Stone ground grits might take up to an hour to get to their optimal creaminess, though there will still be a slightly rough texture thanks to the way the grains were milled, between the stones.

What Liquid to Use When Making Grits

You can absolutely use all water when making grits, as many Southern cooks do.  Or you can use milk, half and half or cream; broth; or a combo of the three liquids.  I like using a combo of milk and water for breakfast grits in particular, which makes them creamy and rich.  And then because I can’t resist I often end with a generous glug of cream, if I have it on hand (plus a bit of butter of course).  I usually save the broth for savory lunch or dinner preparations.

How to Make Grits

Ratio of Water to Grits

The ratio of liquid to grits (whether that’s water, broth or dairy) is about 4:1.  You should also know that if you add other ingredients at the end, it might affect the texture one way or another.  Cheese, for instance, will thicken grits, while butter will loosen them.

You could skip the small amount of cream at the end, but don’t unless you feel strongly about it.  Dora Charles gives another kind of obvious but also very important cooking tip: fill the cooking pan with hot water the minute you’re done serving them, and by the time you’ve finished with the rest of the dishes, the pan will be ready to clean easily.

How to Make Grits

How to Keep Grits Warm

You can keep the grits warm in the covered pot over low heat; just give them a stir every once in a while to prevent them from sticking and add a bit of hot water as needed to loosen them up.  Double this recipe if you are having a bigger group.  If you have a double boiler, you can use that to keep the grits warm with less change of burning the bottom.

How to Make Creamy Grits:

Place the milk and water in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over high heat.  Stir in the sugar and salt.  

How to Make Grits

Slowly add the grits, stirring constantly.  

How to Make Grits

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently for about 30 minutes until the grits are smooth and creamy.  

How to Make Grits

Stir in the butter and the heavy cream until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot and very creamy.  

How to Make Grits

Top as desired.

How to Make Grits: Perfectly creamy but with great texture, grits are amazing for breakfast, and a great partner to all kinds of stews, and entrees with sauce.

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How to Serve Grits for Breakfast:

A bowl of steaming grits needs nothing but a pat of butter melting into it to be perfect.  But you can also top them with sorghum or maple syrup, honey, and dried or fresh fruit.

How to Make Grits

What to Serve with Grits

Breakfast suggestions above, but these are also amazing paired with all kinds of stews and saucy meals as a base or a side dish. Think of them as you would think of polenta (which is basically Italian grits)! So, hello shrimp and grits!

Try:

Other Breakfast Recipes:

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How to Make Grits

Perfectly creamy but with great texture, grits are amazing for breakfast, and a great partner to all kinds of stews, and entrees with sauce.
Yield: 4 People
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup quick cooking or regular (“old-fashioned”) grits (not instant)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into pieces
  • ½ cup heavy cream

To Serve:

  • Butter, sorghum or maple syrup, honey, dried or fresh fruit

Directions

  • Place the milk and water in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Stir in the sugar and salt. Slowly add the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently for about 25 to 30 minutes until the grits are smooth and creamy.
  • Stir in the butter and the heavy cream until the butter is melted and the grits are hot and very creamy.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 350mg | Potassium: 254mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 960IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Posted Mar 23, 2022

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