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The best cheese grits recipe ever! These rich and creamy grits are an easy Southern classic with just 5 simple ingredients. Add eggs and bacon for breakfast, offer them as a side dish with dinner, or serve them as an entree in Shrimp and Grits.

Front shot of a bowl of easy cheese grits on top of a blue white and orange plaid napkin

Cheese Grits Recipe

There’s a reason that a good cheese grits recipe has been a staple in Southern homes for generations. They’re inexpensive, versatile, delicious, and easy to prepare. Whether you offer them as a main dish or side, breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner…it’s always a good time for Southern cheese grits!

What are Grits?

Grits is a porridge made from boiled cornmeal. The popular Southern dish originated with the Native Americans, and is similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world (like polenta). Native Americans ground dried corn to make a mush. It is believed the name “grits” comes from the Old English word “grytt” meaning coarse meal.

Gristmills, which turned locally grown corn into grits and cornmeal, were abundant throughout the south. Often powered by water, stones were used to grind the corn into meal.​​​​​​​

Package of stone ground grits

Different Types of Grits

Today, you can purchase stone-ground grits, hominy grits, quick grits (or regular grits) and instant grits. This recipe calls for stone-ground grits, which are closest to the original grits used in the 19th century. The golden-yellow stone-ground grits are coarser in texture and offer a richer corn flavor than quick grits. They also require a longer cooking time because they aren’t ground as fine as quick grits, and they aren’t precooked and dehydrated (like instant grits). If you can’t find stone-ground grits in your local supermarket, you can purchase them online or substitute with another variety of grits. You’ll simply need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Southern Cheese Grits

Grits can be prepared with sweet or savory ingredients, with simple additions like salt and butter, or with more elaborate toppings like bacon, sausage, and ham. Adding cheese is one of the easiest and most common ways to flavor the porridge, resulting in thick, creamy and rich Southern Cheese Grits. Cheddar cheese is most common, but other good options include Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese and Gouda cheese. The options are endless!

Overhead image of a bowl of cheese grits

How to make Cheese Grits

These cheddar cheese grits come together with just a handful of basic pantry staples. Keep the ingredients in your kitchen and whip up a last-minute side dish or quick meal any day of the week. It’s a perfect pantry-pull for those times when you just don’t want to go to the grocery store.

Ingredients for Creamy Cheese Grits

  • Chicken broth
  • Milk
  • Stone-ground grits (or sub with other grits)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1: Boil Liquid

Boil the broth and milk.

Process shot of how to make cheese grits

Step 2: Add Grits

Whisk in the grits and season with salt and pepper.

Stone ground grits in a measuring cup

Step 3: Cook

Simmer over very low heat, covered, stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed and the grits are thick. This will take about 35-40 minutes for stone-ground grits.

Whisking a pot of cheese grits

Step 4: Add Cheese and Butter

Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter.

Cheese and butter in a small bowl

Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately!

Square image of an easy cheese grits recipe served in a blue bowl

What to serve with Cheddar Cheese Grits

Cheddar cheese grits are incredibly versatile, so they work well for breakfast or brunch with eggs, ham, sausage or bacon, but they’re also a nice addition to dinner. Grits go well with any of these entrées:

Bowl of homemade cheese grits topped with butter, chives and more cheese

Storage​​​​​​​

Leftover grits will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Can you freeze cheese grits?

Yes! Allow the grits to cool to room temperature, then wrap tightly and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

How to Reheat Grits

Prepared grits solidify in the refrigerator, so you’ll need to add extra liquid when reheating. Place grits in a saucepan over low heat. Stirring constantly, gradually add liquid to thin the grits to desired consistency as they warm through.

Recipe Variations

  • Substitute water for the chicken broth.
  • Use half-and-half or heavy cream in lieu of the milk. It will give the grits an even richer, creamier taste and texture.
  • Try different types of cheese (or a blend of different cheeses), such as dollops of softened cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, blue cheese, Gouda cheese or Swiss cheese.
  • Use a different variety of grits if you can’t find stone-ground grits. Just adjust the cooking time according to your package instructions, because other types of grits cook much faster than stone-ground grits.
  • Can you substitute cornmeal or polenta for grits? Yes, in a pinch. However, the texture will be very different and won’t be considered “grits.” Cornmeal has a much finer consistency than grits.

Tips for the Best Cheese Grits Recipe

  • Cook over very low heat and stir frequently so that your grits don’t clump together or stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Garnish the cheese grits with additional toppings for even more flavor. Try herbs such as parsley or chives, crispy crumbled bacon, additional cheese, another pat of butter, or a drizzle of hot sauce.
  • Serve the grits immediately while they’re still warm.
  • These grits are nice and thick. If you like a thinner consistency, whisk in extra broth or milk.
  • Add salt and pepper to the liquid right when you add the grits so that the grits absorb the seasoning as they cook.
The best cheese grits recipe served in a blue bowl with fresh chives on top

More Southern Sides to Try

Front shot of a bowl of easy cheese grits on top of a blue white and orange plaid napkin

Cheese Grits

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 389 kcal
An easy cheese grits recipe that's thick, creamy and absolutely delicious!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk (I use 2%)
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, bring broth and milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the grits; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook (whisking often) until the liquid is absorbed, about 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in cheese and butter. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Notes

  • Cook over very low heat and stir frequently so that your grits don’t clump together or stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Garnish the cheese grits with additional toppings for even more flavor. Try herbs such as parsley or chives, crispy crumbled bacon, additional cheese, another pat of butter, or a drizzle of hot sauce.
  • Serve the grits immediately, while they’re still warm.
  • These grits are nice and thick. If you like a thinner consistency, whisk in extra broth or milk.
  • Add salt and pepper to the liquid right when you add the grits so that the grits absorb the seasoning as they cook.

Nutrition

Serving: 1heaping cupCalories: 389kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 15gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 708mgPotassium: 336mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 739IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 349mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: cheese grits, stone ground grits
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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