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5 from 1 vote

Southern Shrimp and Grits Recipe

This quick Southern shrimp and grits recipe is an easy dinner for busy weeknights or a special brunch for a slow Sunday morning!
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword shrimp and grits, shrimp and grits recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 438kcal
Author Blair Lonergan



  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits (not instant grits)
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed


  • 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ cup sliced green onions (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Optional garnish: additional sliced green onions, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh rosemary, or fresh thyme leaves



  • In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the grits and salt. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes (or until thick and smooth), stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat. Add the cheese and butter; whisk or stir until melted and smooth.


  • While you cook the grits, fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the drippings in the skillet.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the garlic, green onions, lemon juice, and shrimp to the skillet. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Cook just until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 2-4 minutes.
  • Return bacon to the skillet. Taste and season the dish with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, to taste.
  • Divide the grits among serving bowls. Top with shrimp mixture, garnish with green onions or herbs, and serve immediately.



  • We prefer extra large or jumbo shrimp in this recipe (16-20 count per pound), but any size shrimp will work. Leave the tail on the peeled shrimp for a "fancy" touch!
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp. You know the shrimp are done when they turn pink and opaque. Be careful that you don't overcook the shrimp or they will become tough and rubbery.
  • You can purchase instant grits, quick grits, or stone-ground grits. I use quick grits in this recipe, but any variety will work -- you'll just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Make creamy shrimp and grits by adding a splash of heavy cream to the skillet with the shrimp at the very end. Allow the cream to bubble and thicken slightly before serving.
  • Instead of sharp cheddar, use just about any variety of good melting cheese that you like. Try white cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, Pepper Jack, Colby, Colby-Jack, mozzarella, or American cheese (like Velveeta).
  • Replace the lemon juice with a dash of red wine vinegar.
  • Finely diced yellow onion is a fine substitute for the green onion. It might require a few extra minutes in the skillet to soften, so add it before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, celery, or chopped red bell peppers to the skillet with the garlic and green onions; sauté until tender, and then add the shrimp as instructed.
  • Add ½ package of thinly sliced kielbasa sausage or andouille sausage to the skillet with the garlic and green onions; sauté until browned, and then add the shrimp as instructed.


Serving: 1/4 of the recipe | Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 1185mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1011IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 227mg | Iron: 2mg