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+ servings

Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Gravy

This easy shrimp and grits recipe is smothered in a rich, smoky, tomato gravy!
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword creamy shrimp and grits recipe, shrimp and grits with gravy, shrimp and grits with tomato gravy, tomato gravy
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Blair Lonergan



  • 8 ounces bacon
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (about 2 teaspoons total)
  • 1 cup water (or sub with seafood stock or chicken broth)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste if you like it spicy
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined


  • 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
  • Optional garnish: sliced green onions; chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, or thyme



  • In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, fry the bacon until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pan.
    Bacon frying in a cast iron skillet.
  • In the same skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add the water, diced tomatoes and their juices, sugar, Old Bay seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and the cooked, crumbled bacon. Continue simmering until the shrimp turn pink and opaque, about 5-8 more minutes.
    Horizontal image of a pan of shrimp in tomato gravy.


  • 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.
    Whisking cheese grits in a pot.


  • Divide the grits among serving bowls. Top with the shrimp and gravy, garnish with green onions or herbs, and serve immediately.
    Horizontal side shot of a bowl of shrimp and grits with tomato gravy.


  • 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 and cooking directions accordingly.
  • I typically use yellow onion or sweet onion, but any variety is fine. You might even like to use sliced green onions instead.
  • We prefer large, extra large, or jumbo shrimp in this recipe, but any size shrimp will work. Just adjust the cooking time if using smaller shrimp. 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.
  • Garnish the dish with sliced green onion or chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, or rosemary for a colorful, bright finishing touch and extra flavor. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice is also nice.