Easy Shrimp and Grits

This classic shrimp and grits recipe is the ultimate Southern comfort food! Expect a fresh sauce, perfectly cooked shrimp, and creamy grits with smoky bacon – ready in 40 minutes. A delicious meal you’ll crave again and again.

Watch the Video

Shrimp and Grits Recipe Video

Shrimp and grits originated in the coastal regions of the South. Shrimp were plentiful, and grits were a staple food. The easy recipe shared below comes from our friend Richard, who grew up in the South and has worked in Southern kitchens for most of his career. This recipe has:

  • Creamy, dreamy grits: The ultimate Southern comfort food base.
  • Plump, flavorful shrimp: Perfectly cooked shrimp in a savory, garlicky sauce with tomatoes, green onions, and a touch of Creole/Cajun spice.
  • Easy, 40-minute recipe: Enjoy a delicious and comforting meal in under an hour.

I’m excited to share his version of shrimp and grits with you. Trust me, you’ll add this to your dinner rotation quickly. Find the full recipe and an easy-to-follow video below.

Classic Shrimp and Grits with bacon

Our Tips for Making the Best Shrimp and Grits

Make the grits first: Start by cooking your grits first since they take the longest to cook. We cook stone-ground grits in chicken stock for the best flavor. To make them creamy, we also simmer them with cream and butter (yum). Our Southern-style grits simmer for 20 minutes or so, which leaves plenty of time for the sauce.

⭐ Choose medium-coarse stone-ground grits for great texture and a 20-minute cook time. Coarser ground grits, like from Anson Mills, will take a bit longer.

Making grits

Fresh tomatoes are best: Enhance your sauce with fresh chopped tomatoes (canned work in a pinch) and Creole or Cajun seasoning. You will simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes before adding your shrimp.

Gently poach the shrimp in the sauce: We’re looking for juicy, plump shrimp, so our favorite method for cooking them is to poach them in the sauce. Gently nestle your shrimp into the sauce and cook until they turn pink – they cook quickly! Two to three minutes should do it. I love the texture of poached shrimp. Here’s our recipe for poaching shrimp if you are interested.

Adding the shrimp to the shrimp and grits sauce.

Don’t skimp on the sauce: When serving your shrimp and grits, top the hot grits with the shrimp and a generous spoonful of sauce. One of the first steps when making our shrimp sauce is to crisp up some bacon. We use the bacon fat in the sauce for our shrimp and grits, which means you will have crispy bacon left over. So, when serving your shrimp and grits, garnish with crumbled bacon and fresh scallion greens for more color and flavor.

Easy Shrimp and Grits

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of grits should I use? Stone-ground grits are traditional. I especially enjoy Bob’s Red Mill for its medium coarse texture and slightly quicker cooking time (about 20 minutes). Use white or yellow grits.

Can I add cheese or flavor to my grits? Absolutely! Stir in cheese, herbs, more butter, or roasted garlic towards the end of cooking. For cheesy shrimp and grits, I like a sharp white cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese.

What size shrimp should I buy? We used large shrimp in the photos. Extra-large or jumbo shrimp are impressive. Medium shrimp are fine, but expect that they will cook a bit more quickly in the sauce.

Fresh or frozen shrimp? Both can be delicious! If using frozen shrimp, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and pat them dry before cooking.

When are the shrimp cooked? Shrimp are cooked when they turn opaque (pinkish-white) and curl slightly. Even if your raw shrimp are pink (like in our video), they’ll still become more opaque and firm when done.

Can I use a different protein? Yes! Andouille sausage, chicken, scallops, or even tofu would be delicious substitutes.

What should I serve with shrimp and grits? Collard greens, roasted vegetables, cornbread, fried cabbage, or a simple salad make excellent sides.

Delicious shrimp and grits with a sauce made with fresh tomatoes, Creole (or Cajun) seasoning, and bacon.

Make Ahead Tips

Grits are best served immediately, but you can make them up to two days in advance. Gently reheat grits in a saucepan with a splash of milk or broth to regain their texture.

To save time, you can prepare the sauce for shrimp and grits ahead of time. Follow the recipe instructions up to the step when you add the shrimp. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat the sauce gently over low heat before adding the shrimp, which are best cooked right before serving.

More Shrimp Recipes

Easy Shrimp and Grits

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

I love these Southern shrimp and grits. It’s a Lowcountry dish (which means it’s from the Georgia and South Carolina Coast). Expect creamy grits, savory bacon, a burst of fresh tomato, and perfectly cooked shrimp, all seasoned with a touch of heat. We gently poach the shrimp in our simple sauce to stay juicy and not overcooked. It’s hard not to go back for more of this classic Southern dish.

Serves 4

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

Shrimp Sauce

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and the tails removed

5 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped small (lardons)

1 bunch green onions, sliced, greens and whites separated

3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 heaping teaspoon flour

2 cups (400g) chopped tomatoes, 2 large tomatoes

1 ¼ teaspoon Creole seasoning or Cajun seasoning, see notes for adjusting for spice level

2 tablespoons white wine or chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Pinch fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

Creamy Grits

1 cup (165g) stone-ground grits

4 cups (945ml) chicken or vegetable stock, try homemade chicken stock or veggie stock

4 tablespoons (55g) butter

1/4 cup (60ml) cream

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

  • How to Make Grits
  • 1Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the grits, then keep whisking for 2 minutes to avoid clumping.

    2When they begin to thicken, reduce the heat to a low simmer (helps to prevent splattering). Whisk in the butter, cream, salt, and pepper.

    3Continue to cook at a very low simmer until thickened, whisking occasionally. Expect a cooking time of around 20 minutes, depending on the brand and how coarsely your grits are ground (see tips). Continue simmering on low if they need to thicken further. The longer you keep them on the heat, the more they thicken.

  • How to Make the Shrimp Sauce
  • 1While the grits cook, prepare the shrimp and sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove them, and place them onto a paper towel. Keep the bacon fat in the skillet.

    2Add the garlic and sliced whites of the green onions to the hot bacon fat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until it becomes fragrant.

    3Stir in the flour and mix it well to remove any lumps, then immediately add the wine and stir until smooth.

    4Add the tomatoes, with any juices, and the Creole seasoning. Cook over medium-low heat until the tomatoes break down and you have a more uniform sauce, 10 to 15 minutes.

    5Season the sauce with salt and pepper and melt in the butter. When the butter melts, add the shrimp, spacing them evenly and gently pushing down into the sauce. Poach the shrimp until opaque, 3 to 5 minutes.

    6Serve the shrimp with the sauce over grits and top with bacon and reserved sliced green onion.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Seasoning: Creole and Cajun seasonings can vary in spice level. Give yours a taste and adjust the amount you add to the sauce for your preferred heat. Our homemade Cajun seasoning offers a sweet and balanced heat. Store-bought Creole seasonings tend to be more savory.
  • Grits cook time varies by brand: We used Bob’s Red Mill in the photos and video, and they took 20 minutes. Larger ground grits, like Anson Mills will need longer to cook, same with Marsh Hen Mill, formerly Geechie Boy Mill. Watch for them to be cooked and tender with some structure left, if they are mushy, you’ve cooked them too long.
  • Cheese Grits: Stir cheddar cheese into the grits just before serving.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 527 / Total Fat 24.8g / Saturated Fat 13.1g / Cholesterol 243.3mg / Sodium 1039.2mg / Carbohydrate 39.2g / Dietary Fiber 1.7g / Total Sugars 2.8g / Protein 37.2g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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9 comments… Leave a Review
  • Kim March 11, 2024, 10:49 pm

    I’d like to try this. Looks good!

    Reply
    • Adam March 12, 2024, 12:01 am

      You won’t regret it 🙂

      Reply
  • ASF March 7, 2024, 4:35 pm

    I have collected shrimp&grits recipes for 50+ years. They are all good, but not one of them was good enough to be the ONLY ONE. I finally tried this recipe and I am archiving every other s&g recipe. Stacey’s recipe is so good I ate it cold for breakfast (just a few spoonsfull). And truly the best grits recipe ever! Thank for a winning s&g recipe. I am going to stock shrimp in my freezer to make this frequently.

    Reply
  • Regina Michel February 28, 2024, 5:09 pm

    Hi from Germany! I made this recipe for dinner tonight, and it was sooo yummy! I had polenta and some left over pearl couscous as this is easier to find in the stores in this country. My husband loved the polenta, I do love both 🙂 I wanted to try this southern recipe for a long time. Yours sounded just right, and it is! The recipe steps (both written and video) are so easy to follow. Everything just turned out sooo well. I have been making Creole Seasoning for the past 25 years, so used mine for saving time. Will try yours as well. Definitely fresh tomatoes are the first choice, I used fresh oxheart and marinda tomatoes. Keep up your great work!

    Reply
    • Adam March 1, 2024, 4:25 pm

      You have made our day with this comment! This would be delicious with polenta 🙂

      Reply
  • Jan February 27, 2024, 6:04 pm

    What exactly are grits as I am not American

    Reply
    • Joanne February 27, 2024, 11:31 pm

      Hi Jan, We talk more about grits in this grits recipe, but grits are similar to polenta or porridge and are made from coarsely ground corn (often dried hominy). They are a classic Southern dish with a creamy texture and a mild corn flavor.

      Reply
  • PAM February 27, 2024, 2:03 pm

    WOW !!! made today for lunch , perfect blend of flavors. husband hates shrimp so made a batch using pork loin cut in cubes and sauted with onion and garlic. made for one happy husband . did add chopped bell pepper to mix , just because , and this recipe will be added to our rotation .

    Reply
    • Joanne February 27, 2024, 3:19 pm

      This is amazing, Pam! We are thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe so much.

      Reply

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