Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits is an iconic Southern dish and easy to make at home. Grits topped with shrimp, onions, peppers and bacon come together for this classic dish with great flavor.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup stone-ground white grits
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 thick slices bacon
  • 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • Juice of a lemon, about 1-2 Tbsp


1 Sauté bacon, render fat: Fry the bacon in a large sauté pan on medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and chop. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the fat. Turn off the heat.

2 Boil the grits: Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the salt. Slowly pour the grits into the boiling water while you stir with a wooden spoon. Stir and pour gradually so you don't get any lumps. When all the grits are incorporated, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook the grits, stirring often, for 35 minutes.

making the grits in pot stirring grits in pot

3 Chop the shrimp: Reserve about 1/3 of the shrimp whole and cut the rest into 3-4 pieces each. Set aside.

4 Sauté onions, peppers, bacon, garlic, shrimp: When the grits have cooked for 30 minutes, heat the sauté pan on medium high. When the bacon fat is hot, sauté the onion and green pepper over medium-high heat until soft, about 4 minutes.

sauteed vegetables for shrimp and grits adding shrimp to sauteed vegetables

Add the bacon, garlic cloves and shrimp and toss to combine. Let this cook another minute.

5 Add stock, let boil to reduce: Add the chicken stock and let this boil down for 5 minutes.

adding stock to shrimp in pan

6 Add cheese and butter to grits: Meanwhile, stir the cheddar cheese and butter into the grits. The dish might not need any more salt, but add some if you'd like.

adding cheese to shrimp and grits recipe

7 Serve: To serve, spoon out some grits in individual bowls. Add to the shrimp the green onions, parsley and lemon juice to taste. Add salt if it needs it. Spoon some shrimp over the grits and make sure at least one whole shrimp is on everyone's plate. Serve at once.

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  • Claire

    This is excellent!! I tried it with lemon, but think I’ll do lime next time, and add some lime zest. I added some extra cheese and garlic and also seasoned it with cayenne and black pepper. Like the andouille sausage idea.


  • Amy

    Super delicious! I didn’t have the nice grits y’all used, so I just used quick cooking, but I am going to try this with better grits next time. I didn’t have lemon, used lime and it was fine. My husband and I ate all the shrimp in one sitting, and I had the leftover grits for breakfast. I loved this, and it was pretty doable for a weeknight. Tasted like a proper gourmet meal, but I was able to throw it together with stuff I had on hand, and it didn’t take too long. Thank you!



    This was amazing! Friends asking for recipe. Will definitely make again!


  • Arleen

    OMG! This was awesome! I did every thing by the recipe, but added chopped kielbasa sausage in with the shrimp. Next time I will add andouille sausage.


  • [email protected]

    so my family wants this for our family reunion..(25 of us).I already plan on keeping the shrimp, cooked bacon , cooked cut sausage and cooked vegetables separate in baggies and freeze them.. I already have jars of frozen homemade chicken broth…. Im even going to cut up the garlic and freeze it in the butter….would it still work if I added the roux in the vegetables or cook that and freeze in a jars..I do not want to be in the kitchen all day. and oh…I have “test” drove this 2 times and its awesome…but like others we have noooo slow cooked grits anywhere so I will order on line so what is the best grits you all recommend.

  • Jessica

    We make this at least once a month it’s a delicious staple in our house, only thing I do differently is I use white wine bs the stock and I don’t chop the shrimp I like them whole.


  • Andrew

    Nice recipe, I use Andouille instead of bacon, or a little combo of both. The best grits I have found are Red Mule from GA.

  • Ksholinsky

    Delicious. I use goat cheese instead of cheddar because of a cow milk allergy and that gives it a nice tang. You can also substitute vegetable broth for chicken.


  • Steven Bradley

    The only thing I would do different is I wouldn’t add the cooked bacon until the very end. I think having a crispy element (especially bacon) adds to the texture. The chicken stock made the bacon soggy. Other than that it was a great tasting dish.

  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    If you have a hard time finding decent grits — get polenta. Delicious and they have the stone ground which gives you that special taste. Another hint from an Italian who’s made lots of polenta and grits. Start cold. Yep!! Throw the grits in with the cold salted water and bring to a simmer. You’ll never get lumps and it will be just the consistency you want. Of course, I named our Shrimp and Polenta.

  • sara

    lacking in flavor

    • Elise Bauer

      add salt

    • Mischa G

      Grits, for me, along with potatoes and noodles, need salt for flavor.
      I found this an excellent rendition that even my 85 yo mother thoroughly enjoyed (I personally don’t care for sea food of any kind, but will eat shrimp on occasion) We both had two helpings. It desperately needs salt, but as I cook for diabetics, I never add salt when I’m cooking, it’s only found on the table. Try it, I bet you’ll love it.

  • Rachel Sullivan

    I had to use Go-Veggie cheese shreds (daughter is lactose intolerant) and margarine instead of butter. Still good and we enjoyed getting to have shrimp and grits.

  • Shan

    I create a traditional roux and add the items from there with the half and half and some water to thin out as needed and butter for richness.

  • Shari

    I also used the shells to make a shrimp stock. I added it to the shrimp instead of the chicken broth/stock. Added another layer of flavor.
    This is a great recipe! We had a similar dish in NC, and I was looking to replicate it. My husband was extremely happy with this rendition!! Thank you so much for always posting such interesting recipes.
    I’ve been following this site for many years now. I always trust your recipes!

  • Linda Lambert

    Hi there it was my first time making shrimp and grits. Wonderful recipe,full of flavor. Thank you so much for that recipe. Very Good!!!


  • Jennifer

    I usually just use Quaker Instant Grits (which we here in Southeastern PA, who also love grits, don’t have any issues with in a pinch)… Is this not readily available elsewhere?

  • sfaiella

    I found stone-ground white grits at Trader Joe’s in Columbus, Ohio. Check your local store.

  • Sharon

    I followed this recipe (as ingredients on hand would allow) and also added seared scallops and blue crab meat. It was pretty darn good!

  • Mary in Missouri

    Love shrimp and grits and will make this momentarily! One change I am making tonight is subbing smoked gouda for the white cheddar cheese–a local restaurant makes it this way, and few things are lovelier than sitting on their patio, dining on shrimp and grits, sipping wine, and watching the sun set! Next time, I will treat the family to the white cheddar, though–being cheese fans, I know we will all enjoy it!

  • Booger McSmoot

    I choose this recipe because of its simplicity. Mrs. McSmoot and I have to prepare the appetizers for New Year’s dinner and in a fit of creativity, I decided to make “Low Country Pierogies” aka shrimp and grits wontons. My first batch was made with wild shrimp and yellow cornmeal. I cut the shrimp into small pieces, mixed everything together, let it cool and then filled wonton skins with the mix. Truly awesome. The second batch which we will be serving tonight was made with farmed shrimp and hominy grits. Not as flavorful, which I attribute to the farmed shrimp. (Also farmed shrimp are an environmental nightmare and should be avoided, my bad.) This recipe calls for 2 oz of cheddar, you can use more if you like.

    Most of your mega food stores have wonton skins; look in the veggie section or near the tofu. You can pan fry or steam the pierogies/wontons. Since dinner is a sit down affair, I’m steaming the wontons using my rice cooker equipped with the steamer basket and a standard bamboo steamer. That way, everything will come out at the same time. The lemon/parsley/green onion sauce is good. I’m also adding a sauce made from hot/sweet pepper jelly and reduced shrimp stock. A few dashes of cayenne pepper and some corn starch to thicken. Pairing with Landmark Vineyards 2012 Sonoma Chardonnay.

  • Jill Weiler

    I made this for my husband’s birthday and it was a hit! After looking at several other shrimp and grits recipes I settled on this one. It was very flavorful but not heavy tasting, or overly rich, which can happen when bacon meets cheese and butter. I have made several things from your site and have always been very pleased with the results. I now always check your site for recipes. Love your comments, photography and food choices. If you are ever in Atlanta……


  • Jessica

    This was delicious and hard to stop eating!! My husband recently traveled to Atlanta and fell in love with shrimp & grits and asked me to try making it. Thanks for the delicious recipe! I used Quaker brand grits (regular not quick) since that is what my store carried and they tasted great to me.


  • Amy Gross

    I went to culinary school in Charleston, SC, where we cooked (and ate) a LOT of Lowcountry food. When this Yankee discovered shrimp and grits, it was all over. Thanks for sharing this recipe; it’s delish. The bacon brings it home.

  • Jill A

    I made this for dinner last night. It came out excellent. The only question I have is when was I supposed to add the bacon back to the dish? I think I should have sprinkled the pieces on when I was putting it together on the plates but I actually added it to the shrimp/chicken broth – and then of course, the bacon lost its crispness. Hmm…I’ll try adding it to the plates next time.


  • gary peyton

    save some time, make it simple. boil your shrimp–shells on -in some OLD BAY seasoning ( appx. 6 cups of water to a pound of shrimp ) remove and devain shrimp. save shells for future stock .use boiling water for any liquid in receipe . . makes outstanding grits .

  • Buttoni

    This looks just delightful. I’ve been wanting to try shrimp and grits, but can’t have the grits on a low-carb regiman. I might try it on a mixture of a wee bit of grits and quinoa, which is a little lower in carbs. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Gina

      I realize this comment is much later than your post, but I wondered if the quinoa work out for you with this recipe?

  • Katie

    Hi, Hank – thanks for this! We made it last night and it was AMAZING. Didn’t make any changes to it. Ate WAY too much because it was so good. Reminded me of the great food i had when I was a grad student at UNC-Chapel Hill. Will make this again!

  • Tina

    I made this tonight – it was AMAZING!!! Thank you so much, Hank! As I posted before, I simply COULD NOT find white grits up here in Columbus, OH. I event delayed making the recipe one extra day so I could try to find the grits…I went to five stores today (including Whole Foods and one big Mexican market) and had no luck. SO I used yellow grits (Bob’s Red Mill brand). Honestly – they were REALLY GOOD! My husband lived in the south for 15 years and he LOVED them (although he was born in Brazil, not the American South, so he’s not an expert on Southern cuisine). I did add extra salt to the grits and to the final shrimp mixture – and of course more shredded cheese to the grits than the recipe called for – but otherwise, I made it exactly as it was written. I highly recommend it! Two of us ate the entire recipe!


  • Tina

    I will be making this tonight – I live in Central OHIO, though, where apparently we do not have coarse ground white grits ANYWHERE! I went to three stores. SO unfortunately, I will have to use yellow grits. I am not happy about this, but alas, I could not wait to make this fabulous recipe. I will let you know the results…

    • Christian Gehman

      The Byrd Mill in Ashland Virginia has stoneground grits in white and yellow. Seem to be a special 50% off promotion just now.

      • Tina

        Christian – thanks for the tip! I just checked out their website, and the grits are better priced than they are at the grocery store! Ordering now…thank you! :)

  • Moira

    Quick tip – take an equivalent amount of the water for the grits to the amount of grits (in this recipe 1 cup of the 4) and mix it cold with the dry grits then add to the boiling water and salt. This prevents the lumps and clumps that are a pain. You still need to stir, but not as much and you can add it faster.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe, very reminiscent of how I’ve always enjoyed shrimp and grits. This dish is usually so spicy hot when served in restaurants that I can’t stand to eat it, but this recipe gets it right! :)

  • EB Black

    Another Georgia favorite: Logan Turnpike Mill in Blairsville.

  • Jen

    I love all of the recipes on this site, but I’m always particularly excited about Hank’s southern ones! One question, would it make a difference flavor-wise to cook the grits with chicken stock and a bit of cream or milk rather than water?

    • Hank Shaw

      Jen: Yep, it’ll be quite different in flavor. I know people who cook in stock and/or milk, but I did not in this case because I want the grits to stay as white as snow (stock would change the color), and you get enough richness in the white cheddar you add to the grits to make milk or cream unnecessary.

      That said, if you want to try one or the other, I bet it would work just fine.

      • Kate

        I’ve made a quick shrimp stock with the shells from the shrimp and used that too before. Just adds another layer of flavor to it.

    • Christian Gehman

      If you’re peeling the shrimp, you might try using shrimp stock made from the shells.

  • Xanthippe

    Hank, did you and Elise try Trader Joe’s for the white grits? Down here in Santa Cruz, CA, I found these at our downtown TJ’s.

    Your recipe looks terrific!

    • Kate

      TJ’s stopped carrying them earlier this year!! They were the best grits! I live in So Cal, and it’s nearly impossible to find stone ground white grits without going online!
      As for the recipe, it looks great, but I think it need some sharp cheddar added to the grits ;)

      • Hank Shaw

        Kate, there is indeed cheddar in the grits — 2 ounces, to be exact.

        • Kate

          You are so right! I need to read more carefully. Yum

  • Cheryl

    Nora Mill in Helen, GA is another source of stone ground grits – fun to visit and they do mail order.

  • Susie Deagle

    Here in Portland, Oregon, we’re proud of Bob’s Red Mill, where you can get just about the best of any grain, flour, beans, seeds, baking mixes, cereals, anything gluten free; if you want it, Bob’s probably has it! And, Bob’s Red Mill carries white grits! You can order on line or find Bob’s products in stores across the country.

    • Candice

      Bob’s Red Mill grits are not made from hominy corn. Their grits are polenta. It’s a different flavor profile. If you want really good hominy grits for this recipe, I recommend They use organic heirloom grains.

  • Jerry

    Prepared shrimp and grits for dinner just last night! Our recipes are very similar. We had just returned from a trip visiting family in coastal, southeast Georgia. They recommended we visit Nora Mill Granary in Helen, GA on the way home and get a bag of their “Georgia Ice Cream” White Speckled Grits. AMAZING! “Them thar grits is fit to eat!” and they work perfectly in this recipe.