Creamy Cheddar Cheese Grits

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This Cheddar Cheese Grits recipe has a smooth and creamy texture that’s bursting with flavor! They’re perfect for a main or side dish for breakfast and brunch or shrimp and grits.

Creamy Cheddar Cheese Grits

The great thing about cooked grits is they’re the perfect meal as a side dish or dinner. You can serve them on a plate, in a bowl, or even in little martini glasses with shrimp for a delicious appetizer.

As a kid, my dad was famous amongst my friends for his Saturday morning breakfast after a 

sleepover. The spread was simple: eggs, bacon or sausage, and cheese grits. Simple right?

But there was something magical about his cheddar grits. They had the perfect seasoning, cheese, and creaminess. The best part about this savory breakfast item was there was no sugar in the grits because sugar doesn’t go in grits.

I digress. I knew I couldn’t always depend on my dad to make his famous grits recipe whenever I was hungry, but nothing warms my soul like cheese grits. I’ve taken what my dad taught me as a kid and made minor tweaks to make them even better.

I picked up a few tips from Zea’s in New Orleans, which has some pretty delicious corn grits. I was in charge of making large batches for a year, and the technique was exactly how my dad taught me.

So this recipe will work for single servings or large parties. I know your mouth is watering. Let’s jump into how to make the best cheddar cheese grits.

Overhead shot of cheese grits

Why is grits a Southern thing?

“The South has always been poor, and so our food is a food born of poverty. Grits is the porridge of poor Southerners,” says Virginia Willis, cookbook author of Grits.

Based on this quote and knowing the history of slavery in the South. Also, tieing in the Native American’s contribution to America with their large range of cultivating and preparing maize. Grits have been around for centuries.

They are a great way to feed an army of people without many ingredients. All you need is water and a pinch of salt, and you will warm many bellies.

close shot of shot of cheddar cheese grits on a blue towel

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for my creamy cheddar grits recipe.

Sharp Cheddar Cheese

I like to use freshly shredded sharp cheddar. However, using pre-shredded cheese from the store is perfect.

Grits

For best results, only use old-fashioned or stone ground grits.

Unsalted Butter

I love using quality butter like Kerrygold butter in my grits.

Half-and-Half

Using half-and-half will make these grits incredibly creamy!

Salt and Pepper

You don’t need much salt and black pepper to enhance the flavor of grits.

shot of cheddar cheese grits

How to Make Creamy Cheese Grits recipe?

I wanted my cheese grits dish to be so good that it would knock the socks off of anyone who tried it. But for that to happen, I needed to make sure this was super easy enough for anyone to follow. Making grits is easy, but you can end up with a gritty texture if you don’t follow these steps.

The key to great grits is bringing your liquids to a boil and then stirring the grits in. The residual heat of the pot will cook the grits, so you don’t need a high fire to finish cooking them.

In a medium pot, bring liquid kosher salt and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in grits, lower heat to a low simmer, cover, and cool for 10 minutes until grits have thickened. Whisking occasionally to remove any lumps.

Stir in cheddar cheese until melted, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately on a plate, and garnish with more cheese and green onions.

shot of cheddar cheese grits

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to cook grits like a pro.

  • Stone ground grits may take up to 30 minutes to cook; since it’s a coarse cut.
  • Yellow grits and white grits will give you the same results. Yellow grits make for a prettier presentation.
  • Polenta is the Italian grits, so they’ll work as a great swap.
  • Do not use cornmeal as a swap for grits. They’re finely ground and will create a dish called corn mush.
  • Feel free to use heavy cream, whole milk, or any milk you have at home instead of half-and-half.
  • I wouldn’t use almond milk or coconut milk because of its sweet flavor.
  • A whisk is the best tool for stirring grits because you can get in and around the edges of the pot.
  • Sharp cheddar has the most flavor, but regular and mild cheddar are great substitutes.
  • You can use sliced cheddar cheese instead of shredded.
  • Try adding 2 oz. Boursin garlic herb cheese to your grits. It has the creaminess of cream cheese and will add tons of flavor.
  • Try adding 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder for another layer of flavor.
  • If you only have quick-cooking instant grits on hand, use them.
  • If you use salted butter, omit the butter from the recipe but adjust the seasoning before serving.
  • If you want more flavorful grits, use chicken broth instead of water. Just make sure to get the low-sodium kind!
  • For creamy grits, stir them while the water is boiling.
close shot of shot of cheddar cheese grits on a blue towel
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overhead shot of shot of cheddar cheese grits on a blue towel

FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about making creamy cheese grits.

Do people eat grits with cheese?

Absolutely! Adding cheese is one of the best ways to eat grits. Add some cheddar to your next pot for some amazing cheddar grits.

What are cheese grits made of?

Cheese grits are made with coarse ground corn (grits), salt, black pepper, butter, and water.

What goes with cheese grits?

There are several things you can serve with cheesy grits, fried eggs, cheese omelette, sausage, beef bacon, sauteed shrimp, mushrooms, smothered steak, baked or fried fish, tomato gravy, and buttermilk biscuits are all classic options. You can also stir in some cooked corn too!

What is the best cheese for cheese grits?

The best cheese for cheese grits is cheddar cheese. However, you can use smoked gouda, gouda, parmesan, or goat cheese to take your grits to the next level.

What else could I put into grits other than cheese and butter?

There are a few options you can blend into your grits, like crumbled bacon, green onions, minced garlic, chicken stock, and garlic powder.

How to store leftovers?

Cheddar cheese grits are best eaten immediately but will remain fresh for 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
 
To reheat cold grits, place in a pot with 2-4 tablespoons of chicken stock or milk for 5 minutes or until hot and creamy.

shot of cheddar cheese grits

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Before You Begin

Here are my steps for getting organized and moving fast in the kitchen.

Step 1: Pull all the ingredients out.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Follow the recipe below and prepare your taste buds for the best cheese grits recipe!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! If you make it, please leave a comment and star rating below. And don’t forget to share it with your friends and family on social media.

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Cheddar cheese grits on a fork

Creamy Cheddar Cheese Grits

Kenneth Temple
These Cheddar Cheese Grits have a smooth and creamy bursting with flavor! They're perfect for breakfast and brunch or shrimp and grits.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine New Orleans, Southern
Servings 4 persons
Calories 520 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup stone ground grits no instant grits
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a medium pot, bring liquid, kosher salt, and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in grits, lower heat to a low simmer, cover, and cool for 10 minutes until grits have thickened. Whisking occasionally to remove any lumps.
  • Stir in cheddar cheese until melted, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately on a plate, and garnish with more cheese and green onions.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to cook grits like a pro.
  • Stone ground grits may take up to 30 minutes to cook; since it’s a coarse cut.
  • Yellow grits and white grits will give you the same results. Yellow grits make for a prettier presentation.
  • Polenta is the Italian grits, so they’ll work as a great swap.
  • Do not use cornmeal as a swap for grits. They’re finely ground and will create a dish called corn mush.
  • Feel free to use heavy cream, whole milk, or any milk you have at home instead of half-and-half.
  • I wouldn’t use almond milk or coconut milk because of its sweet flavor.
  • A whisk is the best tool for stirring grits because you can get in and around the edges of the pot.
  • Sharp cheddar has the most flavor, but regular and mild cheddar are great substitutes.
  • You can use sliced cheddar cheese instead of shredded.
  • Try adding 2 oz. Boursin garlic herb cheese to your grits. It has the creaminess of cream cheese and will add tons of flavor.
  • Try adding 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder for another layer of flavor.
  • If you only have quick-cooking instant grits on hand, use them.
  • If you use salted butter, omit the butter from the recipe but adjust the seasoning before serving.
  • If you want more flavorful grits, use chicken broth instead of water. Just make sure to get the low-sodium kind!
  • For creamy grits, stir them while the water is boiling.
Storage:
Cheddar cheese grits are best eaten immediately but will remain fresh for 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
To reheat cold grits, place in a pot with 2-4 tablespoons of chicken stock or milk for 5 minutes or until hot and creamy.

Nutrition

Calories: 520kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 14gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1139mgPotassium: 247mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1175IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 340mgIron: 1mg
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