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Southern Style Shrimp and Grits

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When I’m in the mood for comfort food, shrimp and grits is one of my favorite go to’s. This southern style recipe is creamy and rich, and ticks all of the right boxes.

Tow bowls of Southern style shrimp and grits.

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I live in the South and have had all kinds of shrimp and grits. Let’s just say shrimp and grits are a firm favorite of mine, and this is my go-to recipe! Cheesy and creamy grits are served with fresh shrimp, cooked in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce for one delicious bite.

Straight forward to make from scratch, this is an explosion of all favorite flavors; shrimp, bacon and cheese. What’s no to love?!

Be sure to check out my Instant Pot Grits with Cheddar and Jalapeño and Ninja Foodi Fish and Grits too!

Southern style shrimp and grits served in a bowl.

How to make Southern style shrimp and grits

  • Gather your ingredients.
Ingredients to make the recipe.

Make the grits

  • Add heavy cream, water, grits, butter, and salt to a medium sized heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat, and whisk to combine.
  • Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
  • Continue cooking over low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The grits are done when the majority of liquid has been absorbed and the grits are nice and creamy.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Set aside.
Four step by step photos to show how to make the grits.

For the shrimp

  • While grits are cooking, season the shrimp with a little salt and pepper (about 1 tsp kosher salt and ¼ tsp black pepper) and set aside.
  • Place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until it becomes crispy, flipping halfway. Remove bacon from skillet. Drain the bacon drippings from the skillet, leaving behind about 1 Tbsp of bacon drippings in the pan. Return the pan to the heat.
  • Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onions have softened.
Cooking the bacon and vegetables.
  • Add the fire roasted tomatoes, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
  • Then add the shrimp to the skillet in the sauce, in a single layer, and cook for 3 minutes per side.
Two photos to show how to cook the shrimp in the sauce.
  • Cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Remove from heat.
The cooked shrimp in a skillet.

Plate the Shrimp and Grits

  • In each bowl, place grits in the bottom of the bowl. Top with the shrimp mixture, then top with bacon and chopped green onions. Serve and enjoy.
Four step by step photos to show how to plate the dish.

Can you make it ahead of time?

Grits are best served as soon as they are made, as this is when they are at their creamiest, but leftovers will keep well for a couple of days and can be reheated in a pot on low heat with about a cup of boiling water whisked into it. The shrimp are best cooked and served straight away too, but leftovers will keep for 3 to 4 days and can also be reheated on low heat on the stovetop.

Can you use frozen shrimp?

I prefer to use defrosted shrimp as I find they have a much better texture, but you can use frozen if you have those on hand. Thaw them fully and pat them dry to remove excess moisture before seasoning and cooking.

What are grits?

Grits are similar to polenta and they are made from stone-ground dried corn. When cooked, slowly in water, they release their starch and become super creamy and porridge-like. When cheese is added to the mix, they get extra tasty!

Make sure to buy stone-ground grits for this recipe. I don’t recommend quick-cooking grits for this recipe. Trust me with this, stone-ground will give the creamiest, heartiest, and comforting bowl of grits.

Close up of the cooked shrimp served on top of the cheesy grits.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • If planning ahead, you can soak the grits in the water overnight. Don’t drain them, just pop the pot right on the stove and the released starch gets them extra creamy. They also cook a little quicker too using this method.
  • These grits are Southern style because of the added cheese in the grits and bacon spinkled on top. You don’t have to add the cheese or the bacon, but it really does elevate the dish.
  • Take care not to overcook the shrimp, they only need a few minutes each side to cook through.
Close up of the shrimp and grits in a bowl ready to eat.

More Shrimp Recipes

Tow bowls of Southern style shrimp and grits.
Print Pin
4.67 from 3 votes

Southern Style Shrimp and Grits

When I'm in the mood for comfort food, shrimp and grits is one of my favorite go to's. This southern style recipe is creamy and rich, and ticks all of the right boxes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword grits with shrimp, homemade shrimp and grits, how to make grits from scratch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 1175kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

For the grits

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup stone ground grits
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

For the shrimp

  • 1 lb medium sized shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 4 pieces of bacon chopped
  • ½ of a sweet onion chopped, about ½ cup
  • ½ of a green bell pepper chopped, about ½ cup
  • 1 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 green onion chopped

Instructions

Make the grits:

  • Add heavy cream, water, grits, butter, and salt to a medium sized heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat, and whisk to combine.
  • Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
  • Continue cooking over low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The grits are done when the majority of liquid has been absorbed and the grits are nice and creamy.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Set aside.

For the shrimp:

  • While grits are cooking, season the shrimp with a little salt and pepper (about 1 tsp kosher salt and ¼ tsp black pepper) and set aside.
  • Place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until it becomes crispy, flipping halfway. Remove bacon from skillet. Drain the bacon drippings from the skillet, leaving behind about 1 Tbsp of bacon drippings in the pan. Return the pan to the heat.
  • Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onions have softened. Add the fire roasted tomatoes, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
  • Add shrimp to skillet in the sauce, in a single layer, and cook for 3 minutes per side, until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Remove from heat.

To plate:

  • In each bowl, place grits in the bottom of the bowl. Top with the shrimp mixture, then top with bacon and chopped green onions. Serve and enjoy.

Notes

  • If planning ahead, you can soak the grits in the water overnight. Don’t drain them, just pop the pot right on the stove and the released starch gets them extra creamy. They also cook a little quicker too using this method.
  • These grits are Southern style because of the added cheese and bacon. You don’t have to add the cheese or the bacon, but it really does elevate them.
  • Take care not to overcook the shrimp, they only need a few minutes each side to cook through.

Nutrition

Calories: 1175kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 93g | Saturated Fat: 54g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 27g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 591mg | Sodium: 2340mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3779IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 536mg | Iron: 4mg
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Although myforkinglife.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will myforkinglife.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

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Recipe Rating




Mary Meyer

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

Love shrimp cooked any way it can be.

Tanya

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

Same here Mary :)

Stephanie

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

Thanks Tanya! I made this last night for dinner for my family. The shrimp was flavorful and these were the creamiest grits ever -- real Special Occasion comfort food! (Not only that. Your recipe was easy to follow, and your commentary was fun.)

Tanya

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

Thanks so much Stephanie! So glad you liked the recipe :)

Patricia

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Thank you so much. I was waiting for a recipe for shrimp and grits. It looks delicious. I can’t wait to try this.

Randy Brock

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

That's an awesome recipe! I like just a little bit of a roue stirred in,just my way. You can keep your Grits warm by setting Grits pot in a Deep skillet with water and they are pretty hard to mess up!

Tanya

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

I love that tip Randy! Thanks so much :)