Shrimp and Grits is a classic southern dish with a delicious and easy grits recipe topped with a creole shrimp and bacon mixture in just 45 minutes.
SHRIMP AND GRITS
Shrimp and Grits is one of my family’s favorite southern recipes. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m all for beignets and po boys, but a really great shrimp and grits is a dark horse winner.
It’s creamy, savory grits topped with spicy creole seasoned shrimp and crispy bacon. You can actually enjoy this for breakfast or dinner, depending on your preference. In the southern US, you’ll find it both ways. This is a great recipe to serve for brunch on the weekend, something different from your usual french toast dish!
HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP AND GRITS SOUTHERN STYLE
There are a lot of different ways to make shrimp and grits, most of it coming down to the seasoning and grits recipe. You can use a basic seasoning, or a spicy cajun seasoning depending on what region you’re making this from. You’ll also find recipes where the grits are cooked in milk entirely. A lot of southern grits recipes include cheddar cheese and cream or butter.
Cheesy grits is one of the few times when it is acceptable to mix shrimp and cheese. Here is a really basic southern shrimp and grits.
- Boil broth or milk over medium heat, then add grits and cook until creamy.
- Add a splash of heavy cream, salt, pepper, and 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet, then remove from pan and cook the seasoned shrimp in the bacon drippings.
- Serve bacon and shrimp over cheesy grits.
CREOLE SEASONING RECIPE
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Mix everything together in a small bowl and save in a closed container at room temperature.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GRITS AND POLENTA?
Polenta is made from yellow corn and usually has a rougher texture, while grits are white corn (aka hominy) and turn out more creamy in texture.
Grits will really take on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking it in, in this case chicken broth. Polenta will take on the flavor, but not as well because it has a lot of flavor on its own.
Just to be clear, you can serve shrimp over either of these and it would be amazing. If I’m using polenta I’ll usually serve this for dinner, and grits would be for breakfast.
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MORE SHRIMP RECIPES
- Easy Shrimp Stir Fry
- Baked Shrimp Scampi
- Pesto Shrimp
- Bacon Brown Sugar Garlic Shrimp
- Creamy Shrimp Salad
TIPS FOR MAKING SHRIMP AND GRITS
- You can make this dish with other types of seafood, like catfish or codfish.
- If you don’t have bacon, you can make this dish with leftover ham, diced salami, spicy sausage, or pork roll. Chop up and cook in the skillet just like you would for the bacon.
- Add vegetables to this dish like tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, or butternut squash. Add them to the skillet with the onions to cook off any extra water.
- The creole seasoning is already pretty spicy, but you can add chopped spicy peppers if desired.
- Try to stick with fresh seafood if you can get it, you can’t beat it for flavor.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs like parsley or chives.
- Shrimp cooks really quickly and might be hard to see when covered in seasoning, so be extra careful not to overcook.
- Serve with lemon wedges so your guests can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 stalk celery thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
- Bring the broth, salt and pepper to a boil in a large pot before adding the grits and butter, stirring and cooking for 20-22 minutes or until the liquid is gone.
- Add the bacon to a skillet and cook until crisp then remove from the pan and add the shrimp and creole seasoning to the pan cooking for 1-2 minutes on each side.
- Remove the cooked shrimp and add in the garlic, celery and lemon juice cooking for 1 minute before adding the shrimp and bacon back into the pan and stirring to combine.
- Serve the shrimp mixture over the grits and garnish with parsley and scallions.