I am a Southern girl. Although I moved around some in my twenties, the South called me home. I answered that call and we moved our little family back to my stomping grounds in 2015. I cannot imagine living anywhere else. When you grow up in the South, you learn the value of hospitality. Every year, we welcome droves of tourists as they discover our beautiful paradise, the Emerald Coast of Florida. With proper hospitality comes good cooking and in the South, it is not polite for your guests to go home hungry. Therefore, we Southerners have a bunch of back pocket recipes that we can whip out at any moment. My creamy, dreamy cheese grits recipe is one of my back pocket recipes that frequently appears on my dinner table.
This cheese grits recipe is hearty, creamy, and has just enough punch to make your dinner guests go home wondering what exactly made this recipe different from all the others. The best part about this recipe: you can cook it from start to finish in about 15 minutes! When I say "quick," I mean "QUICK!"
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Table of contents
What Are Grits?
If you are not from the South, you may not be familiar with this Southern delicacy. Grits are basically cornmeal that has been boiled in water or stock, and then dressed up with milk or cream, butter, and/or cheese. In the South, we often eat grits at breakfast, but we also eat them as a dinner side dish. Since this recipe has a secret ingredient (a splash of white wine), it is best served at dinnertime. Or, you can serve it at breakfast, but you may want to omit the white wine.
You may be thinking that grits sound a whole lot like polenta, and you would be right. Grits and polenta are both made from ground cornmeal. The difference is that polenta is made from yellow corn and grits are made from white corn (hominy). They are both delicious and you can easily substitute polenta in this recipe and it will taste divine. You would need to adjust your timing, as polenta takes longer to cook than quick grits.
What Do You Serve With Cheese Grits?
As I mentioned above, you can eat cheese grits at breakfast or at dinnertime. Here are some ideas for other dishes that go beautifully alongside this delicious cheese grits recipe:
- Mushroom and Spinach Quiche
Dinner - Main Dishes
- Oven Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings with Hot Honey
- Restaurant Quality Chicken Breasts with Pan Gravy
- Baked Chicken Thighs with Apple Cider Sauce
Dinner - Side Dishes
Why Use Quick Grits?
I hear you: "What kind of self respecting Southerner promotes a recipe using quick grits?!" "You must not really be from the South!" "Grits are supposed to take HOURS to cook! Every Southerner knows that!" Before I start receiving hate mail containing these thoughts and probably worse, let me explain.
As a busy mom who owns and runs two businesses, I do NOT have time to cook grits for an hour. On the weekend, maybe. But even then, I don't always want to. So, I set out to create a cheese grits recipe that comes together quickly without sacrificing flavor.
The recipe below uses 5-minute quick grits. I prefer Quaker. (This is not a sponsored post.) If you are a grits purist (and there is nothing wrong with that!), you may use the stone ground grits you grew up eating. You will need to adjust your timing if you use any other grits, or if you use polenta. So, please be sure to cook the grits per the instructions on the packaging.
In my opinion, when cooked properly, quick grits taste delicious. Plus, you just can't beat a 15-minute recipe!
Delicious Recipe Variations
In this recipe, the grits are boiled in a combination of chicken stock and whole milk. You can definitely switch up these ingredients. You can also substitute a lower fat milk or water in the recipe. Or, if you are serving these grits with shrimp, you can use seafood stock. The important thing is to make sure the total amount of liquid is correct for the cooking process.
I use smoked gouda cheese in this recipe. However, you can stir in just about any delicious melting cheese to make this recipe sing. I've used cheddar, Monterrey jack, gruyere, parmesan... this dish is super versatile!
Something else I like to do is sauté cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and serve them on top of these grits. The added pop of acidity from the tomatoes is a great complement to the richness of the cheese grits. There are so many things you can do with this recipe! The possibilities are endless!
The Best Way To Serve Grits
This recipe is best served immediately. Why? Because the longer grits sit in a bowl, the more liquid they soak up. If you want to make this cheese grits recipe ahead of time, be sure to keep them in the pot on low heat and you will need to occasionally stir in a splash of warm broth to loosen the grits up.
All of my posts contain my recommendations for essential tools. I have researched these tools. Many of them are already in my kitchen. I do the research so you don’t have to and I only recommend high-quality tools.
My essential tools when making this cheese grits recipe include the following:
Quick And Creamy Cheese Grits
- 1 ½ cups quick grits
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 8 oz. smoked gouda cheese shredded
- 4 tbsp. butter unsalted
- ¼ cup white wine
- In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan set over high heat, bring milk and chicken stock to a boil.
- Whisk in 5-minute quick grits.
- Stir in salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Cook quick grits according to package instructions, about 5 minutes, until the grits have absorbed most of the liquid.
- Remove pot from heat. With a spatula, stir in smoked gouda cheese, unsalted butter, and a splash (about ¼ cup) white wine. Serve immediately.