Southern Grits

Learn the easiest way to make the ultimate Southern comfort food – a big bowl of buttery, scrumptious, and soothing Southern grits. 

Spoonful of Southern grits.

We love our Southern grits. Creamy, hot, soothing, and delicious with cheese, bacon, or a simple stirring of butter and sugar, grits have been and continue to be the South’s ultimate comfort food.

Apparently many Southerners also see it as a dish that can actually bring out world peace! The Post and Courier, the oldest newspaper in the South, once declared: “an inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, grits should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of grits is a man of peace.”

I consider myself fortunate to be able to get real stone ground grits where I live. Real stone ground grits are truly Southern grits at their finest! But whatever grits you get your hands on will be fine for this Southern grits recipe. All we need is grits, water, salt, and butter. The ingredients are as simple as can be. Add all of the ingredients to a saucepot, let them reach a boil, and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Then you’ll have a big serving of homemade grits to share with your family.

If you’ve ever wondered how exactly you serve grits, fear no more! I’ve included lots of serving suggestions down below, so let’s get cooking!

Ingredients for Southern grits.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Grits
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Butter

How to Make Southern Grits

Now, sometimes I skip this step (I’m a rebel that way). But if you like, you can rinse the grits before boiling them. If you want to do that, go ahead and measure the desired amount of grits into a medium bowl.

Add some water and stir, as this causes the light bran to float to the top. Once that happens, pour off the water, allowing the bran to go with it.

Add grits and water to saucepot.

Next, place grits and water in the saucepot.

The secret to ultimately creamy Southern grits is to add more water than your directions call for and don’t try to cook them too fast. For these, my directions called for 2 cups of water but I added 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 of a cup.

Add salt to saucepot.

Add salt…

Add butter to saucepot.

And butter or margarine to the saucepot.

Give the grits a stir and bring to a boil.

Give the grits a stir before bringing to a boil and then lowering the heat.

Add lid and simmer for 30 minutes.

Simmer on low heat, covered, until grits are done (about 25 to 30 minutes).

A ladle full of grits.

That’s it! This easy grits recipe is complete – how quick and simple was that?

Bowl of Southern grits.

Serve however you like them best!

Some folks like to stir in cheese, others crumble up bacon in them. I like my old-fashioned grits simply with butter and a touch of sweetener.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat either in the microwave or on the stovetop for best results.

Recipe Notes

  • For creamy grits, stir in heavy cream, half and half, or milk before serving.
  • For more flavor, substitute the water for chicken broth.
  • You can also add flavor with different seasonings and sauces, like garlic powder, Creole seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, and your favorite hot sauce.

Recipe FAQs

What are Southern grits?

Grits are most similar to polenta and are made from stone ground dried corn. However, polenta is made from more finely ground corn or cornmeal, and grits are slightly coarser. When slow-cooked, grits release their starch to become a creamy porridge you can serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can get stone ground grits (also labeled as old-fashioned grits), instant grits, hominy grits, and quick grits.

How do you make grits cakes?

Turn leftover grits into grits cake by chilling grits in a loaf pan in the fridge until hardened. Then slice the grits and fry them in oil until crispy.

How do you serve Southern grits?

There are so many ways to serve grits, as both a side dish and main meal. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Make cheese grits by stirring in the cheese of your choice at the end, like shredded sharp cheddar cheese, homemade pimento cheese, or parmesan cheese.
  • You can also stir in crumbled bacon bits, green onion, caramelized onion, diced bell pepper, or sausage.
  • Shrimp and grits is a classic Southern main dish, but you can serve it with other seafood too, including crab, lobster, oysters, or Southern fried catfish.
  • Serve them as a side dish with chicken or turkey and gravy.
  • In Louisiana, grillades and grits is a popular main dish. Grits are often used as a substitute for mashed potato and served with Creole-style braised beef, veal, and stews.
  • Enjoy them as a breakfast side dish with eggs, bacon, and toast (bonus points if you swap the toast for a buttermilk biscuit).
  • How about a sweet breakfast combination? Enjoy your grits with your favorite fresh fruit, honey or maple syrup for sweetness, ground cinnamon for spice, and chopped nuts for texture.

You may also like these sensational Southern recipes:

Southern Deviled Eggs Recipe (Keto-Friendly)

Southern Fried Chicken Recipe (Fuss-Free)

Hush Puppies Recipe, Southern-Style

Simple Southern Fried Catfish

Southern Biscuit Recipe (3 Ingredients Only)

Southern Dressing With Cornbread

Bowl of Southern grits.

Southern Grits

Learn the easiest way to make the ultimate Southern comfort food - a big bowl of buttery, scrumptious, and soothing Southern grits. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grits
Servings: 4
Calories: 240kcal


  • 1 cup grits
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • If using stone ground grits, place them in a bowl, cover with water, and stir. Pour off the water and light bran, which has floated to the top.
    1 cup grits
  • Place grits in a saucepot and add water, salt, and butter.
    1 cup grits, 2 1/2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon butter
  • Stir ingredients together, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.
  • Cook, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until done.



Calories: 240kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. I love grits, but was wondering if you have ever tried them in the slow cooker like your oatmeal. How nice it would be to have them ready when we get up!

  2. I never had grits until I moved to Texas and started working at Denny’s Restaurant. Now I love grits and am happy to have recipe for it. I love putting many different things on top. Thanks so much!!

    Rosemary Mahoney

  3. I am currently very sick and I must say that just that simple bowl of grits looks wonderful. I think my husband just got a breakfast request. Mmmm I can’t wait.

  4. I love grits for breakfast! My friends used to always think I was weird for eating them since I live in the north east. This is the land of oatmeal and cream of wheat.

  5. I like my grits with butter and sugar and for breakfast. I remember when I was growing up I spent a summer in Florida with friends and after spending a day fishing they came home to make dinner from their catch. Totally unbeknown to me a ‘famous’ meal in Florida is fish and grits. Grits just don’t seem like it was made to accompany grits for dinner.

  6. Thanks so much for this post. I have been waiting patiently. You have made them totally different than I do so I am so excited to try it your way. Thanks!

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