Plain old shrimp and grits are nothing to complain about. But toss in some spicy andouille sausage as we do here, and ooooooh baby, we’re talking Southern loveliness that instantly takes us back to New Orleans.

If you’re dubious about taking the time to make shrimp stock and wondering if you can swap a chicken or vegetable stock in place of shrimp stock, you can.

The resulting dish will still taste really quite swell. But if you yearn for shrimp and grits that are imbued with a slightly nuanced, subtly sweet complexity with the faintest whiff of the sea, simmer some shrimp shells. Trust us.–David Leite

A blue and white bowl filled with shrimp and grits.

Southern Shrimp and Grits

5 / 3 votes
Southern shrimp and grits takes a classic and adds andouille sausage to make it even more indulgent. Our most requested recipe, this ridiculously rich dish takes its heat from cayenne, its creamy comfort from grits smothered in cheese.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories1090 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds large preferably head-on, 21 to 25 count shrimp, peeled and deveined (shells reserved)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 ounces andouille or other smoked sausage, cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 2 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 cup shrimp stock, homemade chicken stock, canned chicken broth, or vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion greens
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  • Creamy Stone Ground Grits


  • In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pan.
  • While the butter melts, season the shrimp with the paprika, salt, and cayenne. Add the shrimp to the skillet and sear for 1 1/2 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pan and let it melt. Add the andouille and cook, stirring often, until much of the fat has rendered and the andouille is crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the onion to the pan and sauté, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, shallots, and scallions and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, cook for 1 minute, then raise the heat to high and add the shrimp stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the sour cream to the pan and stir to combine. Return the shrimp to the pan, gently folding them into the liquid, and heat just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  • Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the Creamy Stone Ground Grits and sprinkle with the green portion of the scallions and the parsley. Serve the shrimp and grits hot.
Farm to Fork

Adapted From

Farm to Fork

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 1090 kcalCarbohydrates: 47 gProtein: 97 gFat: 58 gSaturated Fat: 29 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 673 mgSodium: 2946 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 14 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Emeril Lagasse. Photo © 2010 Steven Freeman. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This was my second try at cooking with grits. This recipe, though more time-consuming than the other shrimp and grits recipe from Paula Deen, is well worth the effort. The flavors blended amazingly well together and it became a gorgeous hearty meal, with different flavors and textures in each bite—the sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness—and colors that had the perfect contrast for when you have company. It all just worked so very well together. I loved it.

This is a nicely spiced version of shrimp and grits. I highly recommend using andouille as opposed to smoked sausage and tossing a bit of Cheddar cheese in your grits for extra oomph.

This is a terrific recipe where the flavors and textures all complement and contrast to make a delicious dish. The richness of the shrimp and cream is cut by the spiciness of the shrimp and the bite of the grits and the slight crunch of the onions. I would definitely add this to my regular rotation of dinner recipes.

We all loved this dish. Full of flavor with just the right heat, the shrimp cozied up to the creamy cheesy grits in a most delightful way, a little sexy and a lot homey. Everyone at the table asked for seconds, which was fine because the recipe—with its 3 pounds of shrimp and 6 ounces of sausage—easily feeds 8. It was a snap to put together, requiring no special techniques and only two pans (one for the shrimp and one for the grits) if you don’t count making a shrimp stock.

My grits cooked a lot faster than indicated which was a plus in my opinion. They only took about 45 minutes. I just covered them and left the on the counter while I prepared the shrimp.

The recipe calls for head-on shrimp, which at first I thought was a mistake since the picture shows headless and there are no instructions about removing the heads. But maybe “peeled” covers that. In any case, head-on were not available so I used headless. Which may partly explain why the yield was so much more. I made a quick shrimp stock, just a few aromatics and the shells. I think it was worth the bother because the dish had a very deep rich shrimp taste. I probably could have cooked the sauce a bit longer, it was a little soupy, but the juices all soaked into the grits and no one minded. Next time I will try this without the sour cream. I don’t really think the sauce needed it and, although it didn’t happen, I worried that it could cause curdling. Maybe I will serve it separately as a garnish to be stirred in.

My mouth is watering just remembering this dish! I didn’t make the shrimp stock, but did use 3 pounds of 21-15 count shrimp, which served 4 of us and yielded leftovers. My grits were soft and thick after an hour; I would make the grits first then start the shrimp when the grits are nearly done. The shrimp part is pretty fast and my grits were still warm once the shrimp was cooked. Having gotten the timing issues down, I have to say this is a delicious dish! I wouldn’t have thought to add sour cream to the sauce, but I think it really helped temper the spices, salt, and sausage flavors. It all came together quickly and those grits were used to scrape up every last drop of the sauce. The shrimp themselves were almost like an afterthought! This is definitely going into our weeknight rotation, as long as I remember to store sausage in the freezer.

Shrimp and grits is a dish with its roots firmly planted in the South Carolina lowcountry. There are probably as many versions as there are cooks, but the most traditional are also the most minimal: small shrimp sautéed in butter or bacon grease, seasoned only with salt and pepper, served over plain grits. It comes as no surprise that Emeril’s recipe is not a minimal version. I have to admit to some initial skepticism. A lot of non-traditional ingredients here. Tomatoes, cayenne, paprika, shallots, andouille, sour cream. Would the shrimp be overwhelmed? The answer was a resounding no. Somehow, all the ingredients come together in a flavorful, yet balanced combination that still lets the shrimp shine through. In a word, delicious.

In addition to the wonderful shrimp topping, you get two bonus recipes here. One is a sound method for cooking stone-ground grits. Using genuine stone-ground grits is essential to this recipe. They will likely be a mail-order item, as they are not generally sold in supermarkets. But it is worth the trouble to seek them out. You can get them from Anson Mills, Carolina Plantation, or Booneville Mill, just to name a few. Ignore the directions on the package, and follow the instructions given in this recipe. Yes, they take forever to cook. They are worth it.

The second bonus is the recipe for shrimp stock. I make stock every time I peel shrimp, but it is usually a bare-bones affair: cover shells with water and boil. Emeril’s version requires just a little more effort and ingredients, but the result is outstanding. Best shrimp stock I have ever tasted.

This is a time-consuming recipe since you should pay close attention to the grits as they cook, but it is well worth the time and effort. I thought that the grits were going to be overcooked but as they thicken, their flavor and smoothness develops. Finishing with the butter and then the cheese completes the process of turning the grits from breakfast cereal to a savory complement to the shrimp.

Rich and full of layers of flavor, this is a wonderful dish that I will put in my TC recipe book to make again. I served the leftovers to some friends the following day and the only complaint that I heard was that there wasn’t enough for seconds.

Changes for next time: I had quite a bit of oil from the andouille sausage, next time I will drain the oil from the sauce before I had the sour cream.

Delicious! I’m not normally an Emeril fan but this was a great one. I made my own shrimp stock which really added to the seafood flavor. This is a filling meal, especially with the cheese grits, I made a half portion which could probably feed about 4. The added kick of cayenne and paprika takes this traditional dish to the next level. I couldn’t find stone ground grits, I just used regular grits and they only took about 20 minutes to cook. I wouldn’t change anything about this dish.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    WOW… I absolutely love this…I tweaked it a bit to match what I had in the house.. lol but Awesome dish altogether. Added a half of lime juice and Parmesan cheese, Sazon seasoning on the shrimp and sweet bell peppers.

    1. Great to hear, Shawn! Thanks for letting me know. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try (and love!) next.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this dish for Super Bowl Sunday. It was great … if I must say so myself. I received complements from everyone and requests for the recipe.