Authentic grits, full of corn flavor, are ground between stones the old fashioned way to leave bits and pieces of the outer “germ” layer intact. The simple truth is that true stone-ground grits taste nothing like the run-of-the-mill kind you find on most supermarket shelves. South Carolina is famous for ‘em. They take longer to cook, as in these cheese grits, but are well worth the wait.

–Emeril Lagasse

How else can I serve this?

Not tucking into these cheese grits for breakfast? consider making them as an unspeakably inspired–and quite essential–companion for smothered shrimp and andouille over stone-ground grits. You won’t regret it. The consummate side, that we can promise.

A person holding a pot of creamy stone ground cheese grits with a wooden spoon in it.

Creamy Stone-Ground Cheese Grits

5 from 1 vote
Creamy, stone-ground cheese grits are ultra comforting and homey. Filled with ample white Cheddar and slowly cooked until lusciously tender, you’ve never tasted anything like it.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories503 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes


  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1/2 pound white Cheddar cheese, grated


  • Combine the water, milk, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits and cook, stirring frequently so the grits don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, for 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours. (We found that, depending on the size of the pan and the flame, the grits were sometimes creamy and done after 45 to 60 minutes. Still, the longer you cook them, arguably the creamier they become.) If the grits absorb all of the water and milk during this time, just add a little hot water as needed to thin out the grits until they reach the desired consistency.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the Cheddar. Serve the cheese grits immediately or set aside for a little while and reheat over very low heat. Originally published October 04, 2010.
Farm to Fork

Adapted From

Farm to Fork

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 503 kcalCarbohydrates: 33 gProtein: 22 gFat: 31 gSaturated Fat: 18 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 95 mgSodium: 1032 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 9 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 Nuno Correia. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m lucky to live close to a working gristmill where I buy organic stone ground grits. I love them just about any way they can be cooked. I made this recipe to serve as shrimp and grits. While this is a recipe you have to keep close watch over, it’s well worth the time. My grits took 55 minutes to cook and I did have to add a little more hot water. I wanted to save some to eat for breakfast the next morning, but there were no leftovers. Oh well. Since they’re better the first time they’re cooked, I’ll just have to get up early and make these for breakfast.

I always loved grits when I was growing up and have memories of being so excited as a little girl when I knew my mom was making grits. Usually they were served as breakfast-for-dinner or to go along with fresh-caught seafood.

When I got to college and out on my own, I tried them in the school cafeteria and later bought versions you can make in the microwave or quickly at home and was beyond disappointed with them all. The texture and taste were nothing like my memories! I gave up on grits. Then, a few years ago at one of our favorite little restaurants—the kind where the menu is new each time you go because it is truly what the chef found fresh and created that day—my husband’s meal came with creamy cheesy grits with blackened tuna on top. Just by the “mmmmm” noises he could not control, I had to take a bite, and the memories flooded back. I had to find out how to make the perfect creamy, cheesy grits. Since that time I’ve tried a lot of recipes in search of grits that would meet the high standard of my memories, some with much heavier ingredients than this recipe (i.e., cream, butter).

This recipe reached—or maybe exceeded—the goal. And it is SO easy. I wouldn’t change a thing. I made these to go with simple grilled sausages as a quick summer meal. Yes, the cooking time is long, but I didn’t feel like I was actively cooking the entire time, just occasionally stirring. There’s so little clean-up compared to most dishes, that even that part was easy. We thought the seasoning was perfect, too. My husband usually thinks grits need more salt, but he didn’t need to add any to this recipe. I think these would be perfect for brunch, with any seafood, even steak for a change from potatoes, and it went great with the sausages. Definitely a new family favorite.

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. Ok, I think you’ve convinced me. This Jersey girl has tried grits, but never found the redeeming value in them — they were soooo blah. I picked up a package of Stone Ground grits at Williams-Sonoma a while ago so now it’s time to use the package. I’m going to give this recipe a go along with the shrimp and andouille recipe you suggest.

    Surely if guys from MA get into grits, this Jersey girl can too!

    1. Fran, you got to try it. I added considerably more milk, as I like my grits loose and creamy, but it was fantastic. (That whole pot was gone 20 minutes after we shot it)

  2. 5 stars
    Totally love in a pot David!!! I just made grits for dinner this week. I like to add beer, a mix of onions and garlic sauteed in cumin and paprika, a few diced tomatoes, and of course cheese. YUM! I could eat them every day.

    1. Hi Amy,

      I love, love, love cheese grits. (And I have to agree with Emeril, we do have the best grits here in South Carolina!)

      1. I can attest to that. Beth sent me a bag of South Carolina white grits and, boy, do I love them. I’m guess I’m just a good ole Southern boy at heart (who can’t live with out New England clam chowder and fried clams….)