This savory Shrimp and Grits recipe features creamy, cheesy grits topped with Cajun-seasoned shrimp and gravy. A classic Southern flavor-packed dinner for the family or guests!
Easy Shrimp and Grits Recipe
Shrimp and grits is a simple, savory Southern classic that can be enjoyed for dinner all year round.
This Cajun shrimp and grits recipe begins with old-fashioned grits cooked with white cheddar cheese, then topped with seasoned shrimp and gravy. Add a scallion garnish and dinner is ready to go.
What I love most about this recipe is the seasoning and taste. From the Cajun spice to the white cheddar cheese to the lemon, every bite of this dish is exploding with flavor. And though they may not seem like the most obvious combination, the rich creamy grits, tender shrimp, and gravy all work together so well.
This shrimp and grits recipe is made with ingredients that will make your palate sing.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Chicken broth – Cooking the grits in broth adds more flavor to the dish.
- Milk – I use whole milk. I would not recommend skim as it’s too thin.
- Butter – Adds a rich, savory flavor to the grits.
- Salt & pepper – For flavor, so the grits aren’t flat.
- Grits – I use old fashioned grits.
- White cheddar cheese – White cheddar adds a nice tang to the grits. I recommend freshly shredded as it melts better.
- Bacon – Cooked with the shrimp for extra flavor.
- Shrimp – Use raw, not precooked, shrimp that is peeled and deveined.
- Cajun seasoning – You can find Cajun seasoning at most grocery stores and big box stores.
- Cornstarch – Thickens the shrimp gravy.
- Lemon – Lightens up the dish just a bit.
- Fresh parsley – For flavor and a pop of color.
- Hot sauce – Adds a bit of heat to the gravy.
- Scallions – A final garnish.
How to Make Shrimp and Grits
This Southern classic dish comes together in a few easy steps.
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions, and don’t miss the video below.)
- Make the grits. Bring the broth, milk, butter, salt, and pepper to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the cheese until melted.
- Bacon. Cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Crumble into bite-size pieces and set aside. Save a tablespoon of bacon fat in the skillet.
- Cook the shrimp. Season the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning, then cook until pink, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Make the shrimp sauce. Use half of the chicken broth to deglaze the skillet. Whisk the remaining broth with the cornstarch then add it to the skillet with the lemon juice, parsley, and hot sauce. Cook until it has started to thicken.
- Return the shrimp to the pan. Add the cooked shrimp and bacon back to the sauce and cook until just heated through.
- Enjoy. Serve your grits with the shrimp, topped with scallions.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for making this Cajun shrimp and grits recipe.
- Use fresh or frozen (thawed) shrimp for this recipe. Avoid precooked shrimp because they will turn out too tough.
- Shrimp tails on or off? I like to leave the shrimp tails on while cooking because they add to the flavor and look of the dish. But you can certainly take them off before cooking, no problem.
- Cook the shrimp in batches. You’ll want to cook the shrimp in a single layer to ensure even cooking so depending on the size of your pan, that may mean cooking them in layers.
- Can I use quick-cooking grits? You can use quick-cooking grits, but you must reduce your cooking time according to the packaging. Do not use the instant grits. It will not come out the same.
- Don’t overcook the sauce. You want the sauce to be thick enough that it’s almost gravy consistency, but be careful that it doesn’t cook too much or once you reheat the shrimp, the sauce will be like gelatin instead of gravy.
Video: Shrimp and Grits Recipe
When serving up the shrimp and grits, you’ll want to scoop the cheesy grits into a bowl then top with the shrimp and gravy. I like to finish mine with a sprinkle of scallions but that’s optional.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- Fridge. Store leftovers in the fridge in airtight containers for up to 3 days. I recommend storing the shrimp and the grits separately.
- Reheat. The best way to reheat shrimp and grits is on the stovetop, though the microwave will work in a pinch, adding a splash of broth or milk to loosen the grits and make them creamy again.
More Shrimp Recipes:
Shrimp and Grits
FOR THE GRITS
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 5 tablespoons butter , cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup old fashioned grits
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
FOR THE SHRIMP
- 3 strips bacon
- 1 pound raw shrimp , peel and deveined, thawed if frozen and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 lemon , juiced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley , chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 3 scallions , diced
- Make the grits: Add your chicken broth, milk, butter, salt, and pepper to a large saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture up to a boil and slowly whisk in the grits. Reduce the heat to low and occasionally stir until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted and remove from the heat.
- Add your bacon to a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and crumble it into bite-size pieces. Save about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet.
- Season your shrimp with the cajun seasoning.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer, cooking in batches if necessary, and cook until they have turned pink, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.
- Deglaze the skillet with half of the chicken broth.
- Whisk the remaining chicken broth and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add the mixture along with the lemon juice, parsley, and hot sauce to the skillet and cook until the sauce has started to thicken.
- Add the cooked shrimp and bacon back into the skillet and cook until the shrimp are just heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serve your grits with the shrimp and a sprinkle of scallions.