Deliciously creamy, rich, and cheesy Southern breakfast meal or side dish Cheese Grits featuring butter, cheddar cheese, and smoked gouda. The best ever cheesy grits recipe you’ll have in your life. Silky smooth grits that literally melts-in-your-mouth!
Now speaking of a satisfyingly good breakfast, nothing compares to the thought of waking up to a lovely morning with a big warm bowl of this Cheese Grits!
It’s one of my all-time favorite indulgences. Whenever I go visit my family, they always make these silky smooth, creamy, rich, and cheesy grits all made in one pan. How can something that simple be that good? Well, That’s going to be about the ingredients!😅
What are Grits?
Grits are a Southern staple for centuries. They are made from corn that is ground into a coarse meal. Once it’s all grounded, they are sifted where the finer bits are called cornmeal and the coarser ones as the grits.
They are usually boiled and mixed with just about anything. Others go for the simple route of just butter and milk, and others go loaded by topping it all off with bacon, shrimp, ham, sausage, or egg. And yes, you can always go the sweeter route, too, for those with a sweet tooth, just like this Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge.
When choosing the grits to use, which by the way can be usually found in the hot cereal aisle, make sure you go with the Old-fashioned grits or the Quick or regular grits.
Quick or regular grits are finely ground that can be cooked between 5-10 minutes and are perfect if you’re always on the go but want a comforting and filling meal.
- Water – it’s the ingredient that will give the grits their thickness. Use the right amount of water to get the texture that you want.
- Milk – another liquid that adds creaminess to the cheese grits.
- Bay Leaf – an aromatic herb that gives more flavor once added during cooking.
- Salt and Pepper – to taste, add a pinch at a time especially the salt, remember that the cheeses also have salt in them.
- Grits – I used the quick grits for this recipe but you may also use other alternatives. Check out “Alternative Ingredients” below.
- Unsalted Butter – added for a buttery taste minus the salt, because I want to control the amount of salt I add into the grits.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – it gives a strong and tangy flavor to the grits.
- Smoked Gouda – has a creamy texture at room temperature and nutty flavor with a smokey taste too.
- Polenta – both grits and polenta are made out of corn, but they will have a different texture as Polenta is coarser and yellow in color, while grits have a smoother texture and it’s whiter.
- Stone-Ground Grits – are old-fashioned coarsely ground grits. Use this instead of quick grits for rustic Southern-style grits.
- Chicken Broth – instead of water use a flavorful broth to infuse more flavor in the grits.
- Buttermilk – adds a dairy sweet and a subtly tangy flavor to the grits. Use it in place of milk.
- Mushrooms – saute it first along with onion before adding it to the grits. The mushroom flavor combines well with cheesy grits.
- Other Cheese – these can be Goat cheese, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, and White Cheddar. Other hard cheese types can also be added, just grate them before adding to the grits.
- Olive Oil – you can substitute butter with olive oil for a healthier option. Olive oil has that aroma and fruity flavor that works well with other cheese grits ingredients.
- Herbs and Spices – aside from bay leaf, you can also use thyme and rosemary to make savory grits. These herbs also go well with the flavor of the cheese.
Can You Use Cornmeal for Grits?
In a nutshell, yes you can, but that would yield a different texture as grits have a coarser texture compared to cornmeal.
How to Make Grits Creamy?
The very thing that I’ve learned over the years is that combining milk and water as the base for the Cheese Grits recipe yields the silkiest and melt-in-your-mouth kind of grits.
Adding butter also contributes to achieving a lovely creamy texture on top of freshly shredded cheddar cheese and smoked gouda. Yes, Cheddar and Gouda! Make sure to buy the block cheese and shred it yourself. The flavor is truly unbeatable!
How to Reheat Grits?
Stovetop reheating. Add the cheese grits to a medium-size saucepan and heat on the stovetop over low heat. Adjust the thickness by adding milk while stirring until heated through.
Whether you’re serving it as a breakfast or taking a back seat as a side dish, you can always pair these easy cheesy grits with just about anything. I love it with just a simple poached, boiled ( learn here- how to boil eggs) and also fried egg on top for breakfast, but you can also pair it with the dishes below:
More Southern Comfort Food
How To Make Cheese Grits
Cheesy Grits Base
- Bring the liquid to a boil. Start by adding water, milk, bay leaf, and salt to a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. (Photos 1-3)
- Slowly whisk in grits. Gradually whisk in the grits, until you have added the whole thing to the pot, a little at a time. Keep stirring with a whisk to prevent any lumps. (Photo 4)
- Make sure to remove lumps by whisking. You may have to remove the saucepan from heat while trying to get rid of lumps – if needed.
Creamy and Cheesy Grits
- Patiently cook at a low simmer while stirring. Reduce heat and cook grits at a bare simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until water is fully absorbed and grits thickened. This will take you about 10-15 minutes. (Photo 5)
- Finish cooking. Remove grits from heat; add butter and cheese, stirring with a whisk until cheese melts. (Photos 6-7)
- Adjust the cheese grits consistency. If cheese is too thick add additional milk. (Photo 8)
- Enjoy piping hot! Topped with more cheese and butter, if desired
- 2 cups (473 ml) water
- 3 cups (732 ml) milk , sub with water (see notes)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup (159 g) quick grits
- 3-4 tablespoons (42.53 – 56.70 g) unsalted butter
- 1-2 cup (113 – 226 g) sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (113 g) smoked gouda
- Start by adding water, milk, bay leaf and salt to a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Gradually whisk in the grits, until you have added the whole thing in the pot, a little at a time. Keep stirring with a whisk to prevent any lumps.
- You may have to remove the saucepan from heat while trying to get rid of lumps – if needed.
- Reduce heat and cook grits at a bare simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until water is fully absorbed and grits thickened. This will take you about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove grits from heat; add butter and cheese, stirring with a whisk until cheese melts.
- If cheese is too thick add additional milk.
- Enjoy piping hot! Topped with more cheese and butter, if desired
Tips & Notes:
- Water and milk combination. Is best when making grits. It yields a silky texture and melt-in-your-mouth unbeatable flavor.
- Cook it at a low temperature. The best way to cook grits is to keep stirring while simmering. You might overcook the grits if you rush cooking it at high heat.
- Cook it longer. This will help you achieve a creamier and softer texture aside from adding the cheese and butter.
- Use flavorful liquid. The milk and broth are great additions to making grits because it infuses a lot of flavors and helps to make it soft and creamy.
- Measure the liquid ingredients properly. In some instances, you might have used random equipment in measuring. Assuming that it’s the same as “properly measuring” the liquid can greatly affect the consistency of the grits, which may result in it being too thin or too thick.
- Give it a rest. Right after cooking might look like the best time to serve it. But, you actually need to give it a bit of time to help thicken it up. You’ll see that it’ll thicken up as it sits.
- Cook it ahead of time. I mean if you are to make breakfast and need to cook other stuff then try to cook the cheese grits first. Doing so will help you focus on making the grits to avoid overcooking it, as well as you can start making other stuff while resting the grits after cooking it.