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Stone-ground grits in a bowl topped with a pat of butter and blackened catfish in the background.

How to Cook Stone-Ground Grits

Savory stone-ground grits accented with butter and smokey cheddar cheese is a dish to remember. Once you make them (and I'm going to teach you how to cook them right, bless your heart 😜), you'll understand why this savory dish is such a Southern classic.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Diet Gluten Free
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 192kcal
Author Imma


  • cup (840 ml) water
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk (can sub with water)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup (140 g) grits, stone-ground
  • 3-4 tablespoon ( 42-56 g) butter, unsalted
  • 1-2 cup (113-226 g) white sharp cheddar cheese, preferably smoked but optional


  • Start by adding water, milk, bay leaf, and salt to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  • Then gradually whisk in the grits a little at a time until they're all in the pot. Keep stirring with a whisk or spoon to prevent any lumps. (You may have to remove the saucepan from the heat while getting rid of them.)
  • Reduce the heat and cook grits at barely a simmer, covered, frequently stirring, until water is fully absorbed and grits thicken, 40-45 minutes. Cooking time varies depending on the grind's coarseness. If the grits get too thick, have some boiling water on hand and add a little to prevent scorching.
  • Remove grits from heat, remove the bay leaf, and add butter and cheese, stirring with a whisk until cheese melts. Serve piping hot with Cajun fish and sauce for the ultimate indulgence.
  • Enjoy!


  • Before getting into cooking your stone-ground grits, it's a good idea to remove the chaff. Simply cover the grits in water and give them a quick stir. Any hulls that made it through the grinding process will float to the top, and you can remove them before you begin cooking. Depending on the kind of grits you bought, there may be few or no hulls at all, but it doesn't hurt to check.
  • Keep a small kettle with boiling water nearby as you cook the grits, so you can prevent scorching. If you find the grits have absorbed all the water but aren't soft yet, add hot water as needed to extend the cooking time.
  • Season away! Since grits are pretty bland on their own, don't skip the seasonings in this recipe. In fact, if you want to add other seasonings and herbs you love, go for it! Top with parsley or chives, hot sauce or bacon crumbles, or all of the above. The sky is the limit!
  • If the grits are thicker than you'd like, there's an easy fix. Simply add extra milk or even chicken broth to thin them out.
  • Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Fiber: 5g