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Cheese Grits Recipe

Cheese grits are wonderfully quick and easy to make and are a delicious, gluten-free alternative rice or pasta. Serve with spicy shrimp or a juicy beef stew. This version is extra creamy with a bit of dairy.

Three bowls of creamy, buttery cheese grits.

There’s something about the texture of grits that was love-at-first-bite. Simultaneously creamy and lumpy, it complements a variety of meals and accommodates toppings like a champ.

Close-up of a handful of cornmeal

What’s the difference between grits and cornmeal?

The difference between grits (polenta) and cornmeal basically comes down to a coarser grind. Grits are also often made from corn that’s been treated with an alkalizing agent to remove the hull.

Fans of corn and corn products – cornbread and the like – will find grits familiar and comforting, like a really great bowl of oatmeal.

Step by step photos showing how to make cheese grits

Bring the water and milk to a gentle boil, and add the corn grits. Stir well to combine and reduce heat to medium.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until they have a creamy, mash-potatoey texture. Note that if you continue cooking you’ll end up with polenta (the sturdy block of grits that can be sliced like bread).

Mix in a big knob of butter and grated cheese, and serve.

Three small bowls of cheese grits, with spoons on the side

If you’re a savory breakfast person, like I am, cheese grits are a tasty and filling way to start the day, with a side of fruit.

In the South, they’re often served with shrimp, and I have a fondness for using them as a substitute for rice or pasta, such as with a hearty beef stew or roasted chicken.

A bowl of cheese grits
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Cheese Grits

A savory side that’s easy to make on the stove top.
Prep Time3 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time13 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese grits, cheesy grits
Servings: 6
Calories: 180kcal
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn grits (polenta)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (plus more for serving, optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Bring the water, milk, salt to a light boil in a medium pot.
  • Add the grits and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently until creamy. Stir in the butter and cheese.
  • Serve with additional butter and a crack of black pepper, or use as a base for savory toppings.


Calories: 180kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
Close-up of a small bowl of cheese grits topped with melted butter and a cracking of black pepper
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