Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

A classic Southern dish you can make at home in minutes, Cheesy Shrimp and Grits is a creamy, comforting bowl of happy. Cheesy grits are topped with a healthy helping of tender shrimp swimming in a slightly spicy cream sauce that will keep you digging in for more.

bowl of cheesy shrimp and grits

I spent years visiting Hilton Head, SC visiting my mother in law.  It was kind of a luxury having a relative that lived smack dab in the middle of  “low country.”  When I was a teenager, I had the chance to spend two weeks right outside Charleston and that’s when my love affair with the south began.  So, it had been almost 15 years before I was able to get down there again….but after that I was a frequent visitor biking along the coast while the Spanish moss blew in the breeze around me.

It’s a magical place with equally magical food, if you ever have the chance to visit…you must go.  One of my favorite things to eat every time I visited was Shrimp and Grits.  And everywhere you order it…it’s just a little bit different.

bowls of cheesy shrimp and grits

Everyone has their own take on Shrimp and Grits.  Even me, I love my grits to be extra creamy and loaded with cheese….hence, Cheesy Shrimp and Grits. A lot of places skip the cheese and you can too, but try it with the cheese and I promise you you’ll love it.

The sauce is slightly creamy but not overly thick. It’s the perfect blanket for your shrimp, not too heavy….not too light.  Just right.  And I used yellow cornmeal grits….you can use white if you prefer but I love the vibrant yellow color it adds to the dish.  It’s like a bowl full of southern sunshine…but with shrimp and bacon and other goodness just ready for you to dig into. Drooling yet?

creamy shrimp and grits

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits couldn’t be easier to make.  I like to make the grits first so they’re perfect and smooth.  They take a few minutes of your attention at the beginning but the result is a velvety smooth bowl of heaven.

The shrimp and gravy comes together in about 15 minutes making this an easy weeknight dinner that will transport your tastebuds on a mini vacation.

cheesy shrimp and grits

I can guarantee you’ll want to add this recipe to your weekly meal rotation.

Click below to watch a short video showing you how to make Cheesy Shrimp and Grits, then print out the recipe and make it at home!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits



  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal grits
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the milk, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Whisk in the grits and continue whisking until they begin to thicken. (This will help eliminate lumps.)
  3. Continue to cook the grits for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  4. Stir in the butter and cheese. Cover and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined platter using a slotted spoon to drain.
  6. Return the skillet to the heat and add the shrimp to the pan.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
  7. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and keep warm.
  8. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened.
  9. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  10. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the onions/garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  11. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
  12. Whisk in the cream, butter, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the sauce starts to thicken more.
  13. Return the shrimp to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes- making sure not to overcook the shrimp.
  14. Stir in the bacon, green onions and parsley.
  15. Spoon about 1 cup grits onto a plate and top with 4 to 5 shrimp. Pour about 1 cup gravy over the shrimp. Repeat with remaining grits and shrimp.
  16. Serve immediately.

Here are a few more shrimp recipes you might enjoy:

Kellie Hemmerly

Kellie is a busy mom of two and former marketing manager who is on a quest to create the fastest, tastiest dinners that every family will love. Creator of The Suburban Soapbox, a food and lifestyle blog, her recipes are fool-proof and suitable for quick weeknight dinners or easy entertaining.

more by Kellie »


  1. postedJun 6, 2018 4:29 PM

    Oh! Good Lord!! This IS a WINNER WINNER! the shrimp and cheesy grits I have been making cannot come close to this. The cream sauce takes this to a whole ‘notha level ? Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. postedApr 7, 2018 10:10 AM
    Audrey Young

    I tried this recipe for breakfast my second time making it, this time I shared with my husband he loved it to.
    Thanks for sharing with us,  this is one that I will make many times in the future. 

  3. postedMar 13, 2018 7:04 PM
    Dan William Alecknavage

    My wife loves shrimp and grits and a friend recommended this to me. I made it for her tonight and she absolutely loved it! Thanks for helpin make me the #1 husband tonight.

    • postedMar 14, 2018 6:23 AM

      yahoo- glad you enjoyed!

  4. postedMar 8, 2018 10:19 AM

    I made this recipe last night and it came out awesome!!!! It was my first time cooking shrimp and grits and I’m so glad that I stumbled across this one!!! Wish I could post a picture of my dish!!!???? thanks for sharing!! Oh and I fried a few pieces of Swai on the side 

  5. postedFeb 10, 2018 9:23 AM
    Carol Holtsclaw

    I want to make this for Valentine’s Day – regular grits or quick-cooking??

  6. postedDec 25, 2017 6:16 AM

    Made shrimp/grits last night. Fabulous!  
    One question-because of the cream the sauce is more of a white sauce.  What did u do to have a clear sauce in ur picture so all the colors come through

  7. postedDec 14, 2017 4:32 AM
    Honey Folk

    Kellie Girl, this recipe is ALL THAT! These are the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever eaten. I only made one slight variation, I used cream cheese in my grits instead of cheddar cheese. I can’t say enough about how tasty and comforting this meal is. You have outdone yourself with this homerun! It was easy to make, excited my tastebuds and pleased my guests. I would be happy to serve this meal to anyone. Thank you so much for sharing the secrets in your kitchen to mine!

  8. postedNov 20, 2017 4:56 PM
    Danyele Smith

    I made this for supper tonight and it was a HUGE hit! And my husband is a shrimp and grits snob! I am so excited to have found this easy but delish recipe and can’t wait to make it for my daughter who will be coming home tomorrow from school in Charleston! She loves shrimp and grits too. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  9. postedNov 18, 2017 8:18 AM

    I made this for Friday night dinner. It was DELICIOUS. I couldn’t find yellow cornmeal grits so I used 3/4C white grits and 1/4C yellow corn meal. It turned out GREAT. I used homemade shrimp stock instead of chicken broth. I ended backing-off using a whole TSP of cayenne pepper. I like spicy, but my family not so much. I probably used abt 1/8Tsp. It ended up being just right. My wife is the “grits aficionado” in our home and she was pleased with what I had created. I ended up using extra warmed milk to get a creamy (looser) consistency as the grits sat and cooled. I will be making this again…maybe for a get-together at the homestead.

    • postedNov 20, 2017 6:19 AM

      Happy to hear!

  10. postedNov 4, 2017 4:35 PM

    Love this recipe! I used 1/2 the cayenne and thick bacon slices. My Husband thinks it taste better the next day!

  11. postedSep 25, 2017 3:10 PM

    I have been trying different receipts for shrimp and grits. This by far is the best. I did cut down the cayenne to 1/2 tsp. Still pretty hot but not too hot. 

  12. postedAug 22, 2017 9:34 AM
    Lynda Archambeault

    Made this last night for dinner, and because I live alone, I halved the recipe, It was a little time consuming, but worth every minute! The shrimp and sauce were perfectly seasoned, the grits could use a little more cheese, but otherwise were good. I took the leftovers to my son who is my best critic, and he really liked it. I did use half and half because I had it in the house, it worked well. 

  13. postedJun 29, 2017 6:34 AM

    Made this last night. Fabulous. Added a few things had leftover corn and ham steak. Seasoned my shrimp with a bourbon bacon flavored seasoning. Topped with fresh chopped tomatoes and the green onions. Everyone loved it

  14. postedJun 17, 2017 3:33 PM
    Leah Parr

    I’m getting ready to double this for Father’s Day dinner. I’ve made it 2 other times and my husband says it’s his favorite, better than a good steak on the grill!  My dad and his are over tonight to enjoy this. I hope it doubles easy. I can’t lie that I’m not. Ervous. He’s built it up a lot. Lol. Thanks for the great recipe!

  15. postedJun 16, 2017 9:07 AM
    Sally Plummer

    This was just awesome!

    And, where did you get the hot sauce “caddie” in your pics? Does it have a specific name?

  16. postedApr 14, 2017 2:58 PM

    This has become one of my favorite recipes! Absolutely delicious!!

  17. postedMar 15, 2017 7:52 PM

    Why the cornstarch? I freak out when a ‘roux” is involved.

  18. postedFeb 26, 2017 5:26 AM

    I made this recipe for my family last night. I made a Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Gratin as a side dish, along with cheesy garlic biscuits (like they serve at Red Lobster). It was in my top 5 meals of all time. That sauce was incredible. While making it I was afraid it would be too spicy for my youngest daughter, but it was perfect!

    • postedMar 1, 2017 9:19 AM

      Happy to hear!!

  19. postedFeb 22, 2017 7:07 PM

    Fantastic! My first time making grits.
    Easy and completely yummy!

    • postedFeb 28, 2017 4:36 PM

      I’m so glad you liked it!  It’s one of our favorites.

  20. postedNov 25, 2016 9:28 PM

    This looks so delicious! I cannot wait to try it. So are you leaving all the bacon grease in the pan and using that in the gravy?

    • postedFeb 28, 2017 4:36 PM

      Yes, Sarah! Leave the bacon grease in the pan (there shouldn’t be “too” much) and use that for the gravy.  If you feel there’s just a bit more bacon fat than you’d like, feel free to drain and add about 2 tablespoons back to the pan to finish your dish. Thanks!

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