Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

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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.

Watch the video showing you how to make Cheesy Shrimp and Grits, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home!

overhead shot of shrimp and grits in a white bowl on a patterned napkin with a fork and two other partial views of shrimp and grits bowls

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.

overhead shot of shrimp and grits in three white bowls with glasses and patterned napkin

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?

close up view of shrimp and grits in a bowl with a fork

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.

shrimp and grits in three white bowls on a table setting with patterned napkin and a bottle of hot sauce

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

shrimp and grits in a white bowl garnished with a lemon slice and served with wine

Here are a few more shrimp recipes you might enjoy:

overhead shot of shrimp and grits in a white bowl on a patterned napkin with a fork and two other partial views of shrimp and grits bowls
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4.86 from 41 votes

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

The best Shrimp and Grits recipe- super creamy and cheesy!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 931kcal
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword grits, Shrimp, southern



  • 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
  • pounds shrimp, peeled & de-veined
  • cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you don't like spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley



  • In a large pot over medium heat, add the milk, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.  Whisk in the grits and continue whisking until they begin to thicken. (This will help eliminate lumps.)  Continue to cook the grits for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.  Stir in the butter and cheese. Cover and set aside.


  • 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.
  • Return the skillet to the heat and add the shrimp to the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer the shrimp to a platter and keep warm.
  • Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Sprinkle the cornstarch over the onions/garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until the sauce begins to thicken.  Whisk in the cream, butter, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the sauce starts to thicken more.  Return the shrimp to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes- making sure not to overcook the shrimp.  Stir in the bacon, green onions and parsley.


  • 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.  Serve immediately.



Serving: 1serving | Calories: 931kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 586mg | Sodium: 2735mg | Potassium: 708mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2275IU | Vitamin C: 21.2mg | Calcium: 670mg | Iron: 5mg
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Kellie Hemmerly

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  • Cindy Rosenberry wrote:

    We live on Hilton head and you have nailed the style of shrimp and grits I like. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kelly Hester wrote:

    I like to think I am a cheesy shrimp and grits connoisseur not measuring anything and adding what I like and it comes out good: however, This is the best by far recipe I have tried. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!!!

  • Mia wrote:

    Can I use frozen shrimp?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Yes, just make sure it’s thawed out and then proceed with the directions.

  • Sara wrote:

    This was so rich and creamy. My family really enjoyed it and all went back for seconds. I found the seasoning to be pretty mild so I tripled the cayenne and added smoked paprika and extra garlic. I’m baffled by the other comments saying they used a smaller fraction of the spices in the recipe.

  • Beth wrote:

    This is very good but I believe the tsp. Of cayenne pepper was way too much. I think it that was a typo.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      It’s a spicy recipe! But I did add a note to use less cayenne if you don’t like spicy. Thanks for pointing it out 🙂

  • Anka wrote:

    Delicious! We’re not used to spicy foods so it was a bit spicy, but still really tasty.

  • Cynthia wrote:

    Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Made it twice in one week. It was so easy and tasty I had to prepare it for a visit with my sister!

  • Ashley wrote:

    Wow, made this tonight! Added extra hot sauce and some red pepper, which was fantastic! Absolutely delicious, easy and can’t wait to make again!

  • Verena wrote:

    This recipe is outstanding! I have made it three times. I still haven’t added the bacon yet but instead used smoked sausage/andouille sausage. It was delicious. I eat this with grits cooked similar to your recipe but used Sharp cheddar cheese while my kids and husband like the sauce/shrimp mixture with a penne pasta noodle. This is one of my new favorite’s within the last month. Thank you for a divine recipe!!!

  • Martin wrote:

    Good place to start… but be warned a full teaspoon of cayenne pepper and also a full teaspoon of hot sauce is too much. Fortunately I realized that before adding them. I used 1/2 teaspoon of each and it was delicious, to me… still probably too spicy for a lot of people. Next time it’ll get 1/4 teaspoon of each.

  • Genny Griffin wrote:

    Absolutely amazing! My family is from Louisiana and we made this today for breakfast! Rather simple to make and oh so good!