Shrimp and grits satisfy this seafood-loving southern girl’s appetite more than almost anything else. It basically has everything that makes my taste buds sing.
It’s a quick dinner that is delicious and filling. And it’s one of my favorite main dishes! Here are 20 easy side dishes that you can serve along with it!
Southern Shrimp and Grits Recipe
Long before shrimp and grits were a “thing,” I had this delicious classic southern dish at a small family owned diner in New Orleans. My eyes rolled back as I savored every bite.
Since then, I’ve had shrimp and grits in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida. One thing I’ve noticed is that each version is different. And that’s a good thing!
If you want to try making this easy shrimp and grits dish, try it this way first. Afterward, you’ll know what you’d like to add or omit next time you make it.
Yes, it’s a southern classic, but it has enough flexibility that enables you to make it according to your family’s taste.
Ingredients for Southern Shrimp and Grits
Obviously, you put shrimp and grits in this dish. But what else? Basically, anything else you want.
I’m old school when it comes to eating grits. Just add butter, salt, and pepper, and I’m happy.
You can also add different flavors to the grits, such as garlic powder, onion powder, and whatever seasonings you like. In my opinion, the best way to make grits is however you like them.
As for the shrimp, I like the traditional Old Bay seasoning that adds tons of flavor to a lot of coastal southern dishes. Until I discovered sriracha sauce, I used Tabasco for the heat.
Another thing I like to add is crumbled bacon. I mean, after all, who doesn’t like bacon?
This meal is just as easy to prepare for a crowd as it is for two people. All you have to do is multiply the recipe by however many people you have.
In other words, if you’re cooking for eight, multiply the ingredients of this recipe by four.
For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.
Shrimp and Grits Variations
With so many different ways to prepare this delectable dish, you shouldn’t have trouble finding one you like. Cheese lovers will probably enjoy adding some cheddar to the grits, while purists only want salt and pepper.
You can use whatever shrimp you have. I like to use the freshest plump shrimp I can find. However, that’s not always possible, so I’ll pick up frozen shrimp.
The shrimp can be cooked any number of ways. I’ve had them in a gumbo-like gravy, fried, broiled, and so many other ways.
No matter how you cook them, I like them. However, as stretched for time as I typically am, I’ve found a way to throw this dish on the table in less than a half hour.
Here are some of the different ingredients I’ve seen with shrimp and grits:
- Bell pepper
- Worcestershire sauce
- Green onions
- Different types of hot sauce
- Black pepper
- Andouille sausage
- Cayenne pepper
- Creole sauce
- Red pepper
How to Cook Shrimp and Grits
If you’re in the mood for shrimp and grits, nothing else will make you happy.
Fortunately, the whole thing (from start to finish) only takes a few minutes. So you don’t have to wait long before dinner is served.
Prepare the grits according to the package. It’s super easy. Just add water and butter to boiling water.
Pour in the dry grits, and they’ll magically transform into that comforting mush we southern folks love.
Next, sauté the shrimp in a nonstick skillet that has a splash of olive oil, butter, or cooking spray. I add the Old Bay seasoning to the shrimp.
I’ve also used an iron skillet to cook the shrimp. If the skillet is well seasoned, it’s just as good as nonstick.
Remember that shrimp cooks quickly, so don’t leave it on the heat too long. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with rubbery shrimp.
For medium sized shrimp, it only takes about three minutes until they’re done.
Spoon the grits into individual bowls.
After that, scoop seven medium (or five large) shrimp on top of the grits. Sprinkle some parsley over the top, and then add the crumbled bacon. Yum!
But wait. That’s not all. Next comes the sriracha sauce that takes the flavor to a whole new level.
If you don’t have sriracha, you can use Tabasco, which is almost as good.
Congratulations! You have just made one of the most popular dishes in the country. And it probably took you less than half an hour.
Without much effort on your part, your family and friends will think you’re a genius in the kitchen.
Versatility of Shrimp and Grits
It’s an extremely versatile dish. In fact, you can make this in countless ways, including with or without sriracha, with cheese, or with any vegetable you like.
There are as many ways to prepare shrimp and grits as there are southern cooks. Naturally, all of us think our way is best.
But trust me. If you like a boatload of flavor, you’ll love my recipe.
About the Grits Under the Shrimp
In case you don’t know this information already, I thought I’d share my knowledge of the history of grits. They originated with a Native American tribe that ground corn similar to what we now know as hominy. The gritty texture after cooking it is where it gets its name.
Grits caught hold in the South, and this delicious side dish is now spreading out to other parts of the country. According to what I’ve heard, you can even find it in big northern cities.
Yes, even some New York eateries offer grits. Apparently, the “grits line” between northern and southern states no longer exists.
Now the History of Shrimp and Grits as a Couple
Families in the South often served shrimp and grits at home. Since no one can expect to keep such deliciousness under wraps, a chef at a small restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, offered it to customers. After that, shrimp and grits exploded across the South.
As the shrimp and grits recipe moved from one kitchen to the next, cooks and chefs added their own touches. That’s why it tastes different everywhere you go.
Delicious Desserts to Enjoy Later
Don’t forget about dessert. Any southern man, woman, or child knows that this is one of the most important parts of the meal!
No Bake Cherry Lime Pie – Sweet, tart, and absolutely amazing!
Chocolate Covered Pecans – Perfect for those times when you just want something sweet, quick, and delicious!
Caramel Crunch Bars – Easy to make, fun to eat, and oh-so yummy!
Apple Pie Cobbler – Quick and easy recipe from Out of the Box Baking! And absolutely delicious!
Lemon Bars – A winner with only 3 ingredients! Yum!
- 14 peeled, deveined medium shrimp
- 1/2 cup of quick-cooking grits
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter (for the grits)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (for the shrimp)
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
- 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the butter.
- Pour in the grits, stir, and turn the heat down to low.
- In a small or medium skillet, heat the oil or butter on medium-high.
- Add shrimp. Cook for a minute and flip the shrimp.
- Sprinkle the Old Bay seasoning over the shrimp. Cook for another two minutes.
- Spoon the grits into two shallow bowls.
- Scoop the shrimp and place 7 of them into each bowl.
- Sprinkle the crumbled bacon and dried parsley over the shrimp and grits.
- Drizzle the sriracha sauce over everything.
Increase or decrease the amount of sriracha sauce based on your heat tolerance.
Nutrition InformationYield 2 Serving Size 1-1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 432Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 79mgSodium 1091mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 12g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.