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What are Grits? Recipe Included

What are grits? This is a question you’re not likely to hear from anyone born and raised in the South. But there are still some Americans who have never tasted them. And that’s a shame because this absolutely delicious dish goes with so many different foods.

bowl of grits beside pot of grits

Or you can eat them alone if you just want a little comfort food. Add a dollop of butter and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper for a mouthful of deliciousness.

You can also add this comfort food to any meal, and call it southern. In fact, many southerners eat it every single morning for breakfast or as a side in place of rice.

Grits make a delicious side dish whenever you make a breakfast casserole.

Grits with butter, salt, and pepper

Saying grits ‘n eggs, grits ‘n ham, or grits ‘n anything is more than just a southern expression. It’s something we really do enjoy eating.

Singular or Plural

As I researched this delicious dish for this post, I noticed a lot of inconsistencies in the use of “grits are” vs. “grits is.”

According to, the word “grits” can be used with either a singular or plural verb. Since it sounds better to me to use the plural version, that’s what I’ll do here.

bowl of cheese grits

You can say it however you like. Just make sure you order them next time you go out for breakfast.

Then you’ll want to stop off at the grocery store and pick some up. They’re so easy to make, and they go with almost any breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

What Are Grits Made Of?

The form of this dish that most southerners enjoy come from ground and dried hominy corn.

Then you cook them with water or milk to make a “gritty” form of mush.

Are Grits the Same Thing as Polenta?

They’re basically the same but with two big differences.

Grits are a southern comfort food made from white corn, while polenta is used in Italian dishes and is made from yellow corn.

Are They Good for You?

In addition to being filling, they have some essential nutrients that include iron, B vitamins, and fiber.

However, some of the things you might want to add (i.e., butter or cheese) can significantly increase the calorie count as well as some of the nutrients.

What Do Grits Taste Like?

Some people think they are flavorless, but I think they have a hint of corn flavor.

However, the taste is so subtle they take on the flavor of what you serve them with.

How Do You Cook Them?

They are super easy to cook. Although I’ve made them in the microwave, I find it’s just as easy to make them on the stovetop.

All you need are grits, water, and salt. My grandmother used to add a little bacon grease to the pot, and added quite a bit of flavor.

Quick 5-minute grits, cup of water, and shaker of salt

This time, I used the Quaker Quick 5-Minute Grits because that was all I could find at the store. However, I prefer the regular version, and they don’t take much longer to make.

I like the standard way of making them because I enjoy the familiar texture.

However, one of my grandfathers liked them runny, while the other like them firmer, with less liquid.

As with anything else, it’s all about your personal preference. Experiment a little and decide for yourself which way you prefer them, runny or firm.

How Do You Eat Them?

Basically, they remind me of rice or mashed potatoes because you can eat them a variety of ways.

I prefer them with butter, salt, and pepper when I eat them for breakfast with scrambled eggs or vegetable omelets.

They also make a great accompaniment in the southern favorite, this shrimp and grits dish.

When I was in college, I ate at the campus Commons. I ate breakfast almost every morning, and I didn’t care for the eggs.

Most likely, they came from a carton rather than a shell. After all, the campus mess hall had a lot of hungry mouths to feed, and cracking that many shells could take all day.

At any rate, I didn’t like the way they tasted, so I always mixed them with grits to make them palatable. I wasn’t the only one who did that.

A lot of people like to add cheese to them. I generally don’t eat them that way. However, I do like both foods, so I like it. That’s just not my favorite way to eat them.

Other ways you can eat them are with sausage crumbles, bacon bits, onions, or with milk.

shredded cheese on top

I’ve known very few southerners who put sugar on them. But there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s how you like them. Other people add honey or maple syrup.

If you’ve never had them before, try them a variety of ways before you pass judgment. Food should be nutritious, but I believe it should also taste good.


Bring the salted water to a boil over high heat.

Turn down the heat to simmer.

Salt shaker over boiling water.

Add the grits, give them a quick stir, put a lid on them, and wait five minutes.

Then they’re done and ready to enjoy!

grits in pot of water

If you want them a bit firmer, decrease the water by 2 tablespoons. On the other hand, if you prefer to have them runny, add 2 tablespoons of water.

You can even make them creamier by substituting milk for some or all of the water.

I advise preparing them the standard way and adjust according to your personal taste.

Common Questions About Grits

Grits are such a popular food in some parts of the country that you might have some questions about them. Here are some of the most common questions I’ve been asked.

What are the Dark Specks in Grits?

Grits are made from corn. It’s not unusual for pieces of the corn kernel to get into the batch. If you see dark specks, don’t worry. It’s not dirt or bugs. It’s part of the corn that the grits were made from.

How Do You Keep Leftover Grits?

If you’re unable to eat all of that you made, you can store them in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure you cover them with plastic or store them in an airtight container.

Can You Reheat Grits?

Yes, you can reheat them. However, you need to be very careful how you go about reheating them to prevent them from drying out.

One way is to place them in a microwave safe bowl. Add a small amount of water or milk to the grits and stir them until they loosen up. Place them in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds, Remove them from the microwave and stir them. If they’re not hot enough repeat this process until you have them at the perfect temperature.

Another way to reheat them is to put them in a small saucepan. Add a tablespoon or two of water or milk and turn the heat on medium. Stir them frequently to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Ultimate Comfort Food

Your taste for this delicious dish might have begun as a child in the South. Or you may be from the North and learn to like them.

Whatever the case, many of us consider them to be the ultimate comfort food. There is no better way to start the day than to have them for breakfast.

Grits with butter, salt, and pepper


The word “grits” is also an acronym for a number of sayings.

Some of them include “girls raised in the South,” “gentleman raised in the South,” “gals raised in the South,” and “guys raised in the South.”

Yield: 2 servings

Grits Recipe

Grits with a pat of butter

Grits are the perfect side dish that goes with almost any breakfast or dinner.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup of dry grits
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (optional)


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a rolling boil.
  2. Turn down the heat to simmer and add the grits. 
  3. Give the grits a quick stir, put a lid on the pot, and let them simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. If you like butter on them, add it now while they’re hot.
  5. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 156Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 275mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 2gSugar 0gProtein 3g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

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Captain Pete

Tuesday 20th of October 2020

Since I discovered making grits in the crockpot I eat them much more often in all manners of ways almost always with cheese . Stone ground grits are the best


Saturday 25th of April 2020

I did not think grits were easy to cook when I first tried as a young wife almost 57 years ago! I am now known for tasty grits in my family. To your recipe, try adding a little whipped cream cheese and extra shredded cheese. Any will work, we like sharp cheddar or Mexican Blend. A little heavy cream for a change is delicious too. PS - runny is never welcome here. Be well and safe.


Saturday 25th of April 2020

Your grits sound amazing! Several people have recommended cream, so I'll have to try it. I do like cheese in my grits. Thanks so much!

Dana Carrier

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

I love grits, also. Just reading this article makes me want to go out and get some at Walmart. My first grits were horrid. A friend made "Cheese Grits". Somehow they were way too salty. Later, I had them with butter and sugar and cream... Heaven! When I moved to the SW, I had them with butter and salt and pepper. Later I found them in the military dining facilities for breakfast. I found that I love them best at breakfast.


Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

Hi Dana! Thanks for sharing! I like them best for breakfast too! However, shrimp and grits are wonderful at suppertime!

Tony Houston

Thursday 12th of March 2020

I love my grits with butter and sugar or butter and honey.


Thursday 12th of March 2020

Hi Tony. In my book, grits are good, no matter how you eat them. I prefer them with butter, salt, and pepper, but plenty of people like them sweet. Have you ever tried them with maple syrup?


Monday 2nd of December 2019

Grits: I love them. My mom used to make grits lije your recipe for breakfast. Often she would make them much fimer (less liquid), put that mix in a bread pan and refrigerate. Then for lunch or dinner she would slice and fry it with ham or pork along with a side of veggies (she liked to serve well balanced meals) or sometimes a fried or soft boiled egg.


Monday 2nd of December 2019

That sounds good! I've done the same thing with polenta, which is just like grits, only made with yellow corn.

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