Shrimp and grits

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Shrimp and grits are an iconic southern dish and easy to prepare at home. Grains topped with shrimp, onions, peppers, and bacon come together for this classic dish with great flavor.

Easy shrimp and grits

A classic southern dish

Shrimp and grits are one of those iconic southern dishes that stir something inside those who grew up with them.

Native to the southern ocean – Georgia, the Carolinas lowland coast, and the Gulf Coast states all have their versions – this amazing homey bowl was historically a simple fisherman's breakfast: grits, a bit of bacon and some shrimp above.

If you've ever eaten it, you can understand why shrimp and grits have erupted from the shrimp huts by the sea.

The beans are soft, buttery, and often cheesy, with a flavorful sauce, studded bacon surrounding them, and loads of shrimp. Maybe a little parsley or green onion to add color and crunch.

My recipe is an amalgamation of all my best experiences with shrimp and grits. However, if you have direct inspiration, it would be the 2011 version I ate by chef Linton Hopkins of the Holeman & Finch restaurant in Atlanta.

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I never received your recipe, and I don't claim to have the One True Shrimp and Grits recipe, but I can vouch for how this tastes.

Shrimp and grits on plate

How to make shrimp and semolina

And while it may seem obvious, shrimp and grits start with grits. Please, please try to get coarse ground white beans for this. When Elise and I try to find real grits (stone is better), or even coarse ground white corn … or any white corn, in fact, we attack here in Sacramento.

Apart from the Mexican flour dough, everything is yellow corn in these parts. And I have heard that more than one southerner threatens violence when the topic of making semolina with yellow corn arises. (Here are the white beans

we use.)

The best grains come from corn, a large-grain white corn that has been alkali-processed just like Mexican flour dough. The key difference is that corn can be coarsely ground into grains, ideally with a stone wheel. It actually makes a big difference in taste.

The good grains come out smooth, delicate, and sprinkled with chunks of corn husks making it a radically different experience compared to their Italian cousin polenta (which I also love).

How to make shrimp and semolina

Keep in mind that almost all cooks who make shrimp and grits have their own variation on the plate. This is mine, and I hope you like it.

Check out more southern shrimp recipes

  • Etouffee shrimp, a Louisiana shrimp stew
  • Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille SausagePerfect for carnival!
  • Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich, with a homemade remoulade sauce
  • Shrimp jambalaya

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Shrimp and grits recipe

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes.

  • Cook time: 45 minutes.

  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup of white semolina ground in stone
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 thick slices of bacon
  • 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 chopped green onions (only white and light green parts)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • Lemon juice, about 1-2 tablespoons


1 sauteed bacon, fattening: Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and mince. Eliminate all but 3 tablespoons of fat. Put out the fire.

2 Boil the semolina: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt. Slowly pour the semolina into the boiling water while stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir and pour gradually so that no lumps form. When all the beans are incorporated, turn the heat down to low and cook the beans, stirring frequently, for 35 minutes.

3 Chop the shrimp: Reserve about 1/3 of the whole shrimp and cut the rest into 3-4 pieces each. Set aside.

4 Sauté onions, peppers, bacon, garlic, shrimp: When the semolina has been cooking for 30 minutes, heat the pan over medium-high heat. When the bacon fat is hot, sauté the onion and green pepper over medium-high heat until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add bacon, garlic cloves, and shrimp and stir to combine. Let this cook another minute.

5 Add broth, bring to a boil to reduce: Add the chicken stock and boil for 5 minutes.

6 Add cheese and butter to the semolina: Meanwhile, stir the cheddar cheese and butter in the sand. The dish may not need more salt, but add a little if desired.

7 serve: To serve, pour a few grains into individual bowls. Add the green onions, parsley, and lemon juice to the shrimp to taste. Add salt if you need to. Put some shrimp on the sand and make sure that at least one whole shrimp is on everyone's plate. Serve at once.

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