The Secret to Grits

My lovely partner should really be writing this, but I’ve watched enough times that I think I can fake it. I lived in the south and had my share of grits. I know enough that I basically will not order grits out at a restaurant unless I have it on good authority that they know what they’re doing. Luckily, I live with the best grits maker in the world, and you can wow your friends and loved ones too.

All you need are 1) good quality grits and 2) dairy products (or even, dairy-like products). I have been using Palmetto Farms grits lately (white corn, heritage, stone ground, etc) and love them. I like a large grain grit so that it has some chew to it when it’s done. And for dairy, I like the trifecta of butter, milk and cheese. Most grits recipes use too much water, and a watery grit is the worst! Start with less and add more (or add milk) if you need to. You can never add too much butter or cheese, but be sure to add the cheese at the end so it doesn’t just stick to the pan. This is a basic recipe, but feel free to tweak it or add things like chopped jalapenos or different cheeses (blue or chevre is nice). You can easily make this recipe vegan by using veggie stock in place of the milk and subbing in vegan “butter” and cheese. We have a friend who is dairy-free, and I used some of my homemade vegan nacho cheese and a spoonful of coconut oil based spread. I tried both the dairy-full and dairy-free versions, and both were make-noise-it’s-so-good delicious.

– 2 cups whole milk*
– 1 cup water
– 2 teaspoons kosher salt
– 1 cup stone ground grits
– 4 to 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar*
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter*
– ground black pepper to taste
*Can sub in vegan options

Bring milk, water and salt to a boil in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Stir in the grits in a slow stream, whisking to keep lumps from forming. Turn heat down to low and cover, stirring every 3-4 minutes until creamy. Taste for doneness after about 15-20 minutes. Add more milk if needed. Stir in cheese, butter, and black pepper to taste. Adjust salt.

Top with … anything! We had a DIY grits bowl buffet last weekend with some friends, and our toppings included: braised dino kale, sauteed mushrooms, diced andouille sausage, sungold tomatoes, oven roasted tomatoes, chopped herbs, avocado and purple cabbage slaw.

Grits Bowl


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