Cheesy Shrimp + Grits. Easy to make, and ready in about 30 minutes

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

Pescetarian Friendly (No Sausage or Bacon) Cheesy Shrimp + Grits. Easy to make, and ready in about 30 minutes

This classic Cheesy Shrimp and Grits is made with cheesy stone ground grits, jalapeño peppers, and shrimp sautéed with beer.

All through college, I worked as a server at a ‘country-food’ restaurant, and all the breakfast meals came with grits.  When I wasn’t trying to master a fake Southern accent, or showing customers how to win the little peg game that tormented them during their meals, I was throwing away massive amounts of uneaten grits.  This was a minor tragedy, because I’m guessing most people didn’t even taste the grits before pushing them aside.

That said, some grits are most definitely better than others.  Some are “instant” (that means they’re partially pre-cooked), and can be cooked extremely quickly.  These grits can be useful, because they’re fast, but they don’t have the flavor and texture of stone ground grits.  Just like with instant oats versus steel cut oats, when it comes to texture and flavor, instant grits lose to stone ground grits every time.  One of my favorite ways to use stone ground grits in a meal is this Cheesy Shrimp and Grits.

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Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Making Shrimp and Grits

These savory, vegan-friendly stone ground Overnight Grits are cooked in a slow cooker while you sleep. Top them with green onions and diced tomatoes, or cheese and a runny egg.

Overnight Grits

Shrimp and Grits is one of those wonderful dishes that works for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.  For the best flavor, use stone ground grits.*  Even though they take a little longer to cook than instant grits (about 25 minutes), that’s okay here, because it gives you time to cook the shrimp, shred the cheese, and dice or slice your jalapenos.  I use about 1/2 a cup of shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, just enough to make the grits creamier and full of the delicious sharp cheese flavor.  If you really, really, really love cheese, and want your grits to be full of cheesy, delicious goodness– feel free to stir in more cheese than the recipe calls for.

I like to simmer the shrimp for this dish in beer.  I just use whatever beer the husband has stashed in what used to be a vegetable crisper drawer.  Try to make sure you don’t accidentally cook with a semi-expensive micro-brewery specialty beer your special some-one has been saving for months.  Try really hard not to do that.  If you accidentally use their favorite beer, give them extra cheese and shrimp, and it’ll all be okay.  If you don’t have any beer on hand, substitute vegetable broth.  Serve the Cheesy Shrimp and Grits while it’s all still hot, and then go back for seconds.

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*Note: If you’re having trouble finding stone ground grits, I like the kind at Trader Joe’s.  You can also buy stone ground grits online

A Note on Responsibly Sourced Shrimp: Normally, when I post ‘notes’ about seafood safety, it’s about the safety of either the fish (choosing sustainable seafood), or about the safety of the eater (avoiding high levels of mercury and taking extra precautions with raw fish).  With shrimp, however, there’s another consideration– the farmers and peelers.  Imported shrimp (specifically, shrimp from Thailand) has been tied to forced slave labor, and has infiltrated huge amounts of the shrimp available inside the United States.  To avoid buying shrimp tied to slave labor, look for shrimp that has NOT been imported, or that clearly labels its origin.  

Want more seafood?  Try these:

Cheesy Shrimp + Grits. Easy to make, and ready in about 30 minutes
5 from 4 votes

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 319 kcal
Author Champagne Tastes



  • 1 cup stone ground grits (not instant- I prefer Trader Joe's white stone ground)
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 jalapenos, diced or sliced
  • salt + pepper to taste


  • 2 TB garlic, minced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 lb shrimp (small or medium), peeled + deveined
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • Optional Toppings: Hot Sauce


  1. Cook grits according to package directions.

  2. (Package directions may vary- In general: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil with 1 TB butter and a dash of salt, add grits, then lower heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir often. Add milk, and cook another 10 minutes.)

  3. Meanwhile, sauté garlic in olive oil on medium heat until garlic begins to brown. Add shrimp, and cook 1-2 minutes. Add beer. Simmer about 2 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through and beer begins to evaporate. Remove from heat.

  4. Once grits have cooked, stir in cheese, jalapenos, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. Serve grits in a bowl, and top with shrimp mixture and optional hot sauce.

Recipe Notes

*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.

Recipe adapted from

21 thoughts on “Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

  1. michele says:

    omg… I love your writing style. I can totally relate to accidentally using the special item ones husband has been saving for a special occasion…. Im grew up in the south and love grits…. the cheesier the better. Going to definitely try your version for a new take on it! PINNED!

    • champagne-tastes says:

      aww thank you!! haha- I have to be careful with that beer drawer because I never know what’s what!
      And you’re so right- Grits are the best!!

  2. Peter Block says:

    You are so right about the grits. Funny that you worked at a Southern restaurant and served grits. If they are made right, they are quite good as you know. The cheese is a must.

  3. Vicky @ Avocado Pesto says:

    That’s a shame you were throwing out so many uneaten plates of grits! I’m not a huge fan of grits, but when done right they are delicious and I will happily enjoy a plate with shrimp (or even better with andouille sausage)!

    • champagne-tastes says:

      Do you have polenta? Grits are just ground corn- polenta is similar but not as ‘gritty’ because it’s a finer grind

  4. Laura | Wandercooks says:

    I can’t believe I only just heard about grits today and now I’ve just stumbled across your recipe. This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try. I’m duly noting your warning about being careful with the beer selection too (also how have I never heard of simmering the shrimp in beer!). Mind blowing day over here. Thanks for sharing! 😀

    • champagne-tastes says:

      whhhaaaat you’ve never heard of grits!?! Give them a shot! They’re similar to polenta but the cornmeal isn’t ground as finely, and it’s usually white not yellow. And yes.. take care not to use the relatively hard to find micro-brewery beer in your grits (lololol)

  5. Meeta says:

    My palate can never decide if grits is my thing or not LOL! But I keep trying – I have a feeling that with this shrimp & jalapeños it could just get my liking!

    • champagne-tastes says:

      lol.. I will say that instant grits are a different texture than stone ground grits, so it’s totally possible to like one and hate the other! Give stone ground a try if you have the chance 😀

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