If you’ve never had grits that are perfectly made, tender, thick, and so full of flavor, then these decadent Southern-style Cheese Grits are going to be a game-changer for you!
Being born and raised in the North East, I would occasionally come across grits on a breakfast menu. They were typically flavorless, gritty goo in a bowl – sometimes with butter. Definitely nothing worth trying more than once.
Fast forward to living in Houston and volunteering at a food kitchen. I remember this gorgeous, tiny, senior lady asking me to make a pot of grits. Well, the bag she pointed me to had no directions, so I Googled how to make grits and completed the task at hand. They were so awful, that she tossed them into the trash and proceeded to teach me how to make grits the ‘right way’ and admonishing me that “you can’t rush a grit”. I learned my lesson and she was right.
When I tasted her grits, it was like magic in my mouth. They were so creamy, layered with flavors, buttery, and rich. I was hooked. To this day, I remember this lady with love, gratitude, and fondness for teaching me so much in one afternoon.
WHAT ARE GRITS?
Grits are considered a Southern staple. They are coarsely ground dried corn that goes back to the Native Americans. The ground corn is then cooked in liquid until tender and thick.
There are a few different types:
Stoneground – whole corn kernels are ground between two stones. They are the least processed and the coarsest of the grits.
Regular grits – medium ground corn, which cooks in about 10 minutes. Quick grits are even more finely ground and cook in about 5 minutes.
Instant grits – very finely ground corn that becomes tender with just boiling water. They are the least flavorful of all the grits, but very easy.
Hominy grits – ground from corn kernels that have been soaked in lime or lye water to soften the outer hull.
TIPS FOR THE MOST DECADENT SOUTHERN-STYLE CHEESE GRITS
Be sure to salt your water or use salted broth to cook your grits. The grits will absorb all of that flavor.
Be prepared to spend the time at the stove when making grits. They are ‘hand-on’. You will need to whisk them often to release starches that will make your grits very smooth and creamy. Plus, you don’t want lumpy grits. Eww.
By using a 50%/50% cooking liquid, you are ensuring that the grits absorb the liquid and soften. Milk is harder to absorb but adds creaminess. The water or broth will soften the grits and add flavor.
Grits are a great addition to any breakfast or served alone as a kind of ‘cereal’. They can be sweet or savory.
What’s better than a steaming bowl of decadent Southern-style cheese grits? When stoneground grits are cooked slowly in broth and milk mixture then whipped creamy with shredded cheddar cheese, grits are elevated to a whole new level of deliciousness.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 ½ cups of chicken broth and the milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Sprinkle in the granulated garlic, onion powder, and salt. Stir well.
Whisk in the grits slowly, stirring constantly.
Cover the pot tightly, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 40 – 45 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. The grits should be tender and resemble mashed potatoes when done. If needed, add the remaining ½ cup of chicken broth to keep the grits from burning.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Use a wooden or silicone spoon to stir in the shredded cheese and butter. Taste and adjust seasoning for salt and pepper.