How to Make the Best Grits You’ve Ever Tasted

September 20, 2012 | By | Comments (19)

As all good Southerners know, grits are the workhorse of the kitchen. Take almost anything you have in the fridge, stir it into a pot of grits, and you have an instant meal. Creamy, cheesy, sweet, or even baked – here’s how our test kitchen professionals and food editors make their grits perfect every time.

Salt your water. Cooked grits won’t absorb any more salt, so make sure to salt your water or mix salt straight into the dry grits mix before you start cooking.

Whisk it real good. 5 out of 5 food editors agree that whisking often (or almost constantly) makes for the creamiest result, since whisking releases starch.

Involve cheese. One of our test kitchen professionals says she makes sure her grits have cheese in them everytime. But look beyond the classic sharp cheddar! Parmesan and smoked gouda make for tasty alternatives.

Hold the whipping cream. Grits absorb water, broth, and milk much better than cream, so if you like yours with whipping cream, just add a touch at the end to smooth out the texture. However, our test kitchen recommends a half-water-half-milk, or a half-chicken-broth-half-milk mixture, depending on what type of meal you’re preparing.

Know your grits! The most important thing is knowing there are different kinds of grits. The ones you find at the supermarket are usually regular or quick grits. The difference between the two is just granulation – regular grits have a medium grind and cook in 10 minutes, quick grits are ground fine and cook in just 5 minutes.

But the best, in our opinion, are stone-ground grits. If you’ve never experienced the fresh corn taste of stone-ground grits, the first intoxicating forkful will make you a believer. They are the kind preferred by purists, produced the old-fashioned way by grinding with a water-turned stone. They have a chunkier texture and retain a more natural and rich flavor, and take about 45 minutes to cook. You can find these at Whole Foods, specialty food shops, and local gritsmills like Anson Mills and McEwen & Sons.

Try the slow-cooker: The slow-cooker’s steady moist heat releases the starch in stone-ground grits with minimal stirring, creating a naturally rich, creamy texture with little or no added dairy products. Here’s the technique – Stir together 1 cup of grits and 3 cups of water in a 3-qt. slow-cooker. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes, allowing grits to settle to bottom; tilt slow-cooker slightly, and skim off solids using a fine-wire mesh strainer. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours or until grits are creamy and tender, stirring every 45 minutes. Then stir in any cheese, butter, or other ingredients.

Trend Alert: While most grits come in yellow and white varieties, blue grits, made from blue corn, are currently in vogue. They have a higher protein content and are very hard and sweet. Blue grits turn lavender when water is added to the mix, and produce grayish-blue baked goods, like pancakes and cornbread.


  1. Diane Edwards

    How long do grits hold. If I made hen can I keep them warm for about an hour?

    January 4, 2017 at 3:08 am
  2. Concepcion Cazares

    Worst article on grits ever!!!

    November 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm
  3. J’Marinde

    Don’t see anything on the google advertised “baking grits.” Please tell em how to do that. Than ks!

    October 27, 2016 at 5:29 am
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  8. Rony Jahid

    Love this article. Being a young lady from beneath the Mason Dixon line, I have an inclination that I know my corn meal and can “bring it” in the kitchen with such. I am entirely inquisitive about the moderate cooker strategy and will be putting it under a magnifying glass instantly. Trust you wouldn’t fret in the event that I catch up with my outcomes.

    March 14, 2016 at 1:30 am
  9. Rony Jahid

    It is really fun to eat, and very tasty recipe, i like that;

    March 4, 2016 at 12:26 am
  10. EcurbTProphet

    Mmmm… a plate full of grits with white (sausage) gravy and a couple of over-easy eggs on top!

    Can I still have hash browns with that? (Or would that be too much?)

    January 7, 2016 at 6:00 pm
  11. Low Carb Cauliflower Cheesy Grits | She's Cookin' | from the heart

    […] & Sons, or a medium grind similar to polenta. To learn tips on cooking grits, visit Southern Living – they know what they’re talking […]

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  12. drt3770

    Reblogged this on Drt3770's Blog.

    November 10, 2014 at 2:40 am
  13. Cindy

    Cheese grits are a Sunday morning tradition for me and my husband. I use only chicken broth, no salt and after stirring in the grits to boiling liquid cook it on low until creamy. Stir often then add butter and cheese. I usually mix cheddar with some smoked gouda. It’s fabulous!

    October 12, 2014 at 5:59 am
  14. klnobles

    For 40 years, my husband has made fun of my grits. Today, with this recipe, I finally got it right! Thanks.

    October 4, 2014 at 11:26 am
  15. Walt Cunningham

    Try a double boiler on low…check out site…search “how to cook grits.”

    September 9, 2014 at 4:01 pm
  16. Mindy

    Could you double that slow cooker recipe for a large group of people? Looking to make enough grits for around 10-12.

    August 16, 2014 at 7:15 am
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  18. Nancy Rights

    Like polenta or other grains that take a long time to release their starch (think arborio rice) more liquid than you think is the key. This SC grown girl, for a cup and 1/4 of stone ground grits, uses 3 C boiling water or homemade chicken stock and 2 C cream and 2 C milk (or 4 C half and half). Believe me–it is not too much liquid and will make the creamiest ever-don’t omit boiling the water or stock! For slow cooking–start first on stove with all of the above and whisk for several minutes. Then transfer to slow cooker and you are done whisking and stirring.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:42 am
  19. Donya Mullins

    Love this article. Being a girl from below the Mason Dixon line, I feel like I know my grits and can “bring it” in the kitchen with such. I am quite curious about the slow cooker method and will be putting it to the test shortly. Hope you don’t mind if I follow up with my results.
    ~A Southern Soul

    October 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm

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