A twist on a classic, this easy Shrimp and Grits recipe is made in one pan but still with plenty of flavor and lots of cheese in the grits. Shrimp are fast to cook and they’ll bake up beautifully in a hot oven when nestled into the grits. 

Overhead photo of One Pan Shrimp and Grits in a white bowl. The shrimp are baked into the grits and there's a sprinkle of fresh scallions on top of the grits.

If you’ve been around these parts long enough you’ll know that I’m truly in love with breakfast.  And truth be told, I love it even more when I’m eating for other meals.  Like those gratin potatoes with spinach, kale, and a runny poached egg? 

That was my lunch one day over holiday break. It was spectacular! Well this shrimp and grits dish rates right up there.

Lawd knows I’m not from the South but my great pal Josie sure is and she knows her grits. Creamy, cheesy, stick-to-your-ribs sort of good grits. Add some shrimp to a hot pan of grits and you’ve got a perfect pair.

And speaking of Josie, she’s having herself a perfect pair this week…in the form of twin boys! Josie and Joey are adding 2 more to their family and I knew this shrimp and grits dish would be an amazing way to help celebrate a little surprise shower a few of us decided to have for her.

Josie loves breakfast just as much as I do and I know that she’s all over shrimp and grits.

Being the Yankee that I am, I think this meal really does Southern comfort food justice, especially since I used the stone-ground white cornmeal Josie brought me from Atlanta in October. I know she would love these cheese grits as much as Kyle and I did. 

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Onion
  • Table salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh garlic
  • Ancho chile powder
  • Water
  • Heavy cream
  • Coarse grits (see note below)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • Eggs
  • Scallions round black pepper
  • Fresh shrimp

One Pan Shrimp and Grits in a white bowl. The shrimp are baked into the grits and there's a sprinkle of fresh scallions on top of the grits.

Other Mix-Ins

For this recipe, you’ll mix extra-sharp cheddar and sliced scallions into the grits. If you wanted to change things up, you could also mix in some caramelized onions or another cheese, like parmesan or Gruyere.

Some black or pinto beans would also be excellent in these grits and they’d add some extra protein and fiber to the meal too!

The Best Shrimp for This Recipe

The fresher your shrimp is, the better your shrimp and grits will be. Fresh, wild caught shrimp will have the most flavor.

But don’t discount frozen shrimp either! And sometimes, that’s the best shrimp I’m able to find. Just like frozen vegetables, freezing shrimp locks in its flavor and freshness. 

And if you’re really lucky, you can find peel and deveined frozen shrimp. That means that all the hard work to clean the shrimp has been done for you already!

Wild or Farm-Raised Shrimp?

I always look for fresh wild shrimp that’s been caught in the U.S. In most commercial grocery stores, wild shrimp has usually been caught in the Gulf of Mexico. 

However, if you live in warmer U.S areas where shrimp is part of the local industry, you’ll be able to find shrimp that’s been caught more locally.

I prefer to buy and eat wild shrimp because it grows and feeds more naturally than farm-raised shrimp. Buying wild shrimp also helps to support the U.S. shrimp fishermen who work to bring seafood to our plates.

Most farm-raised shrimp is imported from Asia. It’s always been unclear to me what farm-raised fish are fed and how they are bred in captivity. As well, the resources it takes to build and run shrimp farms, and import the shrimp half-way across the world seems a bit excessive to me.

So wild, U.S.-caught shrimp it is for me always!

How to Make Shrimp and Grits

There are many ways to make shrimp and grits but this one pan method is incredibly simple!

STEP 1: Get your oven hot – 425° F – since you’ll bake this dish in the last step.

STEP 2: Cook the onions in some melted butter and then add in the garlic and some ancho chile powder.

STEP 3: Add the liquid to the pan, bring to a boil, and then slowly stir in the grits. You’ll want to cook them slowly over low heat for about 15 minutes.

STEP 4: Mix in the remaining grits ingredients and nestle the peeled and deveined shrimp into the grits.

STEP 5: Bake for about 15 minutes, just until the shrimp are cooked through. 

Because you’ll bake the grits for a final 15 minutes, they aren’t quite as creamy as I would have liked for them to be but it’s a stellar recipe, nonetheless. The only thing that could possibly make this shrimp and grits any more awesome would be a poached egg. 

Surprised? I know Josie would agree.

Here’s what we made for Josie’s shower:
Annie: paloma cocktail (Tequila & Lime)
Courtney: chocolate cake with coffee buttercream
Elly: sausage-cheese biscuits

Wouldn’t this menu would make for an amazing brunch?!

More One Pan Meals to Make and Love

Skillet Shrimp and Cheese Grits

One Pan Shrimp and Grits

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

One pan shrimp and grits is an easy way to bring the South into your kitchen. Cooked in a skillet, this is a traditional shrimp and cheese grits recipe that cooks quickly on the stove top and finishes baking in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup coarse or stone-ground grits (see Note below)
  • 6 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 ½ cups)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb jumbo or extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Melt butter in a 12-inch oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chile powder and stir for 30 seconds, until fragrant. 
  3. Pour in the water and heavy cream and bring the liquid to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits then reduce the heat to low. Cook the grits, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes until they are thick and creamy. Remove the skillet from the heat and quickly stir in ¾ of the cheese, eggs, scallions, and black pepper. 
  4. Nestle the shrimp under the grits and smooth out the grits over the shrimp once all have been added. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the grits.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

Notes

Look for old-fashioned, coarse, or stone ground grits for this recipe as quick and instant grits will cook too quickly and the recipe needs extra time to bake in the oven to finish cooking.

adapted from The Best Skillet Recipes by America's Test Kitchen

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