Easy Southern Shrimp and Grits Recipe with Instant Grits

Easy Southern Shrimp and Grits Recipe with Instant Grits

A true Southern dish, these shrimp and grits are creamy and cheesy and taste delicious. Made with quick-cooking grits, this easy shrimp recipe can be on your table in under 30 minutes.

A bowl of easy Shrimp and Instant Grits next to a fork.

A signature Southern dish, creamy shrimp and grits is an easy-to-make yummy in your tummy kind of meal.

Today considered a go-to dish, you’ll find this classic on any menu in Charleston, South Carolina or New Orleans, Louisiana.

But if you are not from the South, grits may be a bit foreign to you.

To quote Joe Pesci’s character Vinny in “My Cousin Vinny,” – “What the heck is a grit?” 

What is a grit?

Grits are made from ground corn and there are many different types of grits.

Hominy grits are also called white grits because they are made with white corn kernels.

Yellow grits are made from yellow corn and are sweeter that white grits, which are typically called breakfast grits or porridge.

Stone ground grits are dried corn kernels that have been coarsely ground and take longer to cook than instant or quick grits.

For this recipe we are using the instant kind.

Grits, which have mainly been served as a traditional breakfast dish, are not just for breakfast anymore. 

Mixed with cheese, crispy bacon or ham, they are popping up on dinner plates around the country.

A close up of a bowl of Southern Shrimp and instant grits.

Today, creamy grits come in the instant variety and that is what we used. 

This new recipe takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and will become a household favorite. 

What you’ll need to make this recipe

Our cheesy grits feature Parmesan cheese, ham, freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic and parsley. Here is what you’ll need:

Instant grits. I like Quaker Oats brand. It’s easy to make and the grits cook up in about 5 minutes.

Chicken stock. You can substitute chicken broth but stock is more flavorful and you want that flavor to infuse the grits.

White wine. Open a bottle and pour yourself a glass while you make this dish. Otherwise grab a bottle of white cooking wine from the store.

Lemon. Fresh lemon is best. The juice is more acidic and the flavor is just so much better than the bottled stuff.
Shrimp. Fresh shrimp is best. I prefer the medium to large variety and now a days you can find shrimp already peeled and deveined in the seafood department of the grocery.

Ham or bacon. Pick up tasso ham from the specialty deli section of the grocery or pickup a pack of bacon. You’ll need about a third to half a cup of cooked meat. If you use bacon reserve the bacon grease in place of butter to cook the shrimp. It will add a ton of flavor to this dish.

Parmesan cheese. Head straight to the deli section for the freshest, best tasting parmesan cheese. Skip the non-refrigerated stuff.

Spices, garlic, butter, salt, pepper. You should already have these in the pantry at home.

Adding flavor to the grits by way of sweet ham, Tasso (Cajun flavored smoked ham), crisp bacon, Prosciutto or Pancetta are all easy options depending on what is available at your local grocery store.

We had leftover Honey Baked Ham available for our recipe and it was delicious. 

The freshly squeezed lemon juice made a world of difference.

This classic southern dish can be made easily for a quick dinner for busy weeknights or served at a party or plated for single serve appetizers.

The whole family will gobble this up. I promise even the picky eaters will love this recipe.

Bowl of shrimp and instant grits on a table top.

How to make this recipe

This recipe is easy to make in about 30 minutes from start to finish.

First, prepare the grits according to the boxed directions. Instead of using water, use stock or broth.

Add in black pepper, butter, Parmesan cheese and the cooked ham or bacon to the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside while you make the shrimp.

In a skillet, saute the shrimp in butter or bacon grease, cayenne and garlic for about about 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink.

Once done, add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and white wine to the pan.

Spoon the shrimp and sauce over a bowl of the cheesy grits.

Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

More of my favorite shrimp recipes

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Easy Southern Shrimp and Grits Recipe with Instant Grits

Ali Randall
A true Southern dish, these shrimp and grits are creamy and cheesy and taste delicious. Made with quick-cooking grits, this easy shrimp recipe can be on your table in under 30 minutes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1/2 cup instant grits, 5 minute variety
  • 2 cups of chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine, or water if unavailable
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped Honey Baked ham, Tasso ham or cooked bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


  • Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. 
  • Add the grits, season with cracked black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes. 
  • Stir the ham and Parmesan cheese into the pan and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cover to keep warm and remove from heat.
  • Next, season the shrimp with kosher salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Add the raw shrimp, garlic and cayenne and cook until the shrimp are pink, about 4 to 5 minutes cooking time.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tablespoons wine, the fresh lemon juice and chopped fresh parsley. 
  • Stir until mixed and serve immediately over the hot grits. Garnish with fresh lemon wedges.
Keyword Easy shrimp and instant grits recipe
 Southern-Inspired Shrimp & Grits | www.homeandplate.com | Get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes with this delicious and easy cheesy shrimp and grits.

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16 thoughts on “Easy Southern Shrimp and Grits Recipe with Instant Grits”

  • I love this! I have some quick cooking grits and it’s such a great shortcut. This dish looks fantastic 🙂

    • Thanks. You will love it. If you love the flavor of fresh lemon, be generous. It makes the dish that much better.

  • What a great recipe! Love how easy and fast it is to make and even though I have never tried grits I am sure I would love them!

    • Thanks Julia. If you like risotto or rice then you’re certain to like grits. Easy and delicious.

  • Yum! I love how easily this comes together. Such great flavors. I have actually never tried grits before. Definitely need to now.

    • Tara I’m sure you would love grits. You should definitely give them a try especially with shrimp ?

  • This looks delicious and your pictures are great! I love all of the flavors you’ve used between the garlic, the lemon, the ham, all of it; yum! I know it’s still breakfast time here in California but I want to eat this now! <a href="http://www.lucismorsels.com/blog/">Luci’s Morsels | fashion. food. frivolity.</a>

    • Thank you so much Luci. The flavors to blend together perfectly. The fresh lemon makes a big difference.

  • This looks and sounds so good, I bet the flavors are amazing too, thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  • My husband is still raving about the flavors this morning after we had this for dinner last night. Nice combination.

  • Love, love, love this recipe. I made this for my family and there was not a single bite left. My seven year old twins had seconds and they have never eaten grits before but love shrimp. I served this with a green salad to round it out.

    • Thanks so much. This recipe is a family favorite. I’m glad to hear your kids loved the shrimp and grits. ?

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