Buttery and creamy grits recipes are essential to authentic Southern comfort food. This simple dish is surprisingly flavorful and needs nothing more than salt and a pat of butter. While Southerners often eat them for breakfast, they’re the perfect side any time of day.
Thinking back on the first time I tasted grits brings back fond memories. It was easy to fall in love because cornmeal porridge is a typical African dish. The substantial texture and soul-satisfying flavors from grits are just so versatile you can do just about anything with these delicious recipes.
I have to admit I’d rather have grits over rice any day. Think about it; they’re both starchy sides that round out the perfect meal, whether with bacon and eggs for breakfast or a shrimp and grits dinner. And grits stick to your ribs a whole lot longer than rice.
What Are Grits?
First, they come from corn, but not just any corn. Dent or field corn is not as sweet and much more substantial than the sweet corn we love to roast on the cob. This coarsely ground grain is one of the few authentic native American dishes that survived and flourished in the Southern culture.
While grits and their cousins are popular throughout all of the Americas, the Native American Muscogee tribe is credited with this particular dish. Then we got wild with all the ways you can serve this tasty grain. Oh, what fun!
And, just like corn, grits come in different colors, white and yellow being the most common. Types of grits include:
- Stoneground – These guys have the most authentic taste and feel. The coarser texture of stone-ground grits really gives you something to bite into. They also have a more robust flavor.
- Quick-cooking – These grits have been ground finer for faster cooking. They still have a good flavor.
- Instant – Cooked and dehydrated grits make instant grits, so all you have to do is add boiling water, and you’re good to go. This variety is my least favorite, but they work just fine when you’re in a hurry.
- Hominy – Corn soaked in an alkaline solution (usually slaked lime – a mineral, not a fruit) to soften the hull is then coarsely ground into grits. The process is similar to what they use in Mexico to make the dough for corn tortillas.
- Heirloom – Did you know corn comes in as many colors as there are in a rainbow? Blue, red, green, it’s amazing. And, of course, the more vivid the color, the more nutritious it has.
Grits Recipes Tips and Tricks
- The most challenging part of making grits recipes is getting the water to grits ratio right. It’s between 4:1 to 5:1, water to dried grits. I would start with a cup of water to a ¼ cup of grits to start off with. Then have some hot water on hand to add if they start getting too thick.
- Keeping the pot covered while not stirring keeps the splatters down and keeps them from drying out on top.
- Truly good grits don’t need much more than salt (and a bit of butter). But add salt to the water at the beginning, not the end.
The Comforting Grits Recipe Collection
Are you ready to amp up your traditional soul food menu with a big serving of grits? Then stock up on some stone-ground grits and start trying these incredible recipes! Let us know in the comments below which grits recipe is your fave.