How to Make Grits That Are Unbelievably Creamy and Delicious

Follow these tips for creamy, flavorful grits.

Grits are a Southern soul food staple and the ultimate creamy comfort food. The key to cooking old-fashioned grits is going low and slow—use a low heat so the grits simmer and slowly release their starches, which creates a decadent, silky texture. Whisking constantly during the first couple of minutes, and frequently throughout the rest of the cooking process, will prevent lumps from forming.

Grits are often cooked in either milk or water; we prefer a combination of the two for silky grits that aren't too heavy. For additional flavor, substitute water with chicken or vegetable stock. Grits require a 1:4 cup ratio of grain to liquid. Below, we explain how to make two basic versions of grits—creamy and cheesy. We used traditional, old-fashioned grits, which are coarsely ground and have a bright corn flavor. There are a number of versatile ways to serve grits that go beyond classic shrimp and grits (though we love that dish too).

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Choosing Your Grits

Finding grits in the grocery store can be a challenge, especially if you don't live in the South. Once you come across the grits (hint: they're usually near the hot cereal), you'll probably find four different varieties —traditional or old-fashioned, quick-cooking, instant, and hominy. Beware of any package labeled "corn grits aka polenta"; polenta and grits are two different products, so look for "white corn grits."

While instant or quick-cooking grits are a good alternative if you're on the go, authentic Southern recipes use old-fashioned or hominy style grits. Quaker Old Fashioned Grits ($2; is probably the easiest brand to find, but we also love Anson Mills Grits for a delicious corny flavor and coarse texture.

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How to Make Creamy Grits

Milk, heavy cream, and butter create ultra-creamy, rich grits with a silky texture and melt-in-your-mouth flavor. This treat-yourself version may not be the lowest calorie preparation, but it's definitely the most delicious.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 4 cups of whole milk over high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Once the milk comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium-low and slowly whisk in 1 cup old-fashioned grits and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk constantly for two minutes to prevent lumps from forming and ensure that each grain absorbs enough liquid. Continue to cook grits for 25 minutes, stirring frequently until very smooth and creamy.

To be sure they're cooked, put a small amount of the grits on your tongue. Close your teeth and push the grits through your front teeth. They should feel super smooth, not gritty or sandy. Remove from heat and add ½ cup whole milk, ¼ cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and ½ teaspoon salt. Serve warm.

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How to Make Cheese Grits

Cheddar cheese amps up the flavor and decadence in our ultimate cheesy grits recipe. It's similar to our creamy grits recipe, but we add a little half-and-half and a whole lot of cheese. To make cheese grits at home, heat 2 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of water in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. When the liquid comes to a rapid boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and slowly whisk in 1 cup old-fashioned grits and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk continuously for two minutes to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 25 minutes.

Once the grits are super smooth and tender, remove from heat and add 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup half-and-half, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Serve warm and top with more shredded cheddar cheese.

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