Creamy grits from scratch in serving bowl with serving spoon
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Creamy Grits from Scratch

These ultra creamy and luscious grits (which, by the way, can also be called polenta!) are a fabulous side dish or bed for meats, fish or vegetables (try them with these coconut-sriracha shrimp with kale—click HERE to get the recipe!). They’re also a wonderful accompaniment to a traditional Southern-style breakfast. The grits are naturally rich so don’t require much butter, but feel free to add more (or less) to taste. You can also throw in a handful or two of shredded cheddar or grated Parmesan to make cheesy grits. Don’t miss the tips and video above! Also, be sure to buy whole grain grits or polenta (stoneground, if you can find them), not the instant kind. Bob’s Red Mill is a trustworthy supermarket brand.
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy grits, easy grits recipe, how to make grits
Servings: 4 people
Author: Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt
  • 1 cup grits or polenta (not instant)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the water and milk and bring it to a boil (keep an eye on the pot, as the milk can boil over!). Season the liquid generously with salt, then whisk in the grits. Bring the mixture back to a boil while whisking. Continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until the grits are slightly thickened (the mixture will still be quite liquidy, and that’s okay).
  • Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the saucepan (there should be a small crack so that some steam can escape). Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula, until the grits are tender and thickened, about 30-40 minutes (they should feel soft on the tongue, not gritty). Feel free to splash in more milk as needed while cooking if the grits start to look really thick—they should be creamy and should swirl easily. Stir in the butter. Season the grits generously with salt (this is key for flavor—you will need more than you think!).
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover it until you're ready to serve, up to 30 minutes. If you want to hold the grits for longer, drizzle a bit of milk over the surface before covering (this will help prevent a skin from forming)—they can sit out for up to 1 hour. Before serving, reheat the grits over low, stirring and adding more milk if needed.

Notes

Storage: The grits can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. They will thicken as they chill and won’t be quite as creamy, but they will still taste delicious.
Tips:
  • it’s important to buy good-quality grits! Bob’s Red Mill is a reliable supermarket brand, but you can also find a slew of stone-ground grits like these online.
  • To achieve a creamy texture, use 6 cups of liquid to 1 cup of grits. It will seem like way too much liquid at first, but I promise that the cornmeal will absorb it all. Use half water and half milk (regular or low-fat milk, whatever you drink) to achieve a creamy texture. Keep your eye on the liquid as it comes to a boil, since the milk can boil over.
  • You’ll want to use a heavy pot for these grits. Avoid a lightweight aluminum pots, as the bottom can burn.
  • Start with a whisk, then move to a spatula (watch the video above to see how it comes together). The mixture will be very liquidy at first, but it will start to thicken up. When you stir with the rubber spatula, be sure to scrape the bottom often, as the grits have a tendency to cake up there (which won’t affect the flavor, but which will be a pain to clean off later).
  • Feel free to splash in more milk as needed while the grits cook. They should look creamy and should swirl easily. If they start to look gritty, or if the edges start to look dark, it’s a sign you need more milk.