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Perfectly creamy and cheesy these Southern Cheese Grits are a classic. Perfect as a side dish, loaded up as a main dish, or served as breakfast! Learn how to make grits like a pro with all the tips and tricks to make these flavorful, creamy and smooth.

Bowl of cheese grits topped with melted butter and black pepper with a spoon.


All about these cheese grits

Grits are a classic southern dish. Made from corn that has been ground into coarse meal. They are traditionally boiled and mixed with milk and butter,. This is a traditional breakfast in the south! 

You will see people making them a variety of ways, from simple with nothing but a bit of milk and butter, to grits loaded with cheese and topped with bacon, ham, sausage and a poached egg. Try this Shrimp and Grits recipe if you need an idea on how to serve them! Or you can also go a sweeter route and mix with cinnamon or maple syrup and top with granola. 

Ingredients Needed:

Ingredients needed to make cheese grits laid on the counter.
  • Grits: I typically will use Quick Grits. They have a finely ground texture and they cook up nice and quick. But this recipe can be made with any type, just keep in mind that the type will determine how long they need to cook. 
  • Butter: use an unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the finished dish.
  • Milk: helps to make the grits rich and creamy. Use your milk of preference.
  • Broth: using chicken broth helps ensure flavorful grits since they are very bland on their own, broth is crucial to adding some savory flavoring.

Types of Grits:

Choosing grits is similar to choosing oatmeal. It depends on how they are ground and what they’re ground from. 

  • Stone-ground: made from whole dried corn kernels that are coarsely ground. After being cooked, these will have a more “toothsome” texture, meaning they are coarser, and they have a rich corn flavor. These take about 40 minutes to cook on the stovetop. 
  • Quick or Regular: quick grits are finely ground and can cook in 5 minutes. Regular has a medium grind and take about 10 minutes to cook. 
  • Instant: you will often see these sold in packets, they are finely ground and have been precooked and dehydrated so all you need is to add boiling water and let them soak for a moment. 
  • Hominy grits: made from corn kernels soaked in a lime solution which softens the outer hull, then rinsed to remove the hull. Depending on how they are ground they can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour to cook. 

How to make Cheese Grits

How to make cheese grits, showing heating milk and chicken broth and adding grits.
  • Combine the milk and chicken broth in a medium size saucepan. Heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stir in the salt, and add in the grits. Stir to combine. 
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir with a wooden or silicone spoon. Continue to cook over low heat while stirring occasionally (at least every 2 minutes) for another 6-8 minutes.
  • If you prefer them to be a bit runnier, add a bit more milk. If you want them a bit thicker, cut back just a bit. This recipe will provide you with a consistency pretty much in the middle. 
  • Turn off the heat and add in the butter and cheese.
  • Stir  until the butter and cheese is melted. 
How to make cheese grits, showing adding butter and cheese

Cheese Grits: FAQS

Are grits and polenta the same thing?

This gets complicated seeing as how different types of corn are grown in the south vs. Italy. But if you’re wanting to know if you can use polenta when making this recipe? Yes you can. Can you use cornmeal to make this recipe? Yes. Cornmeal has a slightly finer texture than regular ground.

What are grits actually made of?

Grits are made from ground corn. Typically made from a type of corn, called dent corn, that has a higher starch content, which is what gives them their smooth and creamy texture.

Are grits good for you?

Grits are made from corn and therefore have a nutritional profile you may expect. They are mostly carbs with a small amount of fiber, meaning just like a bowl of oatmeal, it’s a hearty meal that will help you feel full longer. Grits also provide amounts of iron and vitamin B which are great for your blood health. Pair your grits with protein for a complete meal.

Saucepan filled with creamy southern grits

Storage Information

  • Leftovers: Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • To reheat: add to a medium size saucepan on the stovetop, heat over low, and slowly add in small amounts of milk as needed to get the same creamy texture.
  • Freezer: Store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Up close showing texture of cooked cheese grits, topped with butter and fresh pepper.

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Cheese Grits

5 from 24 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Serene
Cheese Grits. Perfectly creamy and cheesy grits. This Southern classic is perfect as a side dish, loaded up as a main dish, or served as breakfast! 
Bowl of cheese grits topped with melted butter and black pepper with a spoon.


  • 2 cups chicken broth  unsalted
  • 2 cups milk 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick grits or substitute with other grits just read above to be able to adjust cooking time
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded


  • pads of butter
  • black pepper
  • extra shredded cheese


  • Combine the chicken broth and milk in a medium size saucepan. Heat over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. 
  • Stir in the salt. Then add the grits slowly while stirring. Stir until all grits are well mixed. 
  • Cover and reduce heat to low for 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the grits. Continue stirring while cooking over low for an additional 1-2 minutes. The grits will be tender when done cooking. 
  • Turn the heat off. Add in the butter and cheese. Stir until well mixed. 
  • Serve immediately. Top with additional shredded cheese, butter and fresh pepper if desired. 


  • To reheat add the grits to a medium size saucepan and heat over medium heat. Pour in small amounts of milk or broth to help thin them out while reheating. The grits thicken when cooled. Adjust the amount of liquid to give the consistency you prefer. 
  • Types of grits and cooking time: Quick grits will cook in 5 minutes. Stone ground grits can take 40-45 minutes. Regular grits will take 10 minutes. Instant grits only need 1 minute in boiling water. Be sure to take note of which type of grits you are using. 


Serving: 1 | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 274mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Recipe first posted on August 20,2019. Updated on October 28,2022. Recipe unchanged.

Photography by the talented @ModernFarmhouseEats

Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m a way back Southerner, native Floridian, who has had grits more ways than there are grits. You probably aren’t familiar with Fried Grits and Cane Syrup, Taco Flavored Grits to accompany you Breakfast Burrito, and Swiss Cheese Grits with an Egg Poached in them. The world of grits is way more fun to create and try than most people know. After 80 yrs of grits, including grits with eyes (Weavels cooked in the grits: Field kitchen in Thailand.) That went with the green ham. Any way Grits are the Gesso of the culinary world and half the country doesn’t know about them. I enjoyed your site and put it in my favs for future uses. I’m making Whiting Tacos. Whiting is southern cod, it flavors as you like.

  2. Yummm!!! I’ve been traveling a lot recently (for a family health emergency) and don’t have a ton of food in my house currently. I had a side of salmon that I wanted to bake but nothing else really to go with it; little red potatoes were all wrinkly and need to be thrown out, rice seemed boring and I just made a pasta dish so pasta was out. So I grabbed my bag of grits and knowing I had a lot of cheese left over from the pasta dish I made I decided to make cheesy grits. This recipe was absolutely perfect for my purposes. I used low sodium chicken broth, whole milk, a mix of fontina and smoked Gouda cheese, regular butter, salt and I added a packet of Goya Sazon. Honestly I have never had better tasting cheesy grits even in the south! With the low sodium chicken broth the addition of the Goya seasoned this dish just right! This is being printed out for future use. Thank you.

  3. Made this recipe for thanksgiving yesterday and my family loved it ! This recipe on its own was delicious but i added in some cayenne, paprika and garlic powder just to give it a bit more flavor and a little kick. Will definitely be making it again and my family has requested this become a new staple of our thanksgiving meals moving forward 🙂 

  4. I made these grits for thanksgiving dinner yesterday for my family and they were a huge hit ! I added in some cayenne, paprika and garlic powder just to add in some more flavor but even without those, these are the most perfect cheesy grits. My family even said this should become a new staple for thanksgiving dinners to come 🙂