What Are Grits ? How do I make them?

Grits with a lather of butter...Yum!

Grits can be a great treat on their own, or as a side dish.
Grits can be a great treat on their own, or as a side dish. | Source

A poem...

Grits for breakfast.

Grits for lunch.

Grits with bacon.

Grits to munch.

I like my grits with a bit of crunch!

Did you know?...

Did you know that so many grits have been sold from Texas to Virgina, that it has become known as the grits belt?

  • Yes!
  • No...I had no idea.
  • I never thought about it.
See results without voting

Grits, the soul food of the South...

Grits are a common soul food that is eaten from Texas to Virginia. They are cooked in a variety of ways from a quick and simple side dish, to a main casserole dish, being mostly served in the morning for breakfast.

Grits have become so popular with the different cultures of the South, that festivals are popping up to celebrate and honor grits.

St George, South Carolina, home of the grits eating champions.

St. George, South Carolina, love their grits so much, that they hold a grits festival every year. This began in 1985 when a broker made the comment to the store manager of the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket, that their small town sure ordered a lot of grits. That comment was followed up by another broker.

John Walters and George Axson, owners of the Piggly Wiggly, agreed that they sold a disproportionate large amount of grits, and decided to do a research, just to see how much people of St. George did eat.

The results...they ate more grits per capita than anywhere else. The first festival for the grits eating champions was born in April of 1986. This three day event has blossomed into over 45,000 people. The proceeds from the event go to improving their community and scholarships for their students.

Wow! That is a lot of grits.

Did you know?

Did you know that most Southerners will not use instant grits?

  • Yes, because some instant grits do not taste the same.
  • No, that is fascinating information.
  • Not sure...
See results without voting

Easy to make breakfast!

Grits are very simple to make. It is all a matter of what texture one likes. If you like a hardy, stick to your ribs meal where your spoon can stand up, add more grits and cook it a bit longer. If you like it a bit on the runny side; don't cook it as long, with a bit of extra water.

I asked my sister today for her recipe since she is often making grits for her family.

Her response?...

“In a package. Mine's nukeable.”

Simple to make!

In the photos below, I will show the easy steps I take to make grits for my family. (We break tradition of the Southern folk by adding milk, butter, and sugar, to our grits.)

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 25 min
  • Yields: Serves 4 using 1/2 cup serving.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Step One

To begin, you will need 4 cups of water, 1 cup of grits, and 1 teaspoon of salt. (I usually omit the salt or cut it in half.)
To begin, you will need 4 cups of water, 1 cup of grits, and 1 teaspoon of salt. (I usually omit the salt or cut it in half.) | Source

To begin, you will need 4 cups of water, 1 cup of grits, and 1 teaspoon of salt. (I usually omit the salt or cut it in half.)

Step Two

Bring your water and salt to a rolling boil.
Bring your water and salt to a rolling boil. | Source

Bring your water and salt to a rolling boil.

Step Three

Slowly add in the grits.
Slowly add in the grits. | Source

Slowly add in the grits.

Step Four

Cook till thicken. I constantly stir my grits while they cook, to keep them from sticking to the pan as they thicken.
Cook till thicken. I constantly stir my grits while they cook, to keep them from sticking to the pan as they thicken. | Source

Cook till thicken.

I constantly stir my grits while they cook to keep them from sticking to the pan as they thicken.

Step five

Once it has cooked to the consistency you like, set it off to the side for a minute to finish setting up. (If you like it runny, go ahead and serve it.) REMEMBER...it is very hot and spits like a volcano.
Once it has cooked to the consistency you like, set it off to the side for a minute to finish setting up. (If you like it runny, go ahead and serve it.) REMEMBER...it is very hot and spits like a volcano. | Source

Once it has cooked to the consistency you like, set it off to the side for a minute to finish setting up. (If you like it runny, go ahead and serve it.)

REMEMBER!...it is very hot and spits like a volcano.

The Finished Product

Grits are often served with a slab of bacon, eggs, and toast, but my family also enjoys it like a cereal.
Grits are often served with a slab of bacon, eggs, and toast, but my family also enjoys it like a cereal. | Source

Grits are often served with a slab of bacon, eggs, and toast, but my family also enjoys it like a cereal.

Do you like grits?

5 stars from 1 rating of Grits

*Side Notes*

Most grits are made with corn. The corn can come in a variety of colors.

Referring to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hominy are grits “ground with the germ removed.”

Grits can be made from wheat, but it is called Malto Meal.

Grits can be served hot or cold.

Where does the name grits come from?

Grits are a grain, such as corn or hominy, that are coarsely ground through a food mill. Here in America, grits are associated with the Native Americans and corn.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grits were first know in 1579, partly from the old English words grytt/greot. The word grytt means "coarse meal". Other names for grits are Sofkee, Sofkey, and Porridge.

Using grits as a side dish, or main meal.

I have linked some tastes dishes to go with grits. Just a note...depending on the texture, one will like them or not. Since grits do not have much of a flavor, many people will dress it up with butter, salt, pepper, gravy, or anything else that suites their fancy. I love eating grits with chicken fried steak.

Here is a lovely dish from crazyhorsesghost on Shrimp And Grits Casserole. I haven't tried it yet, but heard it was amazing.

This is a simple but delicious casserole from habee Holle's Grits, Ham, and Eggs Casserole.

The sky is the limit when it comes to creating dishes with grits. What is your favorite dish you have made with grits?

More by this Author


Comments 45 comments

FordeAhern profile image

FordeAhern 4 years ago from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland

I keep reading the hub and I am amazed because Grits as you call it, porraige to me and we only ever eat it as a breakfast maybe with milk and sugar but with nothing else. I am just amazed. Thank you Voted up and useful. I will bookmark it so to show to my friends and family. We are so green here in Ireland.


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Wonderful hub and now I think I will have to make some Grits. I grew up on Grits but mom and dad always argued whether they were a northern dish or southern. Mom swore they were all southern..Dad would add meat making them northern..lol

Thanks again.


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

You have a lot of information on grits. Left over grits are good fried in butter too.


momster profile image

momster 4 years ago

I always loved having grits when I was younger. Now I have my family eating them. They sell them in single packets and they make up fast in the microwave. We make them like oatmeal.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA Author

@FordenAhern- Thanks for stopping by! I am glad you enjoyed the hub and have shared it. I would love to visit Ireland sometime, since finding out about my Irish roots. I never knew about grits until my parents has some friends of theirs go camping with us. She was a Southern lady that grew up making grits every morning for breakfast, from casseroles to just boiled or fried. I have been hooked on them since. I had more recipes and information to add, but was afraid my hub was getting too long. I may have to do a part two later on. Thanks again for the comment!

@Sunnie- Thanks Sunnie! I am glad to be back even if it is for a bit. That would make for an interesting debate. So, who did you vote for? I have always heard of it being a Southern dish, but we adapted it to our own tastes. One of my kids use to eat it with cinnamon and sugar...LOL! I find that they are a terrific cheap staple addition if one gets tired of potatoes.

@mljdgulley aka MOM!- Haha, my eyeballs felt like they were bathed in grits by the time I posted majority of my information. The guys kept eating my grits faster than I could take pictures. I had a lot more info to add, along with your recipe, but I was afraid this was getting to be too long. I may have to do a part two to it later. Hopefully there is enough here to answer some questions. I also use grits for making my breads. I wonder if we can post two answers to the question...?

@momster- Thanks sis, I should have know that you would have found the microwaveable kind to keep up with your busy household. It does give the kids a chance to make them without making a huge batch. I think my favorite way to eat them will always be fried, next to a slab of bacon, eggs, and whole grain toast. I found a few other recipes I may have to try to add to this hub, or make a part two to go with this one. Didn't one of the kids use to eat theirs with chocolate...?


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

I love grits! I like mine with curry chicken or some other kind of gravy. I have also used it to make porridge. It can be done in so many ways. I don't like the instant grits, I prefer the one I have to cook, even though it doesn't really take long to prepare.


gerrywalker profile image

gerrywalker 4 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

Try adding a spoonful of cottage cheese to them as they cook,makes them creamy and the cottage cheese adds a little "stringiness" to it which is fun, kinda like mozzarella. I also add sharp cheese sometimes, depends on if you want cheese grits or not.

Also you can start them in cold water, they're great any ole way. Just let 'em simmer slowly, add your cheese(s) and yummy yummy rub my tummy!!


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

I made some grits for the first time! They were delicious. Great hub! Thank you!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA Author

@ Cardisa- Mmmm, that sounds lovely. I will have to try that. I love trying out new recipes. Like you, I would rather use the regular kind than instant. I think it tastes better and even has a better texture. Glad to see ya stop by!

@gerrywalker- I have heard of adding cottage cheese, but haven't done it yet. Occasionally we will add shredded or sliced cheese to ours. I am starting to get hungry now...Thanks for the ideas!

@Dexter- Once you start, you will never go back to not eating them. Try them with the bacon and eggs. Yum! Yum!


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

I was only asking someone the other week what grits were so thank you for publishing this hub. I now have more insight.

Great hub


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

My Virginian friends would always serve us grits and biscuits with honey for breakfast. It as a treat we learned to love. They serve it at most restaurants in the south along with brown beans and cornbread. We still enjoy it on our own at home some weekends. Great post on this food option.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

I've been visiting the south for years and am ashamed to say that I've never tried grits, nor did I realize it was so versatile and that there was actually a grits festival attended by 45,000 people!

I think I have some tasting to catch up on.

Thanks for sharing this fun, interesting and comprehensive hub.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Rosemay, As previously mentioned, there was much more that I wanted to add from recipes to photos, but was afraid it would be too much. I am glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Teaches, I forgot about the grits and biscuits. Honey is an excellent addition. I will have to make that again one of these days. I haven't been to many areas in the south, but if I do, I will be sure to try the grits.

Thanks Happy, If you don't have a problem with texture, they are terrific. It took my son a long time to eat them because of the texture. (He couldn't eat baby food for the same reason.) Now he loves them. I think it is a lot like Malto Meal or Cream of Wheat. Let me know what you think of them when you try it. Thanks for the vote!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, Now I know grits are porridge! yeah! I never knew what they were! it sounds really strange to me to know that they are eaten with meat etc, to me porridge is a breakfast cereal made with lots of milk and sugar! amazing, I may just have to try it! rated up! I learned something new! haha!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank Nell, I have often wondered what porridge was made of till my mom told me one day. Who knew they were the same thing?...LOL! I love to eat rice with milk and sugar. I tried some fried grits this morning with my bacon. It was excellent! I have a few other recipes that I am looking forward to trying. Thanks for the vote!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 4 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

I've always wanted to know how to make grits properly! You make it look so easy; I appreciate all the step-by-step photographs that you've included in this excellent hub. Thank you!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Love them grits, girl! I was born into a grit-eating family, and I still crave them. I'm always looking for another few secrets to making the perfect pot. Thanks for posting this!


Diana Grant profile image

Diana Grant 4 years ago from London

I live in England, and we don't have grits over here - I had only vaguely even heard of them, so was very interested t0 find out what they were, what they look like and how you use them.

So well done for explaining that they are made from ground corn, and showing clear photos. I haven't seen grits powder sold over here, and judging from the grainy texture, it looks to me a bit like Italian pollenta, which I don't like much as it is so bland.

You said that it is also called Porridge, but over here, porridge signifies a cereal made from oat flakes.

However, I do recall that when I was at boarding school in Johannesburg, South Africa, they used to serve something called maltebela porridge, which was more like a gritty brown polenta, and only marginally like porridge. I can still remember the flavour, it was so disgusting!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Cloverleaf, If you have ever had Malto Meal or Cream of Wheat, grits reminds me of that, only with more coarseness. I don't know if I make them properly according to those in the South, but use this method for my family. The nice thing is that they are so quick and easy. When I first started making them, I found if I stirred it constantly as I poured the grits in the water, it would keep them from lumping up into a big mess. Once they started to thicken, I could back of the stirring a bit. I am glad this could help. Thanks again for stopping by!

Thanks Marcy, My mom was always trying different method and found that she loved them best fried in butter. I still have a few casserole recipes that I would like to try. I may made another hub on this as my schedule slows down. Thanks again!

Thanks Diana, Grits are pretty bland unless you 'doctor them up', as my grandmother use to say. I think I remember reading that they are similar to pollenta. Some people here call it porridge, but I have always known it as grits. We do have some cereals that are alike, but are made with different grains, our Malto Meal is made with wheat and barley. Cream of Wheat is made with wheat, while the grits are made of corn. Each of them are pretty bland until you add the milk and sugar. I have used grits to go with my seven grain quick breads to give it a bit of texture. That came about one day when I had a couple cups of different flours, but not enough to make the bread I wanted. My family loved the bread so much, that I continued using the different grains. Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment. I would like to try the pollenta and your version of porridge some day. I will keep this in mind next time I am making grits.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

As a southern gal, I grew up on grits! I still enjoy them, too. I love a big breakfast of egg, bacon and grits. Great Hub.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Mary, I found that once I started eating them with bacon and eggs that they were pretty addictive.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Came back to tell you that this hub inspired me to finally make some grits and it was delicious!!!!

Thanks for writing this hub and for the pointers on how to make and serve grits.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Happy, I am glad that you liked them. They are a wonderful addition to add to breakfast when you are looking for a break from potatoes. We are planning a camping trip in May, so I am planning on stocking up. Thanks again for stopping by and sorry it took so long to respond.


Jo 4 years ago

Im reading a Virginia Andrews book an it keeps going on about grits! I live in the UK so have never heard of them! I'm still not 100% sure on what they are!!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Jo, Grits are main staple in some of the US. Some people think they are an aquired taste. I, myself, love grits and will often use them to break up a meal that is usually served with some kind of potato. Try them sometime and let me know what you think. Thanks again for stopping by!


susanm23b 3 years ago

I'm from the south and grew up eating grits--only the old fashioned kind (that cooks for 20 min.). We never added any kind of sweetener--only butter or cheese.

Today, my family occasionally eats grits, but we have it for a comforting dinner. We like to make a Paula Deen recipe; I think she called it "Grits Parfait". We use large, heat safe glass mugs and layer grits, grated cheese, scrambled eggs and crumbled bacon. It's real southern comfort food on a cold evening :)

Thanks for sharing this interesting info. on grits :)


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Susanm, I have never heard of the Paula Deen recipe. It sounds delightful. Just reading this post is making me hungry. I will have to give it a go for a cold evening as some comfort food. (Which may be soon since they are predicting snow here tomorrow.) Thanks again! Sorry it took me forever to get back to you.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi tlpoague,

Well something new I found out here, grits are porridge!! Find that so strange! I have heard of grits but never associated them being the same as porridge which we have as explained by Nell and FordeAherne, at breakfast with sugar and milk normally. Do find it weird to think of eating it with bacon I have to say or in a casserole!!

Great for those not familiar with the term grits but familiar with the other terms like porridge.

Voted Up +++++++ good job!!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Suzie, for a long time I was wondering what the difference was. I guess there isn't much of one, except for the grain it is made from. I love eating grits since they are so easy to make and are terrific substitute to potatoes. If you ever try it sometime with bacon or a casserole let me know what you think. Thanks again!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 3 years ago

It's very interesting to learn that most Southerners won't use instant grits. My old roommate, who's from Tennessee, likes to cook instant grits for breakfast, actually. So now I can make fun of her for not being a true Southerner! LOL .....Great hub, by the way. Now I'm quite hungry for some grits!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Om, I didn't know that either for the longest time. I have had both instant and regular, and I would have to vote for regular. I liked the texture better. You will have to try it with some of your famous recipes I have been reading. Most people think that it is only good for breakfast, but I pair it up with any of my meals. Now I am hungry...LOL! Have fun teasing that roommate!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I have never really eaten grits! They do serve them in these parts, but not many menus will offer grits. Cracker Barrel does and ummmmm Bob Evans? IHOP...they have them but it's not a staple here and many people have no clue what they are.

I think I'd like them with Bacon...but what doesn't go with that, right? lol

I'm gonna try them!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Real, I seen this pop up on Twitter. Thanks for the share! I think grits goes with just about any kind of meat. I love mine with bacon! Most people eat them as a breakfast side, but I use them at any meal. Let me know what you think when you try them.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

Wow, this is a lot of information on grits! I know they're very popular in the South, and our friends in Charleston introduced us to shrimp and grits--yum! I also love grits with liver and onions, grits with eggs and bacon, and grits with cheese. I like my grits on the hearty side, not at all runny. This are very helpful instructions for making grits. Thanks!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks vespawoolf, hmm, I have never tried grits with shrimp. I will have to do that one of these days, along with liver and onions. I bet it is good. I agree I like to make them hearty before I add my milk and sugar. Thanks again for stopping by!


faythef profile image

faythef 3 years ago from USA

I remember my mother making grits for breakfast, I also remember that I liked them, haven't had them in many many years...that may change soon..


gerrywalker profile image

gerrywalker 3 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

Oh Yeah! Grits again this morning and this time I added an egg and stirred it around til it was mixed in real good. Had a lady friend visiting overnight and wanted to stretch the pot so there was enough for two...came out super.

Just remembered something else...when I was a kid we always had plain grits (with salt,pepper and butter, of course) as a side dish when we had fresh fish for dinner.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Faythef, Let me know if you still enjoyed them as much as when your mother made them.

Thanks Gerrywalker, I bet an egg in it would be delicious. It has been awhile since I tried it with fish. I will have to do that again soon.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

I grew up on grits. I love them with shredded cheese added. I also like to eat them with an overeasy egg mixed in them. Great hub.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Koffee, I don't know what wouldn't go well with grits.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Came back for another read, still haven't tried grits/porridge with bacon! lol!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 2 years ago from USA Author

You have got to try it one of these days. It is soooo good. Well, I think so anyway. Thanks for stopping by again!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago

Sugar on grits is sacrilege!

I like to tell folks that grits grow on trees. I tell them that the grit tree produces white balls about the size of a grapefruit. The balls are harvested dried and struck with a sledgehammer. Whereupon they explode into a billion pieces. If you are not from the south, how would you know that isn't true?

Yours in hominy.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 14 months ago from The Beautiful South

Does grits taste like cream of wheat as a cereal?


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 months ago from USA Author

Thank you poetryman and Jackie for stopping by.

That is too funny, poetryman, I will have to remember that story. I agree, how would they know for sure?

Yes, Jackie, I think grits tastes like a cereal and occasionally eat it that way.

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