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This recipe for shrimp and grits is cheesy, creamy, and loaded with authentic Louisiana flavor. This Southern classic features seasoned shrimp, sauteed to tender perfection and nestled atop a heap of savory cheddar grits.
Creole-inspired, this shrimp and grits recipe is easy to make and bursting at the seams with New Orleans flavor. I start by sautéing shrimp along with garlic, tomatoes, onions, and corn in a light, robustly flavored sauce.
Add that to a plate of satiny smooth, ooey-gooey cheese grits, and we have a soul-food masterpiece! New Orleans shrimp and grits is rich, hearty, and satisfying to both the belly and your spirit. This really is down-home, Southern comfort food at its finest.
Watch the Video!
Watch how I make this step by step in the video below in the recipe card.
Table of Contents
- Shrimp – You want large, peeled, and deveined shrimp. Fresh or frozen are both acceptable as long as you make sure everything is fully thawed.
- Creole Seasoning – An intensely flavorful blend of zesty spices and aromatic herbs. You can easily find a blend at the supermarket, but I encourage you to try my homemade version.
- Tomatoes – Bite-sized grape tomatoes are the perfect choice, or you can go with slightly sweeter cherry tomatoes.
- Dry White Wine – Concentrates and harmonizes the flavor profile of the sauce. The alcohol will cook off, but feel free to use chicken or seafood stock for an alcohol-free alternative.
- Grits – A creamy, porridge-like dish made from ground cornmeal. You can find this in the breakfast section, close to the oatmeal.
- Cheddar Cheese – For the best meltability, shred your own cheese from a block.
- Creamed Corn – Try my homemade creamed corn or simply use canned.
Did You Know the Difference between Creole or Cajun?
Cajun and Creole cuisines both originate from Louisiana, but they have distinct differences. Cajun cuisine is rooted in the Acadian traditions of French settlers and features heartier, rustic dishes often prepared with ingredients like roux, andouille sausage, pork, crawfish, and game meats. It’s known for its spicy, flavorful gumbo and jambalaya. Creole cuisine, on the other hand, has a more diverse influence, blending French, Spanish, African, and Native American flavors. It tends to be more refined, using ingredients like tomatoes, shrimp, oysters, crab and rich sauces, seen in dishes like étouffée and shrimp Creole. While both embrace bold flavors, the distinction lies in their cultural heritage and culinary techniques.
- Cook the Grits. Combine 1 cup of grits in a pot with either chicken stock or water that has been heavily salted. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to make sure the grits don’t stick to the bottom.
- Stir in the Cheese. Remove the grits from heat. Add in the cheddar cheese and creamed corn. Mix to thoroughly to incorporate, cover the pan, and set aside.
- Season the Shrimp. Combine the shrimp with the Creole seasoning, paprika, and black pepper, tossing to coat. Place the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Let the butter melt, then add the garlic to cook for about 1 minute.
- Cook the Shrimp. Toss the shrimp into the pan and cook for a full minute before stirring. Then add in the tomatoes, celery salt, and green onions. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Deglaze the Pan. Pour in the white wine to deglaze, scraping the brown bits from the pan as you stir. Scrape and stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the corn kernels.
- Thicken the Sauce. Remove the shrimp from the sauce, transfer them to a bowl or plate, and set aside. Over medium heat, stir in a cornstarch slurry until the sauce has thickened. Add the shrimp back into the pan and mix to evenly coat.
- Spoon & Serve. Serve the shrimp mixture spooned over a helping of the creamed corn cheese grits, plus a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Shrimp and grits has origins in the American Southeast and is a combination of Native, African American, and European influences.
The earliest written record of this dish appears in 1950 in Charleston, South Carolina in the Charleston Receipts cookbook. Of course, this classic Southern dish had been around for much longer than that, originally being called “breakfast shrimp.” It was widely popular throughout the Lowcountry and surrounding coastal communities, with each area adding its local ingredients and flair to the recipe.
One area that really took to the trend was — you guessed it — New Orleans! While it isn’t the official birthplace, New Orleans shrimp and grits is probably the most well-known and cherished. One bite and you’ll understand why!
Complete with veggies, grains, and seafood, this shrimp and grits recipe is hearty enough to be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger meal. Here are just a few simple suggestions to get you started:
– Sautéed kale, collard, or turnip greens
– Homemade Cornbread or Buttermilk Biscuits
– Scrambled eggs or these Savory Egg Clouds
– Crispy bacon or Homemade Breakfast Sausage
– Home fries or a piece of Southern Hashbrown Casserole
This dish is best served fresh, so I do not recommend making this shrimp and grits recipe ahead of time. If you do end up with leftovers, they will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days when stored in an airtight container. I recommend storing the shrimp and sauce separately from the grits.
Spray the bottom of the container for the grits with non-stick cooking spray to help prevent them from sticking. They will likely harden and reduce as they cool. If needed, you can slowly stir in 1-2 tablespoons of water or milk at a time when reheating to get your grits back to the right consistency. I prefer reheating on the stovetop, but a minute or so in the microwave can do the trick too.
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Shrimp and Grits Recipe
- 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tsp Creole seasoning
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 cup green onions sliced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- 8 oz corn kernels
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water
- parsley chopped, for garnish
- Add 1 cup grits to 4 cups heavily salted chicken stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally so as not to stick. Remove from heat and add the cheese and creamed corn. Stir to mix thoroughly and cover. Set aside.
- Combine shrimp, creole seasoning, paprika, and pepper in a bowl and mix to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add oil and butter and cook until butter melts. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, celery salt and green onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine; cook, stirring and scraping pan to loosen browned bits, 30 seconds. Add corn kernels and stir.
- Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Mix the cornstarch and water and add to pan. Stir over medium heat until thickened. Add Shrimp back to the pan, stirring to coat.
- Spoon shrimp mixture over creamed corn, cheese grits. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.