How to Cook Delicious Stone-Ground Grits

Stone Ground Grits. Chien-Ju Shen/Getty Images

Grits are usually eaten for breakfast in the South, but they can also be enjoyed fried or as a savory side dish with meat, shrimp, or cheese. Whether you like your grits plain or fancy, here are the basic cooking instructions for stone-ground grits.


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits (not instant or quick)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • freshly ground black pepper, optional

    Stovetop Instructions

    1. Add 4 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add salt and bring it to a boil over high heat.

    2. Gradually stir in 1 cup of stone-ground grits.

    3. Continue stirring and reduce the heat to low.

    4. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the grits are very thick. Depending on the grind, cooking can take longer.  As the grits thicken, they can scorch easily, so be sure to stir often. If the grits absorb all of the water before they are done, add more hot water as needed.

    5. Beat in 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

    6. Serve the grits hot.

    Slow Cooker Instructions

    1. Put the water, salt, and grits in a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Let them stand for a few minutes and skim off any solids floating on top of the water.

    2. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. 

    3. Add butter and pepper, as desired.

    Tips and Variations

    • Fried Grit Cakes: Let the grits cool slightly and then beat in one egg. Pour the mixture into a well-buttered loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When the grits are thoroughly chilled and firm, cut the loaf into thin slices. Fry the slices in bacon drippings or butter.
    • Top fried grits cakes (above) with an egg, Canadian bacon, and hollandaise sauce for a tasty and elegant Benedict-style egg dish.
    • Cheddar Cheese Grits: Use only 2 tablespoons of butter and add about 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese to the grits as soon as they have reached the desired consistency.
    • Creamy Grits: Use 4 tablespoons of butter and stir 1/4 cup of heavy cream into the grits as soon as they have finished cooking.
    • Serve cooked grits or cheese grits with creamed chicken or seafood.

    Great Add-ins to Try:

    • Chopped Jalapeno Peppers or Mild Green Chile Peppers
    • Chopped Sauteed Onions
    • Fresh Minced Garlic or Garlic Powder
    • Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
    • Fresh Herbs

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