Grits with Shrimp and Sausage

Years ago I tagged along on a business trip my husband took to Charleston, South Carolina. I ordered shrimp and grits at our first dinner there. I’d previously not been a huge cornmeal fan.

Well, thank you Charleston. I’m a huge fan now. The secret is butter, cream and cheese. Which, of course, can make anything better.

So I’m making some grits today that will be served with shrimp and Andouille sausage for a Creole flair.

Similar to making risotto, you don’t have to use this recipe to a T. You can use butter and cream in your grits, you can use butter and cheese, or use all three! It just depends how you want your grits to turn out.

Get creative with grits. I didn’t include cheese in this recipe but think about the options – smoked mozzarella, feta, cheddar, Boursin, you name it. It all works.

Creamy Grits with Shrimp and Sausage

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cups grits, I use a medium grind
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons bacon grease or oil
14 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound shrimp, shelled, cleaned, rinsed, dried
Black pepper
Grated Parmesan for serving, optional
Cayenne pepper flakes, optional

Add the water, milk, butter and the salt to a dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts.

Add the grits and cook them, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes.

Depending on what cornmeal you’re using (there’s everything from corn flour to a coarse grind) you can follow the recipe on the package, then there’s no guesswork.

If you think the grits are too thick, add some water, cream, broth – whatever you want to thin it slightly using a whisk. When you’re sure it’s done, and quits thickening, add the white pepper, paprika, and thyme. Cover the pot and set the grits aside.

Put a large skillet over high heat and add the bacon grease or oil. I had cooked some bacon, so I left the grease in the pan just for this purpose. Add the sausage slices and brown them on both sides. When they’re all browned, scoop them up with a slotted spoon and place them in a large bowl. But keep the skillet on the stove with the oil.

Salt and pepper all of the shrimp. Add the shrimp, in batches, and cook them in the same grease until they are opaque. This only takes a minute. Place the cooked shrimp in the bowl with the sausage, and continue with the remaining shrimp.

When it is time to serve, have your grits, shrimp, and sausage all warm. Place some of the grits in a pasta bowl. Then top with the shrimp and sausage.

I always like to offer cayenne pepper flakes, just because I like things spicy, but that’s optional. You could even serve Tabasco or another hot sauce.

Chopped green onions are also good.

Because I didn’t include cheese in the grits, I thought I’d serve some Parmesan as an optional topping.

Parmesan takes it over the top, but other cheeses could be used as well.

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. chefconnie April 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM - Reply

    Shrimp and Grits are sublime. Your picture is amazing. Great job and great post.

  2. thesinglegourmetandtraveller April 4, 2013 at 10:09 AM - Reply

    That looks great. I’ve never eaten grits. Sounds awful to us English … gritty things aren’t good! But reading your post it sounds like polenta (which can be a bit gritty :) ) … and I do like … but only dressed up with cheese and lots of butter, much like you’ve done here. Polenta is usually bright yellow corn but I had quite of bit of white polenta in Venice last year … grits???

    • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 10:21 AM - Reply

      I maybe should have more specific, but I think I’ve already done two polenta posts and I didn’t want to be repetitive. But grits and polenta are exactly the same thing – corn meal. There is yellow, and white. And, there are different grind sizes. The cheap kind is typically very fine for quick cooking, and also de-germed to that it lasts longer on the shelf, and also is much less healthy. That’s why I prefer the coarser grind. And I buy yellow because I feel like color means more healthy, like colorful veggies. Grits is a horrible name, which I think is another reason why I avoided them for so long. But once they’re cooked, they are just smooth like polenta.

      • ladyredspecs April 4, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        Thanks for demystifying the polenta/ grits thing. I ate grits once in the USA. They were not to my taste at all so have avoided them ever since. Polenta I adore. I guess there are good cooks and bad cooks worldwide. Time to revisit grits……..😀

      • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        They are one and the same, however, in the US, you can get finely ground grits, medium, and coarser ground ones. So that might change the texture somewhat. There’s also white and yellow and blue. But yes, they maybe weren’t made well.

      • thesinglegourmetandtraveller April 5, 2013 at 1:54 AM

        You shouldn’t have been more specific – I should have found out what grits were before now!! But I’m pleased that I’m now well informed – and I like your recipe!! xx

  3. thelondonflowerlover April 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM - Reply

    We are veggies here but the pic is so delicious looking had to comment.well done, sure meat eater will find it really yummy

  4. Amanda Embry April 4, 2013 at 11:26 AM - Reply

    I had shrimp and grits on our honeymoon in Charleston – I tried making them at home, and they didn’t turn out nearly as well.

    • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 11:48 AM - Reply

      Probably not enough cream, cheese, and butter!

  5. dedy oktavianus pardede April 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM - Reply

    The shrimp is looks so succulent, perfectly seared!
    comfort meals….

  6. Our Growing Paynes April 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM - Reply

    Great presentation! Though I prefer the word polenta. Every time I hear the word grits I keep hearing “Well, kiss my grits!” from that show Alice. :)

    • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 1:29 PM - Reply

      Hahahaha! I loved that show!!!

      • Our Growing Paynes April 4, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        I used to watch the reruns when I was home sick from school. :)

      • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 2:07 PM


  7. fgassette April 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM - Reply

    A great combination. I will have to try this.


  8. Darya April 4, 2013 at 2:12 PM - Reply

    Lovely post. It is impossible to get grits here in France, but everytime a friend from the States visits, that is the one thing I ask for (and maple syrup). I adore shrimp and grits! Lovely post. Next time I have grits, I will be making this!

    • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM - Reply

      you can get polenta, though, can’t you?

      • Darya April 4, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Yes, but somehow it doesn’t feel quite the same :) (though I LOVE polenta)

      • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        Interesting. Well, it’s all just cornmeal! Maybe you like the coarser grind.

  9. StefanGourmet April 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM - Reply

    I have never heard of grits, but it seems a lot like polenta to me. Is it the same?

    • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM - Reply

      It’s absolutely the same thing. corn meal.

      • StefanGourmet April 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        Interesting. I’ve never heard of polenta with seafood, I’ll have a look to see if that exists in Italy.

      • StefanGourmet April 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        Polenta with shrimp is in fact prepared in Italy, without cheese though. Something to try!

      • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        No cheese! Those Italians!!!

      • StefanGourmet April 5, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Italians don’t generally mix seafood and cheese, as the cheese would overpower the elegant flavors of the seafood.

      • chef mimi April 5, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        Maybe because the shrimp is a little stronger in flavor than say, a white fish, that it does go well in this case with the cheesy grits. But of course, there’s traditional thought, and there’s personal preference! I have a post coming up on pasta next week where I mention Buggiali, one of my favorite Italian cookbook authors, and how he gets mad at Americans for putting cheese on everything!!!

      • StefanGourmet April 6, 2013 at 6:37 AM

        Indeed! I remember being shocked when a waiter in a fancy Italian restaurant in Dallas offered to put parmigiano on my spaghetti alle vongole. The waiter said he had to offer it as otherwise many American patrons would tip less. I usually see it as a bad sign if cheese and seafood are combined in an Italian restaurant, just like carbonara with cream.

      • chef mimi April 6, 2013 at 7:01 AM

        Dallas has come a long way culinary speaking but that doesn’t surprise me!

      • StefanGourmet April 6, 2013 at 7:51 AM

        This was almost 10 years ago.

  10. My Italian Smörgåsbord April 4, 2013 at 2:56 PM - Reply

    never had anything like this, sounds exotic and interesting! grits… are those something between pancakes and frittata? the shrimps look amazing!

    • chef mimi April 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM - Reply

      Just think polenta, the Italian grits!!!

  11. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen) April 5, 2013 at 6:24 AM - Reply

    That is one amazing ultra huge plate of shrimp and grits but I would have no problem polishing that off.

  12. annashortcakes April 5, 2013 at 10:10 AM - Reply

    I am so glad you tried them. It would be a shame to live life without grits.

  13. {Main St. Cuisine} April 5, 2013 at 1:10 PM - Reply

    This has become a favorite dish of mine since relocating to North Carolina. I really love it and you’ve photographed it beautifully, Chef Mimi…I’m sure non-southerners will want (no, they need to) try this. All that’s missing is the sweet tea!

    • chef mimi April 5, 2013 at 2:34 PM - Reply

      I’m so glad I tasted it in Charleston. I now love grits!

      • {Main St. Cuisine} April 5, 2013 at 6:41 PM

        Your post reminds me that we have to plan a trip to Charleston soon…the history, the people and of course, the food!

  14. gotasté April 6, 2013 at 9:16 AM - Reply

    This is not common in Singapore but it looks so good. I would love to try it.

  15. denise and sandy April 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM - Reply

    we made shrimp and grits last summer as a gift to the god of summer asking for a cool breeze. it didn’t work but it was delicious.

  16. imagesbytdashfield April 10, 2013 at 8:21 AM - Reply

    Oh yeah, baby! This is how to eat grits!!!!!

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