Baked cheese grits are warm comfort food at its best—serve these for breakfast or as a side dish for dinner!
Cheese grits…once a Southern tradition and now starting to appear on menus everywhere. The beauty of grits is that they are neutrally flavored and therefore go with many different types of food: shrimp, pork chops, New Orleans style grillades and of course, traditional breakfast fare such as bacon or sausage and eggs.
Plain grits are fine and dandy and probably the preferred style for a Southern breakfast. But add some cheese, or better yet, make a baked cheese grits casserole—and you have elevated a side dish into a main event. You can even add some roasted peppers like I did with my Roasted Poblano Cheese Grits, which pairs especially well for shrimp and grits!
My friend Rita makes a baked cheese grits dish that is creamy, subtly flavored with cheese and butter, and wonderful on its own or accompanied by shrimp or breakfast. We had these grits just the other night with old-fashioned baked pork chops. Baked cheese grits are Casey’s favorite breakfast food and something he always hopes is on the table when we eat at Rita’s.
How to Make Baked Cheese Grits
You can start with quick-cooking grits or as I prefer, stone-ground grits. Stone-ground grits deliver more flavor but take about 25 minutes to cook, whereas quick-cooking grits are done in about 8 minutes.
Cook the grits according to the instructions on whatever package you’re using. While the grits are cooking, grate about one cup of extra-sharp yellow cheddar and one cup of extra-sharp white cheddar. You’ll also need 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Once the grits are done, they will be creamy, like this:
Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and the butter until melted.
Now add 1/2 cup of half-and-half. You can use milk if you don’t have half-and-half.
Take two eggs and lightly beat them in a small bowl, then add a couple of spoonfuls of hot grits to the eggs, one spoonful at a time. This will temper the eggs so they won’t scramble when you add them to the pot.
Stir the eggs into the pot of grits and then pour the whole concoction into a lightly greased 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake the grits for about 40 minutes until set.
- 1 cup grits
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup half and half or milk
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350.
Lighly grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucpan, then stir in grits and cook according to package directions.
When grits are done, remove from heat. Stir in cheese and butter until melted. Stir in half-and-half.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the hot grits to the lightly beaten eggs, stirring in one tablespoon at a time. Add egg mix to the pot of grits.
Pour grits into prepared dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes until set.
Try these stone ground grits for this recipe: