Cheese Grits Casserole is a Southern favorite, and this version is the best! We use Cheddar cheese and a little heavy cream with eggs to make it rich and creamy. With our tips and secrets, you’ll soon be on your way to serving up the best cheese grits you’ve ever tasted!

small dish of baked cheese grits

As a fourth-generation Southern cook, I know a thing or two about grits, and let me tell you, these baked cheese grits are amazing!

We love this recipe because it’s simple and easy but absolutely delicious. Of course, you can just drop some cheese into a bowl of grits and call it good like they do at the Waffle House (and no Southerner is going to turn down a bowl of cheese grits from the Waffle House!), and that’s a perfect bowl of grits.

But if you’re hosting brunch or want to make breakfast extra special, go a few steps further and try this cheese grits recipe. Serve it alongside our special breakfast casserole or sausage breakfast pizza, and you’ll have a happy crowd!

I didn’t like grits until I tried this recipe and now this cheese grits casserole is a favorite in our house! My son requests them every time he comes home for a visit!

tracy (Facebook)

Plain grits are fine and dandy and sometimes the preferred style for a Southern breakfast. But 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 works especially well as the base for shrimp and grits!

This recipe comes from my friend, Rita, and she is not allowed to come to brunch without bringing a dish of these grits!

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Ingredients for cheese grits casserole

Grits: Use regular or stone-ground grits, not instant or quick-cooking grits.

Cheese: Good quality Cheddar cheese or a mix of Cheddar and whatever suits you. We also sometimes sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top before baking.

Cream: Heavy cream adds just the right touch of richness to this dish. You can use half-and-half or milk if you prefer, but you’ll be giving up some creamy, rich texture and flavor.

Butter: As with most recipes, we use unsalted butter. If you use salted, cut back on the added salt.

Eggs: Two eggs serve as a binder and also make the casserole creamier and more delicious!

Check out all of our best breakfast recipes here!

Tools needed to make creamy cheese grits

How to make cheesy grits

You can use regular grits or stone-ground grits.

Tip: Stone-ground grits deliver more flavor but take about 25 minutes to cook, whereas regular grits are done in about 8 minutes.

Step 1. Cook the grits.

Cook the grits according to the instructions on whatever package you’re using.

Step 2. Add cheese and other ingredients.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and the butter until melted.

Now add 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

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.

Step 3. Bake the cheese grits.

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 40-45 minutes until set.

Oval dish of baked cheese grits

Can you make grits ahead of time?

This cheese grits casserole is a great make-ahead dish. You can bake it the day before, refrigerate it, and reheat it in the microwave or oven.

You can also put the casserole together ahead of time and refrigerate it, then bake just before serving.

Tips for making cheesy grits casserole

Use the right grits: Regular or stone-ground grits are best for this casserole. Quick-cooking grits will not have the best texture.

Don’t skimp on the cheese: Use high-quality cheddar cheese for the best flavor. You can even experiment with different types of cheese like Gruyère or Parmesan. And feel free to add more than two cups. I usually measure that pretty generously!

I’ll often add about 1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan on top of the grits before baking. This creates a nice golden brown top and even better flavor!

Temper the eggs: Gradually whisk in some hot grits to the beaten eggs before adding them to the pot. This helps prevent the eggs from scrambling.

Cayenne pepper or Tabasco: A sprinkle of cayenne pepper or a dash or two of Tabasco sauce is good in just about any baked cheese dish, and this one is no exception. Just a little bit can add a lot of flavor without being overly spicy.

How to serve grits casserole

Cheese grits are a nice side dish for breakfast or supper. You can pair your baked cheese grits with this overnight breakfast casserole or oven-baked omelet or try them with pork chops.

Storing leftover baked cheese grits

Store leftover baked cheese grits in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for 3-4 days.

Can you freeze cheese grits casserole?

This cheesy grits casserole is perfect for freezing. I usually freeze the leftovers in individual serving sizes for a quick breakfast option. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave.

Reheating grits casserole

If you’re reheating a single serving or two, then you can use the microwave. If you’re reheating the whole dish or a large portion, we suggest reheating in the oven. Cover the dish and reheat at 350°F until warm.

If the grits seem too thick when you reheat them, stir in a little water or milk.

A plate with breakfast items

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4.82 from 32 votes

Baked Cheese Grits

Cheese Grits Casserole is a Southern favorite and this version is the best! Cheddar cheese, half-and-half, and eggs make it rich and creamy.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Save This Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup grits
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Lighly grease a 2 1/2 quart shallow 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 heavy cream, salt, and pepper.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of the hot grits to the lightly beaten eggs, stirring in one tablespoon at a time to temper the eggs. Add egg mix to the pot of grits and stir gently.
  • Pour grits into prepared dish. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until set in the middle.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. The grits may be a little jiggly but will continue to set after you take them out of the oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 8servings, Calories: 330kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Sodium: 793mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 865IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 223mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Calories: 330
Keyword: baked cheese grits, cheddar cheese grits, cheese grits, easy cheese grits
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!

Update Notes: This post was originally published May 31,2011, and on March 19, 2024, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

Grits casserole recipe FAQs

How long do grits take to cook?

It depends on what kind of grits you’re cooking. Quick grits will be ready in five minutes, whereas plain grits will take around 15 minutes, and stone-ground grits can take up to 45 minutes.

What is the secret to good grits?

Lots of butter. Lots of salt. For this recipe, lots of cheese and cream!

What does adding an egg to grits do?

The eggs help to thicken the grits and add richness.

Should you rinse grits before cooking?

If you’re using stone ground grits, you can rinse them in a fine mesh strainer. This helps remove any dust or debris that might be hidden.

Lucy standing behind a counter with a cheese board and glass of wine.

About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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5 Comments

  1. Southerners love cheese grits, don’t we? Molly – my grandfather used to make scrambled eggs with velveeta cheese — nobody can make them as good as he did!