Lori's Shrimp & Grits

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Recipe: #28631

November 07, 2017

"One of my favorite things about the South is the food - and Shrimp & Grits probably comes close to the top of the list! But grits take a longer time to cook, and for a quick meal, I often substitute polenta for the grits. So this is my adaptation of a number of different recipes, including directions for using grits OR polenta. It's probably more Louisiana style than Low Country."

Original is 4 servings
  • NOTE: I often use polenta instead of grits. It cooks much faster, and while it doesn't have quite the same taste or texture, it still makes a really great dish! All the ingredient amounts stay the same, just substitute polenta for the grits.
  • Optional: minced parsley or scallions to garnish


  • Serving Size: 1 (625.2 g)
  • Calories 1009.5
  • Total Fat - 68.3 g
  • Saturated Fat - 28.9 g
  • Cholesterol - 361.2 mg
  • Sodium - 2796.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 41.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3.3 g
  • Sugars - 1.4 g
  • Protein - 58.3 g
  • Calcium - 552.2 mg
  • Iron - 4.1 mg
  • Vitamin C - 5.5 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.5 mg

Step by Step Method


Step 1

Combine the water and salt in a heavy 3 qt.saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually add the grits, stirring, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook till the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat; add the cheese and butter, and stir till melted. Add the cream and stir to combine. Keep warm while you skip to Step 3 and make the shrimp. IGNORE INSTRUCTIONS IN STEP 5 FOR POLENTA!


Step 2

Place the water and salt in a 3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Step 3

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine sherry, both paprikas, Worcestershire sauce, and kosher salt. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Set aside.

Step 4

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil, butter, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. When they start to sizzle, reduce the heat to low.

Step 5

By now, the water has probably come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and have all of your polenta ingredients handy. Add the polenta to the water and stir constantly until the polenta thickens. Add the butter and cheese, stirring constantly. Add the cream, stir to incorporate, cover and keep warm.

Step 6

By now, the garlic butter has been simmering. Turn the heat up to medium and add the shrimp mixture to the hot skillet. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes.

Step 7

Add the diced tomatoes and cook and stir shrimp for about 2 minutes more, then add the cream and turn heat down to reduce and thicken sauce, about 1 minute more. Don't overcook the shrimp!

Step 8

Serve shrimp in shallow bowls over the grits or polenta, and garnish with the crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with the parsley or green onions if using.


No special items needed.

Editorial Notes

The ingredient tips, suggestions, variations, facts, questions and answers below are not edits to the original author's recipe. They are not meant to imply any change would improve the recipe. They're offered for convenience, alternative ideas, and points of interest. If you have any comments about them, please post in the Help & Ideas forum.

  • When purchasing shrimp, look for ones that are firm and smell like the ocean.
  • If you're using polenta instead of grits, look for one that is coarse-ground and pre-cooked.

  • Instead of regular grits, substitute quinoa for a gluten-free option that is still packed with protein. The benefit of this substitution is that quinoa cooks much faster than grits, so it helps to reduce the overall cooking time.
  • Instead of bacon, substitute tempeh for a vegetarian option that still adds a nice crunch to the dish. The benefit of this substitution is that tempeh is a much healthier option than bacon, and it is also packed with protein.

Cajun Shrimp & Grits Substitute the Hungarian hot paprika with Cajun seasoning, and add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the shrimp mixture. Omit the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Add 1/2 cup of diced bell peppers to the garlic butter mixture. Cook the shrimp for 3 minutes, and add 1/4 cup of diced scallions to the shrimp mixture. Garnish with diced scallions and freshly chopped parsley.

Southern-Style Collard Greens - Collard greens are the perfect accompaniment to shrimp and grits/polenta. They are a classic Southern dish that are packed with flavor and nutrition. The bitterness of the greens pairs perfectly with the richness of the shrimp and grits/polenta, creating a delicious and balanced meal.

Cornbread: Cornbread is a classic Southern side dish that pairs perfectly with collard greens and shrimp and grits/polenta. It's a great way to add a bit of sweetness to the meal, while also providing a crunchy texture. Cornbread is also a great source of fiber and other nutrients, making it a healthy addition to the meal.


Q: What is the difference between using grits and polenta?

A: Grits take longer to cook than polenta, but have more flavor and texture. Polenta is a quicker alternative and still makes a great dish. All the ingredient amounts stay the same, just substitute polenta for the grits.

Q: What is the difference between cornmeal and corn flour?

A: Cornmeal is ground up dried corn kernels, while corn flour is ground up dried corn kernels that have been cooked and then dried. Cornmeal is coarser and has a more distinct texture than corn flour, which is more finely ground and smoother.

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Fun facts:

Fun Fact 1: Shrimp & Grits is a popular dish in the southern United States, and is believed to have originated in the Low Country region of South Carolina. The dish is often attributed to African-American cooking, and has become popular in the south due to its simplicity and delicious flavor.

Fun Fact 2: Shrimp & Grits has been a favorite of many famous southern celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Paula Deen, and even President Jimmy Carter. It has been featured on the Food Network and in many other media outlets, and remains a beloved staple of southern cuisine.