A Southern Classic: Shrimp & Grits

November 03, 2023 · by Ashton Dorow

As a southern girl, I have loved grits since I was a kid, and several years ago, when I finally tasted shrimp and grits, I fell in love with that too! Surprisingly, though, I have never made it myself until now. My mom has an amazing recipe for shrimp and grits, but the one she uses always felt a little intimidating to me (there's a lot of steps and ingredients), and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it quite like she does. This week, though, I stumbled upon my own way to make shrimp and grits that is simpler but still so yummy!

You see, I had planned to make garlic butter shrimp and serve it over white rice, Hawaiian style. BUT, I had a bit of a **ahem** mishap with the rice and it ended up being inedible... My rice cooker broke a while back, and I’ve been struggling to get stovetop-made rice just right ever since... Haha!

With our dinner on the verge of being ruined, I had to think of an alternative to the rice. I remembered the amazing stone-ground yellow grits my mom brought home to me from Tennessee a while back and realized--we can make shrimp and grits with this! My husband and I tweaked the seasonings on the shrimp to make them spicier, then I whipped up a batch of those yellow grits, and voila! Our dinner was saved. It turned out delicious, and I think it was an even better meal than what it would have been had I gone with my original plan.

If you love this classic southern dish as much as I do, or if you’ve never had it but would like to give it a try, check out the recipe below!


For the shrimp:

- 1-1.5 pounds of shrimp (cleaned and deveined)

- Olive oil (at least two tablespoons, but I ended up adding more while cooking the shrimp, as needed)

- 1 stick of butter

- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic

- 2 ½ tablespoons of all purpose flour

- 3 teaspoons of paprika

- 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (this was something we added last minute and we just "eyeballed" the amount, so this measurement is just a guess!)

- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt (preferably sea salt)

- 1 teaspoon of black pepper

- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

- Optional: chopped parsley for garnish

    For the grits:

    - 1 cup of yellow grits (NOT instant grits)

    - Salt, pepper, and butter to season to your taste (I usually use roughly 3 tablespoons of butter when making this large of a batch)


    1. Make your grits as directed on the package. For mine, I had to bring 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil to start out. Once the water was boiling, I added in the grits and turned the burner down to low, covered the pot, and let it simmer until the grits were done. Be sure to keep a close eye on the grits as you go, and stir them from time to time so they don’t stick to the bottom! You also definitely don’t want to eat gummy grits (yuck!), so taste test them when they are starting to thicken up and take them off the heat as soon as they have reached your desired consistency.

    2. Meanwhile, while your grits are cooking, melt the butter and one tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat in a large pan/skillet. Once the butter is melted, add the minced garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic turns a light brown. Garlic burns quickly, so be careful!

    3. Pour your garlic butter sauce into a small bowl and set it aside for later.

    4. Place the flour, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and garlic powder in a bag or a bowl that has a lid and toss your shrimp in this mixture until they are well coated. (I recommend doing this step while your butter and garlic are cooking to save time)

    5. Add a second tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. Once it is heated, add your shrimp to the pan and cook the shrimp on each side for 2-3 minutes. If your pan isn’t very large, you may need to cook the shrimp in batches (as I did) and set them aside as you go, so the pan isn’t overcrowded. I also had to add more olive oil as I went because the pan got too dry.

    6. Once all the shrimp are done, combine the shrimp and the garlic butter sauce in the pan and stir it all together well. If you were cooking the shrimp in batches, the shrimp will probably have gotten lukewarm by now, so you’ll need to let it all warm back up and simmer in the garlic butter for a little bit. 

    7. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste into your cooked grits and mix well.

    8. Serve the grits in a shallow bowl and top with the shrimp (and parsley for a garnish, if you want) and enjoy!

    **This recipe makes three large servings, though it could possibly be stretched into four if you also have side dishes to go with the meal.**

    Photo by Fernando Andrade on Unsplash

    Ashton Dorow

    About Ashton Dorow

    Ashton Dorow has loved reading for as long as she can remember, and she began writing her first book at age fourteen. Since then, she has written more books, launched her blog, Life & Lit, and is in the process of publishing her first novel. She currently resides in Conroe, TX, with her hubby and their two spoiled-rotten furbabies. They attend the church Ashton grew up in, Abundant Life Church in Willis, TX, where they are both involved in music, youth, and children’s ministry.

    Connect with Ashton on Instagram at @life.and.lit