Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (2024)

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This easy shrimp and grits recipe incorporates bacon, which gives the dish a nice smoky undertone — and there’s plenty of silky gravy for spooning over the grits.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (1)

Shrimp and grits is a beloved Southern dish that originated as a humble and inexpensive meal for fishermen and their families. While traditionally a breakfast item, it has evolved into a popular dinner dish that can be found in all manner of restaurants, from casual seafood shacks to trendy hot spots. While the presence of shrimp and grits is a constant, there are many variations of the dish. Some recipes incorporate sausage or bacon, while others use different types of cheese or vegetables.

My version of shrimp and grits incorporates crispy bacon, which adds a delicious smoky flavor, and a generous amount of sauce for drizzling over the creamy grits. While I know it’s considered sacrilege by some, I use quick-cooking grits to save time (these grits can be prepared in just five minutes!). If you have more time, feel free to use traditional stone-ground grits for a more authentic version of the dish. To really take the dish up a notch, save the shrimp peels, simmer them in the chicken broth for 15 minutes, and then strain; this will infuse the broth with the taste of the sea and add depth and complexity to the sauce.

Table of Contents

  • What You’ll Need To Make Shrimp and Grits
  • Step-by-Step instructions
  • Video Tutorial
  • You May Also Like
  • Printable Recipe
  • Reviews

What You’ll Need To Make Shrimp and Grits

For the Shrimp

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (2)

For the Grits

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (3)

Step-by-Step instructions

Step 1: Make the Shrimp

To begin, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 minutes.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (4)

Add the shrimp to the skillet and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are mostly pink but not quite cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (5)

Transfer the shrimp and bacon mixture to a bowl and set aside. Place the skillet back on the heat (do not wash) and melt the butter. Add the light green scallions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (6)

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (7)

Mix until well incorporated, then whisk in the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (8)

Step 2: Make the Grits

Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside while you make the grits. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk and salt. Bring to a boil and then, whisking constantly, slowly pour the grits into the bubbling broth.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (9)

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until the grits become thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir continuously to prevent sputtering. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (10)

Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm until ready to serve.

Step 3: Finish the Shrimp

Place the veggie/sauce mixture back on the stove. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Return the shrimp and bacon, along with any juices that collected in the bowl, to the skillet and mix well.

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Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are cooked through, a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a small handful of the dark green scallions over the shrimp (you may not need all of them).

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Divide the grits among serving bowls. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the grits and serve. Pass the hot sauce, if desired.

Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (13)

Video Tutorial

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  • Recipe
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Print

Shrimp and Grits

Metric Cup Measures

By Jenn Segal

This easy shrimp and grits recipe incorporates bacon, which gives the dish a nice smoky undertone — and there’s plenty of silky gravy for spooning over the grits.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Shrimp

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ½-in dice
  • 1½ lbs jumbo (21/25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, such as Emeril's
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, light and dark green parts divided
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco

For the Grits

  • 4 cups whole or 2% milk
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • ¾ cup (2 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Start the shrimp: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the shrimp to the skillet and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are mostly pink but not quite cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp and bacon mixture to a bowl and set aside; place the skillet back on the heat (do not wash).
  2. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the light green scallions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and mix until incorporated. Whisk in the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside while you make the grits.
  3. For the grits: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and salt to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the grits into the bubbling milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until the grits become thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. (Stir continuously to prevent sputtering.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese. Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Place the skillet with the vegetable/sauce mixture back on the stove and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Return the shrimp and bacon, along with any juices that collected in the bowl, to the skillet and mix well. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a small handful of the dark green scallions over the shrimp (you may not need all of them).
  5. Divide the grits among serving bowls. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the grits and serve. Pass the hot sauce, if desired.

Pair with

  • Southern-Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Nutrition Information

Powered by Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (19)

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 731
  • Fat: 34 g
  • Saturated fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59 g
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 46 g
  • Sodium: 1625 mg
  • Cholesterol: 291 mg

Nutritional Data Disclaimer

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:

  • Dinner
  • American
  • Southern

Comments

    • Definitely — just fully thaw them first. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 19, 2024
      • Reply
  • Flavor was good but it was way too salty (and I even used low sodium chicken broth).

    • — Vicky on June 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • So this version is very similar to the recipe I learned from my great-aunt, born and raised in South Carolina. We don’t usually add bacon but no doubt is delicious this way. If I use shrimp with shells, I simmer the shells in the chicken broth for a while to add another layer of flavor. Thanks for this recipe. This will be the one I share whenever people ask for my recipe. I don’t have one written down, I learned by watching my aunt!

    • — Adrienne Carter on May 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is a great recipe! The chicken broth based sauce makes this recipe 5 stars! I used half and half.

    • — Paul Gula on April 27, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight for my husband who loves cajun food. Both of us absolutely loved it! The flavor and textures were spot on. I definately will be making this again. Thank you very much for all of your recipes.

    • — Katie on April 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • Amazing!!

    • — Stephanie K on April 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • Wow! So so good and easy to make! We did it with Old Bay instead of Cajun seasoning and it was wonderful.

    • — Lori on March 31, 2024
    • Reply
  • I love to try the various shrimp and grits recipes in the south or even here in Texas. I love making shrimp and grits and I order heirloom grits from South Carolina when I make them. I know shrimp and grits. I just came back from SC and had some that tasted like they were instant with frozen shrimp. This recipe is OUTSTANDING. This is a recipe for company coming over. I used Tasso instead of bacon but that’s a personal decision. As is, it’s a great dish.

    • — Dale on March 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made the shrimp and grits last night, so easy to prepare. My husband absolutely loved it. Will be making again real soon.

    • — Janet DeBoe on February 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • Amazing! I made this tonight, everyone loved it. 5 stars. Wonderful flavor. I used regular grits, it’s what I had on hand.just cooked them longer according to instructions.
    Definitely will make this again.

    • — Rita on February 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • Loved this recipe! It’s my go to for Shrimp and Grits now! Delicious!

    • — John Andrews on January 26, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this with regular grits that take 25 minutes to cook . You need to start the grits first and then do the shrimp/bacon /vegies and try to time it together. It takes more work, but the grits are better and the flavor improves. The sauce is excellent.

    • — Jamie B on January 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made this according to the recipe for my husband and one of my four adult children. To say they loved it is an understatement!! My husband described your shrimp and grits recipe as “restaurant quality”, “wouldn’t change a thing”. Now all of my kids and their spouses want to come home so I can make this dish for them. Thank you for wonderful recipes I know I can count on!

    • — andie on January 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I made the recipe exactly as written and it tasted delicious. It made sense to me to follow your directions to cook the shrimp with the fried bacon so they would be infused with the bacon’s smoky flavor. However if the bacon had been removed before the shrimp was cooked in the bacon fat, it would have retained its crispness. The reason for my 4 star rating is because I feel if the freshly cooked bacon had been added to the sliced scallions and sprinkled over the finished dish it would have better eye appeal and flavor.

    • — Emily Walkerwicz on December 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • SO SO GOOD! Omg my family loved it!

    • — Ana Machado on December 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • This does not mention how many people this recipe serves. FYI I am making it for a friend’s birthday who is from the South and am using it alongside some fried chicken with some salads & sides (which will be made by the 12 ladies who will be attending also) for pretty much a buffet. The party is Tuesday, Dec 12 so I need your reply very soon. I plan to keep it warm using an electric frying pan on a low temperature. Do you think that will work?

    • — Emily on December 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Emily, The recipe serves 4. I’m realizing that I’m responding too late to help – I’m sorry! I hope the party was fun. 😊

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • Nice easy recipe with great flavors.

    • — Patty on November 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • My husband said this is better than any restaurant shrimp and grits he’s ever tasted, and shrimp & grits is a definite go-to for him when we eat out. He prefers less spicy flavors so I subbed smoked paprika for the Cajun seasoning and everyone else amped up the spicy vibe with Tabasco at the table. Will definitely make this again. The bacon makes it next level!

    • — Colette Wagner on November 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • So very good.
    The best

    • — Carmel on November 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious!! And so savory!

    • — Naomi Larson on September 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delish! and easy! My family and friends loved it but it’s not a diet dish!
    Thanks Jenn.

    • — Shirley Johnson on September 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • Okay, I guess that I have gone flip’n crazy.
    I’ve made this recipe before(along time ago), loved it, rated it, and moved on.
    Now, I am going make it again, read the instructions, reread them, and then read some of the comments… some comments mention boiling the shrimp shells in the chicken broth. I can’t find that in the instructions anywhere… what happened????

    • — Sloany baloney on September 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • You’re not going crazy! I don’t mention that in the recipe — it’s part of the intro: To really take the dish up a notch, save the shrimp peels, simmer them in the chicken broth for 15 minutes, and then strain; this will infuse the broth with the taste of the sea and add depth and complexity to the sauce. Hope that clarifies. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thanks…clear as a bell. Will try tonight. You’re the best!

        • — Sloan on September 20, 2023
        • Reply
    • Love that comment. Making tonight with your Scallion & crispy bacon method. Good food needs dimensional textures 💜🙏

      • — Kelly on January 31, 2024
      • Reply
  • Very very good! I didn’t add any salt because of the bacon, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. I did add a handful of sliced okra, made the roux extra saucy. Will definitely make it again.

    • — Abra Berman on September 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • I made this for my husband’s birthday, and he said it was better than most restaurant dishes he’s tried! And he’s a shrimp and grits connoisseur. It was absolutely delicious, and I plan to make it again!

      • — Stephanie on September 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • We had this for dinner tonight. Absolutely delicious.

    • — Megan Ryan on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious; paired it with some fresh home grown tomatoes! SUPERB!

    • — TIM FORD on August 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • OMG! I have been looking for the perfect shrimp and grits recipe and just found it ❤️.
    Delicious! Seriously… the best!!!!

    • — Mary on July 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Just made this tonight and it was delicious! Nothing better on a cold winter evening (we live in Australia) than shrimp and grits but this was the first time using this recipe and we loved it.

    • — Louise on July 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delish!
    The only changes were that I added paprika with the seasonings to help darken, a little heavy cream to make richer, and OMITTED Worcester and lemon since it tasted wonderful as it was and I didn’t want to ruin perfection!
    Thanks for sharing. I’m a mediocre cook who looked like a Top Chef with my dad:)

    • — Ty on July 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • My daughter and I are cooking through your recipes….on line and in both cookbooks! We appreciate your attention to detail so much. Question about the shrimp and grits: if I want to serve six, can I just 1.5 X the recipe? Your proportions are always so spot-on, I don’t want to mess this up. Thanks so much, Cherry

    • — Cherry Searcy on July 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! 🙂
      Yes, making 1.5 times the recipe should be great. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • We made this again today for Mother’s Day. It was outstanding! Thanks for sharing. Your recipes always shine!

    • — Fred Gravelle on May 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love the recipe.

    • — Alicia on March 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • My family loved it !!!!!

    • — Mary Rossell on March 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • I love trying new recipes that I have never had before. This was another good one.
    I sent our leftovers with my granddaughter for her lunch and she raved about it too. Thank you again.

    • — Dianne Wilson on February 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious and easy! Just the right amount of spice and my family loved it!

    • — Bethany D on February 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious. Substituted gluten free flour and chicken broth for the regular as I have Celiac’s but both my husband and I loved it. Tasted even better the next day!

    • — Susan on February 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was great, my husband is gluten free so I used gluten free flour for the sauce and it came out great. Another keeper!

    • — Janet Cox on February 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Would like to add a tomato flavor also. Would you suggest tomato paste, petite diced tomato ?

    • — Jim Wheeler on February 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jim, I’d go with the diced tomatoes. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • Grits not readily available here in UK., can I simply use Polenta instead?

    • — chris b on February 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, definitely!

      • — Jenn on February 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • I bought some yellow grits and it had a recipe for this dish. So i googled for some recipes and I found a few but choose this one. I made it and it turned out great! The flavor and texture was out of this world. I made it because I was curious, the combination didn’t sound appealing but I was wrong! The wife and I enjoyed every bit.

    • — Marty & Fatima on December 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Very good recipe!

      • — Lina on February 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this last night. So good!!!!!!!!!!

    • — Stephanie Waite
    • Reply
  • Outstanding, milk sensitive for the grits I used 2 cups of water, 2 cups of milk. Otherwise followed exactly.

    • — Scott
    • Reply
  • Can I use vegetable broth, instead of chicken broth?

    • — Scott
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn
      • Reply
  • We have made this several times. Quick and easy. First time made the grits with milk, as listed. Seemed to cause some tummy issues. Next time made the grits with water (Quaker brand lists water anyway) and no issues. Have since found out I am for sure lactose sensitive. Cheese is ok though. A good work around if people cannot tolerate much dairy.

    • — Melissa
    • Reply
    • Lactose free milk is a good substitute. I use the store brand to save money. If you just can’t stomach it…..no pun intended, the Lactaid pills work like a dream for allowing the intolerant to tolerate dairy again.

      • — Turqueya Ferren-Bey on April 17, 2023
      • Reply

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Shrimp and Grits - Once Upon a Chef (2024)

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