This Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Casserole is a touch spicy, with a Creole kick, and totally irresistible with layers of cheddar grits and sauteed shrimp!
This Midwest born and raised gal was late to Southern shrimp and grits, but a new fan was born after a book club friend served her casserole version at our summer gathering.
Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Casserole
Shrimp and Grits originated on the southern coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, and is traditionally a breakfast food. I don’t know about you, but shrimp isn’t something I crave first thing in the morning, so making it into a dinner casserole was more my style! But feel free to eat this delicious shrimp and grits recipe any time of day.
How to Make Shrimp and Grits
Start by purchasing your grits. Grits and polenta are similar, both made from ground corn. Grits are finer, though, and made from white corn, where polenta is coarser and created from yellow corn. Polenta is a staple of Italian cuisine, and grits are notably Southern.
Quick grits, like quick oats, are more processed and cook up faster than traditional grits. My friend, LJ, used quick grits in her recipe and this northerner thought they tasted just fine. I only found regular grits and used them with her directions and the result was more like polenta, but still delicious!
- Make your grits first. They take the most time of the two components of this casserole and can actually be cooked ahead of time, then chilled until you’re ready to saute the shrimp.
- I have made these with traditional grits as well as “grits” packaged as polenta/grits. The texture was of the latter was more like polenta, but it worked in a pinch!
- Cook your grits in a double boiler, which is a set of pans where one inserts into the top of the other. The lower pan has simmering water, which provides a gentler heat than the burner.
- PRO-Tip: If you don’t own a double boiler, use a makeshift version with a saucepan and heat resistant bowl to nestle on top of the pan. Since the bowl isn’t well secured, you may need to hold it with a hot pad while stirring.
- Cook your grits until they’re thick, though if you like thinner grits, add some extra liquid. Just taste to make sure they’re soft and tender.
What to Serve with Shrimp and Grits
With a full flavored, spicy entree, you’ll want simple sides like roasted vegetables or a green salad. I love this Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Brown Butter. The bit of vinegar helps cut the richness of the shrimp and grits as does the lemon in this Lemon Garlic Broccoli. For a refreshing salad, I recommend this Citrus Spinach Salad and this Honey Lime Fruit Salad would be fabulous accompaniment for breakfast or dinner!
More Terrific Dinner Casseroles
- Chili Relleno Casserole
- Homemade King Ranch Casserole
- No Soup Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Chicken Feta Casserole
- More Entree Recipes
Add to Your Shopping List:
- 1 quart of milk
- Quick or regular grits
- Grated cheddar cheese
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Creole seasoning
- Green onions
- Fresh Cilantro
- Red Bell Pepper
- Lemon for zest
- Kitchen staples: Butter, Olive Oil, Kosher salt, black pepper
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 quart of milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup of Quick Grits (sold in the cereal section- in a round box like Quaker Oats) or tradition grits
- 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
- 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 large red pepper, large diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Using a double boiler, melt a stick of butter, then add a quart of milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of quick grits.
Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is very thick, about 20 minutes. Then stir in the cheddar cheese until melted. Take the grits off the heat and beat on high with a mixer for 5 minutes.
After whipping the grits, place them in a greased 8 x 11-inch casserole. At this point, the grits can be parked in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook the shrimp.
Bake the grits at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes while you cook the shrimp.
Sprinkle the creole seasoning over the shrimp and let it sit for a few minutes. Saute the garlic in the oil for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and sauté for 3 minutes.
Add the onions, cilantro, red pepper, lemon zest, Sriracha, salt and pepper and stir for another 2 minutes. Then take off of the stove.
When the grits are done baking, top with the shrimp mixture and serve.
Adapted from my friend LJ's grandma's recipe.