Publication date January 1, 2024
Craving Comfort Food? This Baked Grits Recipe Will Hit the Spot
Remember those cozy Sunday mornings, sunlight through the kitchen window, and the warm, comforting aroma of grits simmering on the stove? Yeah, me too. But sometimes, you crave that same richness and satisfaction in a simpler, more flavorful way.
Source: Edible Nashville
Today, we’ve cheesy baked grits that aren't just an upgrade on your basic bowl, they're a full-blown comfort food fiesta. Baking these baked grits is easier than pie (grits pie? maybe next time!). Plus, I love getting creative with the flavors.
Whether you're someone who enjoyed eating grits in childhood or want to try making these grits in a different style, this recipe is for you. So put on your apron, preheat your oven, and get ready to fall in love with grits all over again. Because trust me, once you go baked, you'll never go back.
What are baked cheese grits?
If you are someone who doesn’t know what grits are, worry not, I’m here to tell you! Grits are a dish made from ground corn, also known as hominy. They're a traditional Southern staple often enjoyed for breakfast or as a side dish. Grits are typically made from less sweet, starchy varieties often referred to as dent corn. You can make them from either yellow or white corn.
When it comes to baked cheese grits, are warm, comforting, and delicious dishes made by combining cooked grits with creamy cheeses and baking them until slightly golden brown and bubbly. They're a classic breakfast option, but you can also serve as a side dish or even a light main course.
What do Grits Taste Like?
Grits taste like corn and are often described as mild, slightly sweet, and nutty and act as a neutral canvas that takes on other flavors easily.
Generally, stone ground grits have the most flavor since they are ground with the germ intact. Many people say that grits made from yellow corn have a more pronounced corn flavor, while white grits tend to have a more delicate, subtle flavor.
Heirloom varieties are prized for their unique flavors and are usually ground to a medium or coarse texture to preserve their flavor and color. Instant grits and quick-cooking grits are more finely milled and are mildest in taste.
Why You Will Love Baked Grits
Aside from their rich flavor and being comforting food, here are some reasons why you will definitely love cheesy baked grits:
- These baked cheese grits are highly versatile, so you can add in any combination of cheese, seasoning, and mix-ins to fit whatever meal you’re pairing them with.
- A little different take on a Southern classic that’ll be sure to satisfy.
- Warm and cozy, perfect for a rainy day or when you’re in need of a pick-me-up kind of dish.
- Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the creamy grits recipe is perfect for any time and the ingredients are also budget-friendly.
Baked cheese grits Recipe
Before we dive into our baked grits recipes, here are a few ingredients that you need to grab:
- 1 1/4 cups stone ground grits
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
To make the best baked cheesy grits, follow the below-given instructions:
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F and bringing the chicken broth to a boil in a large Dutch oven.
- Then slowly whisk in the grits.
- Now, reduce the heat to medium-low, whisking occasionally. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the grits begin to thicken.
- Next, add 1 cup of each cheese, half-and-half, hot sauce, pepper, salt, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine well and remove from the heat.
- Whisk the eggs and mix them in the grits. Once you’re done with it pour the grits into a 2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Now comes the main step of this baked grits recipe, bake your grits for 30 minutes in the oven.
- Now, cover the grits with the remaining cheese and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until you see a melted and bubbly texture.
Grits are super versatile so you can make them sweet or savory and add any flavors you prefer accordingly.
Source: Tasting Table
In this recipe, I used a Pepper Jack and a sharp cheddar, but you can use any cheese you like. Goat cheese or mozzarella would be delicious too. Also, you can make these as spicy as you like, or omit the spice altogether.
You can also mix more cheese or cream cheese at the end of this recipe, adding in some Italian seasoning, or mixing in some roasted vegetables. A friend of mine strongly suggests adding garlic powder, I haven’t tried it yet but if you try, let us know in the comments!
There are many ways to serve these delicious baked grits. You can serve and eat them with a pat of butter or with no dripping gravy for breakfast. It can also work as a great base for seafood dishes like shrimp and grits (obviously) or shrimp Creole.
I personally think that grits are the perfect side dish to accompany a main protein, like grilled salmon or chimichurri chicken thighs but they’d also pair nicely with a salad or other lighter dishes.
How to Store Baked Creamy Cheese Grits
Like most other recipes, this baked creamy cheese grit recipe is best served hot and fresh. However, you don’t need to worry if you have leftovers, you can save them up to 4 days in the fridge.
Simply wrap them up in plastic wrap or an airtight container, and when you want to eat them again, reheat them back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
I haven’t tried but many say that you can also freeze cheesy grits for up to 4 months, wrapped up in a freezer-safe container. Defrost your baked grits the night before and whack them in the oven when you’re ready to dig back in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is grit?
Grits are a dish made from ground corn, also known as hominy. They're a traditional Southern staple often enjoyed for breakfast or as a side dish. Grits are typically made from less sweet, starchy varieties often referred to as dent corn.
Q. What do grits taste like?
Grits have a slightly sweet and corn-like flavor. The taste of grits can range from earthy and nutty to slightly creamy, depending on the cooking method and the ingredients used.
Q. Are grits healthy to eat?
Yes, grits are healthy to eat and can be enjoyed in a balanced diet. Grits provide carbohydrates, fiber, and many other important vitamins and minerals. They’re also naturally gluten-free and low in fat and sodium.
Q. How to make grits creamy?
To make grits creamy and truly rich, add a mixture of water, milk, cream, and butter to cook them in. Also a little extra cream for good measure.
Q. What is grit and what is it usually topped with?
Grits are a dish made from ground corn and are a traditional Southern staple often enjoyed for breakfast or as a side dish. They are usually cooked with butter, cheese, cream, or gravy, and topped with shrimp, mushrooms, ham, or bacon.
Q. Can you make grits with cornmeal?
Yes, you can use cornmeal as a substitute for grits, especially if you're using quick-cooking grits. But, the texture and flavor might be slightly different. Also, you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly, as cornmeal cooks faster than grits.
Q. How to make grits thicker?
There are many ways to make grits thicker, depending on the stage of your cooking process. By choosing stone-ground grit, using the right liquid ratio, cooking on low heat, simmering gently, and extending the cooking time you can easily make thicker grits.
Q. What goes with grits?
Grits are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and readily take on different flavors and toppings including all sorts of sauces, meats, seafood, and poached eggs. They take beautifully to cheese, butter, and herbs if you want to get a little fancy, and grits are great with hot sauce.