Taste of the South: Cheese Grits

Grits can be eaten anytime of day from cheesy grit casseroles at breakfast to shrimp and grits for dinner. Try our all-time favorite cheese grits recipes and taste what the fuss is all about.

Cheese Grits Recipes
Sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses lend an unbeatable tangy richness to Creamy Cheese Grits. Photo: Beth Dreiling / Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey / Food Styling: Angela Sellers

Favorite Cheese Grits Recipes

The topics in "Taste of the South" often generate intense discussions at our tasting table, and cheese grits proved no exception. We all agreed that this straightforward dish embodies the very definition of good old-fashioned, stick-to-your-ribs Southern food. The rest, however, was open to a little friendly debate.

Following our standard procedure, we tested a number of cheese grits recipes, which included everything from garlic to bacon, and just about every kind of cheese you can imagine. In the end, it was the unadorned but extraordinarily delicious Two-Cheese Grits recipe that won, hands down. The reason? The cheese.


The Perfect Cheese for Grits
Specifically, sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack. We found that the combination of tangy sharp Cheddar and mild Monterey Jack creates the perfect balance of creaminess and flavor. Here's why: The sharper the cheese, the less moisture it has. This is a good thing when sliced and eaten out of hand, but it's not so good when the cheese is heated. When sharp and extra-sharp Cheddar are melted, they can taste greasy and grainy. Enter Monterey Jack, whose high moisture content makes it just right for melting. When you try our cheese grits recipe, you'll know why they're the perfect match.

Grits Dictionary
Grits can be very different, depending on whether they're ground at a gristmill or purchased at the supermarket. Use this guide to grits to help you with the different choices.

  • Hominy: Dried white or yellow corn kernels from which the hull and germ have been removed. It's sold dried or ready-to-eat in cans. When dried hominy is ground, it's called hominy grits. Grits are available in three grinds—fine, medium, and coarse.
  • Whole-ground or stone-ground grits: These grits are a coarse grind. You'll find stone-ground grits at gristmill gift shops and specialty food stores.
  • Quick and regular grits: The only difference between these types is in granulation. Quick grits are ground fine and cook in 5 minutes; regular grits are medium grind and cook in 10 minutes.
  • Instant grits: These fine-textured grits have been precooked and dehydrated. To prepare them, simply add boiling water.
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