Looking for an appetizer to get the party—and conversation—started? These crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside fries are a fantastic party snack, especially when served with ketchup kicked up with hot sauce and smoked paprika. You can make this recipe with plain grits, but we love the addition of bacon and chives. Chilled cooked grits are cut into long strips, then battered and fried. Be sure to have all of the dredging ingredients (eggs, flour, breadcrumbs) prepped and ready to go when you're all set to batter the fries. While it takes time to chill the grits, the wait is definitely worth it. Everyone will be lining up at your fall parties for these delicious grit fries.

Marian Cooper Cairns


Credit: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary test

30 mins
4 hrs 15 mins
5 hrs 10 mins
Serves 6


Smoky Hot Ketchup


Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare grits according to package directions, using milk, stock, and salt. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Add cheese, bacon, chives, and pepper, and stir until cheese is melted. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch square pan; chill 4 to 24 hours. Invert grits onto a large cutting board. Cut into 3/4-inch-thick, 4-inch-long strips.

  • Prepare the Smoky Hot Ketchup: Stir together ketchup, hot sauce, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

  • Place flour in a shallow dish. Whisk together eggs and water in a second shallow dish. Place panko in a third shallow dish. Dredge grit fries in flour; dip in egg wash, and roll in panko, pressing gently to adhere. Place grit fries in freezer for 15 minutes.

  • Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch in a large, heavy skillet; heat over medium-high to 350°F. Fry grit fries, in batches, in hot oil until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Place on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet, and keep warm in a 225°F oven up to 30 minutes, if desired.