Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits with a flavorful seafood sauce |

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Shrimp and grits is a very simple dish and there are hundreds of recipes. When I goggled it to write this post, I got 495,000 results!  I found recipes with cheese and cream, tasso and andouille, leeks and tomatoes.  The only constants seemed to be the grits, shrimp, and some type of red pepper spice.

My shrimp and grits recipe has evolved through the years from a few spicy shrimp on top of a bowl of creamy grits, to the recipe you see here.  Very traditional in flavor, but with more sauce, made from shrimp or chicken stock, than most recipes.  For Bobby and  me, the sauce makes the dish.

Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. It really is an easy dish to throw together and takes less than 45 minutes. It tastes like it cooks for hours.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits with a flavorful seafood sauce #shrimp #grits @mjskitchen |

Shrimp and Grits with Red chile powder
Print or Save Recipe
Shrimp and Grits Recipe
15 mins
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
A spicy and hearty meal of spicy shrimp and sauce served over grits.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine: Southern US
Yields: 4 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 1 pound medium to large shrimp, shelled and deveined (Save the shells and heads for stock. See Kitchen Notes.)
  • 1 ½ - 2 tsp. creole seasoning* (if you like things really spicy, use 2 tsp.)
  • 4 slices of thick sliced bacon, cut into 1” strips
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper or 1/2 cup roasted green chile, seeded and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced thin
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine (if you don't want to use wine, then increase the stock to 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup shrimp or chicken stock*
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
Creole Seasoning*
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. red chile powder or cayenne
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup quick cooking grits not instant grits
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  1. Toss the shrimp with the creole seasoning and set aside until ready to use. (Make shrimp stock from the shells and heads if you have them. See Kitchen Notes.)
  2. Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet (big enough to hold all ingredients but the grits). Stir occasionally and flip pieces over until crisp. Remove, drain, and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 Tbsp. of the drippings from the pan.
  3. Set the heat to medium-low or low. Add the onion, celery, garlic and poblano. Cook slowly until tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping off anything still stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
  5. Add the bay leaves, oregano, thyme, and stock. Stir. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 4 minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp, cover and cook 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook another 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Cooking the grits
  1. Bring the water with salt to a boil in a sauce pan.
  2. Slowly whisk in the grits. Set heat to very low and cover.

  3. Cook 5 minutes, whisking once every minute to keep the grits from clumping.
  4. Once the grits are cooked, remove from heat, add the butter. Cover until ready to serve.
  5. Just before serving, stir the melted butter into the grits.
To serve
  1. Place a large scoop or two of grits in a wide bowl.
  2. Top with shrimp mixture. Be sure to get some of the stock from the shrimp mixture into each bowl.
  3. Top each serving with some of the bacon pieces and a little more parsley (if desired).
Serve with a baguette or any good bread.
Kitchen Notes

Creole Seasoning - The creole seasoning was adapted from Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning.  If you don't want to make your own, then use a popular brand such as Tony Chachere’s or Zatarain’s.


Vegetables – For the onion, you can use just onion, a combination of onion and scallions, or use all scallions with the green tops. 


Stock – To make a very simple shrimp stock, add the shrimp peels to 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer while you chop and saute' the vegetables.  When you're ready to add to the dish, pour through a strainer and add the desired amount to the skillet. Freeze the rest for another day.


Bacon – Use a tasty, thick sliced bacon.  Even though this recipe calls for 4 pieces of bacon, I really only use about 3 pieces. The fourth piece just seems to disappear before it makes it to the bowls.


Cooking the shrimp – Don't overcook the shrimp!  If you use small shrimp, cook no more than 3 minutes, medium and large shrimp for 4 minutes and jumbo shrimp no more than 5 minutes.  Turn the shrimp over halfway through the cook time for even cooking. Once the shrimp turn pink all over, they are done enough.  Keep in mind they are going to continue to cook while they sit in the stock, waiting to be dished up.


Grits - Some recipes call for the stone ground grits.  These take 20 to 25 minutes to cook.  I use quick grits (NOT instant) which cook in 5 minutes.  Personally, having cooked both quick grits and stone ground, I’ll stick with the quick grits.  I’ve never been able to taste much of a difference.  (To read more about grits, and grits vs. polenta, see my Grits and Green Chile post.)



Bowl of Shrimp and Grits


If you’re looking for another quick and easy shrimp recipe, give this Thai Green Curry Shrimp dish a try.  You’ll love it!



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80 Responses to “Shrimp and Grits”

  1. April J Harris January 3, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    Your Shrimp and Grits look so lovely, MJ! What a beautiful dish. The recipe sounds fantastic and I’m so pleased you included a recipe for Creole seasoning too! Happy New Year!

    • mj January 4, 2015 at 8:45 am #

      Thanks April! Happy 2015!

  2. Jodee Weiland March 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    MJ, this looks absolutely wonderful! My husband loves shrimp and grits. He would definitely love this recipe. I know I would as well. We’ll have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Javelin Warrior June 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    This sounds so good, MJ – I love the use of the poblano for heat and the mix of herbs and spices to flavor everything. I’ve never been much of a grits person for breakfast, but like this, I’m sure I could eat a very generous helping!

  4. Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet March 8, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    Truth be told, I’ve never had grits. The first time I came across it was in the movie The Secret Life of Bees, had to stand on her knees on grits for punishment and she didn’t particularly like them. No matter, I’ll try them next I’m in the USA, don’t know when though!

  5. Nancy/SpicieFoodie March 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    I’ve never had shrimp and grits before, but your gorgeous photos are making me want to reach into my screen. Yummers!! Thanks for being a part of the YBR.

  6. Debbie @ Easy Natural Food March 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    I’m not familiar with grits at all (I just googled it!) but I love shrimp and the seasonings sound delicious! It looks sooo tasty!

  7. Swathi March 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Delicious and perfect meal MJ

  8. anna February 28, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    this sounds delicious! i am on the lookout for seafood recipes, can’t wait to try this one!

  9. Lori Lynn February 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Seriously! This is calling me! I think the way you balance the sauce, grits, and shrimp is perfect. Mouthwatering images too!

  10. Bill February 20, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    What a great recipe. I love the addition of poblano peppers. Guess that’s your southwest influence, huh? 🙂 I’ve got to try this. Thanks for sharing!

    • mj February 20, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks Bill! I also use New Mexico red chile power in the creole blend rather than cayenne. It’s actually not as spicy and yields a slightly different flavor. But then I am addicted to NM chile. 🙂

  11. Karen (Back Road Journal) February 20, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Shrimp and grits are a favorite dish that I like to order when traveling in the south. Your recipe sounds terrific.

  12. shuhan February 19, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    might be a simple and classic dish for you, but I’ve not had it before, growing up in asia or now, while in london. guess it’s a very classic american dish! looking forward to trying this out if I can get hold of grits! Polenta is easy to get hold of, grits unfortuantely not :/

    • mj February 20, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      thanks Shuhan! Actually, it is a classic southern American dish. It’s not well known in the northern and western areas of the U.S. so it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard of it. It’s quite good and should be great over polenta. I hope you get to try it.

  13. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb February 19, 2013 at 3:38 am #

    I don’t recall having a prawns and grits dish before. It sounds absolutely perfect, you know I am a polenta nerd. =D

  14. Food Jaunts February 18, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    So a confession – I’ve never tried shrimp and grits! Funnily enough I was just looking at a recipe this past weekend thinking it was something I needed to remedy. This recipe looks perfect – I’ll be giving it a shot soon!

    • mj February 20, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks FJ! I hope you enjoy them!

  15. adam @unorthodoxepicure February 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    This is absolutely beautiful!

  16. Rita Bose February 17, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    This dish looks delicious!! Shrimps and grit-Sounds like a new idea!! Thanx for sharing!!

    • mj February 17, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      Thanks Rita! Actually, this recipe has been around for years in the southern U.S. It’s one of those southern classics that just keeps going strong. 🙂

  17. Anne@FromMySweetHeart February 16, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Oh MJ….this looks so comforting and good! Can I confess to you that I’ve never made grits before. I always think it’s one of those fussy things to make that will either be perfect or disastrous! But I love shrimp and this looks too good not to try! : )

    • mj February 17, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks Anne! I’m actually not surprised that you haven’t had grits before. Can you even get them where you are? You might be a little too far north for the market. Usually they are next to the oatmeal in the cereal aisle. Even here you have to look for them. If you can find them, you should give them a try. I think you’ll like them!

  18. Charles February 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    I think I mentioned before that I’ve never seen grits for sale here before… probably one of those things I’ll never have a chance to try, but I’m definitely going to be making some of that creole seasoning, so you can be assured that I’m taking something away from this post today!

    The dish looks (and sounds) lovely though, even if I may not be able to actually get to eat it!

    • mj February 17, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      Thanks Charles! Yes, grits is definitely a southern U.S. thing and it’s hard to find them outside of the south. Usually, you can use coarse ground cornmeal (polenta) for a replacement. I haven’t tried it for this recipe, but I’m sure it would be quite tasty. Glad you liked the Creole seasoning! I always have a jar ready to go. 🙂

  19. Giulietta | Alterkitchen February 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Oh, mine, this looks delicious! I love shrimps (and I don’t eat them enough), and this combination is amazing!
    I didn’t imagine that this was a classic 🙂

    • mj February 17, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Thanks Darlin!! I’m with you – I don’t eat near enough shrimp, but it’s SO expensive here! Hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday.

  20. Nads February 15, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Great Minds!! This is almost identical to the way I make my shrimp and grits. The biggest differences are that I use Tabasco instead of Tony Chachere’s and I put a little cheese in my grits. I love this dish, but unfortunately Brynn and JT aren’t so crazy about it. I guess they’ve been in CA too long and aren’t true Southeners – my shame. Alas! What can a mother do?

    • mj February 15, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      Thanks Darlin!!! Believe it or not, I ran out of Tabasco! UGH! I usually make my own creole seasoning using the NM red chile powder rather than Tony’s and works great. You know me – I can never get enough NM chile. 🙂 I’m surprised the California kids don’t like this. I guess it’s the grits and not the shrimp they don’t like? Have a great weekend!!!!

  21. Purabi Naha February 15, 2013 at 2:17 am #

    Awesome! I loved this method of making shrimp and grits…simple, yet full of flavour!

  22. Nami | Just One Cookbook February 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    Um… please don’t be surprised. I’ve never tried grits before! I actually didn’t even know what it is so I had to use dictionary (translator)… LOL. I think my grandma used to eat this (if it’s same kind) but I’ve only seen it served in Japanese style. I love to try this one. Shrimp has nice flavor and looks delicious. I didn’t know shrimp and grits are so popular. I must try it!

    • mj February 15, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      Believe me Nami – I’m not surprised! It’s pretty much a southern thing. 🙂 Now you have ME curious – what is the Japanese style of serving grits? I’m pretty sure where you are that a standard grocery would carry them. You can usually find the in the cereal aisle with instant oatmeal. Hope you get a chance to try them. Thanks!

  23. wok with ray February 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Oh my goodness. Each time you post a recipe my jaws contract and I think that is the prelude to drooling. Haha! Look at the size of those meaty shrimp. Simple but amazing plating there. Thank you, MJ! 🙂

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Ray, your comments always make me smile! 🙂 Yep – some really big shrimp! That’s all they had at the market, but for this post, they worked and they were actually quite good in the dish. Normally I use small to medium, but now that I’ve used the large, I doubt if I’ll ever use the small shrimp again. Thanks Ray!

  24. Joyti February 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    I think spicy, saucy foods tend to be that way, that is, lots of ingredients but (usually) not super complex to make. And spices adding lots of flavor.
    The saucier version of shrimp and grits sounds terrific!

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      Thanks Joyti! No – this recipe is actually very easy to make. I hope you give it a try.

  25. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles February 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Ooh, this looks so good Mj! I’ve been on a bit of a shrimp roll myself these days but I especially like your creole mix… nothing quite like that combination of warming, savoury flavours. I’ve yet to come across grits in Canada ;( I’d just love to hear that term sometime thrown my way… it is a very southern interpretation – but I could use a little south right about now ;-). Polenta is as close as we come – “prawns and polenta” doesn’t quite have the same home feel as shrimp and grits. Ah well. Happy Hearts MJ!!

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! A couple of years ago when I posted this recipe on a forum, a woman from Canada said she had never heard of grits. She even called her local grocer and he had never heard of them either. I offered to ship her some, but she didn’t bite. “Prawns and polenta”? Nope – just doesn’t do for me either. 🙂

  26. Debra February 14, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    I have never had this dish. It looks amazing though. Happy V-Day!

  27. Soni February 14, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    This looks like the most comforting dish during cold months!I would also prefer more sauce in mine and I love Creole seasoning!!Have to try this 🙂

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      thanks Soni! It is great for the cold months! For more sauce, just increase the stock by a half of cup. The other flavors are rich enough where a little more broth won’t hurt.

  28. Katerina February 14, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Southern kitchen sounds so much interesting and tasty! I haven’t cooked anything yet but these shrimps sound like the perfect meal to start my exploration of the southern way of cooking!

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:28 am #

      Thanks Katerina! I would say shrimp and grits is a good place to start! There are so many great dishes from the south and the southwest, that I haven’t even touched the surface. Enjoy!

  29. Reese@SeasonwithSpice February 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Hmm…I can smell all the wonderful flavors from here by looking at the ingredient list and pictures. After watching the introductory clip on Louisiana during Super Bowl, I am convinced to get my hands on Southern dishes pretty soon. Your kitchen would be the place for me to learn! The exciting news is Mark & I just found the best seafood supplier in Minneapolis. Now we get to stock up our favorite fresh seafoods whenever we are in the area. Finally I can get my shrimp fix!:) Shrimp & Grits sounds like a good comfy recipe to try out. Wishing you & Bobby a happy Valentine’s Day!

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:26 am #

      Come on down Reese!! You know if you and Mark ever travel into New Mexico, my kitchen is open! 🙂 I’m SO glad you found a seafood supplier! I’m sure that was as hard as finding one in New Mexico. I’ve finally broken down and am buying from Whole Foods. It’s pretty much all we have here that is high quality and “reasonably” affordable and it’s close. I’m sure in warmer weather, you’ll be making more trips to your supplier. Hope you get a chance to make these. Enjoy!

  30. peachy @ The Peach Kitchen February 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Grits is not really that popular in this part of the world so I never encountered this recipe before but it looks like a must try and simple enough to make!

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:23 am #

      Thanks Peachy! Raymund commented above that he was going to try it with rice. Sounds like a good idea. It’s definitely simple enough! I love your new gravatar! 🙂

  31. Gomo February 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    I last had shrimp and grits while on vacation in South Carolina. It was SO good. But I never thought about making it myself. I can’t wait to give it a try! Great recipe MJ!

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:21 am #

      Thanks Gomo! Shrimp and Grits actually originated in South Carolina I believe so I bet the one’s you had there were delicious. It’s so easy to make at home, that you really need to try it. Hope it matches up!

  32. Cucina49 February 13, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    Shrimp and grits is one of my absolute favorite dishes, but only when made at home–restaurants never get it right. Love the updating with the southwestern flavors.

  33. Terra February 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    This is my hubby’s favorite dish, but we haven’t made it at home yet. I am for sure pinning this in my favorite recipes board. Hubby will be excited to try your gorgeous recipe! It really looks fantastic, Hugs, Terra

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:20 am #

      Thanks Terra! Once I started making it with this shrimp stock based sauce, it became one of Bobby’s favorite dishes as well. The sauce really takes it to a whole new level! Enjoy!

  34. Raymund February 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Even though grits is not that popular in this side of the word (I havent even tried it), I knpw this dish rocks specially the shrimps on it. I will improvise and use rice with this one

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:18 am #

      Thanks Raymund! I’m sure it would be just as delicious on rice! Enjoy!

  35. Katherine Martinelli February 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Gorgeous!! Oh man, now I am craving shrimp and grits!

  36. Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin February 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Being from New England, this is not a dish I think to attempt, but looking at your photos brings me back to my vacation in Charleston (which I loved – what an amazing city). Sounds like a very flavorful dish!

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      Thanks Jen! Actually, I think that shrimp and grits originated in the Carolinas, so I bet those shrimp and grits that you had were fabulous! I hope these match up.

  37. beyondthepeel February 13, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    I have sooo much shrimp stock to use before we move and this sounds just wonderful. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks MJ.

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:16 am #

      Thanks Frances! Isn’t amazing how stock just continues to build up in the freezer? 🙂 Well, it’s time to put some of it to good use. Enjoy!

  38. Dara February 13, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Love the flavors in this dish – shrimp and grits is such a traditional treat. Well done.

  39. Sissi February 13, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Grits seem extremely versatile indeed! I am wondering how many different dishes I have already seen on your blog with them… hundred? Every time I tell myself I will go to the American shop which is so close to my Vietnamese grocery and then I forget… This shrimp and grits combination sounds wonderful, especially given the spicy sauce. It would be a nice change from my biggest staple: a bowl of rice topped with meat or seafood….

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:15 am #

      Thanks Sissi! We do like grits in this house! We have grits and green chile at least once a week during cooler/cold weather. I really only have a couple of grits recipe on this site “thus far”, but I do mentioned them a lot. 🙂 I hope you can find them at your American store.

  40. Italian Notes February 13, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    What an interesting combo – I had to google grits and found it was some kind of polenta porridge and then it makes sense. Now I can’t wait to try the creole seasoning.

    • mj February 14, 2013 at 7:12 am #

      Thanks Mette! It is very similar to polenta, but it’s ground from hominy which is an alkali-treated corn. It’s cooked the same way, but has a different flavor than it’s yellow cousin. I’m sure polenta would work with this dish as well, but I’ve never tried it. Let me know if you do.

  41. Nisa Homey February 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    Mj, this is a great looking dish….so very flavorful and your last pic is tempting me.

  42. Reem | Simply Reem February 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    It had been a while since I have really been to blogs, just crazy busy life…:(
    And I come here and see this… Comfort!
    Hope you are doing great!

    • mj February 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      Thanks Reem! Glad to see you again! I know it’s been a while for me as well. It was great getting back over to your blog! See you again soon.

  43. Ramona February 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    The flavor of this dish just jumps off the page. Total comfort food. 🙂 Wish I had this for dinner tonight. 🙂

  44. ChgoJohn February 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    I’ve seen this dish prepared countless times but always thought “meh”. Shrimp stirred into a pot of grits just didn’t do anything for me. Your here, MJ, is a different story completely. It’s all in the sauce. It makes your dish so much more flavorful and certainly more appealing to me. Finally, a shrimp and grits dish I cannot wait to try. Thanks!

    • mj February 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      Thanks John! Yep – it’s definitely in the sauce! I hope you do get a chance to make it. You’ll love it!

  45. Judy @Savoring Today February 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    I like the addition of the poblano, this dish looks absolutely delicious and comforting! Yum!

  46. Jane February 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    I will have to try this. I have been loving on grits recently! Takes me back to my childhood!

  47. Tessa February 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    One of my all time favorite dishes! Gorgeous presentation MJ!

  48. Choc Chip Uru February 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Hearty and delicious 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  49. Swathi February 12, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Delicious great looking dish sure taste great, I love Cajun cooking

  50. Diane Balch February 12, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Got New Orleans on my mind. Pinning and making soon.

  51. Angie@Angie's Recipes February 12, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    wow I come over for the dinner! Looks fantastic!

    • mj February 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

      Come on over Angie! Thanks!

  52. john@kitchenriffs February 12, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    “The fourth piece just seems to disappear before it makes it to the bowls.” This happens in my kitchen too!

    Really nice recipe. I almost posted a Shrimp and Grits recipe this week too, but decided against it! I definitely like the versions of this dish with a lot of sauce. I often (though not always) make it this way. Your version looks spectacular. And really nice light on the photos – you can particularly see it on the last photo. Good stuff – thanks.

    • mj February 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks John!!! Your comments always make me smile! It does look like we were both craving Louisiana food this week. You with your red beans and rice and me with the shrimp and grits – two dishes that are hard to beat!

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