Chipotle Grits with Feta Cheese

Chipotle grits with feta transforms grits into a creamy, spicy, smokey dish that can be enjoyed by everyone, even those who don't like grits. #grits @mjskitchen


Before I tell you how chipotle peppers ended up in grits, I have a question for you. What are three things that you absolutely can not run out of?  Running out of any one of these three things would be devastating.  Do you have them?  I would be willing to bet that the first item is toilet paper. No one wants to run out of toilet paper and believe me, having used the pages of a Sears catalog when I was a kid visiting the grandparents, toilet paper has no substitute. 🙂  O.K. so TP is number one.  What about the next two items?  In this house those items are milk and green chile.  Well, guess what I ran out of a couple of weeks ago?  Green chile!!! Yep – you read it right. I ran out of green chile.

I was planning on making Grits and Green Chile and had already started the grits, when I went to pull some green chile from the freezer. There was none to be found.  UGH!  So what’s a girl to do?  You know how it is – once your family expects one thing, you better come up with something just as good if not better. Rummaging through the pantry I found a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so decided to give them a try in place of the green chile.  Instead of cheddar cheese, I went with feta which turned out to be the right decision.  What a delicious bowl of chipotle grits!!!  I’m not going to say that chipotle grits with feta was better than grits and green chile, but it certainly turned out to be a fabulous substitute.  We’ve had it twice since and I still haven’t bought any green chile. I think that might convince you as to how good this is.

So for those of you who have wanted to try my Grits and Green Chile but have no access to New Mexico’s wonderful green chile, here is a great alternative.  Of course the flavor is completely different because there is a huge difference between green chile and chipotle; however, the combination of chipotle and feta transformed a simple bowl of grits into a creamy, spicy, and smokey breakfast that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Chipotle grits with feta transforms grits into a creamy, spicy, smokey dish that can be enjoyed by everyone, even those who don't like grits. #grits @mjskitchen


Chipotle Grits with Feta Cheese

Serves 2 to 3
Prep and cook time: 15 minutes


3 cups water
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits (not instant!)
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (the amount depends on the heat of the chipotle and how much heat you want)
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 overeasy or sunnyside up egg per person (optional)


  1. Bring the water with salt to a boil.
  2. SLOWLY whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to low and cover. Whisk every 1 minute for 5 minutes to keep the grits from lumping.
  3. Once the grits have thickened (after about 5 minutes), stir in the chipotle. Cook for another 1 minute.
  4. Add the feta cheese and stir.
  5. Remove from heat and pour into bowls.
  6. If desired, top each bowl of grits with a fried egg.
  7. Enjoy!



Kitchen Notes

Grits – If you’re not familiar with grits, then you might want to read What are Grits? in the Grits and Green Chile post to learn more.  If you don’t have grits, then a coarse ground yellow cornmeal, normally used for polenta, can be used instead.

To increase or decrease the amount of grits, just maintain the ratio of 1/4 cup grits to 1 cup water.

The chile pepper – If you don’t have chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but you do have New Mexico green chile, then make my Grits and Green Chile instead.  You can even use feta. That works great with green chile.

The feta  – We really liked the feta with the chipotle and even when we made this a second and third time, I still used feta.  It was just SO good.  I’m sure another cheese would work, like cheddar or Monterey Jack, so don’t hesitate to substitute whatever you have in the fridge.

An egg on top – Bobby loves a fried egg on top of his grits. Me…not so much.  If you find the grits too spicy, then you might want to add an egg. It can help to calm the heat.

I can promise you, even if you say “I don’t like grits”, you are going to LOVE grits with chipotle and feta!


These Chipotle Grits with Feta has been shared with the following blog hops: Fat Tuesday  .

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60 Responses to “Chipotle Grits with Feta Cheese”

  1. Javelin Warrior August 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Well, toilet paper and milk would definitely make my top 3. I’d probably add butter as a third 😉 Or maybe eggs. But probably the butter. And I just love the sound of these grits – I’ve never used whole chipotle chile peppers (just the powdered variety) but the flavor always adds such warmth and smokiness. These have to be amazing!

    • mj August 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

      Thanks Mark! yep – Milk and eggs are definitely up there. 🙂 These grits are amazing! I hope you get a chance to try them.

  2. Amber @ The Cook's Sister May 24, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Mmmmmm, these grits would make a fantastic breakfast!

  3. The Wimpy Vegetarian May 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Oh these look just great MJ! My parents were from the south and we had grits on the table with breakfast many, many weekends. Pinning to try these!

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      Yep – southerns just can go without their grits! 🙂

  4. Anne@FromMySweetHeart May 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    MJ….I just love a woman who thinks on her feet! You know, I’ve never had grits. I don’t know why. I guess I think it’s a southern thing and I’m a Yankee girl. But looking at the bowl you’ve created….I would certainly give this a try. I just love feta in everything! And the one thing I hope never to run out of is …! : )

  5. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles May 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Love the question! Keeping it to the kitchen ;-), I would say: sea salt, malt or tarragon vinegar and olives in a close tie with feta cheese as the items I would truly miss most this time of year.

    It’s true, you do love your green chile MJ but you know what, this is a happy accident because chipotle works equally well in my books. And funny too, I would eat this for breakfast no problemo! Love my spicy kicks any time of day. (Little aside, my son came home from a late night soccer game on holiday Monday with sweet potato fries and chipotle dipping sauce — OMG, honestly, I was fighting him to the last drop – nice mom I am!! :)). Hey, food is food. Haha, love this recipe MJ!

    • mj May 22, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      Well, now that is the most unusual list of all! Malt or tarragon vinegar – interesting. I never have had a bottle of malt in my house, therefore, I’ve never use it for anything and wouldn’t know what to use it in. However, tarragon vinegar – no problem. I always have a bottle of homemade tarragon vinegar, but it would never beat out green chile. 🙂 Oh my – there’s a restaurant here in town that serves sweet potato fried with chipotle sauce – YUM!!! I do know why you were fighting for the last bite! Thanks for your great comments Kelly!

  6. Jennie @themessybakerblog May 22, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    I love chipotle peppers. These grits look wonderful. Butter. Running out is absolutely devastating.

    • mj May 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      All of you bakers and your butter. 🙂 Thanks!

  7. Katerina May 22, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    Your history with toilet paper made me laugh for two reasons. First I had too an ugly experience when I had to use notebook paper at school when I was at first grade elementary and that was very painful. second I am in the tissue paper industry and I never run out of toilet paper and I couldn’t imagine that haha! Water and electricity are two things I could never live without them, all the others are manageable. I love feta and this dish is right up my alley1

    • mj May 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      Notebook paper? OUCH! I would think that it would be quite embarrassing for you if you were to run out of TP! 🙂 Water and electricity – see how we take those things for granted. I didn’t even think about those! Thanks for reminder!

  8. Liz May 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Butter!!! I can’t run out of butter…but I guess TP comes first 🙂

    PS…your grits look delish!

    • mj May 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

      Oh I can see butter! I don’t bake much, but I do love butter on toast and bagels. Margarine just doesn’t work. 🙂 Thanks Liz!

  9. Nancy/SpicieFoodie May 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Definitely TP is number one, then it could have to be hot sauce or chiles. I have never eaten grits but I do love the chipotle and feta combination — I can almost picture how delicious they taste. Polenta is abundant here so I’ll have to try it that way. Thanks for sharing this MJ!

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook May 21, 2013 at 12:58 am #

    Three things! Now that’s a fun question. Everyone’s answers made me smile. I think I’ll get in trouble when I don’t have rice, soy sauce, and… one more… miso? I cannot replace these two condiments and as a Japanese rice is really important part of food. So that’s it. 😀

    I learned about grits from you, MJ. It’s nice to see another grits recipe here with feta cheese and chipotle!

    • mj May 22, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Well, that is a different list. 🙂 You probably could care less if you have chile in the house, but then the hubby might want it. 🙂 I’m glad we’re able to teach each others things, because I’ve learned A LOT about Japanese cooking from you my dear! Thanks!

  11. Lizzy (Good Things) May 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Oh goodie, I was pleased that you explained the grits part… I am not sure we have access to those in Australia. My friend, Maureen, Orgasmic Chef, may know better than me. Love your recipes!

    • mj May 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Bizzy! I have no idea if grits have made it to Australia, but yep – Maureen would definitely know. 🙂 Let me know if you do find them.

  12. Swathi May 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    I haven’t cooked grits for long time, your addition of chipotle with feta is really yumm.

  13. For me it’s coffee and milk. If I have this two, I’ll have a happy morning 🙂 Your idea for grits is great, I need to try it.

  14. Nisa Homey May 20, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Mj, this is super creative…love your pics 🙂

  15. Charles May 20, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Hrm… I think I’d have to say olive oil, butter, flour (and I’m cheating and adding a fourth) and sugar. Toilet paper… lol, I don’t think I ever ran out of that – I always make sure to buy a giant pack of the stuff and replace it before it gets down to 3/4 gone!

    I still haven’t been able to find grits, alas, but we bought some chipotle paste recently in England… I can now say I know what it tastes like! I love the flavour. So smoky and complex!

    • mj May 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      Oh Yay!!! I’m so glad you were able to find some chipotle paste and even more thrilled that you like it. Smoky and complex is a great description. Now you just need to find some grits. 🙂 I would say that I never run out of TP, but I do remember about a year ago when I had to run down to the drug store to get a couple of rolls because we were on the last squares. 🙂

  16. Sissi May 20, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    MJ, I am still ashamed to admit I forget to check grits at the US good grocery shop every time I go to my Vietnamese shop (they are quite close actually). I am probably a bit hypnotised with fresh herbs, spices, strange vegetables, dozens of noodles… Anyway, you tempt me so often with wonderful grits dishes, I know I will buy them one day. I like this Greek-Southern US fusion and wonder if you are not the first person on the earth who has combined feta with grits. It’s a brilliant idea!
    When you mentioned three things I could never run out of, I even haven’t thought about non-edible stuff like TP 😉 I couldn’t live without soy sauce, garlic and hot chili/paste/oil/sauce/gochujang… I mean, sometimes I crave a hot dish so much, I would die if I didn’t have anything to make my meal fiery. Oh, and eggs! If I don’t have at least three eggs in my pantry, I start panicking.

    • mj May 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      Thanks Darlin for you comments! I know what you mean about the Asian market. Whenever I go to the Asian market here, I go in with a list of 3 items and walk out with a basket full an hour later. Lots of seasoning, bottles of sauces and something I bought the other day, thanks to you – tamarind paste. It’s still sitting unopened in the pantry, but not for much longer. I’m with you on have something spicy in the house, but then that’s never a problem. I have several bottles of different chile powders, hot sauces and then there’s the pepper pastes in the freezer. We’re just a couple of spicy chicks! 🙂

  17. Giulietta | Alterkitchen May 20, 2013 at 3:23 am #

    Well, you used a great alternative!
    Copy that, none would want to ran out of toilet paper 😀

    Uhm.. I think my “never ran out of them” are flour (I loooove to knead) and breakfast things (ok, generic, but I must have breakfast, always), including coffee 😉

    • mj May 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      Thanks Giulia! I figured you would be one that would be flour up there with your breads and pasta. 🙂

  18. Azlin Bloor May 20, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    It’s awful, isn’t it, when you run out when you absolutely need it? I am really in love with this recipe, a definite must try, I always have chipotle in various forms at home. Didn’t realise they made “quick” grits! Must see if I can get it here.

    • mj May 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      Thanks Azlin! In most grocery chains here in the U.S. you can find Quaker Quick Grits in the cereal aisle close to the oatmeal. Hope you are able to give this a try since you obviously love chipotle. 🙂

  19. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen May 20, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    LOL on the Sears catalog! I bet the chipotle gave a nice kick to the grits!

  20. Debra May 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Sometimes I think scarcity is the mother of invention, 🙂 These look delicious (and I don’t think I like grits. 🙂

  21. ChgoJohn May 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Although I’ve always loved grits when served to me, I’ve never made them. I’ll make polenta at the drop of a hat, though. If there’s a recipe that would get me to make grits, it’s one that would include feta, like yours here, MJ. That sounds really tasty.
    Oh! It’s TP, dog food and then parrot food. Must keep the inmates well fed. 🙂

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      It’s pretty funny how all the pet people have pet food on the list. 🙂 Oh I’ll make grits at the drop of a hat. We love polenta as well, but if I don’t have any, I’ll substitute grits. Come to think of it – grits is something else that I never let us run out of. It I did, that would be devastating!

  22. Soni May 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Love the chipotle in adobo sauce! Must give the grits such delicious flavor! Looks comforting and super yummy 🙂

  23. Lori Lynn May 19, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    Both versions sound good to me.
    HA! toilet paper, sears catalog, oy!

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Oy is right! 🙂

  24. Adora's Box May 19, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    I have never thought of these things, so thank you MJ. I shall always put TP on my shopping list just in case. The grits are tempting me again. Thanks to the mother of invention for this new recipe.

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks so much Adora! I buy our TP from one of those warehouse stores but I still always check before going to a store to make sure we have enough. Glad to see I keep tempting you. 🙂

  25. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef May 19, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    toilet paper one, dog food two and eggs three. No green chile but I think I’d like your chipotle grits – a lot!

  26. Raymund May 19, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    At least you created something new which I guess is equally good!

  27. Terra May 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Three things….hmmmm….well I would say butter, coffee, and for sure toilet paper LOL! I have to say your substitution was fab, I love the idea of chipotle in grits! I grew up on grits, and love them with anything! On a splurge day I add loads of butter and bacon to my grits, WAY too good:-) Love your recipe, Hugs, Terra

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

      Thanks Terra! I think one had to grow up in the south to appreciate grits. I love them with loads of butter and bacon! YUM!

  28. Hotly Spiced May 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    Definitely toilet paper is number one. Number two would be moisturiser. Because I’m away at the moment and I can’t believe I left all my skincare at home. I don’t know what would be number three on my list but I’m sure it’s not green chile! xx

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      🙂 🙂

  29. Lesley May 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Ha! TP, milk, dog food and…beer!

    I have to admit that I’ve never had grits but lately I’ve developed an interest in them, specifically shrimp and grits.

    I keep chipotle’s in my freezer, shrimp too for that matter. All I need is the grits. LOVE Feta!

    Thanks MJ for mixuing it up and helping me think of new, delicious things to make for my family

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      Thanks Lesley! If you want to try shrimp and grits, check out my recipe that on this site. It’s a keeper for us. We go through a lot of grits between the two of us. To be honest, I think in cold weather, we’d rather have grits and green chile for breakfast then anything else. 🙂 Oh and I understand the dog food. A while back I was at grocery store at 6:30 am buying catfood. 🙂

  30. Viviane Bauquet Farre- Food and Style May 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    MJ, this is so creative! I love the chipotle peppers!

  31. Gomo | cHow Divine May 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    I almost never run out of anything, because I buy so much of everything. 😀 I’ve never tried grits with chipotle – or chile for that matter. I like the flavor of both. So I think I’ll enjoy it either way. This looks absolutely creamy and delicious! Happy Saturday MJ!

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      I’m usually the same Gomo, but I guess I slipped up on the green chile. I buy my chile at a student hangout across from the University of NM, so I have to wait until school lets out for break. Otherwise, it’s too hard to find parking and to get in and out of the restaurant. I’ll get some this week because school is out. Have a great week!

  32. Choc Chip Uru May 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    What a great combo of grits and feta 😀
    I love your photos!

    Choc Chip Uru

  33. Angie@Angie's Recipes May 18, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    There are more than just 3 things that I can’t run out of! Flour, tea, fruit, olive, nuts…just to name a few.
    The grits with feta looks mouthwatering, MJ.

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      Oh I agree – narrowing such a list to 3 is hard. I can definitely see how flour is on your list. You’re a breadmaking maniac! 🙂

  34. Tessa May 18, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    I tried grits for the first time a few years ago on a trip to the east coast. I’ve been a fan ever since! I can’t even imagine running out of coffee, salt or butter… Great looking grits MJ! Have a wonderful weekend!

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Thanks Tessa! Yep – If Bobby had made the list, coffee would definitely have been in the top 3. 🙂

  35. john@kitchenriffs May 18, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Gosh, there are so many things that I can’t run out of! Olive oil, butter, and garlic are probably at the top of the list. Anyway, nice version of grits and chile! This sounds excellent, and something I need to try – thanks.

    • mj May 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      Thanks John! You and Ramona both mention garlic and I do have to agree with that. Maybe that’s why I keep many different forms of garlic – raw, powder, roasted (in the fridge) and garlic infused oil. Now if I ran out of all 4 at once, then I’m definitely in trouble. 🙂 Have a great week!

  36. Ramona May 18, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    As far as cooking… I cannot run out of chili, ginger and garlic. 🙂

    I love the complex flavors you have going here with these grits. Now this is my kind of breakfast, lunch or dinner! 🙂 Hope you are having a great weekend. 🙂


  1. Grits with Red Chile and Cheese | MJ's Kitchen - January 29, 2015

    […] changing up the flavor with different chiles and cheese.  In previous years, I’ve shared my chipotle, feta and grits and my grits and green chile.  Now it’s time for Grits with Red Chile and Cheese.  These […]

  2. Grits and Green Chile Recipe | MJ's Kitchen - May 20, 2013

    […] The chile – You know what I’m going to say don’t you? The best chile for this dish is New Mexico roasted, peeled, and chopped green chile. A lot of you know it as Hatch chile or Anaheim chile. However, you can also use roasted and chopped poblano, and if you don’t like spicy, roasted sweet bell peppers work great.  If you have chipotle you can make my Chipotle Grits with Feta. […]

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