Grits with Red Chile and Cheese

Grits with red chile paste, roasted red chile and cheese |


As many of you already know, grits and chile is one of my all time favorite breakfasts.  At least once a week I’m cooking up a pot of grits and in the cooler months, we could be eating grits and chile 2 to 3 times a week.  With all of the great chiles out there it is pretty easy to keep our grits exciting by 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 grits are just as easy to make as all of the others and can be made in less than 20 minutes; however, you do need some kind of red chile paste and either some roasted red chile or roasted red bell peppers.

For this batch of grits I used my red chile paste and some roasted red chile (both of which I had in the freezer).  The main objective here is to incorporate the wonderful flavors of red chiles into the grits.  It’s a great combination!  For alternatives to the chile paste, please check out my Kitchen Notes below.

On a side note…Some of you may be asking “Which is better – red or green?”  Even though they are the exact same chile, the flavor of red chile is completely different from the flavor of green!  Just think about the difference in flavor between a red bell pepper and a green bell pepper. Night and day – right?  Chiles work the same way.  Once a green chile turns red, it keeps the heat, but develops a sweeter taste.  And then when you dry the red chile, the flavor changes again.  Personally, even though I do LOVE my freshly roasted green chile and green chile dishes, I’m really more of a red chile girl. 🙂

Grits with roasted red chile and cheese. #grits #redchile @mjskitchen


Grits with Red Chile And Cheese Recipe

Recipe author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Serves 2 – 4
Prep and cook time: less than 20 minutes


3 cups water
¼ tsp. salt
~1 Tbsp. red chile paste (optional)*
¾ cup quick-cooking grits*
~½ cup grated Fontina or Monterey Jack*
¼ to ½ cup chopped roasted red chile* (the amount depends on the heat of the chile and how much heat you want)
1 egg overeasy or sunnyside up per person (optional)

*See Kitchen Notes


  1. Add the water, salt and red chile paste to a 2 quart sauce pan.  Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. SLOWLY whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to low and cover. Whisk every 1 minute for 5 minutes.
  3. Once the grits have thickened (about 5 minutes), stir in the cheese and chile. Cook for another 1 – 2 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into bowls.
  5. If desired, top your bowl of grits with a fried egg.
  6. Enjoy!



Grits with red chile paste, roasted red chile and cheese |


Kitchen Notes

Red Chile Paste – This ingredient is really optional.  If you don’t have it, don’t worry.  This dish is great with just the roasted red chile and cheese.  The paste adds another depth of chile flavor and makes the grits more rich tasting; therefore, when I have the paste, I use the paste.  I’ve used both my red chile paste and roasted red chile spread, one of which I usually have in the freezer.  Both the paste and the spread can be frozen by pouring it into ice cube trays and freezing.  Each cube is about 1 tablespoon. Once frozen, the cubes are transferred to a freezer bag.  It only takes 1 cube to make a delicious, spicy pot of grits.

GritsIngredients for Grits and Green ChileI used to use Quaker’s Quick Cooking Grits, but last fall I discovered Bob’s Red Mill Organic White Corn Grits. These make creamier grits and cook up just as fast (about 5 minutes).  So give them a try if you haven’t already.

Cheese – For these grits we really like Fontina the best, but you can use Monterey Jack as well.  The cheese needs to be a milder tasting cheese as to not overpower the chile flavors, and also one that melts easily.

Chopped Roasted Red Chile – The addition of roasted red chile is to add the flavor of “roasted” chile to the grits.  You could substitute the chile with roasted red bell peppers, but you’ll need to the chile paste to get the spicy chile flavor.  If you don’t have roasted red chile of any kind, you could really switch it up and substitute about 1/2 cup of onion sautéd in butter until it is translucent and soft. This is pretty darn good as well!

And as far as the egg on top goes…that’s a personal choice. Bobby loves an egg with his grits, but I prefer to eat them without one.  No matter whether you use an egg or not, I really think you’re going to love these grits and red chile!


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60 Responses to “Grits with Red Chile and Cheese”

  1. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina January 14, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    I adore grits too . . . when they are prepared correctly, as you have done here. I love the addition of the chili heat, MJ! If I didn’t have to watch my weight so closely, I’d have a pot of grits or polenta on my stovetop every week too! Perfect comfort food, especially during chilly weather!

    • mj January 15, 2017 at 9:01 pm #

      Thanks so much Roz! Glad to find another grits lover!! We go through a lot of grits in this house- about 2 – 3 times a week. But then we don’t eat a lot of bread – that’s my rationalization anyway. 🙂

  2. Terra February 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    This would quickly become my favorite breakfast. I grew up loving grits. I always have to add bacon, butter, and pepper, YUM! The addition of red chile sounds amazing! Hugs, Terra

    • mj February 17, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

      Well then you would love breakfast in this house, because grits ARE our favorite breakfast! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my friend!

  3. Abbe @ This is How I Cook February 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

    My husband would consider this the way to his heart! This sounds like the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast!

    • mj February 4, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

      Sounds like a great idea to me! Thanks Abbe!

  4. All That I'm Eating February 3, 2015 at 5:51 am #

    This sounds great, although I’ve never had grits I’d like to try this!

    • mj February 4, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

      Do they even have grits in the UK? Do you have polenta?

  5. Dedy@Dentist Chef February 2, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    Simply damn delicious and comforting grits recipe!!!

    • mj February 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

      Thanks Dedy! 🙂

  6. Liz February 2, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    The grits I’ve eaten haven’t been very memorable! I have a feeling these would make me a big fan! Cheesy and spicy sounds perfect!!!

    • mj February 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

      Thanks Liz! These a most definitely memorable. 🙂

  7. Raymund February 2, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    Cheesy with a zing!

    • mj February 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      you got that right! 🙂

  8. minnie@thelady8home February 2, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    Looks inspiring. Have you tried these without cheese? Beautiful photographs.

    • mj February 2, 2015 at 11:08 am #

      Minnie, yes…I actually leave the cheese out at times because dairy is not always my friend. The cheese changes the texture a bit, but its the chile that’s the star of the show. 🙂

  9. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen February 2, 2015 at 3:29 am #

    I looove anything wit lots of cheese in them. This looks delicious, MJ!

    • mj February 2, 2015 at 11:07 am #

      Thanks Peachy!

  10. Choc Chip Uru February 1, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    I haven’t actually tried grits before but your recipe looks so warm and inviting 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • mj February 2, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      Grits may be hard to find where you are Uru. But you should keep an eye out for them.

  11. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles February 1, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    I love that you make yourself grits and chile weekly. I’ve yet to try grits (I know… right?) our comparable would be polenta but it’s really not very popular (at least not where I grew up). You always tempt me with your delicious renditions MJ. Now what’s going on in that second image — very interesting… bokeh? It gives the feeling of steam and warmth while surrounding with color. Lovely effect.

    • mj February 2, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      Yeh – right! You need to get yourself some grits, girl! 🙂 What’s funny is that I really didn’t like them much growing up in Louisiana unless they were loaded with butter. Now I use NO butter, just lots of chile. 🙂 I need to post a picture of what causes the bokeh in some of my photos. I have a relatively large jade plant in the sunroom where I take my pictures. Depending on the time of year and day, light coming through the windows causes the plant’s leaves to “shine” in the lens creating the bokeh. It’s purely accidental, but a nice accident.:)

  12. Bam's Kitchen January 31, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

    I love how something so simple can be simply delicious!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:56 am #

      Thanks Bam!

  13. Debra January 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    Skipped supper tonight so I could really use a bowl of this topped with a fried egg!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:56 am #

      Oh Yeh – perfect for a late night meal.

  14. ATasteOfMadness January 31, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    Why have I never tried grit before??? This sounds like an amazing flavor combo!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:55 am #

      Grits are a southern thing I guess, but I’ve been spending the last almost 40 years turning them into a southwestern thing. 🙂

  15. Soni January 31, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    Love this version of grits!!Love the spicy twist and the flavors are calling my name 🙂 Perfect for this cold weather too!!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:54 am #

      Definitely perfect for cold weather!

  16. easyfoodsmith January 30, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    That is a new dish for me but I am sure I am going to love it!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks Taruna!

  17. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 30, 2015 at 10:55 pm #

    I’ve learned about grits from you! I’ve tried it once or twice maybe, at restaurants and I told my husband we had to try. 🙂 Next up is making my own! This looks yummy!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks Nami! I hope you do try making them at home. They are much better than what you get at restaurants I think.

  18. Carol at Wild Goose Tea January 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

    I have almost zip experience with grits except as a hot breakfast cereal as a kid.
    This looks like a winner to me. But if you put a cheese and an egg on just about anything, I will eat it. Ha!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:51 am #

      Thanks Carol! When Bobby and I got married, he had only had plain grits with breakfast and wasn’t too crazy about them. Now he loves them and requests them ALL of the time, as long as I add chile. 🙂

  19. Sissi January 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    Such a beautiful plate, MJ! I have never tasted grits, but I can taste through your tempting photographs the taste and aroma of the mixture of chile and cheese… (I actually know fontina and like it a lot!). The egg on top is the “cerise sur le gâteau”, as say the French… I would never be able to resist this dish!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:49 am #

      Thanks so much Sissi! If you have polenta or any type of coarse ground cornmeal, then you are essentially eating what we call “grits”. I actually embarrassed myself at a restaurant about 30 years ago when I saw “polenta” on the menu and asked what they were. I ordered the dish and when I tried the “polenta” my comment was “Well, this is just cornmeal mush or grits.” 🙂

  20. Viviane Bauquet Farre January 30, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Such a wonderful comfort food, and I admire your efforts to explore different flavor profiles with your grits. This one sounds fantastic, MJ!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks Viviane! As “plain” as grits are, it’s really easy to make them taste different every time you eat them.

  21. Angie@Angie's Recipes January 30, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    You have made grits look so appetizing and beautiful, MJ.

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks so much Angie!

  22. Ramona January 30, 2015 at 6:14 am #

    Now this sounds like the savory breakfast I always crave. Just hand me a spoon! 🙂

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks Ramona!

  23. Katerina January 30, 2015 at 3:58 am #

    I have never tried grits and with your dish you make me regret it very much! Pinned!

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks Katerina! Hope you do get to try some grits one day.

  24. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 29, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    I have never tried grits and really wish I had when I was in Mississippi where it was served for breakfast. Nice to meet you MJ 🙂

    • mj February 1, 2015 at 11:45 am #

      Hey Tandy! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s hard to believe you managed to get out of Mississippi without trying grits. 🙂 To be honest, I learned to love grits when I moved to NM and started adding chile to it. 🙂

  25. John@Kitchen Riffs January 29, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

    If I could have only one chile, it’d be dried red chilies. They always do it for me. Love the others, but dried red chilies are a necessity. Anyway, lovely way to make grits. I’ll bet making polenta the same way (or heck, even oatmeal) would be fun too.

    • mj January 29, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

      Glad to find another red chile lover. Dried red, red chile powder…it’s the best! You bet this would work with polenta! The only difference is, in some cases, the polenta is a coarser grain; although I have seen some pretty coarse grain grits. Thanks for stopping by John!

  26. Diana January 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    OMG, why oh why didn’t I think of this? They obviously go together so well, but I never thought to do this! I am going to try it this weekend! I have some Rosales chopped roasted red in the freezer…perfect!

    • Diana January 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

      Oh, and another thing…you’re a genius MJ!!!!!!!!!!!

      • mj January 29, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

        🙂 🙂 🙂

    • mj January 29, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      Thanks so much Diana! Gotta love the person who has roasted Red chile in the freezer. 🙂

  27. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 29, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    I’ve never had grits with chile but it sure does look good. Growing up in Maine, grits just weren’t ever on the radar. 🙂

    • mj January 29, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      Yep…the northeast is not known for its grits. 🙂 Grits and chile is really good stuff!

  28. Shashi at RunninSrilankan January 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    I simply adore how you dressed up grits! I am a huge fan of red chile paste – and I love its combination with cheese in this bowl – and I also love the idea of an egg to top it all off! Thanks so much for sharing MJ!

    • mj January 29, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks Shashi! Well, if you’re a red chile paste fan, then you will love these grits. 🙂

  29. mimi January 29, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    Lovely grits!!! i love how you mix up the cheese and chile peppers!!!

    • mj January 29, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

      Thanks so much Mimi!!

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