The first time I remember having grits was many years ago in Savannah, Georgia. I was hooked with my first bite of this amazing cheesy dish! You'll love this cheese grits casserole, too.
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Where did grits originate?
Native Americans ground corn into grits and cooked it into a thick maize porridge.
What does it taste like?
When you eat this a few minutes after you make it, it tastes smooth, creamy, and warm. Grits by themselves don't have a lot of taste, so it's best to add salt, cheese, and other ingredients to heighten the flavor.
You can serve this recipe sweet with butter and sugar or savory with cheese, meat, and vegetables stirred in. The consistency is similar to a thick porridge.
What's the difference between white and yellow grits?
White has more sugar in it, and yellow is higher in starch. If you don't have to watch your diet for health reasons, pick the one you prefer.
Are grits better with milk or water?
They need to be cooked in a liquid. The most popular choice is water, but it really depends on what you are serving with this dish and the time of day. If it's breakfast, it's common to use both water and milk.
If you're making this for supper, it's more common to use chicken broth. If you want the taste of the corn to shine through, use only water. If you want to add a bit of cream to make them extra creamy, add the cream at the end.
Can this be made ahead of time?
Yes and no, it depends. This recipe is best eaten right away, but if you need to make them ahead of time, follow these guidelines. Make the casserole, but don't bake it yet. Instead allow it to cool, cover tightly and refrigerate. When ready to eat, bake it at 400 F until golden brown.
What to do you serve with this recipe?
This depends on if you are serving this for breakfast or supper. If you are having this for breakfast, serve it with eggs, bacon, or sausage. If you are having this for supper, serve it with seafood (shrimp, scallops, or salmon) and collard greens.
Are grits healthy?
The healthiest type is stone ground. This kind has more texture, because it isn't ground as finely as quick or regular. By themselves are quite healthy, but they are bland, so most people add in other ingredients to improve the taste. What you add will determine how healthy they are.
What are the calories in one serving?
This recipe has 247 calories for a ¾ cup serving size. This casserole is high in vitamin A and calcium and has 19 g carbs per serving. If you would like more nutritional information, scroll down to the bottom of the recipe card.
How do you reheat this?
- Warm on top of the stove in a pot over medium low heat. Whisk in some water, milk, or chicken broth to make it less thick.
- Put the casserole in a warm oven for one hour, or until it's reheated through.
Can this recipe be frozen?
Yes, it can, just follow these tips. It's best to assemble the casserole in a freezer to oven safe dish. Follow steps 1 to 6 in the recipe card. Allow the casserole to cool completely then seal so it's air tight and place it in the freezer for up to one month. When ready to use, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake it for 40 minutes in a 400 F.
How to Make
Gather all your ingredients. Grate the three cheeses: smoked Gouda, extra sharp cheddar and Parmesan then chop the green onion.
In a large Dutch oven, pour 5 ⅓ cups of filtered water.
Add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water and stir it in. Cover the Dutch oven and bring the water to a boil.
Slowly add the grits to the hot water.
Whisk it into the boiling water so they don't clump. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes or until they have become thick then remove the pot from the element.
Add in ½ cup of salted butter.
Whisk it until it melts and is well incorporated.
Add the grated smoked Gouda and the extra sharp cheddar.
Whisk in the spices: white pepper, garlic powder and the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of salt.
In a medium sized bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs with a fork.
Pour in the 1 ¼ cups of whole milk and whisk together with the eggs.
Pour the egg mixture into the cheese mixture and whisk until it's smooth.
Grease a casserole dish with butter using your fingers.
Pour in the hot cheese grits and sprinkle with the ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 400 F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. The casserole should be set in the middle and a nice golden brown color.
When ready to serve, garnish with grated extra sharp cheese and chopped green onion. Serve it while it's still hot.
- Want to add meat? Try bacon, sausage, or andouille.
- Want to add more vegetables? Try green chilies, jalapeños, spinach, corn, or green bell pepper.
- Don't want to add milk? Try chicken broth.
- Want additional dairy? Try sour cream or heavy cream.
- Want this vegan? Use vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, and spices.
- Taste as you go, grits taste best with the right amount of salt.
- Box Grater: quickly grate your favorite cheeses with this sturdy grater.
- Measuring Spoons: these stainless steel measuring spoons are a great tool.
- Set of 3 Whisks: these whisks don't bend out of shape easily!
- Emeril Lagasse Dutch Oven: this heavy-bottomed pot is perfect for cooking this recipe.
- Quick Grits: can't find grits in your grocery store? Get them online instead.
If you like this recipe, try out this other delicious Southern recipe!
The pleasure of a 5-star review would be greatly appreciated.
Southern Cheese Grits Casserole
For the Casserole
- 5 ⅓ cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 ½ cups enriched quick grits
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 cup smoked Gouda, grated
- 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
For the Garnish
- ½ cup spring onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 9x9-inch baking pan with butter.
- Pour the water into a 6-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir ½ teaspoon of salt into the water.
- Once the water is boiling, gradually pour in the 2 ½ cups of grits, stirring continuously, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until it has become thick, roughly 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Add the butter, grated smoked Gouda, grated extra sharp cheddar, garlic powder, white pepper, and the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Whisk thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Mix together the eggs and the milk in a separate bowl until blended, then pour the egg mixture into the pot. Stir until well combined. Add a bit more milk to thin it, if necessary.
- Spread it in the greased baking pan and sprinkle ½ cup of Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. The casserole should be set and a nice golden brown on top.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped green onion and shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. Serve while still warm.
- Grits needs salt, so it's better to taste and adjust the seasonings before it's baked.
This recipe was originally published on March 21, 2018.