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An indulgent single serving of classic Southern comfort food, this shrimp and grits recipe features creamy grits topped with succulent shrimp. Ready in 20 minutes!

Our version of a classic Southern dish, this shrimp and grits is extra-creamy because we’ve added plenty of cheese and butter to the grits. The succulent shrimp are cooked in butter and served along with sautéed onions, garlic, and sweet red bell peppers. We chose not to add bacon but you can absolutely add it to your version if you’d like to. The result is a rich and decadent meal that you’ll be happy to enjoy year-round.

What Are Shrimp And Grits?

Shrimp and grits began as a simple dish in South Carolina and was called breakfast shrimp.

There are really just two main parts to a good shrimp and grits recipe. First, it’s got to have shrimp. Second, it’s made with grits. After that, the dish really depends on the cook and the recipe. You’ll find shrimp and grits recipes that call for using pork like bacon or ham, mushrooms are common, and sometimes the grits may not contain cheese. There are no hard and fast rules and because of that, the ways to customize this dish are endless.

For our single-serving version, I used our cheese grits recipe and cooked up some shrimp in butter and garlic, along with onions and peppers, and spooned them over the hot grits – the result is simply heavenly!

What Are Grits? Grits are made from ground white corn or hominy and are a staple food in the Southern United States. They are often served as a breakfast dish, a side dish, or as part of a main course, as in this shrimp and grits recipe.

Is Polenta The Same As Grits? Polenta is an Italian version of grits. It’s made from cornmeal which gives it a different flavor and texture. The two look similar which causes some confusion, but they are not really the same.

shrimp and cheesy grits on a spoon above a big bowl filled with shrimp and grits

Why This Recipe Works

  • Loaded with flavor: This shrimp and cheesy grits are sinfully delicious. The grits are creamy, cheesy, buttery, and wonderfully rich.
  • Ready in minutes: It’s amazing how quickly this dish comes together. The grits cook in less than 10 minutes and the shrimp takes less than that. It’s a wonderful meal to make on any busy weeknight.
  • Recipe doubles well: This recipe yields one generous bowl of the best shrimp and grits. If you’d like to make a second bowl, just double the ingredient amounts.

Ingredients

shrimp and grits ingredients on a kitchen counter

Ingredient Notes

See below for ways to use leftover ingredients.

  • Stone-ground grits: The best grits to use when making shrimp and grits is coarsely ground grits or stone-ground grits. The brands of grits I often use only take between 8 to 10 minutes to cook. Depending on the brand of grits you use, the cooking time may be longer. Be sure to read the directions on the package you purchase. I use House Autry White Stone Ground Grits or Bob’s Red Mill White Corn Grits.
  • Milk and water: Use any percentage of cow’s milk and water to make the grits.
  • Seasonings: Use garlic powder, smoked paprika, and kosher salt in the grits. I use Diamond Crystal brand of kosher salt.
  • Butter: Use salted butter when making the grits and also when cooking the shrimp.
  • Cheese: I love using shredded cheddar cheese in this dish but I also enjoy making cheesy grits with Gruyère which melts beautifully. I recommend shredding your own cheese rather than purchasing bagged pre-shredded cheese. The cheese will melt better when freshly shredded. Pre-shredded cheese contains preservatives that help to keep the shreds of cheese from clumping in the bag. This means that the cheese doesn’t melt as well.
  • Shrimp: If you live along a coast where you can get fresh shrimp, by all means, use that. If not, shrimp that has been frozen is fine to use.  I often purchase individually frozen, head-off, peel-on shrimp for most shrimp recipes. These bags of shrimp are found in the freezer section of most supermarkets. When you are cooking for one person, purchasing frozen shrimp can be the most economical way to buy shrimp.
  • Vegetables: Use chopped onions, chopped red bell peppers, and a clove of garlic.
  • Lemon juice: A squeeze of a fresh lemon adds a burst of freshness to the dish.

This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I used them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the recipe box at the bottom of the post.

How To Make Shrimp And Grits For One

See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Cook the grits. Mix the milk, water, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a 1-quart saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
milk, paprika, and garlic powder simmering in a small pot
  1. Stir in the grits and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the grits become soft and thick. Remove the pan from the heat.
grits in a small saucepan
  1. Stir in the butter and cheese.

Pro Tip: Grits will thicken as they cool. If they are thicker than you like, stir in a few teaspoons of water or milk.

cheese grits in a small saucepan
  1. Cook the shrimp. Melt butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 to 2 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 30 seconds.
chopped onions, red bell peppers, and garlic cooking in a skillet
  1. Season the shrimp with salt and black pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook on one side for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip the shrimp over and cook the other side for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the shrimp and vegetables.
shrimp and vegetables cooking in a small skillet
  1. Assemble. Pour the cheese grits into a bowl.
cheese grits in a blue bowl
  1. Pour the cooked shrimp, the vegetables, and the buttery sauce over the grits. Grits are best served immediately.
shrimp and grits in a blue bowl next to a beige napkin on a silver tray

Expert Tips

  • Read through the entire recipe and the Ingredient Notes section of the post and gather your ingredients. Shrimp and Grits come together quickly so it’s a good idea to have everything ready before beginning. Although this dish is easy to make, you might have questions about the process and many of your questions may be answered in the Ingredient Notes section and from the process photos and pro tips above. 
  • If you’d like to use bacon in this recipe, cook the bacon first and use the bacon drippings instead of butter to cook the vegetables and then the shrimp.
  • Make the grits cheesy. Cheese adds a richness to the grits that you won’t want to miss out on. Mix it in at the very end along with the butter.
  • Don’t skip the lemon juice. Shrimp with cheese grits is a very rich dish and the small addition of lemon juice helps to cut the richness and adds a burst of freshness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Shrimp And Grits Be Made Ahead Of Time?

The cheese grits can be made ahead of time and reheated, but the shrimp is best cooked fresh. If necessary, you can cook the shrimp ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator and reheat it on the stove with a little bit of butter.

What Other Ingredients Can Be Added To Shrimp And Grits?

Bacon, cooked sausage, and sliced mushrooms are common additions to shrimp and grits.

Can This Recipe Be Doubled?

Yes! If you’d like to make shrimp and grits for two, simply double the ingredient amounts.

Serving Suggestions

Although I love to enjoy this Southern shrimp and grits just as it is, you might like to serve it with any of these single serving and small batch side dishes:

an overhead view of shrimp, onions, garlic and red peppers on top of cheese grits

More Single Serving Southern Recipes

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this easy shrimp and grits recipe, you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this single serving shrimp and grits recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Shrimp and Grits For One

4.67 from 3 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
An indulgent single serving of classic Southern comfort food, this shrimp and grits recipe features creamy grits topped with succulent shrimp. Ready in 20 minutes!

Ingredients 
 

For the grits

  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

For the shrimp

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 medium shrimp , peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions 

Cook the grits

  • Mix the milk, water, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a 1-quart saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the grits and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the grits become soft and thick. Remove the pan from the heat.
    Pro Tip: The brands of grits I often use only take between 8 to 10 minutes to cook. Depending on the brand of grits you use, the cooking time may be longer. Be sure to read the directions on the package you purchase. 
  • Stir in the butter and cheese. Cover and set the pan aside.
    Pro Tip: Grits will thicken as they cool. If they are thicker than you like, stir in a few teaspoons of water or milk.

Cook the shrimp

  • Melt butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 to 2 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 30 seconds.
  • Season the shrimp with salt and black pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook on one side for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip the shrimp over and cook the other side for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the lemon juice over the shrimp and vegetables and stir.

Assemble

  • Pour the cheese grits into a bowl.
  • Pour the cooked shrimp, the vegetables, and the buttery sauce over the grits. Grits are best served immediately.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Read through the entire recipe and the Ingredient Notes section of the post and gather your ingredients. Shrimp and Grits come together quickly so it’s a good idea to have everything ready before beginning. Although this dish is easy to make, you might have questions about the process and many of your questions may be answered in the Ingredient Notes section and from the process photos and pro tips above. 
  • If you’d like to use bacon in this recipe, cook the bacon first and use the bacon drippings instead of butter to cook the vegetables and then the shrimp.
  • Make the grits cheesy. Cheese adds a richness to the grits that you won’t want to miss out on. Mix it in at the very end along with the butter.
  • Don’t skip the lemon juice. Shrimp with cheese grits is a very rich dish and the small addition of lemon juice helps to cut the richness and adds a burst of freshness.
NOTE: The best grits to use when making shrimp and grits are coarsely ground grits or stone-ground grits. The brands of grits I often use only take between 8 to 10 minutes to cook. Depending on the brand of grits you use, the cooking time may be longer. Be sure to read the directions on the package you purchase. I use House Autry White Stone Ground Grits or Bob’s Red Mill White Corn Grits.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 619kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 47g, Saturated Fat: 28g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 193mg, Sodium: 2204mg, Potassium: 398mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 1752IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 780mg, Iron: 0.3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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9 Comments

  1. Good recipe. Easy peasy. It was a little bit light on flavor but that could have been my shrimp. I’m looking forward to trying the scampi next time. I did Brown the butter with a little bit of cumin, cilantro and red pepper flakes. I would definitely make it again. I do love cheese grits.

  2. Outstanding! The grits I used called for a longer cooking time, but with careful watching they were ready a bit sooner than the manufacturer’s directions.

    1. Grits are made from ground white corn or hominy and are a staple food in the Southern United States. They are often served as a breakfast dish, a side dish, or as part of a main course, as in this shrimp and grits recipe. Grits can be found in the breakfast cereal aisle in most grocery stores. Please read through the Ingredient Notes section and the sections above where I mention the brands of grits I use and other information that may be helpful, especially if you’ve never tasted grits before.

    2. Grits are ground corn, similar to polenta. Grits are slightly creamer with a slightly stronger flavor.