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Published October 10, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This easy-to-make shrimp and grits recipe is served in cream sherry sauce over white cheddar grits for a delicious dish. This is a perfect recipe that comes together in under 45 minutes to serve a large crowd with ease.
I’m a huge fan of cooking and serving shrimp because they are simple to prepare and cook in minutes. If you are similar and enjoy it as well, then try out my Shrimp Bisque or Shrimp Scampi.
Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and Grits is a simple dish consisting of creamy grits that are served with cooked shrimp. This is a classic South Carolina dish that was originally created over 70 years ago and was served as “breakfast shrimp.” Many shrimp catchers would start their day cooking shrimp in rendered bacon fat and bell peppers and would serve them up over grits.
My version of shrimp and grits uses many original ingredients, but mine was inspired by a well-known Chef in Winston-Salem who taught me how to make this with a few extra ingredients. The addition of sherry and heavy cream in my recipe elevates the taste and complexity of flavors in this dish. This is still my favorite recipe for shrimp and grits.
Ingredients You Need
- Grits – You will need coarse ground white corn grits for this recipe. The cooking procedures are very similar to polenta.
- Stock – Use good chicken stock or vegetable stock for the grits.
- Cheese – I like to use aged white cheddar for the grits.
- Fat – You will need your favorite cooking oil for cooking the shrimp and unsalted butter for the grits.
- Shrimp – I like to use 16/20 shrimp or bigger for this recipe.
- Cream – Heavy whipping cream is used for the sauce.
- Garlic – A few minced garlic cloves go a long way to enhancing the flavor of the shrimp.
- Pancetta – This is Italian bacon, but it isn’t smoked. You can substitute it with regular thick-cut bacon.
- Herbs – I use a combination of sliced green onions and flat-leaf parsley for flavor and garnish.
How to Make Shrimp and Grits
Bring the stock to a boil.
Once boiling, slowly stir in the grits and turn the heat down to a simmer while constantly stirring, which will take about 25 minutes to cook.
Finish with butter, cheese, salt, and white pepper, and keep warm with a lid on over very low heat.
In a separate large sauté pan over high heat with olive oil, add in the pancetta and cook until crispy.
Once crispy, remove the pancetta lardons and add in the shrimp and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on high heat.
Next, remove the shrimp and deglaze with sherry cream and reduce by 1/2.
Add the cream and cook until very thick (think alfredo sauce).
Once the cream is thick, add back in the shrimp and pancetta, and stir.
Serve the shrimp in sherry cream over the grits and garnish with sliced green onions and chopped parsley.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: These shrimp and grits are meant to be served and eaten as soon as it is done cooking.
How to Store: Cover and keep the shrimp separate from the grits in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.
How to Reheat: Add the desired number of shrimp in the cream sauce to a small saucepot and heat over low heat until warm. In a separate saucepot, add in the desired amount of grits with a ¼ to ½ cup of chicken stock and heat while constantly stirring over low to medium heat until creamy and warm.
Chef Notes + Tips
- Other cheeses you can use for the grits are cheddar, Havarti, gouda, gruyere, or mozzarella.
- If you do not want to use heavy cream, you can make this very similar to shrimp scampi and finish with butter instead of cream.
- This recipe makes a lot of grits, which are perfect for serving as a side dish for breakfast the next day.
More Shrimp Recipes
Creamy Shrimp and Grits Recipe
For the Grits:
- 12 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups White Corn Grits
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 8 ounces of shredded white cheddar
- Kosher salt, ground white pepper and hot sauce to taste
For the Shrimp:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup small diced pancetta
- 1 pound peeled and deveined, tail on 16/20 shrimp
- 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup Harvey's Bristol cream sherry
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Grits: Bring the stock to a boil. Once boiling, slowly stir in the grits and turn the heat down to a simmer while constantly stirring. The grits will take 25 minutes to cook. finish with butter, cheese, salt, and white pepper, and keep warm over low heat with a lid.
- Shrimp: In a large hot saute pan over medium-high heat with olive oil, add in the pancetta and cook until crispy. Once crispy, remove the pancetta lardons and add in the shrimp and garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes on medium to medium-high heat.
- Next, remove the shrimp and deglaze with sherry cream and reduce by 1/2 over high heat. Add the cream and cook until very thick (think alfredo sauce), which takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Once the cream is thick, add back in the shrimp and pancetta and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the shrimp in sherry cream over the grits. Garnish with sliced green onions and chopped parsley.
I’ve only made this one once, but omg – its to die for! Super yummy
Delicious and very easy. Thanks!
Chef Billy, I made this last night, and it was amazing! Well, (since I’m of Swedish descent and in the Pacific NW) I’ve never had grits nor knew how they should turn out. However, my hubby is a Cajun born in Louisiana, so after 39 yrs of marriage, it’s probably criminal that I’ve never made grits for him before. We loved this combination! To add whatever touch of sweetness to compensate for the “cream sherry,” since we only had regular sherry on hand, I added a small dollop of local honey (indiscernible and I have no idea if that was the right thing to do). Added some fresh jalapeno, too, just for some heat. Oh! Hadn’t ever had Pancetta before either! Asked the butcher in the grocery store. He didn’t have any but followed me all the way over to the deli and we found a pkg of it there. Btw, it was no surprise seeing hubby eating the leftover grits for breakfast this morning! Yum! Thank you for your inspiring recipes!
Thanks Chef for another great recipe. You have elevated my cooking to the next level. Shrimp and grits – Super simple to prepare. Unfortunately I purchased and used Harvey’s solera sherry. The recipe was still delicious but I like to follow directions the first time before making tweaks.
Is there a possibility of making something similar to grits using medium ground corn meal, which I have just ordered (4×24oz)???
Delicious, Chef Parisi! As a Yankee transplant in Savannah, this definitely passes the Southern taste test! My only suggestion is that you feature more weights in this recipe (and your others). It would be very helpful to buy/use, “4 oz. Pancetta” vs. “1/2 cup” or “3 oz chopped celery”. I know American cookbook editors are afraid of weights and Americans love their measures, but the tides are shifting and the time has come for weights in recipes!
This is the best shrimp and grits recipe I have ever tasted Bravo Chef Parisi!
What can I substitute for the Baileys. Non alcoholic.
There is unfortunately no substitute. You can do without it, but it will alter the flavor a little bit in this instance.
I’m a a native North Carolinian… so, down here, we all have our own version of Shrimp-n-Grits that we whip up on sultry summer evenings when the shrimp is abundantly fresh and you can’t bear to turn on a hot oven. Your recipe with the cream sherry is soooo good! Let’s just say, “The possum’s on the stump!” Y’all, it just doesn’t get any better than this! Are you sure you’re not a tad southern? LOVE your recipes! Yum!
Made this tonight (cutting the proportions in half, which proved just the right amount for our family of five) and it was a BIG hit! Fantastic flavors, a creamy sauce that was satisfying but not overly-rich, and a colorful and pleasing presentation–just a wonderful dish in every way. And those grits! I think I could eat a shoebox covered in those grits when they are hot off the stove–and I used Quaker 5-minute (not instant) grits, by the way, because that is all I could find at my small local grocer.
My daughter goes to college in North Carolina and has been missing her new “comfort foods” since coming back north for the summer. She gave this dish a BIG thumbs-up and says it rivals the shrimp and grits at her favorite restaurant in Winston-Salem. Thank you, Chef!!!
Bob, this is amazing! I can’t thank you enough for the kind words and I am so glad it turned out well for you. Have a great summer sir!
I fell in love with this dish when I had it Georgia Brown’s in DC about 8 years ago. I’ve been trying to find a recipe that compares ever since and am still looking. I can’t wait to try yours!
I receive The Daily Meal Newsletter & was thrilled to watch you cooking shrimp and grits. I’m also thrilled that you share your recipes. It looks delish and after reading 2 other recipes, I like you twist to this one. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably go to this website daily–I go by pictures. And your presentation is wonderful. At the wonderful age of 73, though, I don’t think I’m going to be able to make all the recipes I’ve been copying! I love Alamaylu (Indian Chef) on Create TV. Indian spices are so good for your health, and I’m sure you have some Indian recipes as well. God bless and I’m glad to have me you via “Shrimp and Grits.”
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