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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.
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.