Old Charleston Style Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits are famous dishes from the Charleston area. The original recipe called for using pork fat, which lent a distinctive flavor to the dish. Shrimp and grits are now served all over the state of South Carolina, as well as being a favorite on restaurant menus across the country. What makes them different from one another lies, in part, in the details that have been preserved for more than a century.

Shrimp and grits are some of those Southern dishes that are either loved or hated. It is a mix of soups and grits, and when you get it right, it is delicious.

In Charleston, the dish is ubiquitous. In restaurants and in homes, it is served every day. It is one of the few dishes that almost everyone has a favorite recipe for.

Time to bring back Charleston-style shrimp and grits, lets make this the year of the shrimp. Everyone at your dinner table will be happy with this delectable shrimp and grits recipe. And it’ll be pleasing even to your gluten-free friend, too, because it’s made with quinoa instead of white rice.

The shrimp are large, sweet, and succulent, and the grits are creamy and golden. They are a classic Southern dish, and Charleston is the closest thing the South has to the capital of Southern food.

You can make shrimp and grits with linguini, but “Charleston style” means something different there: the shrimp are cooked directly in the grits. The texture of the grits and the shrimp combine in perfect harmony.

This version omits cayenne, which I don’t think is traditional but combines two of the best things about Southern cooking: shrimp and grits.


  • 1 lb (500 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 2 cups (500 ml) grits
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) shredded Parmesan cheese

Take a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil, add shrimp. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes and reduce the heat until the shrimp are firm and pink. Drain and rinse under cold running water.

  1. Put a 2-quart (2 L) saucepan over medium heat and add the butter for the grits. Add the grits after the butter is melted and stir, cooking for about 2 minutes. 
  2. When the grains are coated and just beginning to turn opaque, begin adding 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the hot liquid, stirring constantly. 
  3. Cook, constantly stirring, until the liquid is completely absorbed. 
  4. Continue adding liquid 1/4 cup (60 ml) at a time, constantly stirring, until the grits are thick and creamy. 
  5. Add the cheese, Parmesan, and cayenne (optional) and stir until melted. (If the grits seem too thick, add more hot water.)
  6. Top with the shrimp and spoon the grits into bowls.  


The best part of shrimp and grits is the combination of the two. Grits, which are made from ground corn, does not actually breakfast food. Grits can be eaten with almost anything: stews, salads, even soup.