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17 November 2021

This is my favorite shrimp and grits recipe, with succulent shrimp simmered in a tomato based shrimp gravy, served over cheesy, creamy grits. The best I’ve ever had.

It’s time for Shrimp and Grits, my friends! Would you care for a bowl? I think you’re going to want a bowl of this, because this is the best shrimp and grits you’ll ever have.

At least I think so!

There are so may different ways to make shrimp and grits. In the south, we find it on menus everywhere, and no two recipes are the same, usually because of the sauce or gravy.

This particular shrimp and grits recipe is very much like a Creole Gumbo, but with a shrimp focus, and served over grits. I’ve adapted it with permission from my great friend Natha, who acquired this recipe from his Aunt Karyn, who is a fantastic cook.

Everyone who has ever tried this recipe has raved about it. I think you will, too.

Let’s talk about how we make shrimp and grits, shall we?

Mike serving a bowl of Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits Ingredients

  • FOR THE SHRIMP GRAVY
  • Andouille Sausage. You can sub in some other smoked sausage or Polish sausage, but andouille is the best.
  • Vegetable Oil. Peanut oil is good.
  • Flour.
  • Vegetables. Onion, jalapeno pepper, celery, garlic. Use bell pepper for milder. The Cajun holy trinity
  • Tomatoes. You’ll need both tomato paste and diced tomatoes, either canned or fresh.
  • Seasonings. Use Cajun seasonings or use Creole seasonings, plus salt and pepper, and fresh thyme.
  • Stock. Use seafood stock if you can, but chicken broth or vegetable stock are great, too. I love to make my own seafood stock from discarded shrimp shells and other ingredients.
  • Shrimp.
  • FOR THE GRITS
  • Butter.
  • Liquid. Use water, or a mix of water and whole milk or heavy cream for creamier grits.
  • Salt.
  • Grits.
  • Cheese. I use white cheddar cheese, but you can use other melty cheese.
  • FOR SERVING
  • Spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley, chopped green onions.

A bowl of Shrimp and Grits, ready to serve

How to Make Shrimp and Grits – the Recipe Method

FOR THE SHRIMP GRAVY

Brown the Andouille Sausage. Heat a large skillet over medium heat (or a large pot) and add the andouille. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. As a variation, add chopped bacon. The bacon fat makes a nice roux.

Cooking andouille in the pot

Make a Roux. Add vegetable oil and flour. Stir to form a paste, then cook, stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes, until the roux darkens to a rich brown, about the color of peanut butter. You can go darker if you’d like. Questions? See my post on How to Make a Roux (with video). 

A dark roux in a pot for shrimp and grits

Cook the Vegetables. Add the onion, jalapeno and celery. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Cooking the vegetables to make Shrimp and Grits

Tomatoes and Seasonings. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and Cajun seasonings, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute to let the flavors develop.

Starting to simmer the shrimp gravy in the pot

The First Simmer. Stir in the stock and fresh thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to thicken the gravy. You can simmer longer if you’d like to develop more flavor. Add more liquid as needed.

The Second Simmer. Stir in the sausage and simmer another 30 minutes or longer to your desired flavor. Adjust for seasonings.

Simmering the shrimp gravy in the pot

Add the Shrimp. Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp first, if desired. Cover and let the shrimp cook 3-5 minutes to cook through.

FOR THE GRITS

Butter and Water/Cream. While the shrimp gravy is simmering, add the butter, water (and milk or cream, if using) and optional salt to a pot. Bring the water to a boil.

Cooking the Grits. Stir in the grits and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat, then cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring often. Add water or milk/heavy cream as needed if the grits get too thick and dry.

Salt. Adjust for salt.

Cheese. Stir in the cheese a bit at a time until it is melted through. Butter and cheese make outstanding grits.

Creamy corn grits for Shrimp and Grits

SERVING THE SHRMP AND GRITS

Ladle Into Bowls. Serve the cheesy grits into bowls, then top with shrimp gravy, andouille and cooked shrimp.

Garnish. Garnish with red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and green onion, maybe a squeeze of lemon juice.

Boom! Done! Your shrimp and grits are ready to serve! It is SO GOOD, right? No joke, this is the best shrimp and grits recipe out there. It certainly is for me!

A bowl of Shrimp and Grits with fresh herbs and chili flakes

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Grits. I am using Geechie Boy Grits (now renamed to Marsh Hen Mill) that I picked up from Edisto Island. They make their grits from heirloom corn and it is fantastic. Use your favorite brand. You can use instant grits if you’d like, though I prefer not to. Buy Geechie Boy Grits (affiliate link, my friends!). They are outstanding.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my shrimp and grits recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Spice it up!

Mike taking a spoonful of Shrimp and Grits

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Lots of shrimp in A bowl of Shrimp and Grits

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Shrimp and Grits Recipe

This is my favorite shrimp and grits recipe, with succulent shrimp simmered in a tomato based shrimp gravy, served over cheesy, creamy grits. The best I've ever had.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grits, shrimp, southern, spicy
Servings: 8
Calories: 745kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE SHRIMP GRAVY

  • 1 pound andouille sausage sliced
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers chopped (use green pepper for milder)
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes fire roasted tomatoes are GREAT here – use canned or fresh
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasonings or use Creole seasonings
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups seafood stock or use chicken stock or seafood stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined

FOR THE GRITS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 cups water or use 4 cups water + 4 cups whole milk or heavy cream for creamier grits
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
  • 2 cup grits
  • 4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese or more to taste

FOR SERVING

  • Spicy chili flakes fresh chopped parsley, chopped green onions

Instructions

FOR THE SHRIMP GRAVY

  • Heat a large pot to medium and add the andouille. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
  • Make a Roux. Add vegetable oil and flour. Stir to form a paste, then cook, stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes, until the roux darkens to a rich brown, about the color of peanut butter. You can go darker if you’d like.
  • Add the onion, jalapeno (or bell pepper) and celery. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and Cajun seasonings, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute to let the flavors develop.
  • Stir in the stock and fresh thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to thicken the gravy. You can simmer longer if you’d like to develop more flavor. Add more liquid as needed.
  • Stir in the sausage and simmer another 30 minutes or longer to your desired flavor. Adjust for seasonings.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp. Cover and let the shrimp cook 3-5 minutes to cook through.

FOR THE GRITS

  • While the shrimp gravy is simmering, add the butter, water (and milk or cream, if using) and optional salt to a pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the grits and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat, then cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring often. Add water or milk/heavy cream as needed if the grits get too thick and dry.
  • Adjust for salt.
  • Stir in the cheese a bit at a time until it is melted through.

SERVING THE SHRIMP AND GRITS

  • Serve the cheesy grits into bowls, then top with shrimp gravy, andouille and cooked shrimp.
  • Garnish with red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and green onion.

Nutrition

Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 1611mg | Potassium: 774mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1654IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 497mg | Iron: 3mg

A bowl of Shrimp and Grits