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Interesting Facts About Grits

Feb 13, 2023 By Marie White

Grits, a staple in Southern cuisine, have been a beloved dish for generations. Made from hominy, a type of corn that has been treated with an alkali to remove the hull and germ, grits are a versatile and delicious food that can be served as a breakfast dish, a side dish, or even a main dish. Whether you're a Southern native or simply looking to add a new and interesting dish to your recipe collection, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about grits.

History of Grits

Grits have a long and storied history that dates back to Native American times. The Native Americans used hominy, the main ingredient in grits, as a staple food, and the European settlers in the Southern United States adopted it. Grits became a staple in the Southern diet and have remained a beloved dish.

Types of Grits

Hominy grits, on the other hand, are made from kernels of corn that have been treated with an alkali to remove the hull and germ, resulting in a milder flavor and a finer texture.

Cooking and Preparation

Grits are incredibly easy to prepare and can be made in various ways. The traditional method is to cook the grits in boiling water or milk until they reach a creamy consistency, then add butter and salt to taste. They can also be flavored with cheese, herbs, spices, or bacon.

One of the great things about grits is their versatility. They can be served as a savory dish with eggs and bacon or a sweet dish with syrup and fruit. They can also be used as a base for casseroles, stews, and soups or as a filling for breakfast burritos.

Serving and Presentation

When serving grits, presentation is key. They can be served in bowls or on plates, garnished with cheese, herbs, or bacon. For a more sophisticated presentation, try molding the grits into patties and pan-frying them until golden brown. Grits can also be served as a side dish with grilled meats, fish, or vegetables. For a fun and casual presentation, try serving grits in a cast iron skillet for a rustic touch.

Varieties of Grits

Grits come in a variety of textures, from coarse to fine. Coarse grits have a hearty, nutty flavor and a more substantial texture, while fine grits are smoother and creamier. Quick-cooking grits are also available for those short on time, and instant grits are a convenient option for a quick and easy meal.

Yellow grits, which are made from yellow corn, have a sweeter, milder flavor than white grits, which are made from white corn. There are also specialty grits available, such as blue corn grits and red corn grits, which add unique flavors and colors to dishes.

Flavorings and Toppings

Grits are a blank canvas for flavor, and there are many ways to dress them up. Cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan, adds a rich and tangy flavor, while herbs and spices, such as thyme and pepper, can add depth and complexity. Bacon, ham, or sausage can also be added to create a hearty and filling dish. Try topping them with syrup, honey, or fruit for a sweet twist on grits. Fresh berries, such as strawberries or blueberries, add a touch of sweetness, while cinnamon and sugar create a warm and comforting treat.

Health Benefits

Not only are grits delicious, but they are also nutritious food. Grits are low in fat and calories and high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, making them a filling and healthy meal option. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium.

Incorporating Grits into Your Meal Plan

Grits can be incorporated into any meal of the day, from breakfast to dinner. For breakfast, try making grits with milk and a touch of sugar for a comforting and satisfying start to the day. For lunch or dinner, try using grits as a base for stews, soups, or casseroles or serving them as a side dish with grilled meats or vegetables. For a quick and easy meal, try adding leftover meats or vegetables to a bowl of grits for a satisfying one-dish meal. Grits can also be made ahead of time and reheated, making them a convenient option for busy weeknights.

Cooking with Grits

Grits are easy to cook and can be made on the stovetop, in the microwave, or even in a slow cooker. The basic ratio for cooking grits is 4 cups of liquid to 1 cup of grits. Water, milk, or a combination of both can be used as the cooking liquid, and seasonings, such as salt and pepper, can be added for flavor. When cooking grits on the stovetop, it's important to bring the liquid to a boil before adding the grits, then reduce the heat and let them cook, occasionally stirring, until they are tender and creamy. The cooking time will vary depending on the type of grits you use, but it can range from 5 to 30 minutes.

For a quicker cooking option, try cooking grits in the microwave. Combine the grits and liquid in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook on high for 5-minute intervals, stirring after each interval, until the grits are tender and creamy. For a slow-cooker option, combine the grits, liquid, and any desired seasonings in the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the grits are tender and creamy. This method is convenient for making grits overnight or for a crowd.


Grits are a delicious and versatile food that has been enjoyed for generations. Their variety of textures, flavors, and health benefits are a must-try for anyone looking to add a new and interesting dish to their meal plan. Whether you prefer savory or sweet grits, there is a grits dish for everyone. So next time you're looking for a delicious and satisfying meal, give grits a try and discover why they are a staple of Southern cuisine.

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