By Nadia Hassani

What are grits? What are grits made from?

Grits is the term for any coarsely ground grains such as corn, oats, or barley. Grits are usually served for breakfast, or as a side dish.

Photo by Meredith

What are the Different Types of Grits?

Grits come in different grinds: coarse, medium, and fine.

Stone-ground grits are slowly ground between two millstones. Unlike in conventional milling methods with rollers, this traditional milling method leaves the heart of the grain, the germ, intact.

Hominy grits are grits made from dried corn whose hull and germ have been removed.

The color of the corn determines the color of the grits. The most common corn grits are yellow grits and white grits. There are also grits made from native American heirloom corn such as the red-speckled Bloody Butcher grits.

Grits are gluten-free if the grain they are made of is gluten-free. Hence corn grits are gluten-free, barley grits aren't.

Instant grits are precooked, dehydrated grits without the hull and germ. They can be cooked in the microwave in just a few minutes.

Cheese grits are dishes where cheese is added to the cooked grits at the end of the cooking.

What is the Difference between Polenta and Grits?

Italian polenta and Southern grits are quite similar. They are both typically made from ground corn. Polenta is made from a more coarse grind of yellow corn, which creates a flakier grain and a slightly more coarse texture. Grits, which are typically made with white corn, will often produce a smoother texture.

What are Grits Good for?

Grits contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, especially iron. However, the nutritional value depends on the type of grits. The less they are processed, the better. Stoneground grits are the most nutritious.

How Do I Prepare Grits?

Grits are cooked or baked in water, milk, or broth until they are thick and creamy. It is possible to presoak grits, which speeds up the cooking process and improves the flavor and texture of the dish, but it's not required. Here are some of our favorite ways to make grits.

Some Top-Rated Grits Recipes

Charleston Crab and Grits

"A family favorite! Easy, delicious, comforting cheesy grits and crab," says PantherLover. "Great as an appetizer or a meal on its own. If you like spicy, add an entire can of diced tomatoes with green chiles."

Photo by Aja

Southern Grits Casserole

"If you're from the South you will definitely love this recipe, which includes grits, eggs, sausage, and cheese," says Ella Baldwin. "When I cook it, I place it in the slow cooker to stay warm. There is nothing worse than cold grits."

Photo by Melissa Goff

Stuffed Tomatoes with Grits and Ricotta

"This recipe makes a great appetizer," says Peter Alfieri. "I spent a lot of time experimenting with ingredients and finally concluded that this recipe you now see listed turned out to be the best. The grits give a unique texture to the exotic flavors of the Parmesan and Asiago cheeses."

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Oklahoma Cheese Grits

"It's a great day when my mom serves up this Southern specialty!" says SARA LEE. "Cooked grits are combined with seasonings, cheese, and eggs, then baked. The eggs are the secret to light fluffy grits that melt in your mouth! You may adjust or eliminate the hot sauce to suit your taste."

Photo by lilkonza

Chef John's Shrimp and Grits

"Shrimp and grits is a very simple recipe," says Chef John. "Once everything is assembled, this recipe is a snap. So make sure you have everything ready before you start cooking the shrimp. They only take a few minutes to sauté, so you don't have time to run and chop scallions or juice a lemon. To make things even easier, you can make the grits a bit ahead since they stay hot a very long time."

Cheese Grits Casserole

"Delicious!" raves Paula. "It made a great accompaniment to breakfast-for-dinner tonight, but it would be a good side dish with chicken or beef as well."

Photo by Nicolette

Garlic Grits

"I love grits, which is strange since I was raised in Wisconsin," says Maggie Lynch. "My husband on the other hand hates them and he was raised in the south. He however loves these garlicky, cheesy grits. This is a great dish to serve with barbequed ribs or chicken"

Photo by lutzflcat

Check out our collection of Grits Recipes.