Microwave Corn Cheese Grits in a Mug


This is a deliciously cheesy way to start your morning.

Microwave Mug Grits
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
4 mins
Total Time:
9 mins

When in doubt, add cheese. That's always been my rule, especially for savory breakfasts. Eggs need a little oomph? Add a few slices of melty American. French toast needs to swap salt for sugar? Crust it in Parmesan cheese. Bread pudding? Add a kitchen sink's worth of veggies and Boursin blobs for pockets of melty, garlicky goodness.

Is it any wonder, then, that cheese played a central role in my search for a satisfying breakfast when I don't have the time to properly cook? Of course it did, but that's getting ahead of the story.

It begins with quick-cooking microwave grits, introduced to me by one of my best friends, Carson, who ate a packet of them almost every day with a little bit of butter and sugar. He uses instant grits that can be made with ½ cup boiling water or just a minute or so in the microwave, but I traded up to quick grits, which take a few minutes and have a more toothsome bite from coarser-grind grits.

And a quick-grits fanatic I became: My go-to combination has always been a little butter and salt, and a handful of shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, scallions, and cooked bacon if I have my act together. But one day, while eating a big pile of melty, creamy, Korean Corn Cheese, I realized there could be a double corn situation here. And Corn Cheese Grits was born: a killer combination of salty-and-a-little-sweet cheesy corn and tender grits.

Spoon in a mug with microwave cheese grits
Photo:Cara Cormack/Food: Alice Ostan/Allrecipes

This single-serving dish is made in a mug for extra ease and cooked in two stages. The first stage cooks the grits properly without overflowing, but I do recommend putting a plate underneath your mug as a fail-safe for powerful microwaves. The second stage melts the cheesy corn mixture. Even though there are only two tablespoons of cheese here, it stretches – literally! – into a satisfying cheese pull akin to aligot (super cheesy French mashed potatoes).

Having a can or bag of frozen corn and some shredded mozzarella on hand at all times will ensure you can make this at any time. This little bit of cheesy decadence goes a long way to start your day off right, and it comes together in less time than it does to brew a pot of coffee. I only ask one thing of you: Don't skip the sugar! It is essential to Korean Corn Cheese and balances the savoriness while complementing the undertone of sweetness in Kewpie mayonnaise, another essential ingredient. Now go forth and make Corn Cheese Grits — and don't forget your mugshot. There's a killer cheese pull.


  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking grits

  • ¾ cup water

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup corn kernels

  • 2 tablespoons shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Japanese mayonnaise (such as Kewpie®)

  • freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon whole milk, or more as needed

  • 1 scallion (dark part only), thinly sliced


  1. To a 12-ounce microwave-safe mug (or larger), add the grits, water, and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir together with a fork or whisk and place on a microwave-safe plate to catch any overflow. Microwave on high power for 1 ½ minutes, then remove, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, and stir. Microwave for another 1 ½ to 2 minutes, or until the grits are tender. Add additional seasoning if needed.

  2. In a small bowl, stir together the corn, mozzarella cheese, sugar, Kewpie mayonnaise, and remaining ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and as much freshly cracked black pepper as makes you happy.

  3. Remove the grits from the microwave and add 1 tablespoon of whole milk. If it is still too thick for your liking, add more a splash at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Add the corn cheese mixture on top and microwave on high power—without stirring together!—for 45 seconds, or until the cheese is completely melted.

  4. Mix the corn cheese into the grits thoroughly, then top with sliced scallions. Get a good cheese pull for your photo and enjoy!

Cook's Note:

You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

407 Calories
27g Fat
36g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 1
Calories 407
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 1264mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 8g
Potassium 176mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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