Shrimp & grits are a classic comfort food. Making this southern dish in your slow cooker produces creamy grits with minimal effort.
Of course you can cook grits in the slow cooker. You can pretty much make anything in the slow cooker, remember? I know shrimp & grits aren’t really considered healthy but I still love them. In this recipe, the grits are not only cooked in the slow cooker but the shrimp are as well.
What Are Grits?
Originating from Native American communities, grits are widely known these days as being a southern food. Grits are made from dent corn which is a less sweet than the corn you would normally eat as corn-on-the-cob. After they’re dried and ground down the corn, grits are cooked with a liquid like milk or water until they resemble a creamy texture. What do grits taste like? As-is, they’re a little bland to be honest. Hence it’s common to load grits up with ingredients like butter, bacon, cheese…heck I know people who put sugar in their grits (not me).
Grits vs Polenta
I jokingly refer to polenta as grits for ‘non Southerners’ but there actually is a small difference. While both grits and polenta are course-ground cornmeal, they use different types of corn to make it; grits are made from dent corn & polenta is made from flint corn.
What Type Of Grits Should You Use?
The short answer is anything but instant. There are 3 main types of grits: stone-ground grits, quick grits, and instant grits. The main difference between stone-ground grits & quick grits are how much they are granulated. Stone-grits are not ground as much as quick grits which results in them having a cook time that’s twice as long. For example, if quick grits are done in 20 minutes then you’ll need 40 for stone-ground. Instant grits have previously been cooked and dehydrated so all you need to do is add water. While good in a pinch, they’re not for this recipe. A lot of people will tell you that you have to use stone-ground grits in the slow cooker. I do not find this to be true. While I prefer stone-ground grits, I make this recipe using quick grits fairly frequently and it always works out just fine. I follow the grits/liquid ratio of 1/2 cup of grits = 2 cups of liquid. Since the recipe uses 1 1/2 cups of grits that means 6 cups of liquid. For the liquid I use a combination of water and milk. You can get use all milk, all water, water and heavy cream, etc.
Shrimp & Grits
When I think of shrimp & grits, I think of southern comfort food at its finest. As I previously mentioned, it’s very common to ‘jazz up’ grits. Shrimp in particular is a popular accompaniment. With this recipe, no precooking of the shrimp required; they’re added to the slow cooker during the last few minutes of cook time raw. Traditionally a breakfast food, you can eat shrimp & grits any time of the day.
I like to use a combo of almond milk and water but you can use all water or all milk if you want. If you don’t want the cheese, simply omit it. After it’s done cooking, give it a good stir. If you like you’re grits thinner, add some more almond milk or water. I used green onion as a garnish for my shrimp & grits. Cooked, crumbled bacon would be an excellent addition as well.
I used a 3.5-quart slow cooker for this recipe. This isn’t an overnight recipe since it will done in 6 hours or less on LOW. If you double the recipe to feed a larger crowd, it will cook for a longer time. I don’t recommend letting this sit on the warm setting because you will run the risk of burning the bottom of the grits.
- 1/2 lb shrimp
- 1 1/2 cups grits
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp butter (or ghee)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Spray slow cooker generously with cooking spray. Add all ingredients EXCEPT the shrimp to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Cook HIGH 2-4 or LOW 4-6.
- Stir, to mix well and check consistency. Add shrimp and cook an additional 10-20 minutes or until shrimp are pink.
If you have the time to do so, I suggest stirring the grits halfway through cooking.
In my experience, the shrimp will cook very fast. If your slow cooker is like mine and it’s heats to very hot, you can turn off the slow cooker completely and then add the shrimp. The shrimp will still cook and you won’t have to worry about burning the grits.
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