grits with herb topping

If you’re looking for some major comfort food for your next breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these versatile grits may be just what you need in your life. The great part about grits is that you can serve them in various ways based on personal preferences and they make a great main course or a side. To up the ante even further on this dish, recipe developer Miriam Hahn added cream cheese, making the grits extra creamy and extra delicious. Of course, there’s also a generous serving of butter, because what good are grits without butter?

"I love this recipe because I cook with grains quite a bit, and they tend to be overlooked as a grain if you aren’t from the South. They offer lots of iron and fiber and give you the chance to mix things up a bit when cooking," Hahn raves. She also echoes our sentiments when it comes to grits being the jack of all trades. "Grits are very versatile. You can go savory or sweet with them. The savory options are endless. You can serve as a side dish, with any protein type entree, or they can be used as a base of a hearty stew or chili," she explains.

Gather the ingredients for these classic creamy grits

ingredients for creamy grits

The first thing you need to do is gather all of the ingredients. For this recipe, you will need water, milk, salt, garlic granules, black pepper, quick-cooking grits, butter, and cream cheese. There is also one optional ingredient, which is fresh parsley. "You can even make grits dairy free if there is a food allergy you need to be sensitive to. Dairy-free milk, butter, and cheese all work fine," Hahn notes.

Combine the water, milk, salt, garlic granules, and pepper

Milk and spices in pan

To make these creamy grits, you will need to use your stove. Grab a medium-sized saucepan and place it on your burner. Add the water, milk, salt, garlic granules, and pepper to the pan. Then, turn the heat to medium-high to bring the liquid to a boil.

Add the grits and simmer

grits in saucepan

Once the mixture starts boiling, toss in the grits. Stir to combine, then reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer. Continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes, until the grits get nice and thick. As they cook, be sure to stir the grits frequently so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Toss in butter and cream cheese

grits in saucepan

Once the grits get nice and thick, that’s an excellent indicator that it’s time to add the butter and cream cheese. "The secret ingredient in these is the cream cheese. It really adds to the creaminess without making them heavy," Hahn shares.

Again, stir everything to combine, helping the butter and cream cheese melt into the grits. "If you want the grits more cheesy, you can easily add in any type of cheese in the final step. Cheddar or Parmesan are both good options," Hahn notes. In our opinion — the more cheese, the better.

Add parsley and serve

grits in bowl with parsley

Scoop the grits into bowls and if you opt to use parsley, add a little to each bowl. Now, you only need to grab a fork and dig right in! Hahn provides a few great serving suggestions. "You can use them as your grain in a buddha bowl or make them into a savory breakfast with spinach and mushrooms," she shares. "For a sweet version, you can pull out the garlic granules and instead add brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar to make a delicious hot breakfast. You can keep it simple and serve them with fresh fruit and nuts like you would with yogurt, or you can even add them to a smoothie for some extra fiber and texture."

And, finally, Hahn has one final note if you happen to have leftover grits: "Leftovers last fine up to a week in a sealed container in the fridge."

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup cream cheese

Optional Ingredients

  • fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine the water, milk, salt, garlic granules, and pepper, and heat to medium-high, until boiling.
  2. Once the mixture is boiling, stir in the grits.
  3. Reduce to low and simmer until the grits are thick, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Once thick, add in the butter and cream cheese. Stir to melt these ingredients into the mixture.
  5. Top with parsley if desired and serve.