How to Make Creamy Grits

A low-and-slow approach is the key to clinching this iconic Southern side.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    30 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on August 22, 2023

“People should really leave grits alone,” wrote the late chef Edna Lewis in her book, The Gift of Southern Cooking (co-authored with Scott Peacock). Lewis, who took a dim view of adding fancy ingredients to the beloved Southern staple, instead advised readers to keep it simple with her five-ingredient creamy grits recipe.

Another thing to keep in mind: No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits. Homemade grits are easy to prepare, and well worth a tiny bit of extra care. Stone ground grits will yield the best texture but they do take longer to cook; remove their chewy outer chaff for the creamiest results.

We like these grits best served hot from the stove, with over-easy fried eggs or shrimp.


  • 2 cups whole milk, or more
  • 1 cup stone-ground or regular grits
  • Kosher salt
  • 14 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


Step 1

In a medium pot over medium heat, bring the milk and 2 cups water to a simmer.

Step 2

Meanwhile, to a large mixing bowl, add the stone-ground grits and enough cool water to cover. Stir the grits vigorously so that the chaff floats to the top. Skim the surface carefully to remove and discard the chaff, then drain the grits through a fine mesh strainer. (If you are using regular grits, you may skip this step.)

Step 3

Stir the grits into the simmering milk-water mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the grains are tender to the bite and have thickened to the consistency of thick oatmeal. As the mixture thicken, stir frequently to prevent sticking and scorching. (Regular grits will be done in about 20 minutes, while stone-ground grits require an hour or a little more to cook, and you may have to add additional water as needed.)    

Step 4

Stir in the cream and butter, then season the grits to taste with salt. Remove from the heat and serve (cover and keep warm if not serving immediately). Serve hot.

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