Grits, or hominy grits, are hulled, dried, and cracked corn kernels. To add variety to your grain repertoire, give them a try! Here are the basic steps for how to cook grits on the stovetop, with 5 easy and tasty ways to serve them.
While grits are best known for their traditional role as a breakfast staple of the American south, they’re terrific for dinner as well.
Grits make a soft bed of naturally gluten-free grain for bean and vegetable dishes. or even as a pleasant side dish. Grits can also play a starring role in tasty recipes. Scroll down to the end for a couple of tasty ideas.
Stoneground grits, which is the variety I recommend, are more flavorful than the quick-cooking grits sold in supermarkets. Similar to coarse the coarse cornmeal known as polenta, but even coarser, grits cook to a mushy texture that still has a little tooth to it.
Here’s a concise rundown on the different varieties of grits.
Basic cooked grits on the stovetop
These cooking instructions are for stoneground (not quick-cooking) grits.
1 Bring 4 cups water to a simmer in a roomy saucepan. Sprinkle in a cup of stone-ground grits, whisking continuously to prevent clumps.
2 Turn the heat down to very low and cover the saucepan with the lid slightly ajar. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, whisking frequently, which will continue to prevent clumping. If at any point the mixture becomes too thick, or if not done to your liking, whisk in an additional 1/2 cup of water and cook a bit longer; repeat as needed.
3 Stir in a tablespoon or two of vegan buttery, and season with salt to taste. If you have a taste for heat, add your favorite hot seasoning or sauce. This makes 4 generous or 6 moderate servings.
Simple and tasty ways to serve cooked grits
Cheese and/or corn grits: To the basic cooked grits, add 1/2 to 1 cup cheddar-style vegan cheese shreds and a cup or so of cooked fresh or frozen corn kernels. Cook for an extra 3 to 5 minutes on very low heat.
Tomato and green chili or herb grits: To the basic cooked grits, add 2 to 3 medium diced tomatoes and 1 to 2 small fresh hot chili peppers (like jalapeño), seeded and minced, or 1 poblano chili (which is mild). You can also use a 4-ounce can of chopped mild green chilies. Or, use your favorite fresh herbs instead of chilis — parsley, cilantro, dill, and/or basil Cook for an extra 3 to 5 minutes on very low heat.
Grits and Greens: Top each serving of basic cooked grits with a generous amount of wilted spinach, chard, kale or collards. If you need a formula to follow, see The Most Basic, Best Way to Cook Leafy Greens. This is so tasty accompanied with Sweet and Savory Tempeh Strips.
Sweet Creamy Breakfast Grits: Follow the steps for basic cooked grits, above. Once they’re nearly done, stir in 1/2 cup plant-based milk (oat, almond, cashew, etc.) and continue to cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Don’t forget the vegan butter, and stir in 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup, or more, to taste. Serve hot like any warm cereal; embellish with cinnamon and fresh fruit.
Grits pizza crust: For a delicious gluten-free pizza crust, spread hot cooked grits on a pizza pan lined with parchment, to about a half-inch thickness with a slight rim. Allow to cool and firm up in the refrigerator. Top with your favorite vegetables (marinara sauce and/or vegan cheese as the bottom layer, optional) and bake at 425º F. for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Explore recipes featuring grits
For information on related corn products, see our
Guide to Cornmeal, Corn Flour, and Masa Harina