How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

This is the best way to make the creamiest, thickest Southern-style grits for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

Ultra-Creamy Southern Cheese Grits are the best side dish for lunch or dinner, or breakfast feast! This recipe is a Southern classic with cream, spices, and plenty of melty cheddar cheese. Plus my top tips for making the best grits you've ever had. 

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

Grits are a staple at most Southern family tables. Whether they're served with plump and juicy shrimp or piled into a bowl for a hot breakfast, you truly can't go wrong with the creamy, pudding-like texture and decadent creamy cheesy flavor of classic grits. While there are dozens of ways to cook grits, this Southern-style version is my family's go-to. I think you'll love it as much as I do!

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

My top Five Tips for Perfect Grits

#1: Heat + Soak Grits: Much like cashews, this allows grits to soften, cook faster, and become more creamy.

#2: Boil grits for 20-30 minutes uncovered, but make sure to stir regularly to avoid lumps.

#3: It's all about adding milk, water, + heavy cream with cheese for the ultimate creaminess.

#4: Don't be afraid to season your girts. It amplifies the flavors more.

#5: Low + slow is always best. This allows the grits to slowly release their starches for a decadent, silky texture.

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

Ingredients for Cheesy Southern Grits

Here's what you need to make these creamy, rich grits at home:

  • White corn grits. You can find these at most well-stocked grocery stores, often in the grains aisle.
  • Almond milk. You can use regular milk or another non-dairy version. Just make sure it's unsweetened. Making your own is also a good idea! I love Easy Homemade Creamy Cashew Milk or Almond Milk Without Soaking.
  • Heavy cream. I like to use organic dairy.
  • Seasonings. I spice my grits with smoked paprika and Cajun seasoning.
  • Butter. Use unsalted to better control the seasoning of your grits.
  • Cheddar cheese. I like to use mild, but if you like a stronger flavor, use sharp or extra-sharp.

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

What to Serve with Southern Grits

Grits with cheese make an excellent foundation for any number of dishes. At my house, we love to eat these creamy cheddar grits with:

Storage Suggestions

Grits are at their best when they're hot and soft. However, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To serve, reheat the grist on the stove or in the microwave in 30-second intervals until soft. If necessary, add a dash more milk, cream, or water to help loosen them up.

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

Are Grits Gluten Free?

Yes! Grits are made from corn, so this recipe is fully gluten-free.

Vegan Southern Grits

To make this recipe dairy-free, use these swaps:

  • Use vegan butter instead of unsalted butter
  • Swap the cream for coconut milk (full-fat)
  • Use vegan cheese instead of cheddar

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

Ingredient Swaps

To change up the flavors or if you don't have all of the ingredients on this list, here are a few simple swaps:

  • Swap cheddar for gouda, parmesan, or pepper jack
  • Use a different spice blend, such as taco old bay seasoning
  • Add more spice with chili powder or cayenne

More Southern Recipes to Try


If you make these Southern Cheese Grits, tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits

5 from 4 votes
This is the way to make the absolute best creamy Southern cheese grits with cheddar, cream and spices.
Author: Shanika
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 servings


  • 1 ¼ cup white corn grits
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups Almond milk
  • 1 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tsps sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cajun seasoning blend, optional
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (See Notes for Vegan option!)
  • 1 cup mild cheddar cheese (See Notes!)



  • In a large pot or dutch pot over medium-high heat, add the water, white corn grits, and salt and stir until combined. Once it begin to boil, turn off the heat and let the grits sit for 15 minutes so that it soaks a bit. NOTE: See Post for the reasoning for this, etc.


  • Once the time has ended, turn on the heat to medium-high and add the milk, heavy cream, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cajun seasoning (optional), whisking regularly to avoid lumps or sticking to the bottom. After the first 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low so that it can cook more slowly for the ultimate creaminess.


  • In the last 5 minutes, add the butter and cheese, whisking until combined and completely smooth. The grits are ready once it thickens, most of the liquid has reduced, becomes creamy, and the grits are al dente when tested. Remove from heat and serve immediately with your favorite protein.
  • Bon Appétit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Leftovers can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Re-heat over the stovetop or in a microwave when ready to serve.
  • HOMEMADE CAJUN BLEND: To make your own cajun blend, visit my Cajun Sweet Potato Grits + Chickpea recipe.
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make these grits entirely dairy-free or vegan, just substitute the unsalted butter with vegan butter, the heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream/milk,  and the cheese with dairy-free shreds or nutritional yeast.
  • WHAT PLANT-BASED MILKS ARE GOOD FOR THIS RECIPE? You can very much use regular cow's milk. However, for less dairy or for the vegan option, you can always use your fave or one of the following: Almond, coconut milk, homemade oat milk (froths/foams VERY WELL), homemade cashew milk, potato milk, flax milk, etc.
  • BEST CHEESES TO USE: I love using Mild Cheddar cheese, however, you can also use the following: Gouda, Freshly-grated Parmesan, Sharp Cheddar, Pepper Jack, etc.


Calories: 723kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 1246mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2094IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 402mg | Iron: 1mg


Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

How to Make Creamy Southern Cheese Grits.


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Love this Recipe?

  1. I made these grits with dinner last night and omg were they delicious! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  2. I remember the first time I had grits was in Florida while on vacation with my mom. I was an instant fan and now everytime I have grits I think of my mom. Love this cheesy delicious and perfect with an array of dishes.

  3. I've never made grits before. I didn't grow up with them but want to make them for a friend. Thanks for the recipe. Looks delicous!