Cheese grits are about as Southern as it gets, and my easy Southern Cheese Grits Casserole recipe is true to its name, it’s easy, it’s creamy, and it’s cheesy. This make-ahead wonder is not only perfect for serving at an elegant holiday brunch, but it’s also perfect for a weekend breakfast with the family.
Cheese grits are the ultimate comfort food in the South and, if you have never had them, well, let’s just say you don’t know what you’re missing. I’ve been eating them all of my life, and I have to say it’s hands down my favorite breakfast food!
This flavor-packed Southern Cheese Grits Casserole takes all of the yumminess of an easy recipe and transports it into an incredible company-worthy, make-ahead casserole that can feed a crowd.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Grits are inexpensive, quick, and easy to make, nutritious, and gluten-free.
- They are versatile; not only are they perfect for breakfast, but you can also serve them for lunch or dinner.
- Grits are an excellent substitute for their cousin polenta, mashed potatoes, or any starch or grain. They are delicious all by themselves or topped with bacon, ham or sausage, barbecue pork, shrimp, beef short ribs, tomatoes, and spinach; you get the picture.
What are they:
Besides being a southern staple, the simplest answer is most grits are ground up white corn kernels.
There are three main types: stone-ground, quick or regular, and instant. Quick or regular grits that can be made in about ten minutes are my favorite, and I prefer the texture of the finer grind.
Stone-ground is made with a coarser grind and has a slightly more robust corn flavor. They take from 40 to 50 minutes to cook and are seeing a resurgence among the South’s elite chefs. Similar to craft beer, grits mills are springing up all over the place, and each claims to have the best.
There is much disagreement about which type is best, but something almost every southern cook can agree on is to steer clear of instant!
Grits are always spelled with an “s” whether it’s singular or plural. Except in the iconic movie “My Cousin Vinnie”, there is no such thing as a “grit”.
Here’s what you will need to make this recipe:
You will need quick or regular grits, sharp cheddar cheese, milk, butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, ground red pepper, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and paprika.
Here’s how to make this recipe:
Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add water and salt to a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the grits and mix well, bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for five minutes. Stir occasionally.
Remove from the heat and add the cheddar cheese, milk, butter, Worcestershire sauce, ground red pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well to combine.
When everything has melted, add the eggs. Be sure to make sure they are thoroughly mixed in with the other ingredients.
Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and the parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered for one hour. Let the casserole stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
What to serve with this dish:
Feel free to substitute any hard cheese or a combination of cheeses you like or have on hand for the cheddar.
If you are a cheese lover like me, you can add up to two more cups. It will just be our little secret!I
It works out better if you just pour a little paprika in your hand and take a pinch to sprinkle over the dish. If you add it straight from the spice jar, it’s easy to get too much.
You can substitute half and half or heavy cream for the milk in this recipe.
If you really want to wow your guests, add a few slices of cooked and crumbled bacon before serving.
To make this casserole ahead, make it up to 24 hours ahead, but do not bake it—store covered in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, take out of the fridge at least 30 minutes beforehand to allow it to reach room temperature, and bake as directed.
If you have leftovers, store covered in the refrigerator up to two days. They thicken once cool so to reheat, place them in a saucepan along with as much milk or water as it takes and heat and stir until they are smooth and creamy. I do not recommend freezing them.
The directions on the packages of regular or quick grits say to cook them for five to seven minutes. For the most creamy grits, I recommend cooking them for at least ten to fifteen minutes.
If you like this recipe as I do, you also might want to try my Easy Cheesy Parmesan Shrimp and Grits, Make-Ahead Sausage and Grits Casserole, Southern BBQ Shrimp and Cheese Grits, and Southern Spicy Tomato Cheese Grits. These recipes all use regular or quick grits.
My Southern Crock-Pot Easy Cheesy Grits recipe is made with stone-ground grits.
If you are looking for other popular recipes from the South, check out these delicious favorites: Southern Potato Salad, Southern Pecan Praline Cake, Southern Style Blue Crab Cakes, Southern Mac and Cheese, Southern Squash Casserole, and Easy Classic Southern Tomato Pie.
Intrigued and want more? Check out all of my Southern Recipes here.
★ If you make this recipe, please give it a star rating below and let me know how you liked it.
Thanks for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Southern Cheese Grits Casserole Recipe
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup quick-cooking grits not instant
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese grated
- pinch paprika
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Add water and salt to a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the grits and mix well, bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for five minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and add the cheddar cheese, milk, butter, Worcestershire sauce, ground red pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well to combine. When the butter and cheese have melted, add the eggs, and make sure they are thoroughly mixed in with the other ingredients.
- Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the mixture. Top with paprika, and the parmesan cheese.
- Bake uncovered for one hour. Let the casserole stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
**This recipe was originally published on April 4, 2017. Republished on June 30, 2020, with reformatted and expanded directions and tips.