How to Cook Delicious Stone-Ground Grits

Stone ground grits

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 cups

Grits are usually eaten for breakfast in the South, but they can also be enjoyed fried or as a savory side dish with meat, shrimp, or cheese. Whether you like your grits plain or fancy, these basic cooking instructions for stone-ground grits will ensure they're perfect every time.

The recipe is for stone-ground grits, not instant or fast-cooking grits. This traditional variety of dried hominy absorbs about four times the amount of liquid and is cooked slowly. If you're going to make a larger or smaller batch, be sure to keep the ratio of 1 cup of grits to 4 1/2 cups of water intact. We don't recommend using milk for cooking grits since it can scorch. Feel free to add milk or cream at the end if desired.

Grits can be cooked on the stovetop or in your slow cooker, and instructions are included for both methods. You'll also find some creative ways to serve grits along with tasty add-ins that transform this favorite pantry food into a versatile meal option.


Click Play to See This Traditional Stone-Ground Grits Recipe Come Together


  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grits (stone-ground)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter (unsalted; cut into pieces)
  • Optional: black pepper (freshly ground)

Steps to Make It

Note: There are two great methods you can use to make grits. The stovetop takes under an hour, and the slow cooker takes a few hours.

Stovetop Grits

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for stone ground grits
    The Spruce
  2. Add 4 1/2 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat.

    Saucepan with water
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  3. Gradually stir in the stone-ground grits.

    Stir in grits
    The Spruce 
  4. Continue stirring and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the grits are very thick. Depending on the grind, cooking can take longer. As the grits thicken, they can scorch easily, so be sure to stir often. If the grits absorb all of the water before they are done, add more hot water as needed.

    Grits cooking in a saucepan
    The Spruce 
  5. Beat in butter and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

    Butter added to cooked grits
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  6. Serve the grits hot.

Slow Cooker Grits

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for stone ground grits
    The Spruce
  2. Put the water, salt, and grits in a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Let them stand for a few minutes and skim off any solids floating on top of the water.

    Put ingredients in a slow cooker
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  3. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. 

    Stirring grits with a whisk
    The Spruce
  4. Add butter and pepper, as desired.

    Cooked grits in a slow cooker topped with butter
    The Spruce
  5. Serve the grits hot.

Recipe Variations

  • Make cheddar cheese grits by using only 2 tablespoons of butter and adding about 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese as soon as the grits have reached the desired consistency.
  • For creamy grits, use 4 tablespoons of butter and stir 1/4 cup of heavy cream into the grits as soon as they have finished cooking.
  • Add chopped jalapeño peppers or mild green chile peppers.
  • Add chopped sautéed onions.
  • Add some fresh minced garlic or garlic powder.
  • Add fresh herbs to the grits.
  • Serve cooked grits or cheese grits with creamed chicken or seafood.
  • Make fried grit cakes by letting the grits cool slightly. Beat in 1 egg, then pour the mixture into a well-buttered loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When the grits are thoroughly chilled and firm, cut the loaf into thin slices. Fry the slices in bacon drippings or butter.
  • For grits Benedict, top fried grits cakes with an egg, Canadian bacon, and hollandaise sauce.