Chipotle Cheddar Grits

Although I have lived here in Charlotte for almost three years, I am truly a Boston girl at heart. That means, of course, that grits was never on my culinary radar. I have tried grits once or twice before and I was shocked that people raved about them. Even my brother-in-law, fabulous chef that he is, couldn’t win me over with his award-winning shrimp and grits. With all my passion for local food and trying new things, I was finally embarrassed into learning to love grits. The grit stand-off had to come to an end.

Cabot Chipotle Cheddar Cheese

A few weeks ago, I bought a bag of stone-ground, white corn grits from Charleston, South Carolina. Thankfully, my friend saw them sitting dolefully on the counter and suggested I keep them in the freezer or in a cool, dark place until I was ready to use them. Finally, last week the mood struck me to whip up some grits as I was munching on some delicious Cabot chipotle cheddar cheese that I had stolen from my friend’s house. I brought wine and left with cheese. Such a score!

As I turned the bag of grits over to read the instructions, I was disappointed. “Combine grits and water. Bring to a boil. Cook.” Blah. There was no way that I was following those directions. I decided to make my grits like I make my rice. Prepare some onion and peppers first, add the grits to soak up some flavors, and then add some milk. A little butter, a lot of cheese. Fingers crossed my experiment would work the way I was envisioning.

Truly, in no time at all, I had a beautiful pot of grits. I made the first batch using only 3/4 of a cup of grits and my children devoured it right out of the pan. I quickly needed to make another batch to be served with dinner. No complaints. It was so easy, the second batch was done while the kids were licking their bowls clean, eager for round two.


Diced jalapenos and onion

2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, chopped
A few slices of red onion, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons or so, olive oil
3/4 cup stone ground grits
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded cheese, approximately


1. Saute jalapeno peppers, garlic, and onion in olive oil until softened. Add some salt. Stir.
2. Add the grits and stir to coat.
3. Gently add the milk and raise the temperature just until the milk comes to a boil.
4. Quickly reduce the heat to medium low, continue to stir while the grits absorb all of the milk – about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Taste test the grits to see if they have reached your desired texture. You might want to add more milk if you prefer them creamier.
6. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir.
7. Serve the grits hot with shredded chipotle cheddar on the side so your family can add in as much cheesiness as they desire. Enjoy!

Chipotle Cheddar Grits … Almost done!

A few notes … Speaking of my brother-in-law … if you are ever in Morehead City on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, you must visit his restaurant … Chefs 105. Order anything on the menu – I guarantee it will be delicious. Serving local produce and fresh caught seafood is their specialty – of course, it runs in the family. And, if you happen to be around when the Bloody Mary bar is open, well, lucky you.

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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