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Chesapeake Shrimp and Grits

October 23, 2018 by Nicole Collins

Sometimes, if you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself.

I’ve always had that mentality. Sometimes it works for me. Sometimes it gets me in to trouble. But, that’s always my go to instinct.

The past few months, I’ve been on the hunt for some amazing shrimp and grits. Actually, pretty much since the spring, my friend Alison and I have scoured tons of menus looking for restaurants that had shrimp and grits on their brunch or dinner menu.

The first time we found it on a menu, it was during Lent when I was on a seafood only diet. That version was made with andouille sausage, so I couldn’t have it. I considered cheating for it. But, I knew better.

Attempt 1…failed.

The next time we found it on a menu, we made a special trip after I finished a 5k run. We went out of our way to this specific restaurant just so I could have the shrimp and grits. Well, guess what? The moment I placed my order, the waitress told us the online menu was outdated by a week, and they no longer served shrimp and grits for brunch. AHHHHHHH!

Attempt 2…failed.

Fast forward to about a month ago. I ordered shrimp and grits for dinner from a local restaurant that I’ve been to a few times. I was there for a team dinner, and this particular restaurant serves breakfast all day. So, it was the obvious choice for me, because I knew I’d been on an unsuccessful shrimp and grits mission for half of a year.

You guessed it. Attempt 3…failed.

The shrimp and grits were kind of soupy (not how they’re supposed to be). The dish was under seasoned. And, it was just ok. Definitely not what I’d been waiting for what seems like forever and a day to eat.

So, that night I had two epiphanies. 1. Old Bay makes everything better. And 2. If you want something right, you’ve got to do it yourself!

So, that’s what we’re doing today. We’re making a slam dunk, better than anything you’ll find in a restaurant, stick to your ribs, Maryland style southern dish.

Today, we’re making Chesapeake Shrimp and Grits!

So, let’s talk about the grits first. There are lots of different types of grits that you can buy. There’s stone ground grits, regular grits, quick cooking grits, and probably all kinds of other types of grits that I know nothing about. Today, we’re going to use quick cooking grits. Since I didn’t have a southern grandma to teach me the right way to make perfect grits, the quick cooking grits work the best for me.

We’re making cheesy grits to go under our shrimp. YUM! The grits are done in less than 10 mins, which is certainly a benefit of using quick cooking grits. The grits boil in some chicken stock while we whisk them until smooth. Then, we finish them with some butter, some heavy cream, and some shredded gouda cheese. That’s like the southern trifecta right there...butter, cream, and cheese. And, these are the creamiest grits EVER!

To top our cheesy grits, we’re going to make an incredibly delicious, saucy Maryland style shrimp. The base of our sauce is tons of garlic, some juicy tomatoes, and Old Bay seasoning which are all classic Chesapeake flavors. Our shrimp cooks right in the sauce while it simmers away to blend all of the spicy, coastal flavors. Then, we finish the sauce with a little heavy cream to carry over that luxurious creamy texture we already have in the grits.

Once our shrimp is ready, we top our grits with the shrimp and that amazing sauce; then we prepare to dive in face first. There almost nothing better than the combo of seafood, Old Bay, and tomatoes. You can practically smell the Chesapeake Bay when you take a bite of anything with that flavor profile. But, add the creamy, cheese grits to the party, and this is all you’ll want to eat for the rest of forever.

Sometimes, I may stress myself out by wanting to make sure everything gets done by me, my way. But, this is definitely one of those times where solving the problem myself more than paid off. Cause, these Chesapeake Shrimp and Grits are even better than anything I could imagine finding on a restaurant menu.

I hope you guys love this recipe. Let me know if there’s anything you’ve been on the hunt for that you need me to whip up an amazing recipe to satisfy your craving! I’m here for you!

So, enjoy! And, let’s eat!


Chesapeake Shrimp and Grits Serves: 4 Print


For the Cheesy Grits:

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 cup quick cooking grits

  • 1 ½ cups gouda cheese, shredded

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Chesapeake Shrimp:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and diced, seeds and juices reserved

  • 1 tsp old bay, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tsp dried parsley

  • ¼ cup heavy cream

  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Make the Cheesy Grits: In a medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add grits, reduce heat to medium high, and whisk constantly for 1 minute. Continue to cook grits for another 4-6 mins until smooth, whisking often. Turn off heat, add cheese, butter, cream, and salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk until cheese and butter are melted. Set aside.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add garlic, and cook for 1 min until fragrant. Add tomatoes with their juices, shrimp, old bay, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Cook shrimp for 3-4 mins per side until fully cooked through and opaque. Reduce heat to medium. Add heavy cream, and stir to combine. Cook for 6-7 mins until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

  3. To serve, divide grits between 4 bowls. Top with shrimp and sauce. Dust lightly with old bay. Enjoy!

Recipe notes:

*I usually prefer a firm tomato, but we need nice, ripe, juicy tomatoes for these. The juices and seeds from the tomatoes help to make the sauce.

*There are many different kinds of grits, but this recipe uses quick cooking grits. The cooking method will be different if you're using another kind of grits.

*Make sure you don't leave the grits totally unattended while they're cooking. They need to be whisked so they don't scorch and stick to the bottom of your saucepan.

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