Creamy Roasted Garlic Cheese Grits

A bowl of cheese grits.

Looking for a good corn grits recipe? These creamy Southern grits that are rich and flavorful. You’ll love them for breakfast or as a side dish for dinner. Make my classic cheesy garlic grits soon and expect 2 thumbs up!

You know I’m from the South, right?  I grew up on all manner of Southern fare.  Ham, from Smithfield.  Oysters and blue crabs, from the Chesapeake Bay.  Pulled pork sandwiches made by Mom or as a treat from Pierce’s Barbecue.  Pork puddin’ and scrapple (from the leftover parts of the pig).  And grits. Southern grits are ubiquitous from Louisiana to Virginia.  They come standard with every breakfast in every diner.  Like hash browns or whole wheat toast everywhere else. 

stone ground grits.

My husband had never tried garlic cheese grits until he met me.  He’s from Minnesota, after all.  Land of 10,000 Lakes and Tater Tot Hot Dish.  Happily, though, he’s a pretty adventurous eater and I knew he’d love this corn grits recipe. 

rinsing the corn grits before cooking them.

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Ingredients For Garlic Cheese Grits

  • Stone Ground White or Yellow Corn Grits
  • Head of Garlic (Roasted)
  • Chicken Stock from Rotisserie Chicken
  • Half and Half
  • Fresh Thyme Sprits
  • Fontina Cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hot Sauce

You can probably tell from the list of ingredients that these grits are no wall-flower. They’re rich, creamy and oozy. The head of roasted garlic adds a sweet, nutty flavor and two types of cheeses make this more akin to a decadent macaroni and cheese than a simple corn grits recipe.

adding roasted garlic to the grits along with half and half.

Take It Low & Slow For The Best Corn Grits Recipe

The key to achieving that lush, smooth consistency is taking your time. You can’t rush it. Just like that scene in  My Cousin Vinny, where the guy on the stand admits that he’d made a mistake on the amount of time the robbers had been inside the convenience store because he’d been making a pot of grits and they take 20 minutes to cook — because no self-respecting’ Southerner uses instant grits.

There’s no such thing as “al dente” grits

Once the grits come to a boil, reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover and let them cook (stirring fairly regularly) for 30 to 35 minutes.  The reason for the longer cooking time, is that we’re using more liquid than normal and you want it to fully absorb into the grits, so that they’re soft and smooth.  FYI – grits are NEVER served al dente — anyone who tells you that’s a “thing” is a moron… I’m sorry, but it’s true.

two types of cheese for the grits.

Anyhoo, these grits are something special.  Something to behold.  They are the south’s version of risotto.  Not thick and goopy.  Not lumpy or bland. Creamy and luscious. I add a few drops of hot sauce to the pot while they’re still on the stovetop, because hot sauce has vinegar AND heat — and I think that’s a good thing when you’ve got a side dish as rich as this one.

These Southern grits pool across the plate like a flow of molten lava. It’s decadent, but hey – we don’t eat this every day.  But by God, I could!

I’m telling you, when you’re sick of potatoes, or rice or pasta – zig when the others zag.  Make some grits and don’t forget the hot sauce!

What To Serve With Southern Grits

Well, they’re not just for breakfast – although they’re fabulous with a fried egg sitting proudly atop!  You can eat grits with virtually anything you would have potatoes or noodles with.

Try Garlic Cheese Grits with:

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A bowl of cheese grits with hot sauce.
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4.67 from 12 votes

Creamy Roasted Garlic Cheese Grits

Southern grits are a staple south of the Mason Dixon line and they’re delicious.  Garlic cheese grits are even better.  This corn grits recipe takes a little longer than plain corn grits, to allow the additional liquids to absorb. Garnish with additional cheese and hot sauce.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cheese, garlic, grits
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6


  • 1 cup white or yellow stone ground grits
  • 4 cups chicken stock from rotisserie chicken or low-sodium broth
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup fontina shredded
  • 1 cup cheddar shredded
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 head garlic
  • 5-6 dashes hot sauce or to taste

optional garnish

  • green onions
  • additional cheese
  • hot sauce


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the head of garlic crosswise at the pointy end, trimming about 1/4-1/2 inch so that the interior of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic and wrap it in aluminum foil. Bake for 40-50 minutes until soft. Let cool.
  • Rinse the grits with cool water, stirring to separate any loose chaff and hulls. Hold you hand on the edge of the bowl to drain the water and loose particles, but hold the grits in the bowl.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring  chicken broth and thyme to a boil. Whisk in the grits and once the liquid returns to a boil,  reduce heat to low, cover and stir frequently 30-35 minutes, until thick and creamy. (Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as the grits cook, so they don’t stick.
  • While the grits cook, peel apart the garlic. Holding a clove of garlic from the bottom, squeeze out the roasted garlic onto a cutting board. Repeat for each clove. Chop the cloves roughly, then use the side of the knife to smear the garlic into a paste. Add the paste to the grits and whisk in until thoroughly combined.
  • Add half and half, fontina, cheddar, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Stir until cheese is melted. At this point, you can hold the grits covered in a pot until you’re ready to eat them (they will continue to thicken as they cool). Rewarm them to serve.


If you have leftovers, save them, they will reheat beautifully in the microwave with a pat of butter.


Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 564mg | Potassium: 229mg | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 2.3mg | Calcium: 288mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Pin Creamy Roasted Garlic Cheese Grits” For Later!

The best corn grits recipe out there, these Southern grits are super creamy and lush. You'll want these garlic cheese grits with more than just eggs. #garliccheesegrits #cheesegritsrecipe

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  1. 5 stars
    I am excited to try this ! Just received my white corn grits by Palmetto from Amazon. I am from Chicago, was in Destin , Florida 2 weeks ago and had a Scallop, bacon and GRITS entree that was AMAZING, but remind folks that not all grits are create equal, find the good stuff !

    1. Oh, you’re in for a treat! You’re right about finding good grits… Let me know how you like them!!!

  2. I’d never had grits before moving to Atlanta a few years ago and now I’m hooked and am on mission to try all sorts of different versions. I’ll give your’s a whirl and let you know how it turns out.

    1. Please let me know how you like them, Katherine!

  3. 5 stars
    It has only been fairly recently that I worked out what grits are… They are certainly not a thing on this side of the Atlantic, we get polenta or what you guys call cornmeal, grits seem to be pretty much the same although the maize kernels are treat and dried before being ground.

    Either way this sounds delicious, I love roasting garlic and I am sure this would work wonderfully with polenta.

  4. You can never find grits in Australia, so as a result I’ve never tried them. But, I have to tell you, if I ever do, this sounds like the most DELICIOUS recipe. Roasted garlic is such an incredible flavour that I imagine this would take amazing.

    1. I didn’t realize how very “regional” grits are. I know you’d love them, so on your next round of travel in the Southeast U.S., be sure to seek them out!

  5. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine says:

    5 stars
    I’ve actually never had grits– but I am loving all the flavors you put in here! The garlic– OMG!

  6. 5 stars
    This looks amazing! I love grits!

  7. 5 stars
    Me too, I’ve never tried grits but this looks so delicious, especially with all that garlic (one of my favourite ingredients). Would love to try it, and why not adding some shrimps. Sounds delicious!

  8. Wow I never had the chance to taste grits! Now I am very curious to try, it looks utterly delicious 🙂

  9. I never had savory grits anytime. I am definitely trying this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  10. 5 stars
    These look sensational. I didn’t know that grits could be so versatile. Your photos show off this recipe beautifully as well.

  11. Haha – I’m originally from Pittsburgh, so not quite as far north as your husband, but I also am a stranger to grits! These do look extremely tasty, though. I suppose you had me at roasted garlic! And I love the idea of adding shrimp. I just may need to expand my horizons here… 🙂

    1. If he likes them, I know you will! Just don’t get the instant grits (blech!)

  12. Michelle | The Last Food Blog says:

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried grits, it’s not something you see here in the UK but my word, they look good! I’m intrigued!

    1. They don’t have grits in the UK? Huh. Well, next time you’re stateside – you must try some!

  13. 5 stars
    We love our grits in your mid-west house. Going to take your recipe and add a few shrimp.