Shortcut Shrimp and Grits If you love Shrimp and Grits but don't have time to wait for a roux to cook, you will love my Shortcut Shrimp and Grits!

Shortcut Shrimp and Grits

Shortcut Shrimp and Grits has gouda cheese stirred into quick yellow grits-never instant grits. No roux in this recipe and you’ll have dinner on the table in a snap.

While this recipe may not be “low-calorie”, it is certainly MUCH lower in calories and fat than any traditional shrimp and grits recipe that is laden with cheese, sausage or bacon, and heavy cream.

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Shortcut Shrimp and Grits Pinterest Pin

Heading to the beach but like to cook in the condo? Having a staycation and want to feel like you are at the beach but not spend too much time in the kitchen? My shortcut recipe is just the ticket!

What’s the story behind this recipe?

There is a story behind every shrimp and grits recipe. There are so many ingredients that can be added, omitted, or swapped for a similar one. For example green onions or white onion; fresh tomato or canned tomato;  cream or no cream; bacon or sausage; green pepper or jalapeno; Worcestershire or hot sauce; dark roux or just flour.

Grits and Gouda logo

My shrimp and grits story includes the explanation for the name of my blog, Grits and Gouda. I named my food blog this because I am Southern with a pinch of gourmet…and so are my recipes, thus the name Grits (Southern) and Gouda (gourmet cheese).

The shortcuts:

  • No roux
  • Quick (not instant) grits

This recipe is a basic shrimp and grits recipe (except for Gouda cheese in the grits) with a shortcut-no roux. I use tomato paste with no tomatoes for a simple and less chunky sauce, no cream so it highlights the bright red color of the sauce, and believe it or not, cornstarch to thicken it rather than flour or a roux. If you prefer a creamier sauce just stir in 1/4 cup whipping cream.

Close up view of Shortcut Shrimp and Grits in a cast iron skillet

I know, that seems like a shrimp and grits transgression, but flour would give it a matte finish rather than the high gloss finish achieved with cornstarch and I am all about SHORTCUTS and cornstarch thickens the sauce in seconds rather than a tedious roux.

Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love a roux thickened, cream-infused shrimp and grits recipe and I will make it again soon and start with cooking Conecuh sausage and stirring in cream to finish it.

Shrimp and Gouda Grits in cast iron skillets

Remember, this is a shortcut recipe so I also used 5 minute regular yellow grits. White grits are fine but I love the contrast of the yellow against the reddish shrimp mixture. I also pretend it’s cheesier if it’s more yellow because you know we eat with our eyes, too.

Grits: Stone ground vs Quick-never Instant

I prefer the slightly chewy texture of stone ground grits (see below) and I’m partial to Alabama made McEwen & Sons. But for this shortcut recipe, I used the Dixie Lily Yellow corn grits. I also have Bob’s Red Mill corn grits in my pantry. They both cook in about 5 minutes.

My least favorite grits (and I actually refuse to eat) are the “instant” grits that come in individual breakfast packets. They have been precooked and dehydrated so you can just add water. No thanks. I’d rather make mine the night before and stir in a little extra milk this next morning to loosen them up.

regular and stone ground grits spilled out onto a cutting board

What’s a grit? Joe Pesci’s funny line from My Cousin Vinny is spot on because so many non-Southerners (and a few Southerners) do not know what grits are made from or how they are made. Not all grits are made from corn. This may surprise you but I recently saw rice grits on a restaurant menu. I couldn’t decide if I should be offended as a Southerner because don’t we “own” that word? It turns out rice that has been broken or fragmented in the milling process can also claim the name “grits”. But, any true Southerner knows the “true grits” are made from corn.

For a complete breakdown of the different kinds of corn grits, here’s a link from my friends over at Southern Living.

Shrimp and Gouda grits in cast iron skillets on a wooden table

I’d love to hear from you and see pictures of your version of Shrimp and Grits or if you make my shortcut recipe of Shrimp and Gouda Grits. If you don’t have Gouda cheese, then Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere and Asiago cheese are flavorful substitutes.

Other Shortcut Recipes:

Nectarine Cinnamon-Sugar Cobbler

Shortcut Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Shortcut Tomato and Bread Soup

Sweet Heat Shortcut Pickles and Vidalia Onions

Be sure to follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter and don’t leave before you send me your email address here so you don’t miss a single post on my Southern shortcut recipes!

Shortcut Shrimp and Grits
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
This is a shortcut recipe for shrimp and grits thickened with cornstarch instead of a roux and using quick-cooking grits. There are many options to add or change like sprinkling with green onions, using stone-ground grits that take at least 25 minutes to cook, and cooking the vegetables in Andouille or smoked sausage drippings and adding the sausage.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creole, grits, low country, one dish, shrimp, southern
Servings: 4 servings
  • 1 32-oz carton chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup quick-cooking yellow grits cooks in 5 minutes but not instant grits
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 4 oz shredded Gouda or Parmesan cheese Cheddar, Asiago
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion about 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined with tails left on
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  1. Measure out 3 cups of the broth in a 3-quart saucepan and add the milk and salt; bring it to a boil over medium-high heat stirring often. When it comes to a boil whisk in the grits. Whisk with one hand while slowly pouring the grits in with the other. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter, and cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
  2. While broth mixture is coming to a boil, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil a large skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly over medium-high heat, 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Add the shrimp and cook 1 minute or just until shrimp turns pink and the end curls toward the tail. Remove the shrimp with tongs and set aside to prevent overcooking.
  3. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth and put in a very small bowl. Add the remaining chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to the skillet; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until it melts.

  4. Stir together cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of chicken broth set aside. Stir it into the sauce mixture and stir quickly over medium heat. It should thicken in about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp back to the sauce mixture.
  5. Spoon the cheese grits onto plates or shallow bowls.I served them in small cast iron skillets. If the grits have thickened up too much, stir in a little milk to loosen. Spoon the shrimp mixture over the grits and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Recipe Notes

Note: Be sure to remove the shrimp tails before eating. 

Other cheese options include Cheddar, Asiago, and Gryure.

1/2 cup of whipping cream can be added with the remaining chicken broth if you prefer a creamy sauce.

Author: gritsandgouda

Hi! I’m Kathleen. I’m a food stylist, recipe developer, cookbook author, and event planner loving life in a charming town called Gardendale, Alabama, with my husband and two teenage children. I love to cook and laugh…not necessarily in that order.

2 thoughts

  1. Love shrimp and grits with smoked gouda. My shortcut is sauteed shrimp in butter with cajun seasoning or a pinch of White Trash shrimp boil. Look forward to trying this version though

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