Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese

4.61 from 436 votes
1 hour 5 minutes
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Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese is the South’s most perfect comfort food.  Here, it’s made into an easy-to-make and make-ahead casserole!

“Oh, my word! I made this–first time cooking grits. It is literally out of this world! Reheats well also. Will make again and again!”

Photo of Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese in white baking dish with some of the shrimp being scooped up with wooden spoon.

Why are shrimp a grits a thing?

A classic dish in Southern coastal cuisine is shrimp and grits, which features a creamy ground corn porridge that resembles polenta.

Although the true birthplace of shrimp and grits is thought to be Charleston, South Carolina, it has since gained widespread popularity. This dish was even declared the official state food of South Carolina in 1976. Although initially intended as a breakfast dish, it has evolved to become a favorite option for lunch, brunch, and dinner across the Southern United States.

Before moving to the South 25 years ago, I never had grits, nor shrimp and grits. Frankly, grits scared me because I thought them to be bland and boring.

I finally tried them some years back when my husband and I stayed at an elegant bed-and-breakfast in Mississippi while taking the long way home from New Orleans. Breakfast was plated and served to all the guests and there they were in front of me: Grits.

Not boring at all, but creamy and delicious cheese grits.

After that day and after enjoying shrimp and grits at numerous restaurants if they’re on the menu, I’m now somewhat of a fanatic.

Here’s that classic combination in casserole form. It’s inspired by a casserole a dear friend makes. It’s also one of my most popular recipes on Pinterest.

Photo of grits in glass jar on white marble background.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Scallions
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Diced canned tomatoes with green chiles
  • Chicken Broth
  • Quick-Cooking Grits (See note above if using stone-ground grits)
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Wild-Caught Shrimp
  • Bacon
  • An Egg
  • Gouda Cheese

Which grits to use for a shrimp and grits casserole:

For this recipe, use the type of grits you’re most comfortable with.

  • If using stone-ground grits, cook them separately first, then add the vegetable combination and the remaining ingredients.
  • Quick-cooking grits (not instant) also work in a casserole such as this because of the other textures.
  • I don’t recommend instant for this dish.  They cook too fast and can turn mushy quickly.
Photo of fresh, wild-caught shrimp on blue-rimmed plate ready to be cooked.

Type of shrimp to use:

Something else I’m a fanatic about is always using wild-caught American shrimp.  (Now…farmed and imported shrimp is something to be afraid of!)  I do not eat shrimp nor will I prepare shrimp for my clients unless it’s wild-caught.

Nearly all commercial shrimp sold is individually quick-frozen.  The shrimp sold in the seafood display case likely has been thawed.  If purchasing thawed shrimp, be sure to use it quickly and don’t refreeze it.

Photo of Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese in white baking dish on white wood background before being served.

How to cook shrimp for a casserole:

Be sure to use WILD-CAUGHT U. S. gulf shrimp if at all possible. Wild-caught shrimp is going to be much more resilient and will hold up to being heated through again in the casserole. Anything farmed and imported is going to be rubbery and tough.

When you cook the shrimp, DO NOT boil it. Get a saucepan full of water boiling, salt it generously, turn the heat off, add the shrimp, give it a stir and let it just turn pink. It will also curl. Transfer to a colander and run cold tap water over it to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly. Your shrimp will be ready to go.

Shrimp doesn’t need to be boiled as it cooks quickly and remember, it will cook again in the shrimp and grits casserole.

Time-Saving Tip:

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of cooking and crumbling bacon, use “recipe ready” cooked and crumbled bacon available in the salad dressing area of the grocery store.

Thank you, hope you enjoy and please share this From A Chef’s Kitchen reader favorite!

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Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese

4.61 from 436 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese is the South's most perfect comfort food made into an easy to make and make-ahead casserole!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Fish and Seafood
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 474 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons butter - plus more for baking dish
  • 1 bunch scallions - white and light-green part only, chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper - chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper - seeded if desired, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 can (10-ounce) diced tomatoes with green chiles - drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking grits - not instant
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 1 pound large shrimp - 16-20 count, peeled, deveined and cooked
  • 2 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
  • 1 large egg - beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Gouda cheese - divided

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 x 8 baking dish or another similar-sized baking dish. Set aside.
  • Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the scallion, red bell pepper and jalapeño pepper. Reduce heat to medium, cook 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Stir in garlic, diced tomatoes with chiles and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Slowly stir in grits.
  • Stir continuously until mixture returns to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Stir in shrimp, bacon, egg and 1 cup cheese. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and bubbling. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

VIDEO

Notes

MAKE AHEAD: Can be assembled 24 hours in advance. Baking time may be longer if the casserole is super cold from the refrigerator.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cool, wrap securely and freeze. Thaw at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. Increase baking time if casserole is super cold.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 275mg | Sodium: 1706mg | Potassium: 450mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1442IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 611mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




229 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this for a family ski trip and it was a hit! I did make it ahead of time and freeze it. This made it easier to transport. Most of our family are pescatarians, so instead of chicken broth I used vegetable broth. I did not use bacon but I had some plant based sausage so I used that instead. It was delicious and I’ve already been asked to bring it to our next family gathering. Thank you for such a great recipe!

    1. Hi, Julie, Thanks so much and so happy everyone enjoyed and it’s now a family favorite! Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment.

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times for my family….and after the first time, they request it a LOT! It is a wonderful, easy, delicious recipe and we thank you for sharing it!

    1. Hi, Steve and Deb, Thanks so very much and so happy your family loves this recipe!! Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment and rate.

    1. Hi, Patricia, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, Gruyere should work as would a sharp white cheddar. Some people people have used Monterey jack or pepperjack. Thanks again, hope you enjoy and let me know how it goes.

  3. 5 stars
    OMG! Made this recipe with Adulh stone ground grits. It was the first time I made grits from scratch, it was delicious! Definitely will make this again!

    1. Hi, Bonny, Thanks so much and happy you enjoyed!! I’ll have to look those grits up. Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment.

    1. Hi, Beth, Thanks so very much and so happy you love this recipe! I appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment, too. Thanks again!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this last night to add to our Italian Christmas Eve dinner and it was a hit! So easy to make and turned out AMAZING! Thank you, will now be a staple in our family.

    1. Hi, Patty, Thanks so very much and so happy you all enjoyed!! It’s an honor to be a part of your family celebration and thank you for taking the time to come back and comment. Merry Christmas!

  5. If I freeze this casserole, I would follow all directions except for baking, correct? By doubling the recipe I would put it in a larger casserole dish, correct. And lastly, just confirming that this dish freezes well. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi, Geri, Thanks so much for your question. In one of the comments, someone mentioned they doubled all the ingredients and the casserole was on the “loose” side. I would suggest using three cups broth as opposed to four if doubling (recipe calls for two cups) and check the consistency. Definitely put it in a large, appropriately-sized baking dish and add some baking time because of the larger baking dish. Cool it down completely then wrap securely. Thaw in the refrigerator then bake. Be sure to not overcook the shrimp; use wild-caught which is going to be much more resilient. Thanks so much and let me know how it goes.

  6. 5 stars
    This is a fabulous recipe! I didn’t have jalapeños, so I subbed some green chiles. I would definitely make this for company.

      1. The flavors are great but my dish didn’t turn out creamy. What should the consistency of this dish truly be and how can I make it creamy?

      2. Hi, Star, Thanks so much for your question. If you want it “creamier,” you can use stone-ground grits and use half broth (or water) and half milk, then add cream and butter at the end. Sounds like you enjoyed overall, though!

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious dish, I made it last night for company and doubled the recipe (you conversion measurements were helpful) and all loved it. I have to say it turned out a little more loose than I expected but I served it in bowls and all worked out. Also, I did not have quick cooking grits, so your tips on that were great! It will be in our rotation for special meals! Thanks, Lisa

    1. Hi, Lisa, Thanks so much and so happy everyone enjoyed! Some people report it being “loose” while others don’t and honestly, I have yet to find the common denominator. Thanks again!