Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese

4.61 from 438 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 438 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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4.61 from 438 votes (390 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




239 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! Made it tonight. Left out the jalapeños because I don’t like too much spice…just used spicier tomatoes/green chiles. Will definitely add this to the dinner rotation!

    1. Hi, Andriana, Thanks so very much and glad you enjoyed. Also glad that you adjusted the recipe to your spice/heat tolerance. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Eleanor, Thanks for your question. Yes, you absolutely can if you prefer those. Just follow the package directions. Thanks again!

  2. I made this casserole for my son’s family recently and it was a great success! I did double the recipe and left the bacon out of inside but crumbled it on top. I loved it and so did they. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. I am always editing and so I made a couple changes. First, I did not cook the shrimp before adding to the dish because I was afraid they might end up being overcooked and they were perfect. Also, I added about two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning, just because I like the flavor. Very good recipe. Thanks!

      1. Hi, Kathy, Thanks so much for your question. You should be able to get it into a 13 x 9-inch pan. Make sure it’s deep and not shallow. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  4. Hi, Robyn, Thanks so much for your question. If you can possibly get it assembled so she can bake it, that would be ideal. If you bake it, the shrimp will have been cooked three times. I’ve always found that wild-caught shrimp hold up much better to being baked in the casserole the first time because you’re essentially just heating it through. It’s also very important to not overcook the shrimp. Some readers have put the shrimp in the casserole raw with good results but for food safety reasons, I don’t like to tell people to do that. Hope this helps and let me know how it goes.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve made this countless times and every time it comes out better than the last time. A few thoughts – while the frozen shrimp are defrosting I add the shells/tails to the vegetable broth for added flavor. I also add a few dashes of fish sauce to the vegetable broth. Also, I have used seafood stock and boiled the shells in that. After a full boil – reserve the broth and toss the shells. In addition to the spices on the recipe, I add some Old Bay seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire. Even as I am typing this I am enjoying this fabulous meal. Add Red Lobster biscuits, a salad and wine for an exceptionally easy meal!

      1. Hi, Carol, Thanks so very much!!! Love that you keep making this recipe your own. Your tweaks sound amazing!!! Thanks again!!

  5. 4 stars
    I’d love to make this for a friend so she can have it when she gets home from from a hospital stay. I am looking to have it cooked beforehand but will it reheat well? Will be awaiting your answer

  6. I was really excited about this recipe. We love shrimp and grits. I hate to complain or be really critical but I am beyond disappointed. First. I barely cooked the shrimp so it would be raw in the middle before adding to the grits. They were tough and over cooked. ( I used Florida key west fresh) the grits were grainy. Perhaps I was hoping for too much but if you want shrimp and grits go with a traditional recipe.

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback and so sorry this didn’t work for you. Hard to say what went wrong; this recipe has over 200 4 and 5-star ratings. You didn’t say anything about the flavor so am guessing that was okay? Did you use quick-cooking grits and not stone-ground?

  7. 5 stars
    I have made this several times now. The first time I made it for my college age son and I and I told him he could take some of the leftovers and hit took all but maybe four bites. My husband came home to have just enough to know he missed out. I made it again for us and our other 13 yr old the next day! They loved it! Making again for Mother’s Day brunch tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. My 91-year-old very southern mother-in-law lives with us. I made this tonight for dinner as she is super fond of grits. We all really liked it. Love the spice. Having never made grits before I am curious as to how thick this should be when done. Ours was soupy enough that I served it in bowls. Did I goof? Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hi, Dee Ann, Thanks so very much for your feedback. I know some people have had that problem. It shouldn’t be stiff but should still be able to be spooned up easily. I compared my recipe to a Southern Living recipe and theirs calls for 4 cups of liquid to 1 cup of grits while mine is 2 cups of liquid to 2/3 cup grits. The diced tomatoes with green chiles will add a small amount. I will retest this recipe very soon and make adjustments if necessary. Thanks again and glad you enjoyed the flavor!

    2. 5 stars
      My sister-in-law made this when my husband was at her house without me. He absolutely raved about it so, of course, I asked for the recipe. We follow it exactly but use raw shrimp and I use long-cooking stone-ground grits. I simply keep an eye on it during the 20 minutes it needs to cook and add liquid as needed. It not only comes out perfect but she said it freezes well. On a recent fishing trip, my husband got the opportunity to confirm that. It doesn’t last long enough in our home to make it to the freezer. Love it!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this recipe as written. I failed to notice that the amount of grits had been changed but, while I was making mine I decided that it was a little too soupy so I added some more grits. This actually ended up matching the recipe perfectly. It was delicious. You can’t beat shrimp and grits and Gouda cheese all I can say is Yum!

  10. So I am sorry I posted this in reviews first 🙄
    I am wondering if I need to thaw the shrimp before I add to grits?? I am nervous about overcooking shrimp so I may just use raw, I’m having a hard time finding big enough cooked shrimp with the tail already off. Still wondering if it should be thawed or can go in frozen. My guess is thawed.

    1. Hi, Laurie, Thanks so much for your question. Definitely don’t use “store-bought cooked shrimp” as it’s probably farm-raised and it’s going to be tough. Cook the shrimp yourself. Just get a small saucepan of salted water boiling, add the shrimp and they’ll pretty much cook in 30 seconds. Drain and cool under cold tap water. I believe someone put the shrimp in raw and said it was fine. I always use wild-caught American shrimp and never had a problem with tough shrimp. Hope that helps!

      1. Ah that’s makes more sense, you are just saying to cook it before hand! Not buy cooked shrimp 🥴!
        I am making this tomorrow, so I appreciate the response.
        Thanks so much, have great day!