Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese

4.61 from 437 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 437 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




235 Comments

  1. Made this recently and not sure what I did wrong but it was very soupy, never thickened up. Flavor was wonderful though.

    1. Hi, Suzanne, Thanks so much for your feedback. Some people have reported that while others have not; I still have yet to find out why that happens. Glad it tasted good, though!

  2. Just getting ready to make this and wondered if I could add some smoked sausage? It sounds delicious!

    1. Hi, Tammy, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, I don’t see why not. However, I would cut the sausage into quarters and not use more than the amount of shrimp. A little dab will do ya. Otherwise, the smoked sausage could overpower the shrimp. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!!

  3. 5 stars
    Recipe was on spot! Delicious. I always use NC wild-caught shrimp from Diamond Shoal Shrimp Co. Delivered to my door.

    1. Hi, Patrice! Thanks so very much and so happy you enjoyed! Yes, love getting wild-caught shrimp shipped direct. I’ve been using Biloxi Shrimp lately and it has been very good. Thanks again so much!!

  4. I’m planning to use this as a main course dish with only a large salad. Will the “serving size” indicated work for this purpose?

    1. Hi, Pat, Thanks so much for your question. This recipe feeds four people with average appetites using 1/4 pound of shrimp per person. You could always add another 1/4 to 1/3 pound or so of shrimp to the entire dish. Any more than that would be out of proportion to the grits. A large salad on the side sounds perfect! Hope that helps and hope everyone enjoys!

  5. This was fabulous. I made it exactly as written and wouldn’t change a thing and it was absolutely delicious with a sunny side up egg on top using the leftover for breakfast this morning.

    1. Hi, Diane, Thanks so much and so happy you enjoyed! Love love love the idea of an egg on top for leftovers! I’m going to try that! Thanks again!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was amazing. I seasoned my shrimp with Old Bay and Cajun seasoning and lightly sauted them just until a slight color change. They finished cooking perfectly in the oven. Served this with hushpuppies. My son said that these were the best shrimp and grits he had ever eaten, I have to agree! We live on the gulf coast of FL. so we have had lots of shrimp and grits to compare with. Thank you for this delicious recipe.

  7. Hey, Carol so I am not a big fan of quick-cooking grits or instant grits being a Southerner, can I use stone ground grits ?

    1. Hi, Kathy, Thanks for your question and I get it. Some people don’t want to go to the trouble but yes, you absolutely can! Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  8. 5 stars
    Scrumptious! This is so delicious. I put Creole seasoning on the shrimp for an extra kick. Also, smoked gouda instead of just gouda. It was quite tasty! This is definitely one that I will make again.

  9. 5 stars
    It took me about an hour to put this all together both times, but it’s really good. I subbed half pepper Jack cheese to make it spicier.

  10. This dish sounds amazing! But I am wondering about the shrimp. I worry that adding pre-cooked shrimp and then putting into an oven for 30ish minutes will get rubbery. Have you tried adding raw or partially cooked shrimp?

    1. Hi, Joe, Thanks so much for your question. Other readers have done that and the results were fine. I can’t tell you to put raw shrimp into a casserole for food safety reasons, just like you wouldn’t put raw chicken into a casserole because you want to make sure it’s all cooked properly to begin with. Definitely do not use pre-cooked shrimp. If you use GOOD wild-caught shrimp and don’t overcook the shrimp in the first place, you should be okay. We just finished some New Year’s Eve leftovers that included shrimp and it reheated really well. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  11. Made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was delicious. Even my son in law loved it. Might have it again for New Year’s Eve. 😊

    1. Hi, Suzie, Thanks so much for your question. I like to just dunk them into seasoned boiling water because I feel they cook more evenly that way. You could also roast the shrimp as shown in my Shrimp Cocktail Louis recipe which would cook more evenly. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Jen, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, you can, but keep in mind the texture may be different. They’re both made from corn but are from different types of corn. Polenta will have a flakier, coarser grind than grits for a slightly chewier texture. Grits will usually end up being finer and smoother. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!!

  12. Very good but I will make it again with a few changes. I felt it needed more grits for the recipe’s amount of veggies and shrimp. I plan to double the grits next time and adjust the amount of liquid. Otherwise, delicious!

    1. Hi, Missy, Thanks so very much and so happy you enjoyed! Yes, you can definitely make some modifications that suit your preferences. Thanks again so much and glad you enjoyed!