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 scarfed–no, let me amend that to “shoveled it in like there was no tomorrow”–last night and even though it feeds four, the two of us ate every morsel (and practically licked the pan clean)! Since I avoid glutens, I tweaked the recipe a little and thought that you might have other readers with my same problem, so may I share my tweaks?

    I eliminated the jalapeno since Rotel provides enough spiciness for me, I cut the broth back to 1 cup, and I substituted 1 cup of almond flour for the grits. All other ingredients, procedures, and cooking temp and time stayed the same. I used semi-thawed frozen shrimp (which made up for the liquid I cut back on). It came out perfectly, and I will be making this dish again in the future. Thank you!

  2. I wish to make for guests. It will be my first attempt at cooking shrimp. Can you specify how you precook the shrimp before adding to this recipe. I’m excited to make, it sounds delicious! Also, I wish to serve baby bok choy as a side. Do you have a recipe for making bok choy? I’m new to your site and enjoying it tremendously.

    1. Hi, Jen, Thank you so very much and thanks for your question. I don’t know where you’re located, but for the shrimp, 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. It doesn’t need a lot of cooking as shrimp cooks quickly and remember, it will cook again. Some readers have put raw shrimp into the casserole and they claim it has worked okay. I think that’s dangerous. As far as bok choy, I don’t have a recipe, but I find it stir-fried with garlic to be delicious. Thanks again and hope you and everyone enjoys!

  3. This sounds so good and is something I’ve wanted to try….but cannot have bell peppers. What would you recommend as a substitute? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Debra, Thanks so much for your question. You could substitute celery in place of the red bell pepper and use petite diced tomatoes in place of the tomatoes with green chiles. Hope that helps! Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    An absolutely delicious dish …I was the hit of the potluck with this recipe..plan to make it again…yummm

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! This was simple, delicious and felt like a Louisiana home made dish❣️ Y’all need to take a moment and get this on the menu

  6. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe. Not hard and has so much flavor. Served it to my foodie friends and they loved it! I will be making this again!

  7. This casserole was delicious although, next time, I will lay the shrimp on top after it’s baked. It made the shrimp rubbery and overdone.

    1. Hi, Jaci, Thanks so much and happy you enjoyed! Did you use large wild-caught gulf shrimp? It’s much more “resilient” than farmed shrimp which will always be rubbery–even when raw. Thanks again!

  8. 5 stars
    This is definitely a do again dinner at our house! Subbed out the jalapeño for a few good shakes of hot sauce, otherwise followed the recipe as shown. So good!!

  9. Please help! The recipe states that the shrimp should be cooked but there were no directions as to how/why the shrimp can’t be raw!

    1. Hi, Emmy, Thanks 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. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Daniella, Thanks so much for your question. I’d be careful using frozen shrimp. I’ve cleaned enough shrimp in my career to know there are often veins left behind along with shell fragments. You’d want to make sure the shrimp is clean. People have used raw, uncooked shrimp in the casserole with success, so perhaps that’s an option for you. Thanks again and let me know how it goes.

  10. 5 stars
    Do you cook the grits first before you add them to the pan with the other ingredients. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Robert, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, you’ll see in Steps #3 and #4: “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.” Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  11. If freezing this do you bake the casserole first then freeze or stop after assembling the casserole and freezer un-baked? TIA!

    1. Hi, Lindsey, Thanks so much for your question. I freeze casseroles that I plan to bake later assembled and unbaked. You could bake it, cool it, freeze it then reheat it, but the shrimp could get really tough and “shrimpy.” Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Francine, Thanks so much for your question. I haven’t tested this recipe with smoked Gouda but you probably could. Just expect a smokier flavor. Please let me know how it went. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    2. Francine, I use smoke Gouda in this recipe and it is a family favorite! The smokiness is a great addition to this amazing recipe! ❤️

  12. 5 stars
    I made the shrimp and grits with Gouda cheese dish! When I read the recipe and saw all the flavors going into the pan before adding the grits, I knew it was going to be great! It did not disappoint! I had to make a day ahead due to time constraints on the day of and it heated perfectly. Not liquidy nor is it dry! Just perfect! I will enjoy this dish frequently! Easy to make! Thank you, Chef Carol!

      1. I didn’t realize my gouda was all dried up so I’m using Manchego instead. Can’t wait to eat!