Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese

4.62 from 439 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

4.62 from 439 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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4.62 from 439 votes (390 ratings without comment)

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245 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Easy and absolutely delicious. Shrimp and grits is one of my favorite meals. When traveling, I will always order. I am a little bit of a shrimp and grits snob. This recipe is fabulous!

    1. Hi, Melissa, Thanks so very much and so happy you love this recipe! I’m exactly like you…if shrimp and grits are on the menu, I don’t need to consider having anything else. Thanks again and appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment and rate.

  2. This sounds delicious; however, I am not fond of Gouda. Is there another type of cheese that you feel would be a tasty substitute? Thank you!

    1. Hi, Pam, Thanks for your question. You could substitute Monterey Jack which is not overpowering and melts nicely. White cheddar would also work but can be on the strong side. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  3. Where is the notation for stone ground grits? No southerner worth their **ahem grits** uses quick cooking–at least all the good chefs from here (New Orleans) to the Carolina’s. Marsh Hen Mill anyone? LOVE the unicorn grits! And make a stock from the shrimp! I’ve cooked grits in whey (even goat milk) leftover from making ricotta (ish).

    1. Hi, Toni, I’ve got this post on my update list and will add the information when I get it tested. For now, it appeals to a lot of people who are not great chefs outside of New Orleans to the Carolinas. Sounds like you’ve really got some cooking chops. Let me know when you’ve started your food blog so I can follow along. Thanks so much!

    2. Some of us can’t find your grits in stores in our area! So I have to use the quick! Maybe just be nice and thankful for the recipe.

      1. Thanks so much, Kathy! Yes, some areas of the country aren’t into grits. Even here in Memphis, most Krogers only carry the quick or instant. A lot of times, I just order them off Amazon. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Kerry, Thanks for your question. Yes, please see steps #2, #3 and #4. You’ll cook the scallions, bell pepper and jalapeno. Then, add garlic, diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Then, add the grits and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Let cool. Hope you enjoy!

      1. In step 3, the grits I’m suppose to stir in. Should they already be cooked?

      2. Hi, Kerry, No, you will be cooking them when you add them to the chicken broth. Thanks again and hope this is clearer now.