How to Make Southern Bacon Cheese Grits

Updated on December 14, 2017
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Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

Creamy, cheesy, loaded with bacon, and topped with cayenne and green onion, this recipe for bacon cheese grits is just flat out fabulous.
Creamy, cheesy, loaded with bacon, and topped with cayenne and green onion, this recipe for bacon cheese grits is just flat out fabulous.

These Are Almost Life-Changing

We adore grits—as long as they are made right—and this is exactly right. Stone-ground grits are slowly cooked with broth and milk for a perfectly creamy consistency. Onion, bacon, and cheese are classic flavors that marry for incredible results. My family demands this savory recipe for every holiday meal.

This recipe has come down in our family for five generations now, and once you taste it, you'll see why. It came down to me from my Great Aunt Bettye Bell who was a hoot. It's super easy to make. Just be patient cooking the grits, and the rest is foolproof.

I can't emphasize how important it is to find really good stone-ground grits. The instant or quick cooking varieties just aren't the same thing at all. Real grits are beautiful—they have a subtle corn flavor, slightly sweet and nutty. They go great with a variety of other flavors and can be treated just as you would polenta (they're basically the same thing).

Whether you pick yellow or white grits is up to you. White ones have a softer flavor, yellow ones are more 'corny' but they are both amazing. You won't go wrong either way.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 cup stone ground grits
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 cups shredded Sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • a dash of cayenne - for serving
  • minced green onion - for serving

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, add grits, chicken broth and milk. Whisk well and season with salt and pepper. Over medium heat, bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer about 20 minutes, or until grits have thickened and become creamy.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F°.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, saute the bacon until crispy over medium to medium-low heat. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain all but a teaspoon or two of the bacon grease.
  4. Turn heat under skillet to medium. Add garlic and onion and saute until fragrant and softened; about ten minutes.
  5. Add onion and garlic mixture to the grits and stir well. Add bacon and shredded cheese. Remove from heat, and stir until cheese is melted.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir them into the grits, mixing well. Transfer mixture to a casserole dish.
  7. Bake at 350F° for 45 minutes, until bubbly throughout and golden brown on top. Sprinkle lightly with a hint of cayenne and minced green onions, and serve.

Perfect, Creamy Grits

Start with perfect creamy Southern grits - made with both water and chicken broth, and cooked slow. Stone ground grits are also the best - nutty and delicious.
Start with perfect creamy Southern grits - made with both water and chicken broth, and cooked slow. Stone ground grits are also the best - nutty and delicious.

Crisp the Bacon

Cook the bacon until crisp, then remove it and set it aside. Drain off all but a teaspoon or so of the bacon grease, and return the pan to medium heat.
Cook the bacon until crisp, then remove it and set it aside. Drain off all but a teaspoon or so of the bacon grease, and return the pan to medium heat.

Saute the Onion and Garlic

Keeping just a teaspoon of the bacon grease, saute the onions and garlic until fragrant and softened, about ten minutes.
Keeping just a teaspoon of the bacon grease, saute the onions and garlic until fragrant and softened, about ten minutes.

Begin Assembling

Stir the sauteed onions and garlic into the cooked grits. This starts building the incredible flavors of the casserole.
Stir the sauteed onions and garlic into the cooked grits. This starts building the incredible flavors of the casserole.

Stir in Cheese

The best choice for this dish is cheddar, and preferably a sharp cheddar. We even go for extra sharp when we can find it - it's the perfect balance against the bacon and onion.
The best choice for this dish is cheddar, and preferably a sharp cheddar. We even go for extra sharp when we can find it - it's the perfect balance against the bacon and onion.

Stir in the Bacon

Add the cooked, crispy bacon to the cheesy grits and stir well.
Add the cooked, crispy bacon to the cheesy grits and stir well.

Beat Two Large Eggs

Beat two large eggs in a small bowl. Stir these into the creamy cheese grits off the heat. This gives the dish some rise - almost (but not quite) like a souffle.
Beat two large eggs in a small bowl. Stir these into the creamy cheese grits off the heat. This gives the dish some rise - almost (but not quite) like a souffle.

Transfer to a Casserole Dish

Transfer grits to a casserole dish. Bake at 350F. for 45 minutes or so, or until bubbly throughout and golden brown on top.
Transfer grits to a casserole dish. Bake at 350F. for 45 minutes or so, or until bubbly throughout and golden brown on top.

Edges are Set and Top is Golden

The bacon and cheese grits are done when the edges are set, the dish is bubbly throughout and the top is golden brown.
The bacon and cheese grits are done when the edges are set, the dish is bubbly throughout and the top is golden brown.

Sprinkle with Cayenne and Green Onion

Give the bacon and cheese grits a dash of cayenne pepper and sprinkle with green onions. They're ready!
Give the bacon and cheese grits a dash of cayenne pepper and sprinkle with green onions. They're ready!

How to Make Your Own Chicken Broth

How to Make Perfect, Creamy Southern Grits

© 2017 Jan Charles

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    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 5 weeks ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Jan, Although grits is a southern dish more than a northern one, I still love it. This looks like homey goodness to me. Thanks for sharing. I'm pinning it to keep it.

      Blessings to you.