Best-Ever Stone Ground Grits: Chef Carla Hall's Easy Recipe Ensures Creamy Grains (2024)

It’s easy to think of grits as a blank canvas for your taste buds to get creative. Whether you go the savory or sweet route, it’s hard to beat a bowl of velvety grits— especially the stone ground kind. They have a hearty texture, which makes them more filling than other varieties. While stone ground grits are tasty with just a pat of butter, using them for shrimp and grits turns the dry ingredient into a satisfying meal.The best part? We tapped a Southern superstar chef Carla Hall for easy tips that ensure a creamy batch of grits every time. Keep reading to learn more about stone ground grits and how to cook them to tender perfection!

The basics of grits

Grits are made by grinding dried yellow or white dent corn (a starchy, less sweet corn variety). Widely considered a Southern staple, grits are usually prepared by boiling them until a thick, porridge-like mixture forms. From there, the grits’ mild flavor can be enhanced through savory or sweet ingredients like sugar, butter, herbs or cheese. When shopping for dry grits in the breakfast aisle, you’ll encounter various kinds such as instant and quick-cooking. But the taste and texture of stone ground grits is why it’s a go-to for many home cooks.

How stone ground grits differ from regular grits

Stone ground grits like these from Charleston Favorites are minimally processed, giving them a more intense corn flavor and coarser texture than other varieties. While these grits need at least 40 minutes to cook, you’ll end up with a tender starch that’s full of sustenance. This is thanks to their nutritional content as ¼ cup of stone ground grits contain 3 grams each of appetite-satisfying fiber and protein. Cooking these grits is especially easy when you follow a few chef’s tips. (For more hearty grains, read our stories on eating raw oats and the benefits of bulgur wheat.)

Best-Ever Stone Ground Grits: Chef Carla Hall's Easy Recipe Ensures Creamy Grains (1)

Chef Carla Hall’s 3 secrets to extra creamy stone ground grits

When cooked properly, grits are velvety and perfect to enjoy for any meal. So, chef and TV host Carla Hall shares her three easy tips for consistently nailing smooth stone ground grits.

1. Use this ratio of liquid to grits.

The right amount of liquid prevents the grits from seizing or becoming soupy during the cooking process. Therefore, use a 1:4 ratio of dry grits to liquid so the ground corn swells and achieves a buttery consistency.

2. Incorporate dairy into the cooking liquid.

While the cooking liquid should mostly consist of water, milk or half-and-half add a touch of richness. For best results, combine ½ cup of either dairy with 3½ cups of water.

3. Allow the grits to come to a boil.

Adding the dry grits to boiling liquid could cause them to cook too quickly. Instead, stir the ground corn and cold liquid together in a pot and then bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let the grits cook for 40 to 45 minutes until they’re thick.

A delicious recipe that uses stone ground grits

Now that you have core tips for cooking stone ground grits, try Carla’s flavorful recipe for Shrimp and Grits with Fresh Fennel and Lemon. “The aromatic scent of fennel pairs beautifully with the sweetness found in both corn grits and fresh shrimp and the fennel tea is a quick fix instead of using stock,” she says. Since this dish cooks in under an hour, it’s a rich treat you can whip up for brunch, lunch or dinner any day of the week!

Shrimp and Grits with Fresh Fennel and Lemon

Best-Ever Stone Ground Grits: Chef Carla Hall's Easy Recipe Ensures Creamy Grains (2)


  • 3½ cups water
  • ½ cup whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup stone ground grits
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 fennel tea bag
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cored and finely diced
  • 3 Tbs. lightly chopped fennel fronds


  • Active: 50 mins
  • Total time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Grits: In pot, mix water, milk, grits, bay leaf and salt. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; whisk until grits are thick, creamy and have “popped,” 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in thyme and pepper. Season with salt to taste. Keep warm.
  2. Shrimp: Steep tea bag in ¾ cup hot water for at least 5 minutes. Discard bag; reserve tea. In bowl, toss shrimp in oil. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook shrimp, flipping once, until just opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Reduce heat to medium; melt butter. Add diced fennel. Cook, stirring, until softened and slightly golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes, paprika and lemon juice; cook, stirring, 1 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and ½ cup tea; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Return shrimp and any accumulated juices to skillet; toss just until combined and heated through. Add more fennel tea, if desired. Divide grits among plates; top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Continue reading for more delicious Southern recipes:

Chef’s Super-Easy Trick Cooks Deliciously Tender Collard Greens in Half the Time

Smokehouse Chef’s Easy Secret To Your Best-Ever Fried Bologna Sandwich

Move Over Fudge Sauce — Chocolate Gravy Offers a Taste of True Nostalgia and Comfort

Best-Ever Stone Ground Grits: Chef Carla Hall's Easy Recipe Ensures Creamy Grains (2024)
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