Real Southern Cajun Shrimp & Grits | Culinary Craftiness
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Southern Cajun Shrimp & Grits

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cajun, Cheese, Grits, Louisiana, Old Bay, Shrimp, Southern
Servings: 6
Author: Melissa



  • 1 1/2 lbs uncooked, deveined shrimp med.-large
  • 3 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp dried Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter for sautéing

Cheesy Grits

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cubes Knorr chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 stick butter divided
  • 1 1/2 cups quick grits
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cup fiesta (or Mexican blend) shredded cheese

Ham Gravy

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp unbleached flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock (hot water & Knorr cube)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 dashes Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 2/3 cup Smithfield diced ham or tasso ham


  • Peel and devein the shrimp (under cold running water makes it easier). Pat dry with paper towels and spread out on a cookie sheet or larger shallow container. Liberally sprinkle with the Old Bay, paprika, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Toss to coat all over. Set aside while you make the grits.
    In a medium saucepan, bring water, Knorr cubes and 3 tablespoons of the butter to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium then add the grits, whisking briskly for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste, heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of butter, and cheese. Keep whisking for another couple of minutes. Don't be stingy with the butter and cream! Remove from heat and cover. Set aside. 
    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add minced garlic and sauté a minute. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink and tender. Don't overcook. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside in a covered bowl. 
    Reduce the heat to medium and add the 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter. Whisk or stir for a few minutes to make a nice light brown roux. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream. Whisk or stir for 2 minutes, then add the diced ham, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. 
    To serve, put two heaping spoonfuls of hot cheese grits on the bottom of a plate or bowl, top with a couple of tablespoons of ham gravy, and pile on the hot shrimp.