Skip to Content

How to thicken grits – The easiest way to do it

Grits are a classic Southern food that can be eaten with almost any meal. Many people enjoy eating grits but often have problems with how to thicken grits on their own. Continue reading as we have loads of ideas and methods you could use to thicken your grits.

You can use a variety of methods in thickening grits. The most common are:

  • Cooking with milk
  • Adding baking soda or vinegar
  • Increasing the cooking time
  • Adding cornstarch
  • Using oatmeal
  • Making your own mixers 

You can also use Irish Moss or Dried Porcini mushrooms in water for a flavorful natural thickener. Add vegetable stock to make a paste-like consistency or use cream cheese as an alternative to either Irish moss or dried porcinis.

Grits can be thickened by the addition of flour, and sugar, or by cooking in butter or oil. You can also add a thickening agent like cornstarch directly to the cooking water to make the grits thick and smooth. For you to get a perfect consistency for your grits dish, the right quantity of cornstarch or flour mixture must be added.

What Are Grits?

What Are Grits

The term grits come from the Spanish word for ground or coarse grains ground up and boiled with water. It was originally a term used for any meal made from wheat, corn (maize), or other cereal grains.

It’s basically just ground-up cereal grains that have been boiled and then dried. Both hominy and corn grits are two different types of grits, though they have similar consistencies. Grits are wonderful when you’re looking for a thick texture in your porridge or breakfast dish, as you can use it in casseroles or other baked dishes to give them that added texture.

Grits are thickened with a milk or cream base. They can be served as a breakfast staple throughout the States, but they also make for a great hot lunch or dinner. It has been enjoyed across Latin America and the Caribbean for hundreds of years as a main dish or side dish. Still, today they remain a big part of many people’s diets in these regions because of their unique flavor and texture.

How to thicken grits – The easiest way

Cook over medium-low heat

Place grits in a saucepan, cover with a lid, and cook over low heat for 20–25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Drain off any remaining liquid.

Adding An Egg

This thickens the mixture without changing the taste and texture of the dish. Add 1 egg per cup of grits to be thickened. Cooking time may vary depending on your preference for hardness.

This is a great way to add a thicker consistency to your grits without adding extra water or milk. By cooking your grits with 1 – 2 eggs, you will be surprised at the difference an egg can make in the texture of your finished dish.

Strain out excess water

When cooking grits (unprocessed cornmeal), the thickening action of the cereal is brought out by adding water. But if you have added too much water, or if the grits are old and dried out, they just won’t thicken properly. That’s where the strain comes in.

 Use less water

The best way to thicken your grits is to use less water. Start by covering the grits with three times as much liquid as the number of uncooked grits (for example, if there are 10 cups of uncooked grits, use 30 cups of water). Then stir thoroughly to prevent any lumps from forming.

Allow the Grits to Set up

After you have cooked the grits, pour them into a bowl and allow them to cool. Cover it with a lid or plate and put it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. After setting, the thickening will be easier because it can occur while cooling down, which means less stirring is needed and less mess on your stovetop.

No products found.

How To Cook Grits

Method 1

To cook grits:

  1. Add salt and hot water to a heavy bottom pot.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for about 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. 

Method 2

You can also prepare it by soaking the grits overnight in water. After they’ve been soaked, drain them and add fresh water to cover them by two inches. Allow it to boil before you reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until it is tender enough to mash easily with a fork. Once the grits are done, serve them immediately. 

Method 3

These simple steps can be followed:


The process of cooking grits starts with the kind of water you use. You can use regular water, but it must be very hot.

Step 2

 Add the grits into a heavy bottom pot and constantly stir as you slowly add more water. 

Step 3

After the right quantity of water has been added, you will continue stirring over medium heat.

Step 4

Once boiling, reduce heat and cover about 6 inches away from the heat source, so it doesn’t pop up; this will take about 30 minutes or when most of the liquid has been absorbed by the grits.

Step 5

Remove lid to serve immediately after allowing it to cool.

Recommended Post: How long is imitation crab good for

How to Make Grits the Black Way

Here are the instructions on how to make instant grits the black way. You will need 1 cup of whole milk, 3 cups of water, and 2 cups of instant grits.

1. Gather the ingredients: 2 cups water, 2 cups milk, 2 cups white stone-ground grits. 

2. Stir together with a large spoon in a medium saucepan. 

3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring periodically as it thickens and bubbles appear at the sides of the pan. 

4. Reduce heat to low so you can keep an eye on it as it simmers for 5 to 10 minutes

5. Serve it with butter if you like.

How to Make Grits Creamy

While there are regional variations in making grits, the basic steps to making grits creamy remain the same. 

First, bring your water and salt to a boil. Add in your grits slowly while constantly stirring so that lumps do not form. 

Add in any spices, cheese, or dairy products desired during this time. After the grits have been added to the boiling water, reduce the heat to a simmer. 

Cook for a short amount of time – 15 to 20 minutes – until the water has been absorbed into the ground cornmeal. 

Stirring will prevent lumps from forming and ensure even cooking.

No products found.

What Consistency Should Grits Be?

The consistency of grits is a personal preference and will vary depending on preference and the recipe. Grits should be left on the stove for more than 1 minute after it comes to a boil but less than 5 minutes.

Grits should be neither dry nor soupy. This consistency is called “the happy medium” because it’s the perfect amount of moisture for any kind of grits you’re eating.

In general, not Bad, not creamy, and not too chewy: the consistency of grits should be that of a number 5 on a 1-10 scale.

Are Grits Supposed to Be Runny or Thick?

Grits are not meant to be runny. To some southerners, this says it all. Generally, grits are supposed to be thicker than milk and somewhat hot. When served as a side dish, they need not be runny but should be well-cooked. 

Many Americans equate grits with ground corn porridge which is generally eaten for breakfast and is made by boiling water into ground grains of corn.

Meanwhile, some people swear by their creamy cheese grits; others prefer theirs a little more watery and runny. Whatever your preference, there are distinct differences among the different regions of the South regarding how you prepare your grits.

How Do You Know If Grits Are Done?

They should look like they’re boiling and bubbling gently, but there’s no hard and fast rule. Most of the time, you can tell by the taste. The grits are done when they are as thick as you like them and taste cooked through. 

If you want an extra pair of eyes, try a fork or spoon. Stick in and out of a grits bowl. The grits should be floating off the bottom of the bowl before you know it’s done.

Additionally, They should be creamy and not grainy. Drain your grits and plop back onto the stove on low heat for about 5 minutes; if you see grainy substances floating around in your pot. You have overcooked them.

Frequently Asked Question

Do grits thicken as they cool?

Grits do thicken as they cool. The longer they are cooled, the thicker they will become. You can use this tip to your own advantage when making grits by increasing the proportion of liquid to the flour while cooking so that when they are done, they will be thick enough to spread out and fill a pan or bowl without running off the sides.

Does cheese thicken grits?

Cheese does indeed thicken grits. And, if the cheese is good, it doesn’t hurt either. So, when you make camping recipes that call for “grits,” you can be confident that the result will be yummy.

Do grits taste better with water or milk?

If you’ve ever wondered this, then the answer is yes. Grits are a type of corn popular in the Southern United States. Water that is added to them while making them gives them a creamier taste. However, the answer to whether grits taste better with milk or water is subjective, depending on individual preferences.

Do you cook grits covered or uncovered?

If you like your grits to be a little soupy, then uncovering is the way to go. It’ll soak up more liquid as it warms from the stovetop. If you like them more done than not altogether, then cover them up.

What can I serve with grits?

They can be served alongside barbecued pulled pork or baked with chicken and vegetables for a one-pot meal. The options are numerous when it comes to what you can serve with your favorite food.


Grits are a breakfast staple in many cultures around the world. This favorite Southern meal can be made from scratch or purchased in stores and can be thickened with egg and cheese. However, making and knowing how to thicken grits is a great addition to delivering a perfect southern breakfast staple for yourself and your family.

What Are Grits

Grits Recipe

Grits are a classic Southern food that can be eaten with almost any meal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Grits Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 123kcal


  • 1 Saucepan


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup corn grits
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • Bring salt and water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the grits while whisking, then bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue cooking until you reach the desired consistency: runny with some grit still present, about 30 minutes; thick and creamy but flowing, about 45 minutes; or stiff and able to hold its shape but barely flowing, about 1 hour. Whisk and scrape bottom well every 2 to 3 minutes as you cook. If your grits start to get too thick, add a tablespoon or two at a time of additional water.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter until it has completely melted and been absorbed. If necessary, add more salt to the dish.



Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 217IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow me