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Classic Buttered Grits

Dennis Culbert / Reprinted from The New Orleans Kitchen by Justin Devillier, (c) 2019
Cook Time:
45 mins
6 to 8

Chef notes

These insanely rich grits taste just like movie theater popcorn: They're salty, buttery, corny and completely delicious. There’s an almost (almost) outrageous amount of butter in these — don’t eat them every day, even though you’ll definitely want to. My sister, who used to hate grits, once said, “I don’t know what the difference is, but these grits have made me a believer.”

Technique tip: I can’t help but notice the similarities between polenta and grits, so I treat them similarly. Just play around a little bit with the heat and keep a few tablespoons of extra milk (or water) on hand to adjust the texture so the grits stay creamy the entire time that they cook. If the grits seem too thin, just let them cook a little more. It's actually really, really hard to overcook grits. 


  • 4 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 4 cups whole milk, plus more as needed
  • cups medium-grind grits
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed



In a medium pot, bring the water and milk to just under a boil, then slowly whisk in the grits and continue whisking, making sure there are no lumps. 


Decrease the heat to low, switch to a wooden spoon and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are creamy and tender. If using freshly stone-ground grits, this might only take 45 minutes, but if you’re using store-bought grits that may have been sitting on the shelf for longer, it might take up to 1 ½ hours. Around the 45-minute mark, start tasting in 5-minute increments until the grits are to the consistency of your liking. Each time you stir the mixture, dislodge any grits that are beginning to thicken on the side or bottom of the pot to prevent them from overcooking into hard chunks. Adjust the consistency with a few tablespoons of water or milk if necessary.


Slowly stir in the butter and add the salt. Taste and stir in more salt as needed.


Transfer to a shallow serving plate and serve hot. The grits can be held over very low heat for up to 2 hours before serving. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up 2 days.