This Shrimp and Grits Cakes recipe has been an obsession of mine for the entire summer. I have been chomping at the bit to share these ultra-creamy grits covered in crunchy Panko and topped with fresh shrimp and a balsamic-infused bacon and vegetable medley. This dish is to die for.
Shrimp and grits cakes is truly my favorite way to eat both grits and shrimp. There’s nothing like the creamy texture of the cheesy grits—a staple here in the South—and the flavor and meaty texture of the shrimp.
What’s the best way to eat grits?
Fried, of course! Isn’t just about anything better fried? I fry mine in vegetable oil. The oil needs to be shimmering hot before you add the grits cakes, so not too much oil will soak into the grits. Really, you only want the Panko to soak the oil up so that the outside of the grits cake will become extra crunchy.
How do you make grits cakes?
All you need to make grits cakes are a few ingredients that most southerners always keep on hand. Of course, you need either old-fashioned grits or rice grits, heavy cream, salt, pepper, bacon, and extras like gouda or sharp cheddar cheese.
Making the grits is very simple. All you need is a large pot of water, milk, or whipping cream or a combination of two or three; grits; and salt. Bring them all to a boil and allow the mixture to thicken and become creamy. After that, add the cheese and bacon.
That’s it. Super simple.
To make grits cakes, just transfer the grits to a baking dish, refrigerate a few hours until the grits are thick and cuttable, then remove them and cut them into squares, triangles, or circles.
Once your cakes are all cut, dredge them in a beaten egg with a little water mixed in. Then dredge them in Panko and fry them in hot oil until they are warmed through and are golden and crunchy!
Grits cakes are perfect just like this. I like to sprinkle a little parmesan cheese over them and eat them with a fork.
Why I Like Ralston Rice Grits for Making Grits Cakes
Ralston Rice just came out with rice grits. Can I just say, “Oh. My. Goodness”? I LOVE THEM.
The rice grits have a wonderful flavor, and best of all, they cook in about 5 minutes! Who could ask for more? They become a little stiffer than regular old-fashioned grits and cut down the cooking time drastically.
I use Ralston Family Farms rice all the time. They have so many varieties from which to choose. I love that they are a 5000 multigenerational sustainable family-owned farm right here in the US! You can get their products at Kroger, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Fresh Thyme, Publix, and Costco.
Can I use leftover grits for this recipe?
Of course, left over grits are perfect for making these amazing grits cakes. I think frying leftover grits is much better than trying to just rewarm them. They tend to get too saturated when they are leftover. Frying them seems to do the trick to revive them.
Can you reheat grits cakes that have been fried?
Yes! You can reheat grits cakes that have been fried. I did this several times this weekend. I made a duck recipe that went perfect with the grits cakes, but since my family was still out hunting, the cakes got cold.
To reheat fried grits cakes, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the fried grits cakes on a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet and place them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until warm. They are just as fresh, crunchy, and creamy as when you first make them.
Can you freeze grit cakes?
Yes, you can freeze grit cakes. If you have any leftovers, freeze the cakes on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they are frozen through, place them in a freezer safe zip top bag and store for up to 6 months in the freezer.
If you want to prepare grits cakes ahead of time and want to save time when you cook them, you can freeze the baking dish with the grits in the freezer after they have fully cooled from the refrigerator. Wrap the entire baking dish with plastic wrap and then wrap with foil, making sure that the plastic wrap is touching the grits so there is no air circulation in the pan.
What do you serve with grits cakes?
You can serve just about anything with grits cakes. The sky is the limit. I’ve served them with honey and fruit as a dessert, with crock pot roast, venison loin, fried fish, fried eggs, and lots of variations of shrimp recipes. I’ve even served them as appetizers by cutting them in triangles, making them easy to pick up a spicy sauce.
Now that I’ve covered the grits cakes, let’s move on to the shrimp.
What about the shrimp part of the Shrimp and Grits Cakes?
I adore shrimp. In college I went on a paleo diet, and shrimp was my choice of protein quite often. There is very little fat in shrimp, and the calories are low compared to other proteins. Plus, I just love the taste of shrimp. Shrimp Scampi was my favorite choice; I just left off the noodles.
For this recipe, you will need about 32 to 36 medium-sized shrimp, enough for 9 people. Cooking the shrimp is super easy in this recipe.
Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles on the skillet, place the shrimp about one inch apart on the dry skillet. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper from a height (to ensure even distribution of the salt and pepper). Allow the shrimp to cook for about 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook for one more minute. Then remove the shrimp to a bowl and repeat until all the shrimp are cooked.
In another pan, heat a little oil and sauté the bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic until almost transparent. Add the vinegars, soy sauce, and mustard and reduce for about 2 minutes.
Make Your Masterpiece
This recipe is truly a showstopper. Since you can reheat the grits cakes, you can make them a day ahead and prepare the shrimp and vegetable medley the day you plan to serve it. It’s perfect for a special occasion or to really impress guests.
Divide the grit cakes among 9 plates. Top the grits cakes with 4 shrimp each, and then spoon the mixture evenly among the plates over the shrimp. Grate a little parmesan cheese and sprinkle bacon and chives over the top of the shrimp and grits cakes.
If you are having a large party, make triple the recipe, or whatever you need. If you find that you have leftovers, place the shrimp and the vegetable medley in a freezer safe bag, making sure to get rid of any air in the bag. Lay the bag flat in the freezer. Stack the bags and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw any frozen leftovers in the refrigerator, then reheat on low heat until warmed through.
Shrimp and Grits Cakes
For the Grits Cakes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup grits I like Ralston Family Farms Golden Rice Grits or old-fashioned yellow grits
- 2 cups gouda or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- ½ pound of bacon about 8 slices, fried and chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups Panko
- vegetable oil for frying
For the Shrimp
- 2 pounds about 36 medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for sautéing
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ large Vidalia or sweet onion, finely chopped
- 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 slices bacon, fried and chopped for garnish
- 2 green onions, chopped for garnish
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
For the Grits Cakes
- If you are using rice grits, add 1½ cups of water and 1 cup heavy cream in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add the butter, salt, and pepper and slowly pour the grits into the water and whisk for about a minute. Bring the mixture back to a boil and lower the heat to simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add the grated cheese and bacon. Place the lid on the Dutch oven for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir to incorporate the melted cheese and bacon. Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish and refrigerate for 3 hours.
- If you are using old fashioned yellow grits, add 2 cups of water and the heavy cream in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add the butter, salt, and pepper and slowly pour the grits into the water and whisk for about a minute. Bring the mixture back to a boil and lower the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and stir to incorporate the melted cheese and bacon. Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until set.
- When ready to fry, whisk eggs and 1 tablespoon of water together in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, add Panko.
- Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees, or until shimmering.
- Remove the set grits from the oven and cut 9 square grits cakes. Dip each grits cake into the egg mixture, then dredge in the Panko and gently place the cakes into the oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the Panko turns golden. Turn the grits cakes over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the grits cakes are warmed through and the panko is golden. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
For the Shrimp
- Heat a griddle pan or a cast iron skillet to high heat. When the dry skillet is hot, place the shrimp about an inch apart and sprinkle with salt and pepper from a height to distribute evenly. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes then turn the shrimp over and cook for another 1 minute or until just done. Remove to a bowl. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
- In a non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the vinegars, soy sauce, and Dijon into the skillet and stir to incorporate. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a little thick.
- Divide the grits cakes among 9 dishes. Top the grits cakes with at least 4 shrimp, then top each cake with the vegetable mixture. Divide equally among the plates the chopped bacon and green onions and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.