Gluten-Free Foods Not to be Forgotten: Grits - Celiac Disease
Apr 20 2011

Gluten-Free Foods Not to be Forgotten: Grits

If you don’t live in the South or haven’t been there, you may have never experienced grits before.  I can’t think of many places that serve them here in Ohio, yet when I visit my sister in Atlanta, I see them on the menu all over the place.  Grits are basically coarsely ground corn.  They are naturally gluten-free, however they may be contaminated in the manufacturing process, so please be aware when selecting a brand.  Bob’s Red Mill makes a gluten-free version of grits.

I have been eating grits since I was a little girl living in Texas.  It is a food that I can recall eating as young as 4 years old.  My mom used to make a cheesy grits casserole and since I was not a fan of meat as a child, grits were one of my favorite things to eat.  I lost touch with grits over the years when we moved to New Jersey and then Ohio.  My mom didn’t make them anymore and you didn’t exactly find grits on the menu in New Jersey in the 1980s.

I was reminded right before I found out that I had to follow a gluten-free diet how much I love grits.  My dad made a cheese & jalapeno grits casserole for a meal and I had some amazing stone ground grits as a side dish while visiting my sister in Atlanta.  Thankfully those dishes were both fresh in my mind when I started the diet and I quickly sought out some grits so that I had at least one staple, one comfort food, that I could turn to.

Grits can be served for breakfast lunch or dinner.  They can be made on the stove, microwave, crock pot or oven.  They can be sweet or savory.  Plain or dressed up.  Think of grits as being a blank canvas & create your own personal masterpiece.

Some more info on grits from Wikipedia:

Grits is similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world, such as polenta. It also resembles farina, a thinner porridge.

Grits are usually prepared by adding one part grits to two-to-three parts boiling water and seasoned with salt and butter. They are usually cooked for 15 – 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grits become a porridge-like consistency. They expand as they are cooked and need to be stirred several times to prevent sticking and forming lumps. They may be served with grated cheese or topped with sausage or country ham “red-eye gravy“. Those closer to the Mason-Dixon line may prefer to season grits with sugar instead of salt.

Grits can also be fried in a pan or molded to create a firm block. The resulting block can be cut with a knife or wire, and the slices are fried in a fat such as vegetable oil, butter, or bacon grease.

Here are my mom’s Baked Cheese Grits:

Baked Cheese Grits

  • ½ cup grits in 2 cups water & 1 tsp of salt
  • Stir in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

1. Pour into 1 quart greased casserole. Bake at 350 for an hour.

I found another recipe for grits as I was searching around the web for information that I can see making very soon – South by Southwest Avocado Grits & Eggs.  This recipe uses 6 simple ingredients to create a super flavorful meal that could be served anytime of the day.

I hear from so many people that they feel like they are in a rut with the foods that they eat.  Try mixing things up by adding new or long lost foods back into your diet.  Try serving grits as a side dish in place of rice or potatoes.

Have you ever tried grits?  What is your favorite way to eat them?

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!


  1. Elizabeth says:

    My husband and I eat cheese grits quite often. It cooks up really nicely if you drop a little butter in the boiling water before adding the grits… it doesn’t stick nearly as badly. You need a lot of cheese to make it taste cheesy, but it’s really delicious.

  2. Tiffany Janes says:

    I’ve been eating grits my whole life and love them. Cheese grits and shrimp and grits are my favorite ways to enjoy them. Lately I’ve been using Peachtree Pimento cheese from American GraFrutti to make cheese grits.I’ve met more than a few people from up North that when asked if they would like to try grits replied “I’ll try one I guess”…lol!
    My favorite story about grits is about a lady that lives in the Atlanta area who uses grits to make jewelry. She makes all kinds of things with cooked/then cooled grits.

  3. Elizabeth – Thanks for the tip!

    Tiffany – I have never heard of making jewelery with grits! LOL! What a hoot!


  4. Anne Steib says:

    Love grits!!! Even as a northerner I have always eaten and loved them.

  5. Glenna Maney says:

    Loved your message on our southern grits!

    Just a little suggestion…instead of making them with water, try using the same amount of organic (gluten free) chicken broth! Yummmmm!!

    By the way…G R I T S …Girls Raised In The South!

  6. Dick Parker says:

    Being an unreconstructed Southerner, I really like grits, especially the yellow ones. My wife complained about the problems cleaning the pot in which they were cooked. I solved the problem by using 5 parts water to 1 part grits, adding salt (1tsp/cup of grits), bringing it to a rolling boil and stirring for 2 – 3 minutes, then cutting the heat down to low and using a heat diffuser between the pot and the burner. I stir them occasionally. They are best cooked overnight and served with butter and red-eye gravy.. The pot is quite easy to clean as long as it is immersed into water aas soon as the meal is completed.

  7. Fontrella says:

    I am from the south and love grits. I love cheese grits but now since I have to be gluten, dairy and sugar free, I will just eat regular grits with the lactose free butter.

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