This Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe makes a flavorful meal for any time! Starring Gulf shrimp, andouille sausage and creamy grits, this saucy entree is perfect for tailgates, at-home date nights or even a Mardi Gras gathering. Makes 4 servings, but can easily be doubled.
The photos and recipe for this Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe were originally published on March 3, 2014. The post was updated in January 2021.
Shrimp and Grits is a classic Southern dish, and you can find it all over the South, especially places that are nearby an ocean.
Every region has its differences in ingredients, but we all agree that the star of this dish is fresh shrimp and a sauce that sit atop creamy, decadent corn grits.
In South Carolina, many recipes for shrimp and grits call for bacon. I’ve read several recipes that add cheese to the grits, too.
In South Louisiana, Cajun recipes for shrimp and grits call for tasso ham or andouille sausage. And in this recipe here, we use the andouille to add spice, flavor and a bit of fattiness to this comforting entree.
Why I love this recipe:
This shrimp and grits recipe is one of our all-time favorites, and for good reason: It’s easy enough to make on a weeknight, but it’s also wonderful to dress up for a gameday situation or even a Mardi Gras gathering.
The shrimp are perfectly spiced, and the sauce they’re served in adds creaminess, a bit of fattiness and heat without being overwhelming.
The corn grits are creamy—but not too creamy—and soak up the shrimp sauce.
And while this isn’t a recipe from a Cajun grandmother, it sure tastes like something you’d taste from a grandma’s kitchen.
Looking for another type of dinner? Head on over to my Dinner Recipe Index for some ideas!
What you need to make this Cajun shrimp and grits recipe
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Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you need:
- Shrimp—preferably Gulf shrimp!
- Salt-Free Creole Seasoning — or another Creole seasoning blend
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Andouille sausage—since we’re dicing this, you want to use smoked andouille. However, if you can find fresh, you can remove it from its casing and cook it that way, too!
- Dry white wine—sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio are good here because you want to avoid a sweeter white wine, like a muscato, or an oaked white wine, like many chardonnays
- Seafood or vegetable stock
- Fresh flat leaf parsley
- Unsalted butter
- Milk—we keep whole milk on hand in our house, but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand.
- Chicken stock
- Stone ground grits—you can use white or yellow grits, but I prefer the yellow ones from Bob’s Red Mill.
- Salt and pepper
How do you make shrimp grits from scratch?
Make the Creamy Grits
In a large saucepan, combine the chicken stock and milk. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a simmer. Do not bring it to a boil! This will scald your milk, so please, please, please keep an eye on these.
When simmering, whisk in the grits and season with salt and pepper.
Reduce the heat, and cover the grits. Cook, while stirring often to reduce clumping, until the liquid is totally absorbed. This will take around 35 to 40 minutes.
Once the liquid has been absorbed, add the additional cup of stock, taste and then adjust seasonings as needed.
Sit for a few minutes to absorb the rest of the liquid, and then serve hot.
Make the Shrimp
Place the peeled, deveined shrimp in a mixing bowl and season ’em with the Creole seasoning and kosher salt.
Warm the oil, then add the andouille. Cook until it begins to crisp up, then add the shrimp and garlic. Cook until the shrimp tails begin to curl and go from translucent to pink, then remove them from the pan using tongs.
Add the wine and parsley, and cook until the liquid is reduced in volume by half, then add the stock and raise the heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add back in the shrimp. Reduce the heat and cook until the sauce has reduced in volume by half.
Remove the mixture from the heat, and add the butter, stirring until it has melted into the sauce.
Serve the shrimp and gravy over the warm creamy grits, and enjoy!
Serve immediately, and enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
My shrimp peeling technique involves running my thumb down the belly of the shrimp from where the head used to be to the tail (which is still attached), and gently freeing the shell. You want to loosen the shell from the meat and dispose of it by placing it into a plastic bag.
When you’re done peeling the shrimp, immediately take this outside and toss it into the trash can because it will stink up your kitchen. (Unless, of course, you’re planning to use it for a seafood stock. In which case keep the shrimp peels in a zip-top baggie, and throw them in the freezer until you’re ready to make the stock.)
Shrimp and Grits originated in the United States, but no one knows for sure where it came from.
No. While both are made from ground corn, cornmeal is more finely ground and have a powdery texture compared to the coarseness of grits.
The shrimp and grits, stored separately in the fridge, will last 1-2 additional days. I don’t like to let shrimp sit in my refrigerator for longer than that, even though the grits will last longer than them.
White wine is traditionally served with seafood dishes. Since this recipe uses a splash of dry white wine, I’d serve whatever you cooked with alongside the shrimp and grits.
Bob’s Red Mill is my personal favorite, but there are so many different brands available. Explore the ones you can find in your area, and see what YOUR favorite is.
Store the shrimp and its sauce separately from the grits in food-safe containers in the refrigerator. You will need to add a splash of milk or stock to the grits before reheating. Reheat those first in the microwave, then add the shrimp and sauce on top and heat in the microwave until they’re your desired temperature.
Quick tips and tricks to the best creamy grits and Cajun shrimp
- Purchase the best shrimp you can find! There are lots of different shrimp available at the grocery store, and I always like to talk to the workers at the fish counter to see what’s the freshest. If you’re buying frozen shrimp, look for wild-caught shell-on shrimp. (Also, as a Southern girl, I always purchase shrimp from Gulf of Mexico when I can find it.)
- If you want your grits to be cheesy and creamier, add 4 oz. of cream cheese after you remove it from the heat. Let the cream cheese melt in, then serve.
- As the grits stand after cooking, they will become more firm. If you make them in advance, you will need to add additional liquid to them so they don’t become gelatinous.
- Store leftover shrimp and grits separately in the refrigerator. The shrimp will last 1-2 days in the fridge, so enjoy it quickly!
Some thoughts on substitutions for this Cajun shrimp and grits recipe:
- Can’t find smoked andouille? You can use fresh andouille, too. Remove it from its casing and cook it in the pan like you would any other ground meat. Tasso ham is also popular in shrimp and grits, but we cannot find it here in Dallas easily.
- Dairy free? Use coconut milk or your favorite unsweetened nondairy milk. Instead of adding butter at the end, use your favorite vegan butter substitute to add a little extra creaminess to the sauce.
This Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe makes a flavorful meal for any time! Starring Gulf shrimp, andouille sausage and creamy grits, this saucy entree is perfect for tailgates, at-home date nights or even a Mardi Gras gathering.
- 1 ½ lbs. Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's Salt-Free Creole Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup smoked andouille sausage, diced
- 4 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup seafood stock, (vegetable works, too)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 ½ cups milk (whole, 2% and nonfat work)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup stone ground grits
- Salt and pepper to taste
Make the Grits
- In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups of chicken stock and the milk. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a simmer. (You don't want to bring it to a boil and scald your milk, so be sure to keep an eye on the mixture!)
- Whisk in the grits, then season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook, stirring often to reduce clumping, until the liquid is absorbed. This will take around 35 to 40 minutes.
- Once the liquid has been completely absorbed, add the additional cup of stock, then adjust seasonings as needed.
- Let sit for a few minutes to absorb the rest of the liquid, then serve hot.
Make the Shrimp
- Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in a large mixing bowl and toss with the Cajun seasoning and kosher salt.
- Warm the olive oil over medium heat, then add the andouille. Cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Next, add the shrimp and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp go from translucent to light pink.
- Remove the shrimp from the pan, and place on a plate.
- Add the wine and parsley to the pan, and cook until the wine reduces in volume by half.
- Next, add the stock. Turn up the heat, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Return the shrimp to the sauce, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the sauce has reduced in volume by half. (This should take just a few moments.)
- Remove from the heat, then stir in the butter. Continue stirring until it has melted and incorporated in the sauce.
- Spoon the sauce over the shrimp and grits, and garnish with more parsley.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Jennifer Chandler's Simply Suppers.
If you want your grits to be cheesy and creamier, add 4 oz. of cream cheese after you remove it from the heat. Let the cream cheese melt in, then serve.
As the grits stand after cooking, they will become more firm. If you make them in advance, you will need to add additional liquid to them so they don't become gelatinous.
If you can only find fresh andouille, simply cut it out of the casing, and cook it in the pan like you would ground beef or ground turkey.
You may use any kind of milk here. If you're looking for something more decadent, go with whole milk or coconut cream.
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Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 681Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 438mgSodium: 4492mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 62g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.