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Creamy Cheddar Jalapeno Grits

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4 large servings 1x


I’m far from southern, but regardless of any grits tradition I’ve violated with this indulgent recipe, it’s quick comfort food that should have anyone coming back for more.


  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 C small chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 large (1 small to medium) jalapeno pepper; stemmed, seeded, membranes removed; finely chopped
  • 1 C organic polenta corn grits (I’ve used these)
  • 4 C vegetable broth or stock, or water
  • 1/4 C half and half, whole milk, or non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 C sour cream (full fat preferred)
  • 1 C grated white cheddar (about 3 oz.)
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 t ground white pepper
  • Optional: thinly sliced scallions, for serving


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vegetable oil and heat 30 more seconds. Add onion and jalapeno and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat and stir in grits until coated in the oil, resembling moist crumbs. Add broth, stock, or water, stir, and increase heat to just bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to lowest heat. Cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure grits don’t stick to bottom of pan (if that happens, they should loosen when scraped off with a wooden spoon). Taste grits to make sure they don’t taste raw. If texture is very thick, add another quarter cup of liquid and simmer uncovered until mostly absorbed to achieve a more fluid, creamy texture.
  3. Add half and half and stir to combine, then simmer uncovered for a couple minutes, until just absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cheddar, one at a time, until incorporated and the latter is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with scallions, if desired.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Southern