The Best Way to Eat Grits, According to North Carolinians

Image via Shutterstock / Lynne Ann Mitchell

By Leah Sherrell

September 12, 2023

Last month, we asked North Carolinians who follow us on Facebook to share the best way to eat grits, and wow, did you folks have opinions.

We received more than 200 comments on this post, and understandably so! Grits, which are made from crushed or ground corn and have roots in Native American culture, are widely consumed by Southerners in a variety of ways. Me? I personally like mine with sausage, cheese, and an over-medium egg for the ultimate combination of flavor and texture.

And while there might be an intense sweet versus savory debate, we can all agree on one thing: Good grits require butter—lots of it.


Grits are the cornerstone of many a meal in North Carolina. We asked y’all how you prefer to eat your grits and we heard so many great combinations that it would take forever to list them all here so we chose to highlight some of the more “interesting” responses. As always, add to the conversation in the comments because there’s no such thing as a boring grits recipe. #grits #howtomakegrits #southerngrits #cheesegrits #shrimpandgrits #breakfast #creamygrits #south #instantgrits #quaker #nc #ncfood #northcarolina

♬ original sound – Cardinal & Pine – Cardinal & Pine

Here we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to eat grits, per our readers. (Have a suggestion you want to share? Head over to Facebook and weigh in!) For the sake of this article, assume that every combination involves butter. Some people prefer just a pat, and others seem to like a 1:1 butter and grits ratio. Either way, it’s a good idea to have the butter handy.

The North Carolinians who answered our age-old question overwhelmingly preferred savory grits, so we’ll start with their favorite combinations.

While we’d never tell you how to fix your breakfast—or lunch or dinner!—the general opinion is that a good bowl of (savory) grits must include salt and pepper. Everything else on this list can be added, traded, or mixed around to your liking.

Cheese Grits

  • Shredded
  • Pimento
  • Velveeta

**One user recommended baking the cheese grits with garlic.

Eggs (of All Types)

  • Scrambled
  • Over Easy
  • Over Medium
  • Sunny Side Up

Meaty Country Staples

  • Shrimp
  • Andouille Sausage
  • Country Sausage
  • Country Ham
  • Crispy Bacon (crumbled)
  • Livermush
  • Fried Chicken and Gravy
  • Fish


  • Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Black-eyed Peas

To top it all off, some people add red-eye gravy or hot sauce and have a buttermilk biscuit on the side for the perfect bowl of savory grits.

Now we’ll move on to sweet grits, which, frankly, is a less common way to eat grits in the South, but still an option. Keep in mind that butter is equally essential in sweet grits as the savory ones. Here are a few ways to try sweetened grits if you’re taking the leap.

  • Brown Sugar
  • White Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Grape Jelly
  • Strawberry Preserves

There may be some debate as to which version of grits is the “correct” way to enjoy them, but in the words of commenter Donna Austin, the best way to eat grits is “Any way you can!”


  • Leah Sherrell

    Leah Sherrell is a multimedia reporter for Cardinal & Pine. A graduate of UNC-Wilmington, she's a resident of Kernersville with a background in video production and communication. Leah uses many forms of media to explore the multifaceted lifestyles and cultures present in North Carolina.

Related Stories
Share This