Go Back
+ servings

Grits or Polenta

Back in 2004 on a show called Good Eats, I was obsessed with proving that grits and polenta were the same thing and that technique alone resulted in the difference on the plate. This time around, I'm cooking these two (very different) corn products exactly the same way, resulting in two perfectly tasty bowls of creamy, corn goodness. Despite their name, remember that grits cook to softness while polenta remains gritty. Food’s funny sometimes.
This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats: Reloaded.
Grits or Polenta topped with cheese
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 cups cold water or 2 cups (473 milliliters) each water and whole milk
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits or polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Specialized Hardware

  • Small fine-mesh sieve


  • Add the water or milk, grits, and salt to a medium saucepan, off the heat, and stir. Let sit until the grits have settled to the bottom and chaff has risen to the top, about 5 minutes. With a small, fine-mesh strainer, skim chaff from the top of the liquid and discard.
  • Place over medium-high heat and bring the water to a simmer while whisking gently but constantly. Continue to simmer and whisk until the grits have released enough starch so that the individual particles are suspended, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring every 5 minutes, until the grits are cooked, about 1 hour.
  • Remove from the heat, whisk in butter and cover until ready to serve. You can let it sit this way for up to 1 hour before serving. If held longer than 1 hour, you will need to add warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen up the grits.