Overnight Grits CrockPot Slow Cooker Recipe

Grits are a classic southern staple served for breakfast that can easily be made in the crockpot slow cooker. This way you can plug in your pot before you go to bed, let your corn soften overnight and wake up to hot, buttery grits.

Naturally gluten free, you can serve as-is, or doctored up with chopped bacon, ham, or with a swirl of jam/jelly.

[originally written in 2008, during my Year of Slow Cooking]

Day 134.

I am not from the south, which means I am not very familiar with grits. 

I did watch a southern cooking show on the Food Network that discussed grit cooking methods, and I love "My Cousin Vinny"---so I know that any self-respecting Southerner stays away from instant grits.

But that's pretty much where my knowledge ends.

After some Wikipedia-ing (technical term), I learned that Grits 

"... are prepared by adding five or six parts boiling water (seasoned with salt—1/4 tsp for each cup of water) to one part grits and cooking for 20 to 45 minutes. 

Grits expand when cooked and need periodic stirring to prevent sticking, and lumps from forming. They are not done until they have absorbed four and one quarter times their volume of water."

So I took this newfound knowledge and intermixed it with my love for the crockpot.

Also, I threw in my love for sleeping in and having breakfast cook itself.

And came up with.....


CrockPot Grits.

And it's perfect.

How to Make Overnight Grits in the CrockPot Slow Cooker

The Ingredients.
serves 4

1 cup grits (not instant) (also known as polenta)
5 cups of water
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

The Directions.

Use a 2 or 4-quart slow cooker, or place an oven-safe dish into a large 6-quart slow cooker with a bit of water around the dish (I use corningware or pyrex) and then place the ingredients into the dish.

Combine all of the ingredients. There is no need to pretreat the stoneware with a cooking spray, or bother to melt the butter.

Just throw it all in!! :-)

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

This cooked for exactly 7.

Stir well and top with desired fixens'. 

The kids and I used a bit of shredded cheese, and thin a bit with a tiny touch or cream or half and half.

My mom likes to stir in jelly or fresh preserves.

The Verdict.

Wow. I like grits! 

They weren't slimy the way I imagined them to be, and the texture was really nice in my mouth. 

The big kid wasn't terribly impressed, but the little one ate almost a whole bowl. 

I loved how easy they were to prepare, and that they are naturally gluten-free.

I have quite a bit of the package left over, and grits are now going to make it into the regular breakfast rotation.


Cook grits easily overnight by using your crockpot slow cooker. This basic recipe is fool proof and results in light, fluffy, creamy, and delicious grits!

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at May 13, 2017

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What they say about this article

  1. Not sure if you are a fan of green chilies but if so - toss in a couple of small cans of chopped green chilies and add a bit more cheese at the end - if you want to go wild a teaspoon of ground cumino also. We love grits - and make lots of variations on cheese grits - Texans like our jalapeno cheese grits - some real character to a standby!

  2. OOoh, my hubby makes the polenta for dinner. Just use up leftover bits of meat (ham is good), all kinds of sauteed veggies, chopped olives.

    It's a veritable feast! And now, you've made it possible for us to have it during the week! Thank you!

  3. I'm a Southerner and I use "Quick Grits", but don't tell anyone ;0)

    Ditto on what lindasuebuhl said...I LOVE some jalapeno cheese grits...I actually served your Korean BBQ ribs on a bed of jalapeno cheese grits casserole and they were delicious...something about the grits with the rib sauce all mixing together...YUM-O!

    Here's what I add to my grits for a side dish:
    jalapeno jack cheese
    cheddar cheese
    dash of cayenne pepper

    I bake it in the oven, but wonder if it would work in a crock pot?

  4. That sounds yummy. I love grits (especially cheese grits). (I am southern.) That might be breakfast tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. I love grits! I'm going to have to try this. I love them swimming with butter and topped with salt and pepper. mmmmm.

  6. Anonymous5/13/2008

    Wow. True kismet here...not twenty minutes before I read this I commented to my husband that I needed to find out for sure if grits were gluten-free. Oohhhh...the stars are aligned! :) So I'm having grits for breakfast tomorrow. YUM!

  7. This sounds SO good! I wonder if my 4yo son will try them. I'm off to the grocery store for some grits.

  8. Anonymous5/13/2008

    GARLIC. You must add garlic and make them cheesy-garlicky yumminess grits.

  9. Anonymous5/13/2008

    Even nicer with some parmesan cheese mixed in after cooking, then serve with a couple of fried or poached eggs on top. I like my yolks a little runny to mix into the grits. Yummmm...

  10. Glad you like those grits. Saves my lazy you know what on many a cold morning when I sleep in a little too much!

    Now you can make appitizers with your leftover such as fried green tomatoes served over a dollop of grits or shrimp over grits or quail over grits. Very South Carolina!
    Kitchen Madonna

  11. Well, grease my grits, those look tasty! I love grits but have yet to convert my family. Does it freeze well?

  12. What a great idea!
    I love grits, and I use my crockpot at least once a week for all kinds of things, but for some reason I never thought of using it to cook grits. It won't be long now, though!

  13. Can't wait to try this. Love your blog; I've introduced my friends to it and they love it too! So, why are you gluten free now?

  14. Anonymous5/13/2008

    Im a good Northern girl who's never had a grit in her life. But my goodness....butter...cheese.. green chilis. I can't wait!!

  15. Anonymous5/13/2008

    Ooh, we just love, love, love the humble grit at our house. Cheesy, yes of course. But also made with chicken broth instead of salt. Or with hot sauce. And fried eggs on top. And buttered toast.

    Oh yes, so very yummy. I do believe I will make this in the crock this week, because I finally replaced by beloved large crock pot! Actually, dh did it for me; it was my Mother's Day present this year. Nothing says "You're the Best Mom Ever" quite like a 7-quart slow cooker.

  16. Welcome to the South! Sort of.

    Anyway, grits are my fave. Definitely not slimey at all! I've never heard anyone say that, but I can see why people would think it and be afraid!

    Now you need to add some cheese, bacon, garlic, sausage, etc ...

  17. I'll try our recipe in the crock this weekend. Never thunk it (ha) before. We put a lot of hot sauce in ours.


  18. I wanted to let you know you inspired me to try crockpot grits again. I had not been very successful before. I did a post about it today on my blog if you are interested. I used your recipe but in a little different way. I found your website a few weeks ago and I love it. Thanks!

  19. Anonymous5/26/2008

    I am in Australia and tried grits in America and fell in love. I didn't know how to make it here, but is it just polenta? I think, from reading your packet, that it says "Grits, also known as Polenta".

    Gee I hope so!

  20. Anonymous6/02/2008

    I am sure that I am going to make all the Southerners shutter here when I say this, but I make cornmeal mush (as it is called around here) overnight in my Crockpot and have a bowl of it in the morning with maple syrup on top. I then cool the rest of it in the refrigerator to slice up as polenta for dinner later on.

  21. If you like cheese grits...you should try smoked gouda cheese grits. Replace some of the water with chicken stock and add a good amount of gouda. AWESOME!

  22. Just found your blog and am LOVING it, but wanted to comment on the mush idea... We do this with grits and then pour the cooked grits into a loaf pan, refrigerate overnight, then slice into slabs in the morning. Dredge in just a little flour (corn flour if you have it) and pan fry in some butter or oil... serve for breakfast with hot maple syrup or apple butter... Yum yum yum!

  23. hi, I'm new to the blog. This looks fabulous. My absolute favorite favorite food is shrimp and grits. If you ever get to Charleston, SC you have to have them. I think they are good everywhere there but Poogan's Porch has the best ones for sure. Anyway, could you come up with a shrimp and grits recipe? I would be eternally grateful. They usually have sausage, shrimp (of course)green onion and I don't know what else. Thanks!!!

  24. Anonymous11/26/2008

    Excellent grits!! I LOVED them! The only thing that happened to me was that in the morning, I found a lot of butter oil on top (like a layer of oil). I just scooped it out, so next time I might use less butter. Thank you!!

  25. Actually, I hate to break it to you, but what you cooked isn't grits. You made polenta. There is a BIG difference. No Southerner in their right mind would call Polenta grits. And here's why:

    Grits refers to corn that has been dried and treated with lye (hominy corn), then ground. Stone ground grits are the most authentic kind. Most grits use specific kinds of corn that differ from the type of corn they use for polenta and other cornmeals. Grits do come in different varieties such as instant, stoneground yellow or white, Antebellum, course or fine. These are the kinds they serve in the South. They don't call polenta (like what you made) grits in the south. They call that stuff "hog feed", cornmeal mush, or they simply call it polenta. Really.

    I know Bob's Red Mill says "Corn Grits - Polenta" on their bag, but they are really doing the Yankee world a disservice by advertising this way. It kind of ticks me off actually, and I live in Portland, Oregon very close to where Bob's Red Mill is located.

    However, I'm about a 10th generation Southerner to the core, and I know my grits.

    If you want to try grits, you should check out Anson Mills (http://www.ansonmills.com/grits.htm), Falls Mill (http://www.fallsmill.com/store.html) or a few other places that sell the real deal.

    Avoid "instant grits" if you can. That stuff tastes like wallpaper paste, although lots of folks (like my parents) do like it.

    Sorry to be so bossy britches, but I've been seeing lots of misinformation about grits out there (such as Bob's Redmill) and REAL grits are so wonderful, but there is nothing else like them, and they certainly taste nothing like polenta.


  26. Thanks, Lizzy!
    I had no idea. I really liked these though... whatever they are, they're awfully yummy!

  27. Anonymous2/02/2009

    HOw many does one recipe serve?

  28. Hi Loujaratt,

    It yields 5 cups---so anywhere from 4-6 people? Depending on how hungry they are?


  29. Not sure if u can cook grits in a slow cooker as u need to add them to boiling water to prevent lumps.

  30. Tried this over the weekend...delicious :)

    It does actually make a lot...good for a family of four...but for my husband and I ....I'll cut it in half ...but very good :)

    It's got the good seal of this Southerner :)

  31. Anonymous4/20/2010


    Corn Meal Polenta isn't the grits I know.Corn Meal Polenta is yellow and grits are white- hominy it's called, I think.I eat yellow corn meal polenta/or mush too,since I'm a food lover ,period,but not from the south.I was looking for a crockpot grits recipe since grits are hard to cook to the tender stage...my granny made them for me when I was a kid.

  32. Anonymous8/11/2010

    Coming from a true southerner (mississippi) replace the water with whipping cream or 1/2 and 1/2.. Makes the grits 5 times better, but it does up the fat in it

  33. Thanks so for posting this. I am preparing breakfast to take to a small construction crew (25-30 people) and have to leave at 6:30 tomorrow morning. I do not feel like getting up even earlier to cook the grits, so thought I'd search to see if someone had a crockpot recipe. Yours is the first link via Google :-) (congratulations). What I really needed was a sound water:grits ratio. I did look at a few (6) other sites, but ended up going with yours. Yay!!

    Now I get to go to bed and sleep for an extra 30 minutes or so....

  34. (Follow up message)

    This recipe and technique resulted in the best 'plain' (meaning no cheese or other add-ins) grits I ever made!

    The water:grits ratio was perfect.

    I am glad that I had a heaping taste of the final product before
    I left home with the crockpot.

    Not because they were so delicious that the workers cleaned out the whole batch in the blink of an eye. Nothing so satisfying as that.

    No, I am grateful for that heaping spoonful because on the way to the construction site, some CRAZY THOUGHTLESS MANIAC ran me way off the road as they tried to cross over two lanes of traffic so they could make the next turn from my lane. Did they not get that two vehicles can not occupy the same spot at one time? And that bad things happen when one tries? Anyway, the box that I sat the crock pot in flipped forward and went all over the floor of my car. I knew I should have buckled it up.

    Good news:

    1-I was not hurt and....
    2-There was a motorcycle officer who zoomed off after them (did I mention that this driver drove off and didn't come back?)
    3-Many, many people are NOT thoughtless, and observers came to check on me.
    3-The breakfast casseroles in the backseat were saved by some crazy law of physics and a well placed box lid.
    4-I didn't use any milk in this recipe, so....
    5-It was okay for me to leave it until 11:30 when I was ready to go and some (dear) friends helped clean it up which was not as bad as I imagined, because....
    6-Much of spill ended up on the plastic mat that is over the fabric mat, and because....
    7-Grits do that solidification thing once they cool!

  35. Anonymous1/24/2011

    Polenta aint grits yall! Look for the man in the quaker hat and use his grits. Then do the recipe again. I am a Ga pch. so grits is my spec i ality.

  36. Anonymous4/11/2011

    Best ever if you have any pot roast and brown gravy it is great in it with a little brown gravy on top yummmmo

  37. SandiFLcheeks9/18/2011

    For a more flavorful crock of grits use chicken broth and some half and half in stead of water. The are savory and creamy. I always make my grits this way.

  38. Laura F1/29/2012

    If you put preserves on grits, they are not really southern, as we don't eat them sweet!! Glad you liked them. Authentic, stone ground grits are the best...........especially if you make cheese grits. Put the cheese into the crockpot and let it melt along with the butter, then stir it all together before serving!

  39. Love this recipe! I make it quite frequently and like to add some eggs to the pot while it is still on warm. I just crack them in, ladle some grits over them and let them poach. This adds protein and is delish!

  40. Try a little chicken broth to replace some of the water. Amazing the difference. We also mix in some scrambled eggs and ham cubes or shrimp.

  41. a southerner8/26/2012

    Born and raised in South Louisiana, I grew up eating grits and I die a little inside every time "non-southern" people share a jambalaya or gumbo recipe. So of course, I had to comment ;)
    Grits are delicious, you don't NEED to add anything to eat it, except butter and salt and pepper, but cheese is a good addition. Grits are good with shrimp and even collard greens. But the best way is to pile some on top of a fried egg and eat it with toast and sop up the egg and grits with the toast----yummy

  42. Hate to tell you but this was not southern grits. It was corn meal. Southern grits uses hominy or white grits and is much smoother when properly cooked.

  43. Anonymous8/05/2013

    Carolynn says...
    I'm new to the blog but I so agree with Lizzy. Stone ground grits and Bob's Red Mill Grits-Polenta are two different animals. Bob's are very finely ground and sifted, stone ground are very coarse and not sifted. That is what is loved and cooked in the deep south and called grits(white or yellow). I love the slow cooker recipe. I added ham and cheese at the beginning and just let it roll on low overnight for 7 hours, from about 11 till 6 am. They are awesome. Thanks for the recipes. Keep 'em coming.

  44. As a true southerner knows...grits are nothing more than a conduit for butter and salt. My suggestion...double the butter and multiply the salt by about 8...you'll thank me! Yum!

  45. I need mine to survive in the crock pot for about 20 hours! Does this seem possible?

  46. This sounds like a great thing to do before going to bed on Saturday night since I'm pressed for time before going to church on Sunday mornings..I won't use Polenta though..I will use real grits since I'm a Southerner..