Brown Butter Shrimp Bowls with Cheese Grits

overhead shot of garnished bowl of shrimp and grits

These Brown Butter Shrimp and Cheese Grits are loaded with flavor! Cheesy and creamy grits topped with juicy, caramelized shrimp and loaded with delicious brown butter sauce! The perfect healthy comfort food! 

This recipe was originally published in December 2018 – I’ve since updated the photos and added additional blog content – enjoy!

I have to be honest with you. Anytime I think of shrimp, my mind immediately goes back to Forrest Gump where Bubba is naming allll the different types of shrimp there are in the world. 

If you’ve never seen that movie, I highly suggest you do, but especially THIS  scene! (Note, it does have language!) It’s hilarious and really opens your eyes to how many types of cuisines you can make with just ONE ingredient. Who knew shrimp could be so versatile? Bubba knew, that’s who. 

Why You’ll Love This Dish: 

This dish is wonderful. From the shrimp cooked in brown butter….yes, brown butter. 

If you’ve never had brown butter before, you MUST try it. The butter gets cooked down to where it has this delightful nutty flavor and caramelized brown color…the flavor is out of this world. 

close up of shrimp on top of grits in bowl with brown butter

The shrimp are just DELIGHTFUL. So juicy, perfectly cooked and seasoned – each one is the perfect poppable bite. 

And of course, I am from the South so you can’t forget about the grits! 

Y’all, these ain’t your average grits. 

These are thick, creamy and deliciously CHEESY grits. They melt in your mouth and are the perfect pairing with the juicy shrimp. 

side photo of creamy grits in gray bowl

I love the combination of textures in this dish. The creamy grits to the juicy pop in your mouth shrimp. SO good. Let’s not forget the last little bit of flavor when you drizzle brown butter over the ENTIRE BOWL OF SHRIMP AND GRITS. Oh yes, I went there. 

It’s no secret that I love…LOVE butter. I think mostly any dish can be enhanced with a dab of salted butter. It gives it that extra fat, and flavor and salt. I knew for this particular dish, I wanted to brown the butter. How do you do that, exactly? Let me tell you! 

How to Brown Butter:

In a large frying pan, add ½ stick (or more!) of butter into the pan when it’s warmed up and ready to go – medium heat! Then, on low-medium heat, I let the butter melt down and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes or until the color has literally changed to brown and it has begun to foam on top. It should look something like this: 

browned butter in pan

You want to keep an eye on the pan for the entire time though – because the second you move on to something else, it could burn! Trust me, I know from experience. I’m not sure there is anything sadder in the culinary world than unusable, burnt butter. 

The brown butter has a deep, rich flavor over the normal melted butter. It’s nutty and delicious and is the perfect compliment to the juicy shrimp. 

Ingredients You Need:

  • Raw shrimp (tail on or off) 
  • Yellow grits 
  • Salted butter 
  • Cheddar Cheese 
  • Water 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Best Tips for Cooking Shrimp and Grits: 

Cooking shrimp is SO super easy. Of course, depending on what type of shrimp you buy – whether it’s raw or pre-cooked etc., will depend on how you cook it. 

For this recipe, I used raw shrimp. I had to peel and devein them and everything. *shudders*..then I dried them off with a paper towel. 

If you did buy them frozen, feel free to just follow the directions on the package. 

shrimp cooking in brown butter in pan

For me, after you have browned the butter fully, go ahead and place your shrimp directly into the hot pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes – they DON’T take long to cook. Once they’re pink and opaque, they’re done. 

Cook grits according to package instructions. You can do the instant packs of grits to make life easier but I cooked mine on the stove-top. 

side view of garnished shrimp and grits bowls

I’ll place the measurements down below in the recipe card – but I cooked the grits until thick and creamy. Feel free to sub milk for extra creaminess. 

Add butter, lots of salt and pepper to taste and cheese of choice at the end and stir until fully incorporated and delicious. I think that sharp cheddar cheese tastes best!

Assembling The Bowls:

I think you probably know what to do here but just in case you need help..scoop a large helping of grits into the bowl. Top with the cooked shrimp and several tablespoons of browned butter. I also garnished mine with red pepper flakes and additional salt and pepper. SO GOOD. 

close up of spoon in bowl scooping up grits

This meal really has healthy comfort food written all over it. The perfect, super easy under 30 minute meal for the weekdays when you’re feeling stressed. Hope y’all enjoy it! 

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are some other shrimp recipes you should try: 

Spicy Shrimp Curry 

Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas 

Shrimp and Street Corn Tacos 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

5 from 4 votes

Brown Butter Shrimp Bowls with Cheese Grits

These Brown Butter Shrimp Bowls with Cheese Grits are loaded with flavor! Cheesy and creamy grits topped with juicy, caramelized shrimp and loaded with delicious brown butter sauce! The perfect healthy comfort food!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword brown butter shrimp and cheese grits, cheese grits, shrimp and grits
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Haylie


  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp (or you can used pre-cooked and frozen - if so, follow the instructions on the package for cooking. (1/2 lb is about 10-12 shrimp, feel free to use more or less for two people)
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • red pepper flakes for garnish

Cheese Grits

  • 1/2 cup ground yellow grits
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice (sharp cheddar tastes great here!)
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cooking Cheese Grits

  1. Begin by cooking your grits. In a large pot, allow 2 cups of water to come to a rolling boil. Add in 1/2 cup of ground yellow grits and lower the heat to simmer. Cook on low heat, covered, for 15 minutes or until thick and creamy. Once done, add in the 2 tbsp of salted butter, 1/2 cup of cheese and salt and pepper to taste. If needed, add a splash of milk to thin them out.

Cooking Shrimp

  1. If you're using raw shrimp, peel and devein them. Pat them dry and set them aside.

  2. Next, using a large skillet, melt your butter on low-medium heat for 4-5 minutes, CONTINUALLY STIRRING or until it begins to slightly change color and gets foam on top (see photo in blog post for reference!)

  3. Once that happens, add in your shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they are pink and opaque. DON'T THROW AWAY THE BROWN BUTTER BITS IN THE PAN! 

Assembling Brown Butter Shrimp Bowls with Cheese Grits

  1. Add a large helping of cheese grits into a bowl, followed by 5-6 shrimp. Garnish with red pepper flakes and 2-3 tablespoons of the remaining brown butter in the pan! Eat while hot! Enjoy!! 

9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. 5 stars
    Ha! Now you have me thinking of Forest Gump 😉 There is nothing better than brown butter…and that smell? Heavenly! I totally wish I could grab that bowl from my screen. Looks amazing Haylie!!

    1. Lol! I love that movie! One of my favorites!! Although it makes me cry everytime…and yes! Nothing better than brown butter. Or butter in general! Thanks so much, Dawn!!

  2. 5 stars
    The brown butter adds so much flavor! My mother and I made this for our book club meeting, since our book this month was set in the marshlands of eastern North Carolina. All thumbs up from the Alamance Book Club!

    1. Yes! You would just have to be super careful about the shrimp and very watchful of them. They cook so quickly! You’d have to do it in batches…and everyone might not be able to eat at the same time. You want people to eat the shrimp while it’s hot!

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