You Can Cook Grits In An Instant Pot. Here's How

Who doesn't want a hot, buttery bowl of grits — paired with poached shrimp, pulled pork, or maybe just a cup of coffee on the side? (People who don't want to have fun. That's who.)

The practice of grinding and cooking cornmeal is a wonderfully ancient one. According to food writer Erin Byers Murray, the Central American Indigenous were crafting the food as early as 8700 B.C. In more recent decades, the dish developed into a Southern classic. For a while, grits were mainly seen as a food for poor Southerners, but it's risen to the fine dining scene, much like its Italian, corn-based cousin — polenta (via NPR).

And, like polenta, making grits is no walk in the park. The process involves a lot of eyeballing, stirring, and standing attentively over a hot stove (via Bon Appétit). Sometimes, that's a nice, character-building activity. But other times, you just want the cheesy, buttery satisfaction without the sweaty work. Claire Lower, senior food editor at Lifehacker, wanted the same thing, which is why she concocted a match made in heaven: Fresh, hot grits and the convenient, easy-to-use Instant Pot.

While Lower's version takes the same amount of time to cook as traditional grits — around 40 minutes — she didn't have stand in the kitchen as they cooked. What better way to multitask than to end up with a bowl of delicious food?

(Somewhat) instant grits

In Lower's method, there's still a bit of stirring involved, though just for a few minutes. When the grits begin to boil, you should stir them with a whisk so that you don't end up with any sticky clumps. Once the grits are cheerfully churning on their own, you're free to close the Instant Pot, switch onto the porridge setting, and go about your next half hour doing whatever you'd like.

If you really want to get luxurious, try adding milk or even half-and-half to your Instant Pot grits. You can opt for water instead, but don't forget the butter, which adds that necessary, rich fat. Meanwhile, according to Lower, the grits may seem a little thin at first, but will morph into that lovely, porridge-y texture once they cool off a bit. And important note: Remember to wait a solid 10 minutes before opening up the pot. It's called a pressure cooker for a reason, and you want to release any excess pressure before getting to your grits (via The Spruce Eats).

If you're going for a big brunch, try poaching eggs or frying bacon while waiting for your grits to cook. Or if you're making dinner and want to impress, you can shred slow-cooked pork and toss it with a salsa. Or, sauté shrimp with a Cajun spice blend (which contains cayenne, thyme, and oregano) and pay a tasty homage to Southern cuisine (via Taste of Home).