The Hack You Need To Be Using With Leftover Grits

There might be one thing Southerners love more than frying almost everything in sight — including their squash (via Grits and Gouda) and tomatoes (per AllRecipes) — and that's a hearty plate of steaming hot grits. According to kitchn, "Southern-style grits" are made with cornmeal (ideally stone ground) that is typically boiled in water or stock on the stove, then fortified with butter, salt, cheese, and cream (some folks even add sugar).

Grits were originally a dish eaten by disadvantaged Southerners, which has since evolved into a staple of Southern comfort food (per NPR). Enjoyed as a breakfast side or topped with crustaceans for classic shrimp and grits, it's no wonder this versatile porridge has become an American staple. But when you cook grits, you may find yourself with more leftovers than you know what to do with. While you can always reheat your grits to continue enjoying them as a hot breakfast, there's a crafty way to turn your leftovers into something entirely new.

Turn your leftover grits into cakes

One of the most interesting ways to repurpose your leftover grits is to turn them into grit cakes, which are just what they sound like — thick slices or "cakes" made out of grits that can be topped with just about anything — including gumbo, according to an Instagram post from heirloom grains specialists Anson Mills. Luckily, the process of making your leftover grits into cakes is nearly as easy as their original method of preparation.

As outlined by Southern Living, you'll want to place your leftover grits into cups covered with cellophane and then allow them to refrigerate and harden. Other methods to make sure your leftover grits thicken include leaving your grits in the freezer, which The Buttered Home recommends. Whichever strategy you choose, it's important that your grits are solid before you move on to the next step.

Southern Living goes on to explain that you'll want to prepare a skillet on the stove and then, after cutting your now firm grits into cakes (1/2-inch slices are suggested), place your discs of chilled cornmeal into the pan to cook. Once they turn light brown on both sides, you can dress the cakes with your preferred toppings and get to devouring.