How Thick Your Grits Should Really Be

If you're from the South, you are most likely familiar with grits and may have enjoyed them a time or two as a welcomed accompaniment to your bacon and eggs. Mainly used as a warm traditional morning staple or with added protein as a main dinner course, grits are known for their heartiness and exceptionally creamy consistency, that is, when you cook them for the right amount of time.

There seems to be an array of common mistakes you can make when cooking grits over the stove, especially if you're not familiar with water to cornmeal ratios or cook times. The most common error could simply be you're not stirring your grits enough.

Grits can be compared to something like porridge when it comes to texture, but they also don't have the overly smooth composition that polenta does in traditional Italian dishes. Made from dried corn that has been ground into coarse cornmeal, grits generally house a very mild flavor, so people tend to dress up their grits with plenty of butter, salt, and herbs.

You may wonder, is there a right consistency for grits? Is there a way they should look and feel before you dive in so you can achieve the ultimate gritty experience?

The thickness level of grits is based on personal preference

Sure there are a variety of ways you can mess up your grits when they're bubbling on your stove, but achieving the desired consistency based on what you like is the most important element of a well-loved dish. According to Foods Guy, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the thickness level of your grits.

While Paula Deen swears by this method for perfect grits, really what's needed is an ample amount of patience (via Bon Appetit). Regardless of whether you like them exceptionally runny or super thick, you want to make sure they're evenly cooked. While some people suggest a 4:1 water to cornmeal ratio, Dawn Perry, food editor for Bon Appetit likes a 5:1 ratio with continual whisking to ensure your grits cook all the way through and no uncooked lumps remain.

Another great tip according to one chef is to soak your grits overnight. Also, be wary of how many excess spices or add on's you're throwing into the pot. As mentioned above, grits have a more mild flavor and they are typically most loved with a hefty amount of butter and salt with a few splashes of milk to finish it off.

Whether you are cooking grits to eat alongside an omelet, or making a big pot for dinner and tossing in some buttery shrimp, how you like your grits is totally up to you.