Overnight cheesy grits casserole is some down-home delicious Southern breakfast or brunch fare - and perfect for prepping ahead!
First off, happy birthday to my husband!
It's his birthday today and as anyone with a December birthday can imagine, it tends to get lost in the shuffle a bit. Last year was a big one for him and we took a trip to Aruba to celebrate, but we're back to just the ho-hum version this year 😂
We do have J's preschool Christmas performance this morning though, and his parents are in town for the weekend so that counts, right? We're headed to my parents house tonight for cocktails and appetizers then home for me to make him one of his favorite dinners. (That I really should put on the blog for all of you!) Not too shabby after all. 👍
And without further ado... the FOOD!
I must be a good Southern girl if I’ve got a grits casserole in my repertoire. Right y’all? ❤️
This overnight cheesy grits casserole is my mom’s recipe and would probably be frowned upon in the fancy circles. It does not require the more upscale stone ground grits. (Did I use upscale to describe grits?)
Or even the now trendy Anson Mills grits that I love to get in Charleston, S.C.. (Did I use trendy to describe grits? We are still talking about ground corn, yes?)
This recipe uses plain ole regular grits. Honestly, I think it makes the dish more authentic, more down-to-earth. This is what real people have been using all along.
(Confession: I have totally made this using stone ground grits that I got from Charleston, S.C., the mecca of all things grits in my mind. But it’s not necessary.)
We always had this overnight cheesy grits casserole at our Christmas brunch with some of my mom’s side of the family when I was growing up. My cousin’s grandmother particularly loved it.
She would gush over all of the food, in her magnificent Southern lady drawl, but you could always tell the grits were her favorite. She was a good Southern girl too. 😉
She passed away a few years ago, but I will always think of her when I make this dish. Don’t you just love how food can connect us that way? 💕
OK, let's get cooking.
Now, I’ve got some notes and substitutions coming up on how to make grits casserole. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on overnight cheesy grits casserole:
- Regular grits are fine to use here, as are stone-ground grits — just follow the package directions. I don’t recommend quick or instant grits.
- If you taste the grits after you cook them and add the butter and cheese, you may be tempted to stop there. And that would be OK. But this dish only gets more magnificent if you add the remaining ingredients and bake it off the next day.
- You’ll need to temper the eggs by adding a small amount of the hot cooked grits to your bowl of beaten eggs. This helps increase the temperature of the eggs slowly so you can add them to the grits and incorporate the without them cooking. Scrambled eggs and grits are good, but this is not that dish.
- We've always made this and let it sit overnight but I don't see any reason you couldn't bake it off right away if you wanted to fix it the morning of your brunch.
We frequently serve this overnight cheesy grits casserole with my make ahead healthy sausage breakfast casserole. It'd be great with this hash brown breakfast casserole, too.
And since those can all be prepped the night before, it makes Christmas morning — or whenever you’re serving a group brunch — way more stress-free. 👍
Hope you find a way to work in some Southern grits goodness for your holiday plans - or just your next brunch party!
Overnight cheesy grits casserole
Overnight cheesy grits casserole is some down-home delicious Southern breakfast or brunch fare!
- 1 ½ cups uncooked regular grits
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons paprika, divided
- 3 large eggs
- Cook grits according to the package directions.
- Add butter and cheese to the hot, cooked grits and stir until melted.
- Add Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon of the paprika to the grits, mixing well.
- In a small bowl, beat the three eggs. Add a small amount of hot grits to the bowl with the eggs to temper them, stirring well. (This helps get the eggs to the right temperature to mix with the grits, without cooking them.)
- Slowly add the egg mixture to the cheesy grits, stirring continuously, until well-combined.
- Pour grits into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon paprika.
- Let cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and remove the baking dish from the refrigerator to sit for 15 minutes.
- Bake, uncovered, at 325 for 1 hour or until set.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Regular grits are fine to use here, as are stone-ground grits — just follow the package directions for cooking them. I don’t recommend quick or instant grits.
We’ve always made this and let it sit overnight but I don’t see any reason you couldn’t bake it off right away if you wanted to fix it the morning of your brunch.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 127mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
I'm totally not Southern (at all!!) but I do love grits 🙂
Ah well then you have a little Southern in your soul 😉
Grits are my comfort food so obviously I am swooning over this recipe
These are definitely swoon-worthy Allie 😉
Yeah! I just received my "FANCY" grits in the mail and can't wait to try this recipe.
Haha, yay! I hope you love it Esther!
Lordy I loved this recipe!! I made then for Christmas breakfast 2016 and everyone loved it...I'm going to to make it again and overnight it for a terrific dish for tomorrow's!!
Oh yay, thank you so much for leaving a comment! I'm so happy to hear you loved it - it's one of our family favorites! Have a great weekend! 😊
I'm a northern gal... never even heard of grits until moving south. They sound delicious and I will be making them soon. Thank you.
I hope you love them Sandy! This is a recipe I grew up with and still one of my favorites! (Also, stay tuned because I have another grits recipe coming up in just a couple of weeks!)
Have you ever cooked this off in a slow cooker vs the oven? I want to make this to take to a brunch at work - and I'm worried about them sitting too long if I bake before I get to work. Thanks for the recipe - looks great.
I haven't done it in a slow cooker so I'm not really sure what the timing and settings should be for that... would love to hear if you try it though! (You could also bake it then transfer it to the slow cooker if you wanted to do it that way.)
Thanks for your response. I did try this in the crockpot, and I’ll call it a success.
It didn’t turn out as a casserole, but the grits were creamy and tasty. I loved being able to assemble the night before. I cooked in the crockpot the next morning on low for @2 hours, then turned to warm. There was a bit of liquid on top, but once I stirred well, that was fine.
All who tried them liked them. Thanks!
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it Kelley!! Thanks so much for sharing how you fixed it in the slow cooker, too!
Used this recipe as a starting point. Was preparing a meal for six, and grits tend not to make particularly good leftovers, so reduced recipe by a third, using 1 cup grits, 2 eggs, etc. Also, added three ounces of cream cheese and a jar of pimento, well drained. Baked in a 1 1/2 quart au gratin dish. It was well received and there was plenty. Had a request for the recipe. Used only a medium sharp cheddar, because that's what I had. Will use a very sharp cheddar if I do again, which I likely will.
I'm so happy to hear everyone enjoyed this - thanks so much for sharing! And loved hearing your adjustments - know that will be helpful for others as well!
Thanks for this. Looked for a long time to find a recipe that calls for regular and not quick cook grits.
In response to Agatha’s comment above, grits make excellent leftovers in my opinion. Pour the leftovers into a greased shallow pan and refrigerate. Next day, cut a square and fry in butter like polenta. I like mine with a splash of maple syrup 🙂
Yay, so happy you found it! And I love your idea for leftovers - yum!
Was just wondering what result will be if using quick grits. I have a whole box! Thank you/ don’t want to waste other ingredients with trying before asking.
Hi! I haven't tested this with quick grits, so I'm not sure how they'd work or what adjustments might be needed. (I have a feeling that cook time, liquids needed and texture might be impacted.)
Can I make this and freeze it before baking? I need to make it about a week in advance. Thanks!
Hi Melissa! I've not tried freezing it, but I've read that it's OK to do. Make sure to cover it really well and then freeze it for up to 2-3 weeks. Be sure to thaw it completely overnight before baking so it gets evenly heated through. Hope that helps!
Has anyone attempted this with an egg replacement, ground flax, or ground chia for the egg? I have a family member allergic to eggs and I’d love to give it a whirl.
Hi there! I've made this as just cheesy grits, omitting the eggs and the baking of it, and that works well. But I haven't tried it with an egg substitute. Let me know if you do!