This southern classic has become a staple menu item on restaurant brunch menus but is easy enough to make at home. Our version pairs creamy, cheesy grits with shrimp, andouille sausage, and a delicious sauce. It comes together quickly and can be enjoyed any day, any time.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
There are four key ingredients along with a list of pantry staples.
The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.
- Grits: We used Luquire Family Food’s Stone Ground Grits which cook to creamy perfection and served as the perfect base for the shrimp and sauce. Feel free to substitute with your favorite brand of grits but the key is cooking the grits low and slow.
- Shrimp: You can use “fresh” or frozen shrimp for this recipe. Large or jumbo shrimp work best, but regardless the shrimp should be cleaned and deveined with the tails left on.
- Shrimp Stock: This secret ingredient adds another level of flavor to the dish but you can use chicken stock instead.
- Andouille Sausage: Typically pork based, you can substitute any type of andouille sausage such as chicken. Chorizo and kielbasa are also good substitutes if you are not a fan of andouille.
What is the Best Shrimp to Use?
Shrimp are not all created equal, which means the choices can be confusing and overwhelming. There is fresh or frozen, head-on or head-off, with shell or without, cocktail or jumbo, white or pink. The type of shrimp you choose comes down to personal preference and taste but some shrimp do better in certain dishes than others.
- Fresh vs Frozen – Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are getting shrimp that just arrived off the shrimper’s boat. The vast majority of shrimp is frozen at sea before being delivered to the distributor or retailer. When you see the display that says “fresh”…it more than likely isn’t.
- Shell – You typically have three options -shell on, easy-peel, or pre-peeled. While pre-peeled shrimp is the easiest to prep, you will probably end up with shrimp that are mangled and usually overpriced. Easy-peel shrimp have been split and deveined but will be a little more expensive. Just like pre-peeled shrimp, easy-peel might not make the best presentation, so our go-to is shell-on shrimp. They are a little more work but completely worth it, plus they are the least expensive option which is always a win. Don’t toss the shells… instead, use them to make a flavorful shrimp stock to add some additional flavor to your dish.
- Brown, White, or Pink – Here in south-central Texas, brown shrimp are plentiful but they are not the most flavorful of shrimp. Typically imported from Latin America, Thailand, and China, white shrimp are sweeter. Pink shrimp are the sweetest and have less of an ammonia or mineral taste.
For this recipe, we prefer brown or white large shrimp that still have their shells. It is extra work to clean and devein, but we use the shells to make the shrimp stock so it’s worth it.
How to Make Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage
Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.
Pro-tip: Don’t rush the grits. We can’t say this enough…cook your grits low and slow.
1. Shrimp Stock: In a small saucepan combine water and shrimp shells and boil until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove the shells from the liquid using a slotted spoon or spider, or pour the liquid into a bowl using a strainer and set the stock aside.
2. Grits: In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil. Once the water has reached a rapid boil, stir in the grits and reduce to low heat and cover. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the water has been completely absorbed and the grits are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese, butter, and salt until the cheese and butter have melted and are well combined.
3. Cook the Andouille Sausage: In a heavy-bottomed large skillet over medium heat melt butter and sauté the andouille sausage, onions, pepper, and garlic until softened, approximately 3 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and thyme stirring well, and allow to come to a simmer cooking for approximately 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and stir thoroughly to thicken the mixture.
4. Add the Shrimp: Add the cleaned and deveined shrimp to the andouille sausage mixture, stirring constantly until the shrimp has turned pink, approximately 2 minutes. To the shrimp mixture add ⅓ cup of the shrimp stock and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes being careful that the sauce does not boil. Stir in the tomato paste until blended well then add the cream, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and additional stock, if needed. The sauce should be spoonable which allows it to coat the shrimp.
5. Plating: Serve a portion of the cheesy grits topped with a spoonful of sauce, shrimp, and andouille sausage. Garnish with green onions, chives, and parsley.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Shrimp shells make a delicious stock and can be frozen for quick additions to shrimp or seafood recipes.
- Prep and measure all the ingredients before you start cooking since the recipe cooks quickly.
- Shrimp can go from perfect to overcooked quickly so be careful. Overcooked shrimp are rubbery and chewy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Leftover shrimp and grits should be stored separately in air-tight containers. The shrimp and sauce can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container.
This dish is best eaten immediately but if you have leftovers you can reheat them. The shrimp and sauce can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave but be careful not to overheat as the shrimp will become rubbery. The grits should be reheated on the stove in a saucepan with additional water or stock to help thin them out.
We love our grits with a little cheese but you can absolutely skip the cheese.
Let’s Connect! If you make our Southern Style Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage or any other recipe on Casual Epicure, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are considering making our recipes and we love hearing about your cooking experiences. And if you snapped some shots, share them on Instagram, and be sure to tag @casual.epicure so we can feature them in our stories.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this recipe, we recommend checking out some of our other shrimp recipes:
Southern Style Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage
- Small Saucepan (1.5 Quarts)
- Medium Saucepan (2.5 Quarts)
- Large Skillet
- 2 cups water
- shrimp shells, removed from the shrimp
- ¾ cup grits
- 3 ½ cups water
- 6 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Shrimp and Andouille Sausage
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¾ cup white onion, chopped
- ½ cup poblano pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peel and deveined
- ⅓ – ½ cup shrimp stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, stems removed for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish
- In a small saucepan combine water and shrimp shells. Boil until the liquid has reduced by half. Strain shells from the liquid and set the stock aside.
- In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil and stir in grits. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until the grits are tender and the liquid has been absorbed; stir often.
- Remove from the heat and stir in cheese, butter, and salt until well combined and cheese and butter have melted. Set aside but keep warm.
Shrimp and Andouille Sausage
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the andouille sausage, onions, pepper, and garlic until softened, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and thyme; stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and stir well.
- Add the shrimp, stirring constantly until the shrimp has started to turned pink, approximately 2 minutes. Add ⅓ cup of the stock and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful that the sauce does not boil.
- Add tomato paste and stir until blended. Add the cream, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and additional stock, if needed. The sauce should be spoonable that coats the shrimp.
- Serve a portion of the cheesy grits topped with a spoonful of sauce, shrimp, and andouille sausage. Garnish with chives and parsley.