Grits, a classic Southern dish made from ground corn, is a beloved comfort food that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
One of the best ways to elevate the flavor of grits is by adding cheese.
But with so many cheese options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.
That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you find the best cheese for grits, as well as some alternative options for those looking to mix things up.
Whether you prefer your grits savory or sweet, creamy or tangy, we’ve got you covered with a list of the top 10 cheeses that pair perfectly with grits.
So, let’s get started and discover how the right cheese can take your grits to the next level.
How to Pick the Right Cheese for Grits
When it comes to picking the right cheese for grits, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect cheese for your grits:
- Consider the texture: The texture of the cheese is important because it can affect how it melts and blends with the grits. For example, a hard cheese like Parmesan may not melt as well as a softer cheese like cheddar, but it can still add a nice nutty flavor to the dish.
- Think about the flavor: The flavor of the cheese is also crucial when choosing the right one for your grits. If you want a mild cheese that won’t overpower the grits, go for a young cheddar or Monterey Jack. For a stronger, more robust flavor, try a sharp cheddar or Gouda.
- Consider the meltability: Some cheeses melt better than others, and this can affect how they blend with the grits. Cheeses that melt well include cheddar, Swiss, and American cheese, while hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano may not melt as smoothly.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment: Grits are a versatile dish, and there are many different cheeses that can work well with them. Don’t be afraid to try different types of cheese to find the perfect match for your taste buds.
The 10 Best Cheeses for Grits
Now that we’ve covered how to pick the right cheese for grits, let’s take a look at the top 10 cheeses that are perfect for this Southern staple:
- Cheddar – A classic cheese that pairs well with grits, cheddar provides a rich, tangy flavor that can enhance the dish’s creaminess.
- Gouda – Gouda’s nutty, caramel-like flavor is a perfect complement to the subtle sweetness of grits.
- Monterey Jack – This mild, buttery cheese melts well and provides a creamy texture to the grits.
- Parmesan – A hard cheese with a nutty, savory flavor, Parmesan can add a subtle richness to grits without overpowering the dish.
- Fontina – With a mild, nutty flavor and excellent melting properties, Fontina is a great choice for adding creaminess to grits.
- Blue Cheese – For those who prefer a stronger, more pungent flavor, blue cheese can provide a tangy, salty kick to grits.
- Pepper Jack – Spicy and creamy, Pepper Jack adds a zingy kick to grits, making it a great option for those who like a little heat.
- Smoked Gouda – Smoked Gouda’s rich, smoky flavor can add depth and complexity to grits.
- Colby – Another mild cheese that melts well, Colby provides a subtle flavor that won’t overpower the grits.
- Brie – With its buttery, silky texture and mild flavor, Brie can add a touch of elegance to grits.
These 10 cheeses are just a few of the many options that can be paired with grits. The key is to experiment with different cheese types and combinations to find the perfect match for your taste buds.
7 Alternative Cheeses for Grits
While the cheeses listed in the previous section are all great options for grits, there are many other cheeses that can provide unique and delicious flavor profiles. Here are seven alternative cheeses to consider:
- Feta – Salty and tangy, feta can add a burst of flavor to grits, especially when paired with vegetables like spinach or roasted red peppers.
- Goat Cheese – Creamy and tangy, goat cheese can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of grits.
- Havarti – A mild cheese with a buttery texture, Havarti can add a subtle creaminess to grits without overwhelming the dish.
- Pecorino – A hard cheese with a slightly salty and nutty flavor, Pecorino can add a unique depth to grits.
- Queso Fresco – With its crumbly texture and mild flavor, Queso Fresco can provide a fresh, clean taste to grits.
- Vegan Cheese – For those who are vegan or lactose intolerant, there are many non-dairy cheese alternatives that can be used in grits, such as vegan cheddar, mozzarella, or cream cheese.
- Ricotta – Creamy and slightly sweet, ricotta can provide a delicate flavor and texture to grits, especially when combined with herbs like thyme or rosemary.
5 Tips for Pairing Cheese with Grits
Pairing cheese with grits is all about finding the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Here are five tips to help you create the perfect cheese and grits pairing:
- Consider the spiciness of the grits: If your grits are spicy, consider pairing them with a mild cheese like Monterey Jack or Colby to balance out the heat.
- Think about the sweetness of the grits: If your grits are on the sweeter side, consider pairing them with a nutty cheese like Gouda or Parmesan to add a savory contrast.
- Consider the acidity of the dish: If your grits are acidic, such as those made with tomatoes or lemon juice, consider pairing them with a mild cheese like Havarti or Fontina to balance out the tartness.
- Experiment with different textures: By combining different cheese textures, such as a melted cheese with a crumbly cheese like feta, you can add complexity and depth to the dish.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match: Some of the best cheese and grits pairings are unexpected combinations. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheese types to find the perfect match for your taste buds.
Cheese and grits are a match made in Southern heaven, and by following our guide, you can find the perfect cheese to take your grits to the next level. Whether you prefer a mild and creamy cheese like Monterey Jack, or a tangy and robust cheese like blue cheese, there’s a cheese out there that’s perfect for your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheese types and combinations to find the perfect match for your grits.
Remember, when pairing cheese with grits, it’s important to consider the dish’s flavor profile and texture, as well as your personal taste preferences. By following our tips, you can create unique and delicious cheese and grits pairings that are sure to impress.
We hope you found this guide helpful and that it inspires you to try new cheese and grits combinations. Whether you’re enjoying grits for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, adding the right cheese can take this classic Southern dish to new heights of flavor and satisfaction.
The 10 Best Cheeses for Grits
- Monterey Jack
- Blue Cheese
- Pepper Jack
- Smoked Gouda
- Select your favorite cheese from this article.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep a delicious cheese grits recipe in 30 minutes or less!