How to Thicken Grits After Cooking

How to Thicken Grits After Cooking

Grits are a simple hot breakfast cereal eaten in the southern United States. Grits on the stove usually are thinned with water, vinegar, or milk to make them creamy. However, if you happen to prepare too many grits for breakfast or have leftover grits from dinner, thickening a serving of leftover grits requires a few different steps. Continue reading to learn how to thicken grits after cooking.

There are two ways to thicken grits after cooking: standing and stirring. The first method is to cook the grits as normal but set them to the side off the fire. You then add a tablespoon of corn starch or rice flour per cup of water used in your recipe and let it sit for 30 minutes. 

Next, strain the liquid into a saucepan, stirring through the thickening agent that you made with the corn starch or rice flour. Let it come to a boil, and you have some nice thickened grits.

 It is possible to thicken the broth in your grits after being cooked, but it is difficult to replicate the exact creamy consistency of fresh-made grits. The trick lies not in adding ingredients but in reducing the remaining liquid by simmering the grits for an extended period on low heat.

How to Thicken Grits After Cooking

How to Thicken Grits After CookingIf you want the grits to be thicker, increase the amount of cornmeal to the water ratio. For every 3 cups of water, add 1 cup of grits. It will make them thicker without adding any ingredients afterward. Cook as usual until thickened, which should take about 30 minutes.

Adding Ingredients After Cooking

If you have already cooked the grits and they need to be thicker, add one of these ingredients while they are still hot:

Add a bit more cornmeal if you want a grainy texture to your grits. Stir it well and cook for another 5 minutes over medium heat for thickening.

Add a small amount of potato flakes for a smooth texture and quick thickening agent. Potato flakes are dehydrated potatoes that cook quickly when added to hot liquids like cooked grits. Stir in 1/4 cup at a time until desired thickness is reached.

Add cheese for a cheesy flavor and a thickening agent for your cooked grits. 

Here is a step by step guide:

1. Put the grits in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, frequently stirring, for about five minutes.

 2. Add the salt and stir until well combined.

 3. Combine the flour or cornstarch and powdered milk in a small bowl. Add enough water to make a thin paste, then add this mixture to the grits.

 4. Stir the grits frequently until they are as thick as you prefer to eat them.

Can You Add Flour to Thicken Grits?

You can add flour to thicken your grits. However, if you want to make sure they’re as thick as possible, try adding a little bit of flour at a time until you get the consistency you desire. It is not recommended to add it at the beginning because it will make them stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Instead, add a small amount (a teaspoon at a time) during the last five minutes of cooking time, constantly stirring until it reaches your desired consistency.

I recommend using bleached white flour because it’s the most versatile, but you can also use whole wheat or rye flour if you’re adventurous. Whichever type of flour you choose, simply add it to your grits and stir well until it’s dissolved.

However, this is not the best choice because it’s time to cook out the raw flour taste. One option is to reduce your cooking liquid by nearly half and add a bit of butter before serving, giving you a thicker product. Another option is to use cornstarch to thicken your grits instead.

To use cornstarch:

  1. Simmer one cup of water and remove it from heat.
  2. Add two tablespoons of cornstarch, constantly whisking until all lumps are gone.
  3. Bring back up to a boil and simmer for two minutes.
  4. Add this thickened water back into your grits until they are at the consistency you prefer.

Will Cheese Thicken Grits?

Will Cheese Thicken GritsThe cheese will help thicken your grits if they’re on the runny side. And not just any kind of cheese will do. Research shows that milder cheeses like mozzarella or Monterey Jack will be best for helping you get that perfect texture for your grits.

The main thickener in cheese is protein, and it typically includes a fair amount of fat. Grits are generally fairly thin and runny, but adding some cheese will give them somebody to be more like a thick porridge when they’re finished cooking. Cheese also adds flavor to the dish.

However, if you’re going to add cheese before cooking the grits, you should use a cheese that melts well. If you add the cheese after cooking them and just heat them again, any cheese will melt nicely into the hot grits.

How to Thicken Watery Polenta

There are two ways to thicken watery polenta:

  1. Add more cornmeal
  2. Cook it longer

Both will work, but I prefer the latter because you’ll get a softer polenta.

Adding more cornmeal will get thicker and stickier because there’s not enough water to cook the additional cornmeal.

Another way to thicken watery polenta is with some flour or cornmeal. Simply add a few tablespoons of flour or cornmeal to your polenta while it’s cooking, stir thoroughly (but not vigorously—polenta thickens with agitation), and let it simmer until the texture is to your liking. 

You can also add an extra egg yolk or two if you’re looking for something a little more decadent—the combination of eggs and polenta creates an even creamier consistency than the flour alone.

Do Grits Thicken as They Cool

Grits are a popular Southern dish traditionally made from ground hominy but can also be from other whole corn kernels. 

Typical preparation involves boiling water, milk, or broth with salt and butter, then adding the grits and reducing the heat to simmer for 15 minutes. The result is a porridge-like dish often served as a side for breakfast or dinner.

Although some people think that grits thicken like oatmeal does as they cool, this is not true. Grits are already thickened by the starch of the cornmeal or hominy used in preparing them; if you cook them too long, you will have a mushy consistency.

Furthermore, Grits are not inherently thick; instead, the more you cook them, the thicker they get. It is because the cornmeal absorbs water as it cooks, and the starch grains swell up into a mass. So if your grits were very thick before they started to cool down, that’s just because you’ve cooked them for quite some time, and they’re done cooking.

Why Do My Grits Taste Bitter?

Why Do My Grits Taste BitterYou might be cooking your grits too long, giving them a bitter taste. The general rule is that if you’re using quick-cooking grits, they will take about 5 minutes to cook. If you’re using regular grits, they’ll take about 20 minutes. The thicker and creamier you’ll get, the longer you cook them, the more bitter they become.

Another factor that causes your grits to taste bitter is that the grits are old and stale. To avoid this problem, be sure to check the “best by” date before purchasing grits, and once you bring them home, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Furthermore, you can find a brand that doesn’t mix in added sugars or seasonings because those will make your grits taste bad. The next most important thing is to make sure the brand of grits you buy has had its husk carefully milled off—this requires more labor than just crushing the whole grain, but it makes a big difference in taste and texture.

Once you have a good quality bag of grits, cook them according to the directions on the bag, then add some butter or salt—whatever flavors you like in your grits. If they still aren’t tasting as good as they should, try cooking them for longer (or less long) or adding more water.

Do You Cover Grits When Cooking

You don’t have to cover grits when cooking, but you have to stir them almost the entire time until they’re done cooking. Covering them will help them cook a little faster, but it’s more important that you stir them well if you don’t want lumps.

Meanwhile, covering them ensures that your grits stay moist and delicious from when they hit your pot until they land on your table. The moisture will evaporate if you don’t cover them, leaving your grits dry and undercooked.

In addition, covering grits helps keep their heat in to reach the correct temperature for cooking.

If you’re cooking grits in the microwave, for example, in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or a microwave-safe lid, that’s fine. But once you stop the microwave, remove the cover so it can cool down without getting soggy.

Are Grits Supposed to Be Gritty?

No, grits are not supposed to be gritty. Sometimes though, if you want them a little bit more textured, you can use grits that have been coarsely ground. These grits will have more texture than the average grit.

There are two reasons for this: 

1. Chicken stock and butter are both thicker than water or milk, so they coat each grain of grits.

2. when you cook the grits at a lower temperature, you can break down some of the starches in the grind and make a smoother, creamier texture.

Finally, popcorn grits made from popped popcorn kernels ground into fine particles. They’re typically smoother than other types of grits, but they can vary depending on how finely they were ground.

How to Tell When Instant Grits Are Done

How to Tell When Instant Grits Are DoneThere are few things as tasty as a bowl of hot, creamy grits in the morning. Whether you’re eating them plain or adding your favorite flavors, they’re a great way to start the day.

Here’s how to tell when your instant grits are done:

Taste them: The best way to tell if instant grits are done is to taste them. Once the grits reach a creamy, thickened consistency, they are ready to serve. Cook instant grits uncovered in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add water as necessary during the cooking process.

Check the instructions on the package: Every brand of instant grits is slightly different, so it’s important to follow the directions carefully. The directions will tell you how long to cook your grits and what consistency you should expect. 


Contact the manufacturer directly if you can’t find your package or accidentally threw it away.

Stir while cooking: Before serving your grits, stir them well to ensure no lumps or clumps are left. If you notice any lumps after serving, use a spoon to mash them against the side of the bowl until they disappear into the saucepan.

Cooking time: The time it takes for instant grits to cook depends on the brand but usually ranges from five to 10 minutes. The package will have a recipe for the grits that can serve as a guide most of the time.

Sometimes, instant grits are ready to eat as soon as absorbing all of the water. In most cases, however, they are done once they reach a creamy consistency and begin to thicken.

Furthermore, when the grits are done, they should easily pour out of their container like melted cheese. If your grits look a bit dry, add a bit of milk or water to give them moisture.

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If you need to thicken your grits, there are plenty of options at your disposal, as stated in this article on how to thicken grits after cooking. Just be careful that you don’t overdo it. 

For example, stirring in butter or cream will add calories and saturated fat, which is the last thing we want to do when it comes to grits. So when it comes down to it, a little whole milk or half-and-half is the best option for righting your thin grits problem.

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