These goat cheese grits are topped with burst tomatoes, chicken and basil for a comforting meal full of flavor and big on comfort.

Goat cheese grits topped with chicken and tomatoes in a white bowl.
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A while back, I had this fantastic breakfast bowl from Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, NC, with a whole bunch of deliciousness piled on top of goat cheese grits.

I have never really been a huge fan of grits. I’ve always preferred polenta, and its creaminess over the usual coarseness of grits. I’ve also mostly tried plain grits in a breakfast preparation with just butter, and I found it quite boring.

But once you throw goat cheese in there with its tangy flavor and creamy texture, I now have a completely different view on grits.

As in, they’re amazing, and I want to eat them with everything.

I love this dish because it combines total comfort food with the freshness of end-of-summer produce. Fresh garden cherry tomatoes are sautéed with sherry wine and tossed with basil and shredded chicken for a quick topping and served over these creamy goat cheese grits.

It’s a serious flavor explosion in your mouth.

Wooden spoon in a white bowl with creamy grits, goat cheese, chicken and burst tomatoes.

What are goat cheese grits?

This goat cheese grits recipe is a dish born from Southern culinary traditions that combines the hearty, comforting texture of grits with the tanginess of goat cheese. As a typical low-country food from the southern parts of the United States, grits are often served with main courses at dinner, as a filling breakfast option or during festive gatherings. 

Beyond their southern heritage, grits have gained popularity nationwide for their delightful taste and easy preparation. They can be prepared in various ways and often include adding cheeses like cheddar or goat cheese.

What does it taste like?

Goat cheese grits have a simple but unique flavor profile. The grits provide a grain base with a hearty texture similar to other satisfying options like rice, polenta and mashed potatoes. At the same time, the goat cheese adds a creamy richness and savory tanginess. 

The dish is simple, satisfying, and versatile, making it a perfect accompaniment to various meals or as a standalone dish.

A spoon in a bowl of goat cheese grits with chicken and tomatoes.

Key ingredients to make goat cheese grits

Here are the essential components for creating this dish:

Goat cheese: Opt for creamy fresh goat cheese for that distinct tangy creaminess. Feel free to experiment with goat cheddar cheese for a subtle twist.

Substitution: Feta or cream cheese can be alternatives for a similar flavor profile.

Grits: Choose from quick-cooking, stone-ground, or old-fashioned grits, ensuring a hearty texture.

Substitution: You can use polenta as a substitute for a slightly different texture.

PRO TIP: stone-ground grits may take up to 30 minutes to cook as opposed to quick-cooking grits.

Unsalted butter: Choose quality butter for richness and depth of flavor.

Add-on: Enhance richness by adding a tablespoon of cream, if desired.

Salt and black pepper: A touch of salt and ground black pepper brings out the savory notes.

Add-on: Consider a pinch of cayenne pepper for a subtle heat or fresh herbs such as scallions, chives, rosemary or basil for added freshness.

Experimenting with these substitutions and add-ons allows you to customize the dish to your taste preferences.

How to make goat cheese grits

Start by bringing a liquid such as water, milk or chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once the liquid reaches a rolling boil, add a pinch of salt and gently stir in the grits. To achieve optimal consistency, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the mixture simmer for approximately 5 minutes. 

When most of the liquid is absorbed, remove the cover and whisk in the goat cheese until creamy and smooth — season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. 

Creamy goat cheese grits with shredded chicken, basil and cherry tomatoes.

What to serve with this dish

Most bowls of grits are served with a protein alongside or on top of the dish. You’ll often see grits paired with a poached or fried egg for breakfast, like in this pumpkin bacon grits recipe or this more traditional grits breakfast with sausage and cheese.

Shrimp is a classic traditional protein pairing you’ll often see accompanying grit recipes.

This recipe, however, uses shredded rotisserie chicken, tomatoes and basil to create a topping that rounds out the meal using simple ingredients with an easy preparation.

Other vegetables that go well with grits include sautéed mushrooms, fresh corn kernels (as a nod to the cornmeal from which grits are ground), and bell peppers. 

How to store leftover goat cheese grits

It’s best to immediately serve and consume these grits to enjoy the creamy texture. Once they sit and rest, the grits will firm up. 

But if you have leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container to preserve moisture and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop with a splash of liquid and stir occasionally. Avoid extended storage for the best texture and flavor.

More recipes like this to try:

Slow cooker balsamic pork with creamy polenta — This recipe exudes serious comfort food vibes with a succulent crockpot pulled pork recipe that sits atop a bed of creamy polenta.
Skillet cheddar polenta with sausage — A quick and easy dinner that combines cheddar cheese and quick-cooking polenta with salty Italian sausage and cranberries for a bright and sweet bite.
Mashed yuca — If you love the creamy comfort of grits, you’ll adore mashed yuca. It’s another gluten-free option, like grits, that will delight with its filling nature and smooth texture.

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Creamy Goat Cheese Grits

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Wooden spoon in a white bowl with creamy grits, goat cheese, chicken and burst tomatoes.
These goat cheese grits are topped with burst tomatoes, chicken and basil for a comforting meal full of late summer flavor.


  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons sherry wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 4 cups liquid, I use a combination of water and milk
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking grits
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 7-10 minutes until tomatoes are starting to burst and shrivel.
  • Add the sherry wine and basil and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the liquid is mostly cooked off.
  • Add the shredded chicken, toss to combine and remove from heat.
  • Meanwhile, bring your liquid to a boil in a medium sauce pot.
  • Once boiling add a generous pinch of salt and stir in the grits.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
  • Remove the cover, whisk in the goat cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spoon the grits into a bowl and top with the chicken and tomato mixture.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 189kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 16gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 314mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. I’m with you, every time I’ve had grits I’ve been unimpressed. But I have known goat cheese to ameliorate even worse food, so this sounds awesome to me! Those tomatoes!! oh my.

  2. I have never tried grits before! Definitely inspired to go out and get some and make this recipe.. curious to know what it tastes like.

  3. Love everything about this! The tomatoes, basil, shredded chicken, and most of all that creamy goat cheese!

  4. Too funny, I am totally the same way. I live down south but just don’t like grits, there is no flavor and the texture weirds me out. But I haven’t thrown goat cheese in there yet… doing it! Loving the burst tomatoes on top of this too, amazing Gina!

  5. I’m so glad you posted this! I need to finish off some goat cheese in my fridge so I don’t just eat it with a spoon. This is probably going to be dinner tomorrow night. Thank you!