This Vegan Grits recipe is creamy and full of flavor. The grits are cooked with non-dairy milk until smooth and creamy.

Add vegan shredded cheese and vegan butter for an amazing side dish or a hearty breakfast!

If you love Southern cuisine then this vegan grits is a must-try. My other favorite vegan Southern recipes are Vegan Gumbo, Vegan Dirty Rice, and Vegan Chicken And Dumplings.

Vegan grits recipe in black bowl close up with spoon

I first was introduced to grits back in the 90’s when I visit Nassau, Bahamas. Eating grits and eggs for breakfast was a staple. For years I didn’t eat grits until we moved to Florida.

I have done many catered events and grits were always a popular menu item. I have since grown to love grits, even though I grew up with lots of cornmeal-based recipes like Turned Cornmeal, Jamaican Blue Draws, Cornmeal Pudding, and Cornmeal Porridge

Grits originated from the Native American Muskogee tribe, who resided in the Southeastern USA. They ground whole dried corn using stone into coarse gritty cornmeal similar to hominy or maize.

They served their corn grits to the colonists where it became popular. Today, it is the official state food of South Carolina. 

Grits can be made creamy or cheesy, although I love both ways of preparing grits, I’m sharing with you the cheesy method with the addition of vegan shredded cheese.

My husband and children don’t like grits unless I make them because most people only make theirs plain with water and salt. Grits made plain is bland and definitely a turn-off for someone eating grits for the first time.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Creamy and Flavorful: The recipe results in creamy and flavorful grits that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
  • Vegan and Dairy-Free: Perfect for those following a vegan or dairy-free diet, as it uses non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and vegan shredded cheese.
  • Historical Roots: Grits have a rich history, originating from the Native American Muskogee tribe and becoming a staple in Southern cuisine. This recipe pays homage to that tradition.
  • Whole Grain and Nutritious: Stone-ground grits, used in this recipe, are less processed and more nutritious compared to quick-cooking or instant grits. They retain the germ, providing more fiber and nutrients.
Grits in a gold measuring cup with a bag of grits in the background

Ingredients Needed

  • Grits – I used traditional stone-ground grits, I prefer it because it is a whole grain with all the germ intact, it is more nutritious, has more fiber, less processed than quick-cooking grits. Find unprocessed stone-ground grits in most major supermarkets, health food stores, or online on Amazon.
  • Non-Dairy Milk – use your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk, almond, oat milk, rice milk, and cashew milk. I used almond milk
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes – are added to give a cheesy flavor boost and also it is used by vegans as a B12 supplement.
  • Vegan Butter – added to give a buttery flavor, I used Earth Balance vegan buttery spread.
  • Vegan Shredded Cheese – Give extra cheesy flavor, use your favorite vegan shredded cheese or make your own
Grits being poured from a measuring cup into the saucepan on the stovetop

How To Make Vegan Grits

  1. Bring non-dairy milk, water, yeast flakes, and salt to boil in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. 
  2. Slowly add grits and stir with a whisk while cooking, especially as it thickens. Cover the saucepan, reduce to simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, stir grits with a whisk occasionally. 
  3. Stir in vegan butter and vegan cheese shreds, serve immediately, and garnish with vegan shreds. 

Expert Tips

  • Make sure to whisk your grits often to make sure no lumps are formed. This will ensure smooth and creamy grit.
  • Cook grits in non-dairy milk or vegetable broth for a flavorful result, grits cooked in water are bland. Add vegan butter and seasonings for taste.
  • The recipe has a lot of liquid because grits will further thicken as it cools, so I recommend you start with the amount written in the recipe. 

Substitutions and Variations

  • Spicy Vegan Grits: Add diced jalapeños, red pepper flakes, or your favorite hot sauce for a spicy kick. Garnish with sliced chili peppers for extra heat.
  • Garlic and Herb Vegan Grits: Sauté minced garlic in vegan butter before adding the grits. Season with fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, and parsley for a fragrant and savory twist.
  • Cajun Vegan Grits: Add in Cajun or Creole seasoning to give your vegan grits a new flavor.

Storage Tips

Refrigeration: Transfer any leftover grits to an airtight container while they are still warm. Let them cool to room temperature before sealing the container. Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.

Properly stored, refrigerated vegan grits can last for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: If you want to store grits for a longer period, you can freeze them. First, let the grits cool to room temperature. Portion the grits into freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags. Make sure to remove any excess air from the bags to prevent freezer burn.

Frozen vegan grits can maintain their quality for 1-2 months.

Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy the leftover grits, reheat them on the stovetop or in the microwave. If the grits have thickened upon refrigeration, you may need to add a splash of non-dairy milk or water while reheating to reach the desired consistency. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

Recipe FAQs

What are stone ground grits?

Stone-ground grits are a variety of grits made from dent corn, known for their less sweet and higher starch content, resulting in a creamier texture. They are less processed than quick-cooking and instant grits, produced using stone rollers or steel roller mills, which gives them a coarser texture. Stone-ground grits retain the germ, making them whole grain and more nutritious, whereas quick-cooking and instant grits are highly processed with the germ removed. Cooking stone-ground grits requires more time, typically taking about 30-60 minutes, in contrast to quick-cooking grits that cook in just 5-10 minutes.

Can you substitute cornmeal for grits?

Absolutely you can substitute cornmeal for grits! It will taste delicious, but the texture will be finer than grits. 

Are grits vegan?

They are naturally vegan, but traditional preparation often involves dairy-based ingredients. This vegan recipe uses non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and vegan cheese to make it suitable for a vegan diet.

Can I make the grits gluten-free?

Yes, you can make gluten-free grits by using certified gluten-free stone-ground grits and ensuring that all other ingredients are gluten-free, including the vegan cheese and nutritional yeast.

What To Serve With Your Grits?

Straight on view of grits in black bowl

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Vegan Grits Recipe

This vegan grits recipe is creamy and full of flavor. Grits are cooked with non-dairy milk until smooth and creamy. You can add vegan shredded cheese and vegan butter for an amazing side dish.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul, Southern
Keyword: Vegan grits recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 297kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn grits
  • 1 tablespoon Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 cup vegan shredded cheese

Instructions

  • Bring non-dairy milk, water, yeast flakes, and salt to boil in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat.
  • Slowly add grits and stirring with a whisk while cooking, especially as it thickens. cover the saucepan, reduce to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stir grits with a whisk occasionally.
  • Stir in vegan butter and vegan cheese shreds, serve immediately, garnish with vegan shreds.

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 548mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 913IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 262mg | Iron: 2mg