This is my absolute favorite breakfast casserole. I love it. My kids love it. Even my husband loves it and he is not really a casserole kind of guy. I bring it to brunch and baby shower potlucks and make it every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. It is always a huge hit! It can also be put together a day or two ahead of time and thrown in the oven to heat up the morning of which, in my book, gives it major bonus points.
My love for grits stems back to family Thanksgivings at my aunt’s house in Columbia, SC when she used to wake up early and make a huge pot of cheese grits with bacon and eggs on the side. Since I have always been a “food mixer” (someone who takes their fork and stirs everything on their plate around before eating it) naturally I would take this lovely spread of breakfast delights and mix and stir until my heart was content. That is to say, I have been making this cheesy grits casserole with eggs and bacon long before I ever knew it existed.
It is also my personal opinion that grits should never, under no circumstances, be eaten alone. Heavens no! They at least need butter and salt. I was once raving to a friend who had never tried grits about how much I loved them.
“Really?” she asked skeptically.
“Yes! You have to give them a try,” I affirmed.
She came back a few days later and declared that grits were the nastiest thing she had ever eaten in her life.
I was shocked.
“What?! Really?! Well, what did you put in them?” I asked.
“What do you mean what did I put in them? You didn’t tell me I had to put anything in them!”
Whoopsie. Rookie mistake.
Friends don’t let friends eat naked grits.
And this here casserole is anything but a bowl of naked grits. No, no. These grits have been gussied up in their Sunday best and adorned with all sorts of salty, savory accessories. It is anything but boring.
Without further ado, let’s get to it! This was the recipe of a dear friend’s mom and has been adapted over the years.Click here to jump right to the recipe!
- 2 cups dry grits
- 10-12 eggs, scrambled
- 1 lb of bacon
- 16 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 stick butter (I use salted)
- 1 cup sour cream (optional)
- Salt to taste
To save time, this casserole does require some multitasking so I highly recommend reading the whole recipe first before beginning.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Next, start frying the bacon. I throw the entire pound of bacon into a greased pan and cook on medium-low heat, stirring and flipping often until crispy. Place cooked bacon on a plate lined with a few paper towels.
I was informed by a friend that, apparently, this method of throwing the whole pound in at once is called the Arkansas Method of Frying Bacon. I just call it “faster” than cooking a few pieces at a time. You are also going to be crumbling this bacon up so there is no need for it to look pretty.
Pour bacon grease into a glass jar or a bowl lined with aluminum foil (see picture). Then, let it sit over night until the grease firms up and can be tossed in the trash. But DO NOT WASH THE PAN. Leave the drippings in the pan so you can scramble the eggs in them.
While the bacon is frying, cook grits according to package directions. It should be enough for about 5-6 servings which is typically equal to around 2 cups of dry grits. USE A BIGGER POT because you will be adding a lot of items to the grits.
I have always used the Jim Dandy brand of grits for no other reason than it costs $1 and lasts a long time. Score! If the grits are too thick, slowly add in more water just a ¼ cup at a time and stir until they are just right, not too thick and sticky and definitely not too thin and runny. Got that, Goldilocks?
Just a side note about cooking grits: Most instructions say to reduce heat to low and cover to cook grits for 5-10 minutes. However, I NEVER COVER THE POT because the grits bubble out every single time and make a huge mess. They will cook just fine if you are stirring them often and leave the pot uncovered.
While grits are cooking and bacon is frying, shred the 16 oz sharp cheddar cheese. This seems laborious but it only takes approximately one minute to shred an 8 oz block of cheese. If this step is too daunting, it is also perfectly acceptable to use the bags of pre-shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I do that sometimes, too. But, truth be told, the block cheese that you shred yourself really does taste so much better. I can’t explain it. Maybe because it is less processed?
Once grits are cooked, stir in the one stick of butter until completely melted. Sometimes I only use a half stick of butter because… that is a lot of butter, people!! The casserole will come out delicious even with the half stick so you choose.
Next, stir about 2/3 of the cheese into the grits. Save the other 1/3 to sprinkle over the top of the casserole once it is in the pan.
At this point, if you would like to add the 1 cup of sour cream to the grits, do so now. It is delicious and adds a little zing to the whole dish. I usually do not, however, because there is a member of my family (my husband) whose arch enemy is sour cream and they can sniff out sour cream in a casserole from a mile away.
Add salt to taste if you desire.
Crumble the bacon. I like to use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut it into tiny pieces. Add approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the bacon to the grits mixture, saving some to sprinkle on the top of the casserole along with the remaining cheese.
While this is all going on, scramble the 10-12 eggs in the same pan that you cooked the bacon in so the eggs can soak up the leftover bacon drippings, adding a little more flavor.
Once the eggs are scrambled, add them to the grits mixture and stir really good. We are adding a ton of things to this pot of grits which is why I mentioned in the beginning to use a bigger pot so it does not over flow. It appears in the below picture I was not following my own advice. If you fear your pot is too small and a grits volcano is about to erupt, pour all the contents into a bigger bowl before stirring and mixing.
Finally, pour the grits mixture into a GREASED 9×13 baking dish.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and then the remaining crumbled bacon.
Put in the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you are making this casserole a day or two ahead of time and will be pulling it out of the refrigerator, increase cooking time to about one hour.
I wanted to add a picture of my sink after I was all done.
Yikes! Don’t let this intimidate you! All good meals require some clean up. I just wanted you to know that my kitchen can be a helter-skelter mess, too. Social media rarely shows the behind the scenes chaos so I thought I’d add a touch of real life.
You guys, it is so delicious and I hope you and your family enjoy it! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!Print Recipe
Cheesy Grits Casserole with Eggs and Bacon
Nothing says southern like a bowl of grits! This casserole combines grits, sharp cheddar cheese, eggs and bacon. I mean, can it get more delicious than that?! Time and time again this dish turns heads and make mouths water. Always a crowd pleaser!
- 2 cups Grits Cook enough for approx 6 servings according to package directions
- lb bacon Fried
- 16 oz sharp cheddar cheese You can shred two, 8 oz blocks or use two, 8 oz bags of pre-shredded cheese
- 12 large eggs I use 10 to 12 eggs, depending on what I have in the fridge
- 1 stick butter Using a half stick works well too if you want to cut calories and fat
- 1 cup sour cream Optional
- Salt To taste
*Try to multitask with this one to save time. For example, cook grits, shred cheese and crack eggs into a bowl while the bacon is frying.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fry one pound of bacon in a pan on medium-low heat. Throw the whole pound it at once. You are going to crumble it up anyway so it doesn't need to look pretty. Once crispy, place on a plate lined with paper towels to cool. Drain off grease but leave bacon drippings in the pan.
On the stove in a large pot, cook approx 6 servings worth of grits according to package directions of the brand you are using.
Once grits are cooked and thickening, stir in one stick (or half-stick) of butter.
Crack 10 to 12 eggs into a bowl and whip until all yokes are broken and eggs are well-stirred.
Shred the 16 oz of cheese using a cheese grater (skip this if you bought the pre-shredded cheddar).
Scramble the eggs in the SAME pan that you cooked the bacon in so the bacon drippings get mixed in with the eggs (yuuuuummmmmm!)
Crumble the pound of bacon, reserving a 1/4 to 1/3 cup for garnish.
Stir in approximately 2/3 of the cheese, 2/3 of the crumbled bacon and all the scrambled eggs into pot with the grits and butter mixture. Add salt to taste. (If you want to add the sour cream for an added zing, mix that into the grits mixture as well.)
Pour grits mixture into a GREASED 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.
Bake in oven until cheese is bubbly, approx 15 minutes. (*Hint: you can make this casserole the night or two nights before and store it in the fridge. When you are ready to serve it, take it out and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.) Enjoy!