Grits and polenta are both dried corn. When cooked, both are also referred to as cornmeal mush. They’re each cooked until they’re thick and creamy and are like a blank canvas for toppings and stir-ins like cheese, sauteed veggies, meats, poultry and seafood.
Here’s how they’re different. Grits are made by grinding white corn or dried hominy (dried corn that’s been soaked, with the hulls and germs removed) into tiny granules. Grits are available in quick-cooking and instant varieties. Grits are a popular side dish in the South, where they’re often accompanied by shrimp or fried fish.
Polenta, which is typically served with Italian fare, is made from ground yellow corn. It’s slightly coarser than grits in texture and once it’s cooked, polenta can be cooled, cut into shapes and grilled or fried. Polenta can also be purchased in a tube already cooked, ready to be sliced and cooked further.
Check out Chef Danielle’s recipe for Shrimp ‘n Grits with Champagne Cream Sauce.