How to Cook Grits in the Microwave

by Irena Eaves

Grits are a traditional southern staple similar to Italian polenta. It's a soft porridge made of ground cornmeal that's incredibly versatile. It can be served for breakfast, topped with an egg or sweetened with maple syrup or brown sugar. It's often used a base for shrimp or sausage for dinner. Grits can take rather long to make on the stove top, up to an hour in some cases, but you can whip up a batch in the microwave in less than 15 minutes. Preparing grits in the microwave is also an excellent way to prepare a meal for one without creating a mountain of dirty dishes.

Step 1

Combine 1 part grits and 5 parts water in a microwave-safe dish. Use old-fashioned grits, not the instant varieties, which have already been cooked then dehydrated. You can also use any coarse- or medium-ground cornmeal, sometimes labeled as polenta. Season the grits with a pinch of salt.

Step 2

Microwave the grits on high for six minutes. Stir thoroughly to combine. Return the grits to the microwave and continue to cook on high until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about five to seven minutes longer, depending on the strength of your microwave.

Step 3

Stir the grits. Cover the dish and allow the grits to stand for five minutes. Top with a few pats of softened butter and serve warm.

Items you will need

  • Old-fashioned grits or cornmeal
  • Salt
  • Butter (optional)


  • Add two to three tablespoons of milk halfway through cooking for creamier grits.

About the Author

Irena Eaves began writing professionally in 2005. She has been published on several websites including RedPlum, and Eaves holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Boston University.