Mastering Grits: The Top 3 Techniques for Perfectly Thickened Grits

How to thicken grits: The 3 Best Methods

Grits are a beloved Southern comfort food, perfect for warming up on a cold winter night or enjoying on a lazy summer morning. While grits are generally easy to make, there are times when they don’t come out quite right and end up too runny. But fear not! There are several simple techniques you can use to thicken your grits and achieve the perfect consistency. In this article, we will explore three of the best ways to thicken grits and ensure a delicious and satisfying dish.

Technique 1: Drain excess water

A common reason grits become too runny is excess water. To solve this problem, you can drain the excess water from your grits by following these steps:

  1. Prepare a coffee paper filter and place it in a colander.
  2. Use a measuring cup to scoop out some of the watery grits mixture.
  3. Be careful as the cooked grits will be hot.
  4. Pour the scooped grits through the filter over a sink.
  5. Pour the excess water through the paper filter.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape out any strained grits and return them to the saucepan.
  7. Stir the grits again and repeat the process until the desired thickness is achieved.

Although this method requires the proper filter and can be a bit messy if you use cheesecloth, it is an effective way to remove excess water and thicken your grits.

Technique 2: Heat for a longer time

If your grits are still too runny after cooking, you can try heating them for a longer period of time. Follow these steps to cook your grits to a thicker consistency:

  1. Return the cooked grits to a saucepan and place over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly until the mixture is hot enough to bubble.
  3. Allow the water in the pan to evaporate slowly, resulting in a thick and consistent mixture.
  4. This process can take about 20 to 30 minutes, so be patient.
  5. Once cooked, transfer the grits to a bowl and let them cool before tasting.

By reheating the grits for a longer period of time, you can reduce excess moisture and achieve a thicker texture.

Technique 3: Add an egg

Adding an egg to your grits is another effective way to thicken them. Follow these steps to add an egg to your grits:

  1. Take a medium-sized bowl and whisk a small egg into it.
  2. Whisk the egg into a well-beaten paste.
  3. Pour a small amount of the hot runny grits into the bowl with the egg and stir to temper the egg.
  4. Continue mixing until you have a creamy mixture without unwanted scrambled egg pieces.
  5. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the remaining grits.
  6. Stir the egg into the grits over medium heat and simmer.
  7. When the porridge reaches the desired thickness, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.

This method is a quick and efficient way to thicken your grits for a creamy texture.

Tips for cooking perfect grits

To make sure your grits are good and not too runny, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  1. Use the right amount of water: Be careful when measuring the water you use to cook your grits. Too much water will result in a watery consistency, while too little water may result in undercooked grits.
  2. Cook at the proper temperature: Avoid overcooking your grits by maintaining a medium to low heat. Stirring the mixture regularly will help ensure even cooking and prevent the grits from becoming too runny.
  3. Allow grits to settle: After cooking, let the grits sit for at least 10 minutes to reach the desired thickness. Patience is key to achieving the perfect texture.


Thickening your grits doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By using these three simple techniques-draining excess water, cooking longer, or adding an egg-you can easily achieve your desired consistency and enjoy a delicious bowl of thick and creamy grits. Remember to follow proper cooking techniques and keep an eye on the water-to-grit ratio to avoid ending up with runny grits. With these tips in hand, you’ll enjoy the comfort and flavor of perfectly thickened grits.


Why are my grits sometimes runny?

Grits can become runny due to factors such as using too much water, overcooking at high temperatures, or not letting them settle after cooking.

How do I fix runny grits?

There are a few effective ways to thicken runny grits. You can try draining off excess water, cooking them longer, or adding an egg to get the consistency you want.

Can I use cornstarch to thicken grits?

While cornstarch is commonly used as a thickening agent, it is not recommended for thickening grits. It can change the texture and flavor of the dish.

What is the best way to cook grits to keep them from becoming runny?

To avoid runny grits, use the right amount of water according to the recipe, cook over medium-low heat, and allow grits to settle for at least 10 minutes after cooking.

Can I use instant grits for these thickening methods?

Yes, you can use instant grits in these techniques. However, note that the cooking time and consistency may be slightly different than traditional stone-ground grits.

Are there alternatives to eggs for thickening grits?

If you prefer not to use eggs, you can try alternative thickeners such as cream, cheese or butter to add richness and thickness to your grits.