Cheesy Grits with Fried Eggs and Bacon

updated Oct 22, 2021
summer
Cheesy Grits with Fried Eggs and Bacon

Cheesy grits topped with a jammy fried egg, burst tomatoes, avocado, and crumbled bacon.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook40 minutes to 45 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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breakfast grits in a bowl with toppings
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Breakfast takes center stage once the weekend arrives, and there’s no better way to settle into Saturday than with a heaping bowl of grits. But instead of serving sides on a separate plate, why not pile them all on top? These creamy, cheesy grits are topped with juicy burst tomatoes, smoky bits of crisp bacon, slices of ripe avocado, and a lacy sunny-side-up egg for the ultimate breakfast bowl at home.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

What Should I Mix in with Grits?

Grits are a simple porridge of stone-ground cornmeal slow-cooked in seasoned liquid, and while they can be served as is, they’re often finished with a pat of butter, salt, and pepper. Sharp cheese like cheddar or Parmesan and a dash of hot sauce are also common companions. Here, you’ll mix in butter, milk, cheese, and salt before dividing into bowls and finishing with the toppings.

Are Grits Sweet or Savory?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule that says grits have to be one or the other. It’s a matter of personal taste, and is often based on personal histories and familial habits. Some people enjoy sugar on a creamy bowl of grits, while others choose to start their day on the savory side. This recipe is for the latter camp!

What Are the Best Toppings for Breakfast Grits?

It’s easy to turn creamy, dreamy grits into a proper meal. Use kitchen shears to snip strips of bacon into small pieces, then cook until the smoky fat renders and the bacon is crisp. Scoop the salty bacon bits onto a plate with a slotted spoon, then add whole cherry or grape tomatoes to the hot skillet and cook until their skins burst.

For the pièce de résistance, crack eggs into the skillet and baste with the rendered bacon fat (or melted butter) until the egg whites are set and lacy around the edges and the yolk is runny. Spoon the grits into a bowl, then top with the fried egg, bacon crumbles, burst tomatoes, and sliced avocado.

Cheesy Grits with Fried Eggs and Bacon

Cheesy grits topped with a jammy fried egg, burst tomatoes, avocado, and crumbled bacon.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes to 45 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 cups

    water

  • 3/4 cup

    stone-ground corn grits, such as Anson Mills, Logan Turnpike Mill, or Palmetto Farms

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for serving

  • 1/2 cup

    grated Parmesan or sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

  • 1

    medium avocado

  • 4 strips

    bacon (not thick-cut, about 5 ounces)

  • 1 cup

    cherry or grape tomatoes (about 5 ounces)

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    whole or 2% milk

  • 4

    large eggs, divided

  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place 3 cups water, 3/4 cup grits, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese, if using, and toppings.

  2. Grate on the large holes of a box grater until you have 1/2 cup Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces) or cheddar cheese (2 ounces). Halve, pit, and cut 1 avocado into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut 4 bacon strips crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces.

  3. Uncover the grits and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom to prevent clumping, until most of the water is absorbed and the grits are al dente (tender with a toothsome bite), 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon and tomatoes.

  4. Place the bacon in a 10-inch cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

  5. Add 1 cup cherry tomatoes to the skillet and cook until the tomatoes brown slightly and skins burst, about 4 minutes. Transfer with the slotted spoon to the same plate. Remove the skillet from the heat.

  6. When the grits are ready, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter, 1/4 cup whole milk, and the cheese, and stir until melted. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  7. Heat the reserved skillet over medium heat until the bacon grease is shimmering. Add 2 large eggs and cook, occasionally tilting the pan toward you so the bacon grease puddles on the side and using a spoon to baste the egg whites with the grease. For a jammy egg, avoid the egg yolks, but for a firmer egg, spoon the bacon grease over the yolk. Continue to baste until no raw egg white remains, 2 to 3 minutes.

  8. Use a thin spatula to transfer the eggs to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to the pan if there isn’t enough fat remaining, and repeat cooking the remaining 2 eggs.

  9. Assemble the breakfast grits: Divide the grits between 4 bowls, then top with the crispy bacon, burst cherry tomatoes, fried eggs, and sliced avocado. Season with more salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftover grits, tomatoes, and bacon separately in an airtight containers for up to 4 days. Thin grits to desired consistency with more water upon reheating.