Easy, Creamy Instant Pot Grits

updated Oct 4, 2021
summer
Instant Pot Grits Recipe

Make easiest-ever smooth and creamy stone-ground grits in the Instant Pot.

Serves4

Makes3 1/2 cups

Prep5 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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grits with butter in bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Like a lot of Atlantans, I’m a transplant from the Northeast, and so the Southern ritual of serving buttered grits for breakfast was completely new to me. But it didn’t take long to convert me from my morning oatmeal or Cream of Wheat: Perfectly cooked stone-ground grits are now my top pick every time.

While I’ve perfected the traditional stovetop method over the years, I was recently inspired by this Instant Pot oatmeal to try something new. Boy, am I glad I did. Instant Pot grits are nothing short of a breakfast miracle. They cook quickly and with less liquid under pressure, and turn out thick, rich, and absolutely delicious. Here’s how I make creamy Instant Pot grits.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

What Are the Best Grits for Instant Pot Grits?

When you’re shopping for grits, look for the words “stone-ground.” Not only is this type of cornmeal best-suited to Instant Pot cooking, but it also has the best flavor and texture. Choose from white or yellow stone-ground grits from national brands like Bob’s Red Mill, or order small-batch grits online from Anson Mills, Palmetto, or Geechie Boy.

Quick-cooking, instant, and finely ground grits are machine-milled, giving them a sandy, gritty texture. They also absorb moisture more quickly than the stone-ground variety, which can lead to a burn error on the Instant Pot.

How Do You Make Grits Not Stick to the Pot?

Coat the inside of the electric pressure cooker with cooking spray to keep the grits from sticking to the sides and the bottom.

Are Grits Better with Milk or Water?

Milk cooked under HIGH pressure can separate, curdle, or burn, which is why it’s best to cook the grits in either water or broth. But keep the milk close by! Finishing the cooked grits with milk gives the porridge a creamy, decadent texture. In fact, you can use any dairy you have on hand, from milk to half-and-half to heavy cream.

How Much Water Do You Use for 1 Cup of Grits?

For the creamiest Instant Pot grits, use 3 cups water or low-sodium broth for 1 cup stone-ground grits. Stovetop recipes usually call for more water than this to account for evaporation, but since the Instant Pot is sealed shut, all of the water added is absorbed into the coarse cornmeal. The result: a creamy porridge that doesn’t rely on agitation or evaporation.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Why Did I Get the “Burn” Error?

Even the most experienced Instant Pot chefs encounter a burn error from time to time, which occurs when the bottom of the inner pot overheats. There are two primary reasons why this might happen.

  1. You’re using the wrong type of grits. Finely-ground and quick-cooking grits absorb water more quickly than the coarse- or stone-ground variety. The result? Grits stuck to the bottom of the pot and a burn warning.
  2. You added dairy too soon. The error can also occur if you heat dairy under pressure. The sugars and proteins in milk can curdle, sink to the bottom, and burn, so wait until the grits are done cooking before adding milk or cream.

If you do encounter a burn error, hit cancel and quick release any remaining pressure. It is likely that all of the water will have been absorbed, so taste the grits. If the grits are tender with a toothsome bite, they’re ready. Add the milk, butter, and cheese and stir carefully so you don’t dislodge the burned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Instant Pot Grits Recipe

Make easiest-ever smooth and creamy stone-ground grits in the Instant Pot.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Makes 3 1/2 cups

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 3 cups

    water, or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 cup

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

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, plus more for serving

  • 1/2 cup

    whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream

  • 3/4 ounce

    sharp cheddar, Gouda, or Parmesan cheese (optional)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Coat the insert of a 6-quart Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker generously with cooking spray. Add 3 cups water or low-sodium broth, 1 cup stone-ground corn grits, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Stir gently to combine, so that the grits settle in an even layer.

  2. Lock the lid and make sure the pressure valve is closed. Set to cook under HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. It will take 9 to 10 minutes to come up to pressure. Meanwhile, cut 2 tablespoons unsalted butter into 2 pieces. If desired, shred 3/4 ounce cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 1/2 cup cheddar or Gouda, or 1/4 cup Parmesan).

  3. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure. Uncover the grits. Add the butter and 1/2 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream. Whisk vigorously to remove any clumps. Add the cheese if using and stir until incorporated. Serve with more butter and freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Thin to desired consistency with more water when reheating.