eggs poached in grits, shakshuka-style

5 from 2 reviews


  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup grits (not instant)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives (plus more for serving)
  • Optional: hot sauce and more black pepper


  1. Bring the water to a simmer in a 10-inch cast iron skillet* over high heat. Then stir in the half-and-half, grits, salt, butter, and black pepper, and reduce heat to medium. Let it come back up to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken.**
  2. Once the grits start to thicken, drop in the eggs. And when I say drop, I mean drop—hold a cracked egg about 4 inches above the grits and let it cannon-ball into them. The eggs should not sit on top of the grits, but nestle in (see above photo and notes). Salt them to taste, sprinkle cheese around them, increase heat to medium-low, cover, and set a timer for 3 minutes. No peeking, and make sure the pan is evenly heated, or some of the eggs will not cook through.
  3. Do not lift the lid during the first 3 minutes. After 3 minutes are up, inspect the eggs by gently poking the whites and yolks. If the whites are still clear, cover and cook for another 2 minutes before checking again. If the whites are opaque and nearly set, remove from heat, and let them rest covered for about 3 minutes. A little bit of water might pool around the set whites (careful not to confuse this with uncooked egg whites). You know the whites are done when they feel firm, and the yolks are perfect when they’re still soft. ***
  4. Garnish with chives, hot sauce, and black pepper and serve immediately.


* You don’t have to use cast iron, but cook times vary depending on the material.

** This will depend on the kind of grits you’re using. I used Bob’s Red Mill to develop this recipe, which took about 20 minutes over low heat to thicken, and then a few more minutes to cook all the way with the eggs.

*** This part takes a little trial and error/practice. It’s hard to time this perfectly, and I find that switching between pans and stoves can really mess with the timing. But these are the results I was able to get consistently in my kitchen after lots of experimenting. If they turn out over or under-cooked the first time, but you want to try again, make sure you use the same pan and adjust the timing according to your results.