Recipes/ Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Grits

Happy Friday!

Last week I mentioned the delicious sweet potato grits that my friend Morgan made last month when we were visiting Austin. Oh man, were they ever good! Well, you guys begged for the recipe so I got busy in the kitchen. If you like grits and sweet potatoes, you’re going to LOVE this creamy, slightly sweet side dish. I never thought to add mashed sweet potatoes to my grits before, but now I don’t think I’ll ever make them plain again. This version is just so good.

I asked Morgan what her secret was and she just laughed, “secret?” she said. “There’s no secret — it’s seriously the simplest thing ever. All you do is add mashed sweet potatoes to grits and you’re done.” When I tried these grits for the first time, I swore there was cream involved. SWORE. There was no way you could achieve such a velvety texture without the help of my little friend, mr. cream. But nope — no cream. I couldn’t believe it. Just a sprinkle of cumin, garlic salt and butter. Yes, butter. But not much!

I also added a touch of pure maple syrup to my grits…just because. We had these grits with our beer brats, but I think they would be absolutely delicious for breakfast alongside biscuits and sausage gravy.

They also reheat very nicely, making them a great “make ahead” component of your Christmas dinner.

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all! I “surprised” Adam with a trip to Yosemite for Christmas and we are headed out today for the weekend. I say “surprised” because if you know me,  you know that I’m completely incapable of surprises and spilled the beans about our trip three weeks ago because I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. Oops. We are hoping for snow!

Sweet Potato Grits

Print this Recipe!


1 medium sized sweet potato, about 15 oz

3/4 cup dry grits

4 cups water

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic salt

2 tbsp butter, room temperature


Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Peel and slice the sweet potato in two. Drop the potato in the boiling water and simmer until very tender — about 15 minutes. When your potato is tender (falls apart when a fork is stuck in it), drain the water and place the potato back in the pot. Roughly mash with a large fork or potato masher. Set aside.

In another pot, bring the four cups of water to a boil. Add the grits, salt and garlic salt and simmer for about 12 minutes, until thick. Add the maple syrup, mashed sweet potato, butter and cumin. Stir well and continue cooking until desired thick consistency is met. Season with additional garlic salt to taste.


40 minutes

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  • Amelia
    December 14, 2012 at 4:32 am

    No way did you just add sweet potatoes to your grits! Is this just a Texas thing, b/c I have never seen it here in CHS. You have me intrigued though. I might just need to use some of my Anson Mill grits with a sweet potato this weekend. Oh, and can you imagine the leftovers made into grit cakes? Served with salmon? Mmmmm!

    Side note……every day I pass Maddison Row (a cute wedding boutique in dtwn CHS), I think of you and how pretty you would look in the dresses in the window. It’s at President and Spring Street, just fyi. 🙂

  • Mia
    December 14, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Seriously, grits and sweet potatoes? Never seen this in CHS. Is it a Texas thing? I might just need to use up some of my Anson Mill Grits this weekend. Oh, and can you imagine the leftovers? Grit cakes! Served with salmon?

    Btw, every day I pass Maddison Row (cute wedding dress boutique at corner of President/Spring St dtwn CHS) and think of how beautiful you would look in the dresses in the window. The boutique is also diagonal from Bikram Yoga. 🙂

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    December 14, 2012 at 4:54 am

    I’ve been wanting to do a Yosemite for Christmas for a few years now!
    Also, the only time that I have had grits was at thee Brenda’s in San Fran. It involve cheesy grits, crisp pork belly, and a poached egg all in 1 bowl. If you could re-create that, that’d be greeeeeat!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    December 14, 2012 at 4:58 am

    That’s so cute of Adam to surprise you!! You can definitely tell I’m not from the South because I’ve never before had grits in my life. These sound pretty tasty though – and so simple to make! Have a wonderful weekend Jenna!

  • Renee' @ Sassy Wife, Classy Life
    December 14, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I have had shrimp and grits twice in two weeks while eating out. I’ve never made grits myself, but love the idea of these sweet grits vs. the salty ones I’ve been craving lately. And no cream? Even better – more room for Christmas cookies. 🙂

  • Beth
    December 14, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I can’t wait to try it. I am having a brunch for my friends tomorrow and will be serving grits. I can’t decide if the sweet potato grits will pair well with the cheddar pecan chicken quiche I am serving. What do you think?

  • Sarah
    December 14, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Are the amounts in this recipe for a personal serving, or would it feed a few? I think this would go nicely with breakfast burritos or turkey sausage, spinach and mushroom fritatta!

  • Amanda
    December 14, 2012 at 5:43 am

    I hope you guys have warm sleeping bags if you’re camping… 🙂

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    December 14, 2012 at 5:51 am

    I haven’t had grits in years! I may have to try this just because I love anything with sweet potatoes!

    Yosemite for Christmas sounds lovely. Hope you get lots of snow to enjoy!

  • Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)
    December 14, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I love grits so much – HAVE to make these this weekend!!!

  • Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}
    December 14, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Yum! I am putting sweet potatoes in everything recently… and they sound perfect in grits!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    December 14, 2012 at 7:24 am

    I’m not really a grits person but I bet sweet potatoes would take plain old grits to new levels! Great color, too!

  • Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    December 14, 2012 at 7:37 am

    These sound amazing! But then again, pretty much anything that contains “sweet potato” in the title has me sold! 😉

  • Lia @ Sojourning
    December 14, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Mmmmm! That sounds so comforting and good! I love sweet potato added to things, and plain. I’ve never thought about adding sweet potato to grits or anything like that. I’ll have to try it out. Have fun in Yosemite!

  • Sarah F
    December 14, 2012 at 7:43 am

    That looks amazing!

    But, not to sound like an idiot- but what exactly is grits? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it- but maybe it’s just not a Canadian thing?

    • Beth
      December 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

      Grits are ground dried corn. Italians call it polenta. It is typically served for breakfast in the south but is also served for other meals. Typically, the grits will have cheese in them when served with an entree. Does that help?

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    December 14, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Such a simple and delicious looking dish. Love it!

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    December 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I am not Southern and have never pretended to like grits, but this may change my tune!

  • melissa
    December 14, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I have never been a huge fan of grits but this recipe is a great take on a classic. I am interested in trying this out.

  • Katie @ Skinny Minnie Moves
    December 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Mmmmmmmmmm sweet taters! Love

  • Caroline L.
    December 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I only just fell in love with grits a couple of weeks ago and now I’m absolutely obsessed!

  • Addy@ Six-Kick Switch
    December 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Wow. I’ve never tried grits, but your description makes them sound so good that I just might have to! Especially this recipe, I love that it’s pretty healthy!

  • Molly @ happy&healthy
    December 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Yum these look so good!! I am also incapable of surprises and so is my boyfriend, I don’t think we have ever given each other a present the actual day of haha. Have fun!!

  • Michelle
    December 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I’m not even sure I like grits but these look great! It must be the orange color. Have fun in Yosemite!

  • Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife
    December 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Oh yum! I love sweet potatoes and grits so this is a must make! It looks like such a hearty, delicious breakfast!

  • jenna k
    December 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    yum!! i’m picky about grits, because it’s so easy to find flavorless grits, but i bet the sweet potato addition is wonderful!

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    December 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    SWEET POTATO GRITS?!?! You might have just made my life even better than it was before. Those are pretty much my two favorite things ever!

  • Ella
    December 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Jenny, I highly doubt that YOU swore. You don’t seem the type 😉

  • Kim
    December 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Jenna – Totally random comment, but just wanted to say I just got your book last night from my office Secret Santa, and I loved it. I finished it in 24 hours… I was definitely that person who was crying on the train home and stopping on random street corners to turn the page. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s been so great to read your blog over the years and watch God’s amazing plan for you unfold. 🙂

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    December 15, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Oh yes, not only the sweet potato but the maple syrup too. Yum. yum!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    December 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    What a fabulous idea!

  • Teri
    December 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    LOL! Thank you for adding maple syrup to your grits along with the sweet potatoes. I’ve always loved maple syrup on grits, and you should see the waiters in Georgia and South Carolina turn green every time I used to add it!

  • Ashley@cupcakesncrunches
    December 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I just stumbled across your blog this morning while looking for a recipe and oh my goodness, I am hooked! What a beautiful blog.

    I read your proposal story too – that might be the sweetest thing I have ever read! 🙂

  • Kevin
    January 2, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Hi Jenna,

    Just reading this now but was wondering about the grits that you use. I live in New England (RI) and it seems that grits (traditional made from White Hominy) are impossible to find up here. I have only found Quaker Quick cooking grits. At Whole Foods they sell an Organice Yellow Corn Grits. I don’t think these are the same thing seeing that they are not made from White Hominy. So my question is , for this grit love living in yankee land can you recommend a good stoneground small mill grit to order over the internet? Will the Quick cooking grits work as a substitiute with shorter cooking time? Should I try with the Yellow Corn Grits? All suggestions are appreciated.

    Thanks and love your blog
    Kevin in Rhode Island

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  • Austin
    February 22, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    So I bookmarked this recipe about two months ago, and was finally inspired to make it tonight when I thought, “What should I have for dinner? Well… I have a sweet potato and some dry grits… I know! I’ll try that sweet potato grits recipe!” Just one problem — I didn’t have any butter. I ended up improvising by using half an avocado (mashed), and it was. so. freakin’. GOOD. Thanks for the recipe!

  • jeanne
    February 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Very good . I used sauteed garlic instead of garlic salt. And reduced sugar maple syrup only because thats all I had in fridge. Next purchase willbe high quality maple syrup. Such a food snob. Yum da dum dum!!!! Serve with fresh cooked kale greens and smoked turkey sausage. Will try a little blueberry compote on the side. Haven’t concocted that yet. Hmmmmmm……thanks for the inspiration.