A Quick And Simple Way To Use Up Leftover Grits

How often do you eat grits? If you live anywhere outside of the American South — where this cornmeal porridge is king (via Culture Trip) — you might not indulge all that often. But that would be a mistake. Quick-cooking, inexpensive, and almost infinitely customizable, grits are a delicious accompaniment to shrimp in cherry tomatoes, creamy oysters and mushrooms, seared scallops, and many more dishes.

Whether they're folded with plenty of cheese, sprinkled with chopped bacon, or mixed with sweet, fresh corn kernels (via Southern Living), grits are an excellent side dish to have simmering on the stove. And in spite of their tastiness and appeal to a wide range of palates, they're the kind of dish that often produces leftovers. Luckily, they're pretty darn easy to reheat, but if you're looking to repurpose your leftover grits instead, then read on for quick and easy ways to use leftover grits that will have you making extra porridge on purpose.

How to make grit cakes

Have you ever tried crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside grits cakes? If not, you'll want to soon: They're an excellent canvas for serving all types of foods, from sautéed fish filets to sunny-side-up eggs, according to Southern Living. As the outlet notes, grits cakes are a classic use for leftover, runny-style grits and are super simple to make if you plan ahead.

To do so, just prepare a larger volume of grits than you plan to eat, and pour the extras into plastic cups or cylindrical plastic containers while they're still warm. Wrap the containers in some plastic wrap, refrigerate for a couple of hours (or overnight), then wiggle the cylinder of now-set grits onto a cutting board. Slice it into half-inch rounds, then pan-fry them until golden brown and crispy, about two to three minutes per side. Alternatively, you can pour the runny grits onto a greased or parchment-lined rimmed sheet pan, refrigerate until set, cut them into rounds (or squares, for ease) using a paring knife, and proceed to frying.

Ever seen polenta "fries" on a restaurant menu? That's another tack you can take with leftover grits, pouring them out as described above before cutting them into thick strips, laying them on a baking sheet, drizzling them with oil, and baking until crispy. So the next time you're making grits, prepare a bit too much — you won't regret it.