Oooeee, y’all are gonna love this Honey Butter Cajun Shrimp! Perfectly seasoned with cajun spice and slathered in a swoon-worthy, flavorful honey butter sauce. There’s more…That beautiful, saucy shrimp sits on top of creamy, smoky, and cheesy Gouda Grits. This dish is sooo good, easy to make, and a surefire crowd pleaser!

honey butter cajun shrimp on top of smoked gouda grits with gold spoon in speckled bowl

Hey friends! Hope you and yours are well! Listen, I’m knee-deep in leftover Valentine’s Day candies and treats. Not complaining at all, ha! Finding balance among the sweets with delicious, tasty meals is the name of the game, yes? Well, I’m excited to bring you yet another banger, something tells me that you’re gonna love it. This honey butter cajun shrimp with smoked gouda grits has us doing headstands and head bops, baby. It’s a big-time favorite!

Honey Butter Cajun Shrimp with Gouda Grits

If you’re a seafood/shrimp fanatic, you’re going to LOVE this dish! Shrimp and grits are a quintessentially Southern combination to the core. A delightful pairing that can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. I am such a fan of the flavors going on here, y’all. The shrimp gets bold flavor from signature cajun seasoning and then coated in a glorious honey butter sauce, yasss.

And them grits thooo? Gahhh, these smoked gouda grits are so dayum good! They’re flavor-filled + savory to the max, no bland grits going on here. Smoked gouda cheese imparts bold, smoky cheesiness in every spoonful. There’s sweet, salty, savory, cheesy, and buttery, tasty notes all up and through this meal!

⇢ BBR faves: beef chili, the best baked ziti, my cabbage and sausage, these smothered pork chops, def these salmon cakes, and po’ boys– yum!

Fan of gouda? Don’t miss this reader-fave, smoked gouda mac and cheese!

honey butter cajun shrimp with cheese grits in speckled bowl with lemon slice on top

What You’ll Need To Make This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Cajun seasoning: This type of seasoning is a blend that contains salt, red pepper, black pepper, garlic, and more. Brands such as, Slap Ya Mama or Tony Chachere’s, stay in my kitchen pantry. Use seasoned salt, if needed.
  • Raw shrimp: I recommend using medium-sized, raw shrimp for this recipe. You can grab them already peeled/deveined or do the work yourself. Be sure to double check that your shrimp is deveined for good measure!
  • Aromatics: One shallot and some cloves of garlic for the honey butter sauce.
  • Honey: Use pure honey for the sweetness that makes up the sauce.
  • Lemon: Just one for some zippy, brightness along with the zest.
  • Fresh herbs: Dill for freshness, but feel free to use whatever herb you like.
  • Chicken stock/broth: I prefer to cook grits in stock/broth for added flavor, I recommend using low sodium as well. Use water, if needed.
  • Milk: Another component used when cooking the grits. Milk gives the grits a nice and creamy texture that is unmatched. Use whatever milk you want; however, I do not suggest using any alt milks (almond, oat, etc) here.
  • Grits: I almost exclusively use corn grits (aka polenta). Use any stone-ground grits of your choosing as opposed to instant/quick-cooking grits.
  • Smoked gouda cheese: This is a very delicious type of cheese with big, bold flavor. It has a rich, nutty, warm, and smoky flavor throughout. Be sure to grab this cheese in a block and grate it yourself for the best texture and taste!
  • Butter: For both the gouda grits and in the honey butter sauce, swoon!
  • Salt/pepper: To season the smoked gouda grits, to taste.

How To Make Honey Butter Cajun Shrimp with Smoked Gouda Grits (Ridiculously Easy!!!)

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Season the shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry and place them into a bowl. Sprinkle the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and toss together to combine. Transfer to the fridge to let marinate while you make the smoked gouda grits.
  2. Make the grits. Combine the stock, milk, and grits together. Allow the mixture to cook together until the grits become tender. Then add in the cheese, butter, and more milk. Season to taste with salt/pepper.
  3. Cook the shrimp. Melt the butter and cook the shrimp on each side until pink. After all shrimp is cooked, set them aside onto a clean plate.
  4. Make the sauce. Sauté the shallot until tender. Then add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in the honey along with the lemon juice/zest. Allow the sauce to come up to a slight boil and then remove from heat.
  5. Coat the shrimp. Add the cooked shrimp back into the pan and toss in the honey butter sauce to fully coat all the shrimp.
  6. Assemble & serve. Add the smoked gouda grits into bowls, and top with the honey butter cajun shrimp along with any pan drippings. Enjoy!

⇢ This dish is a low-effort, high-reward stunner that checks off all the boxes! It’s simple yet impressive enough to whip up for any special occasion 🙌🏾

honey butter cajun shrimp on speckled plate with gold serving spoon

What Is The Best Shrimp To Use?

For this recipe I recommend using medium-sized shrimp (feel free to use large shrimp, too!). Since super fresh shrimp is hard to come by, I typically grab fresh (previously frozen but thawed) shrimp from my local fishmonger. You can use frozen shrimp as well, just make sure that it is not the precooked kind.

Tips + Tricks For Cooking Shrimp

Shrimp is one of the easiest of proteins to cook! However, it’s also a very delicate piece of seafood that can go from perfect to overcooked in no time. Cook shrimp until the flesh is pink and opaque with a firm texture, usually about 2-3 minutes on each side. Any longer and the shrimp will overcook which will yield a tough, rubbery texture. Oof, I’d truly hate this for you, friends.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe ♡

I mean, what’s not to love about shrimp and grits, y’all?! Real talk, this honey butter cajun shrimp paired with the gouda grits is giving the most epic level of deliciousness. Tons of flavorful elements singing in abundance that you’ll love. The shrimp is buttery, tender, and soaks up that honey butter sauce so nicely. When piled on top of the creamy and cheesy grits, all the flavors meld so well together. Hear me when I say that this thang is one sultry symphony!

honey butter cajun shrimp with smoked gouda grits in speckled bowls with yellow linen on the side

The Origin of Shrimp and Grits 🍤

If you’re a food nerd/culinary history geek like me, let’s dive in right quick! With a complex history, it’s well commonly said that the origin of shrimp and grits took place in the Lowcountry region of the Carolinas as well as the Deep South.

Like so many Southern dishes, the true origin goes back even further. Shrimp and grits are attributed to the people of Mozambique (southeast coast of Africa) who were brought as enslaved people to the Lowcountry region. Shrimp and grits are connected to Gullah Geechee people as well. For folks living in Charleston, South Carolina, this staple is typical breakfast fare.

Did you know that grits have been declared as the official state food of SC?

The shrimping period for fisherman in Charleston typically runs from May through December. Grits are commonly served as a side dish for breakfast or dinner with milk and butter. For many Southerners, the only way to make real grits is the old-fashioned way with stone-ground grits cooked slowly. Which basically means, take those instant/quick-cooking grits elsewhere, ha!

honey butter cajun shrimp with smoked gouda grits in speckled bowl with gold spoon

Whew, this Honey Butter Cajun Shrimp with Gouda Grits is the meal that you didn’t even know you needed! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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honey butter cajun shrimp on top of smoked gouda grits with gold spoon in speckled bowl

Honey Butter Cajun Shrimp with Smoked Gouda Grits

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 40m
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern

Description

Oooeee, y’all are gonna love this Honey Butter Cajun Shrimp! Perfectly seasoned with cajun spice and slathered in a swoon-worthy, flavorful honey butter sauce. There’s more…That beautiful, saucy shrimp sits on top of creamy, smoky, and cheesy Gouda Grits. This dish is sooo good, easy to make, and a surefire crowd pleaser!


Ingredients

Scale

For the smoked gouda grits:

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock/broth or water
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground corn grits
  • 8 ounces smoked gouda cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the honey butter cajun shrimp:

  • 1 lb raw medium shrimp, peeled & deveined 
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup pure honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • fresh dill or herb of choice, as topping- optional

Instructions

  1. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and place them into a bowl. Season the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and gently toss to coat. Cover the bowl with a lid/plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate while you make the grits.
  2. Using a heavy-bottomed saucepan or large pot over medium-high heat; combine the stock, 1 cup of milk, and grits together. Stir the mixture together and let it come to a boil, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to the medium-low and continue cooking, stirring the mixture every so often. Allow the grits to cook up until you see all the liquid is absorbed and the grits become soft and tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Then sprinkle in the cheese along with the butter and remaining 1 cup of milk. Stir everything together very well until all the cheese has melted through and everything is combined. Season the grits with salt/pepper, to taste. Note: keep the grits on the lowest stove setting to keep warm or remove from heat while you make the shrimp.
  5. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat and add in the butter. Once melted, add the shrimp in a single layer- careful not to overcrowd the pan, work in batches, if needed. Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side, until the flesh is pink and opaque. Then transfer all the cooked shrimp to a clean plate and set aside.
  6. Add the shallot into the skillet and sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the honey along with the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir everything together until combined. Allow the sauce to come up to a slight boil and then remove from heat.
  7. Add the cooked shrimp back into the skillet and toss together to fully coat all the shrimp in the honey butter sauce.
  8. Serve immediately by placing the gouda grits into bowls, and top with the honey butter cajun shrimp and any residual pan sauce drippings. Garnish with fresh herbs and a lemon slice, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.

Keywords: honey shrimp, honey butter shrimp, cajun shrimp, shrimp and grits, cajun grits, smoked gouda grits, cheese grits