What Is It Wednesday? Corn Grits/Polenta

By: Whitney Barnes | October 18 2017

Our corn grits are one of my favorite products we have here at Bob’s Red Mill. They can be prepared quickly and simply but can also be adapted to fit any meal–savory or sweet! For today’s What Is It Wednesday I’m answering some of our frequently asked questions about grits and sharing my favorite recipes.

What are grits? Corn grits are made from dried milled corn that has had most of the germ removed. The germ of the corn kernel is the tiny bud or root of the kernel and is naturally higher in oils. Removing the germ creates the signature fluffy and light texture we love about grits!

We offer four types of corn grits–a conventional Corn Grits/Polenta, Organic Corn Grits/Polenta, Gluten Free Corn Grits/Polenta, and a White Corn Grits version. They can all be used interchangeably in recipes that call for grits.

Where are corn grits grown? All of our corn is grown in California.

Traditional Grits from BobsRedMill.com

How are grits made? At the farm the corn is dried while on the cob. Once sufficiently dried, the corn kernels are shucked from the cob and milled into a medium grind consistency. During the milling process the germ is broken off the kernel and separated by an aspirator. Because the germ is full of oil and therefore heavier, it falls to the bottom while the aspirator pulls up the lighter bits of corn. Most of the germ is removed during this process, but some still remains which is why we refer to our Corn Grits/Polenta as “partially de-germed.”

Are grits gluten free? Yes, corn is a naturally gluten free product, however, it may come in cross contact with wheat during transportation and storage. We offer Gluten Free Corn Grits/Polenta, which are packaged in our dedicated gluten free facility and tested before, during, and after for the presence of gluten.

How do grits differ from cornmeal? The main difference between our cornmeal and our Corn Grits/Polenta is that our cornmeal is whole grain, nothing added and nothing removed, and our Corn Grits/Polenta are partially de-germed and not considered whole grain. When cooking them, the cornmeal will have a heavier, denser texture, while the Corn Grits/Polenta will have a light and fluffy texture.

Are grits the same thing as hominy? No, hominy and hominy grits are not the same as our Corn Grits/Polenta. Hominy is made from dried corn that has been soaked in an alkaline solution in a process called nixtamalization. During the process of nixtamalization the corn kernels are soaked and then dried. The whole soaked and dried corn is called hominy and the ground corn is called masa harina.

Image from PioneerWoman.com

Lemon Blueberry Grits from PioneerWoman.com

What are the black/dark specks in my grits? The black/dark specks you see in your grits are the particles of germ that are left in the product. The germ of the corn kernel is naturally darker in color and it is absolutely normal to see grey/black/dark flecks throughout your corn grits.

How do I prepare grits? Grits can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can serve grits as a savory dish with cheese and butter, or as a hot cereal with milk and honey. You can also prepare the grits, allow them to cool, and then slice and fry in a hot pan for a crispy fried side dish. Yum!

If you’re looking for some recipe inspiration take a look at the links below! You can use any of our Corn Grits/Polenta product interchangeably in your recipes.

Cheesy Polenta Casserole with Gorgonzola - BobsRedMill.com


  1. Andrea Nikolai
    Andrea Nikolai
    so is hominy a whole grain if it is dried whole corn? I was thinking it wasn't...
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Andrea - we don't have the exact answer for that. Hominy is whole corn that is soaked in an alkaline or slaked lime solution. This process is called nixtamalization. As a part of this process the bran is softened and some of it may be lost. The USDA still accepts some hominy or tortilla products made from hominy as whole grain.
  2. Erin
    Hi Whitney,
    For the love of reading...and Bob's Red Mill products; I would like to draw your attention to one typo in this article:

    *quoted with correction in parentheses

    "Are grits the same thing as hominy? No, hominy and hominy grits are not the same (as) our Corn Grits/Polenta."

    That's all. Please, don't take this personal or as ill-willed. It's nothing like that at all. It's more like a kind reminder that one has lipstick on their teeth. Thanks!
  3. Pat Speer
    I am looking for a recipe for scones that was on the BRM Sorghum Flour package until recently. My new packages have different recipes and I really liked the soft crumb from the old package recipe. It was done in the food processor and called for 1/2 c cold butter to be cut in before adding yogurt, 2 eggs and some oil to the dough.
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Pat! I know just the one. Here you go :)
      Sorghum Scones Adapted from Wheat Free Recipes and Menus by Carol Fenster, PhD. Savory Palate, Inc.

      1 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Sorghum Flour
      1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Tapioca Flour/Starch
      1 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
      3/4 tsp Baking Soda
      1 tsp Xanthan Gum
      1/4 tsp Salt
      4 Tbsp Sugar
      4 Tbsp Butter or Margarine (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
      2/3 cup low-fat plain Yogurt or 1/2 cup non-dairy Milk
      1 large Egg, lightly beaten
      1/3 cup Currants
      2 Tbsp Milk (cow, soy, rice or nut - for brushing top)
      Cooking Spray

      Preheat oven to 400F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.

      In food processor place flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and sugar. Pulse on and off to combine the ingredients. Add cold butter and pulse about 15-20 times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

      Combine the lightly beaten egg and yogurt. Pour over flour mixture and process for about 10 seconds or until the dough forms large curds. Scrape the dough into a bowl. Quickly, but gently stir or fold in the currants with a spatula. On a baking sheet, pat dough in 8-inch circle, 3/4 thick. Brush top with 2 Tbsp milk. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cut into 6-8 wedges. Serves 6-8.
  4. Josh Cusack
    Is it recommended to try and prepare and serve cornmeal in the same way as corn grits?
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Josh - you can prepare it in a similar fashion, but it does take a bit longer to cook. Here's a classic recipe for preparing what's referred to as "Cornmeal Mush."

      Bob's Red Mill: Cornmeal Mush
  5. Carl
    Hi, I am curious what kind of corn do you use for the gluten free regular corn grits? I was reading online that different kinds can be used like dent corn or flint corn. It would really set my mind at ease to know, thanks
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Carl - we use Yellow Dent Corn to make our Gluten Free Corn Grits/Polenta.
  6. Melonie Simpson
    Melonie Simpson
    How do your cornmeal grits/polenta compare with the 5min/quick grits (not instant) I buy in my grocery store? Do I cook it the same?
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Our grits will take longer to cook than the quick grits. The recipe is on the package for you. They are delicious and worth the time.
  7. Irene
    The hominy I’m used to is LARGE far bigger than ‘corn’. So, is hominy a form of greatly expanded corn because of the liming??? It actually expands into a larger product called hominy?? Then is dried then is ground? Unfortunately I bought 4 bags of bobs red mill hominy only to find it didn’t taste like hominy grits at all. Help me understand here because to me it appears words of explanation for comprehension have been left out.
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Irene - Hominy is made from dried corn that has been soaked in an alkaline solution in a process called nixtamalization. During this process the kernels expand. If it's dried and ground, this is called Masa Harina (not Grits or Polenta) and is used for making tortillas, tamales or pupusas.
  8. Sandra
    I love the organic yellow grits. They are hard to find in my area. My friend thinks the Organic Yellow Corn Polenta is the same as the Organic Corn Grits Polenta. Please advise if they are 2 different products.
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      They are the same product! We recently did a packaging redesign, so some areas may still have product labeled as "grits."
  9. Jim
    I am so confused. Bob’s is the only manufacturer that I have seen that sells grits/polenta, and I don’t really know what to choose. We wanted to cook some shrimp and grits after visiting the south, and I’m not sure whether your cheaper white or your more expensive organic yellow is closer to what people call grits in the South.
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Hi Jim! In the South, they traditionally use white grits. :) I can personally vouch for all of our grits and polenta, I've used them all for various grits recipes and they are delicious.

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