Pyrimidines have always received considerable attention because of their importance in synthesis and elucidation of biochemical roles, in particular that of vitamin B1. Herein, we describe a reaction pathway in a Grignard reagent-based synthesis of substituted pyrimidines. A general synthesis of α-keto-2-methyl-4-amino pyrimidines and their C6-substituted analogues from 4-amino-5-cyano-2-methylpyrimidine is reported. The presence of the nitrile substituent in the starting material also results in an unusual reaction pathway leading to C6-substituted 1,2-dihydropyrimidines. Grignard reagents that give normal pyrimidine products under standard reaction conditions can be 14 switched to give dihydropyrimidines by holding the reaction at 0 °C before quenching.