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Pimento Cheese

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My favorite Southern-style homemade pimento cheese recipe is super-easy to make in just 10 minutes and tastes delicious as a spread, dip, or however you’d like to serve it!

Pimento Cheese

Raise your hand if you grew up loving pimento cheese! ♡

Oh man, this retro Southern spread brings up some major nostalgia for me. We always used to look forward to cracking open those little store-bought jars of it for snack time when we were kids, either dolloped on Ritz or Club crackers or spread inside crispy celery sticks. And even though I was a very picky eater back in the day — oh my goodness — I absolutely loved this stuff!

It wasn’t until years later in college that a friend introduced me to her family’s recipe for homemade pimento cheese that I realized how next-level delicious the scratch version could be. (Yep, I definitely grown up just thinking it was just a delicious product from Kraft!)  Turns out, homemade pimento cheese is incredibly easy to whip up in just 10 minutes or so. And when made with a good sharp cheddar, tangy cream cheese and mayo, roasted red peppers, fresh green onions, and a blend of zesty seasonings, this simple spread stands the test of time and still tastes downright irresistible!

Feel free to serve it up with your favorite chips, crackers or veggie sticks. Or I’ve included a list below of other fun ways to use pimento cheese too — from spreading it on sandwiches (hello, grilled cheese) to burgers, baked potatoes, deviled eggs and more. There’s really no way to go wrong with this recipe. So round up the ingredients and let’s make a batch together!

Pimento Cheese Ingredients in Mixing Bowl

Homemade Pimento Cheese Ingredients:

Before we get to the full pimento cheese recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need:

  • Cream cheese: I use regular cream cheese when making this spread, but you could easily sub in low-fat cream cheese if you prefer.
  • Pimentos: You can either use diced pimentos for this recipe, which are traditional for this recipe and have a very mild, sweet flavor. Or you can dice up some good-quality roasted red peppers (either homemade or store-bought), which are definitely my preference for this recipe because they have a bolder flavor and taste a bit smokier.
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese: I really recommend purchasing a good-quality block of extra-sharp cheddar and grating it yourself for optimum flavor and texture with this spread. Pimento cheese is traditionally made with more of an orange cheddar, but I often make it with an aged white cheddar which is also delicious.
  • Green onions: To add a pop of freshness to this spread. (Alternately you could use some very-finely-diced red onions, shallots, fresh chives, or a pinch of onion powder.)
  • Mayo: Many Southerners will insist that pimento cheese be made with Duke’s mayonaisse, which is made with egg yolks and no added sugars and I agree tastes delicious! But of course, feel free to use whatever jar of mayo you have in the fridge.
  • Seasonings: I like to season my pimento dip with a hint of garlic powder and smoky paprika for extra flavor, plus salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Hot sauce: And finally, I recommend going the Southern route and adding however many shakes of Tabasco sauce you prefer to give this cheese a kick. (Alternately, you can add in some cayenne or diced jalapeño for heat too.)

Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread in Jar

How To Make Pimento Cheese:

As the recipe recommends below, I usually just stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl until combined, which results in a slightly-chunky pimento cheese. But if you prefer a more puréed dip, feel free to blitz all of the ingredients together in a food processor or mixer until the spread reaches your desired consistency.

Homemade Pimento Cheese with Ritz Crackers

Pimento Cheese Recipe Variations:

Here are a few other fun variations that you’re welcome to try!

  • Add pickles: Add in a few tablespoons of pickle relish (or finely-diced pickles) to give this spread some extra tang.
  • Add olives: Add in 1/4 cup of chopped green olives to make Carolina-style pimento cheese.
  • Add chipotle: Add in a tablespoon of finely-chopped chipotle pepper in adobo to give this spread a smoky, slightly-spicy twist.
  • Add bacon: Fry up a few slices of bacon and crumble them into the mix to make bacon pimento cheese.

Celery Stick with Pimento Cheese

Ways To Use Pimento Cheese:

99% of the time, I love just serving pimento cheese as a simple spread/dip. But there are so many other great ways to put it to good use, such as serving it with…

  • Crackers and chips: We always grew up eating pimento cheese spread on Ritz, Club crackers, or saltines. But it would be delicious with any type of crackers or chips you love best!
  • Veggie sticks: My grandma always used to spread pimento cheese on celery sticks for us, but it makes for a delicious dip for any type of fresh veggie dippers.
  • Sandwiches and burgers: It also makes for a delicious spread on any type of sandwiches or burgers…especially grilled cheese!
  • Baked potatoes: Trust me…a dollop of pimento cheese inside of a hot-outta-the-oven, freshly-opened, hot baked potato is magic.
  • Deviled eggs: Pimento cheese also makes for a fantastic filling for deviled eggs.
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Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: About 8 servings 1x

Description

My favorite recipe for Southern-style homemade pimento cheese.  It’s super-easy to make in just 10 minutes and tastes delicious as a spread, dip, or however you’d like to serve it!


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Stir together. Combine cream cheese, pimentos, cheddar cheese, green onions, mayo, garlic powder, paprika, hot sauce and a pinch of salt and black pepper in a mixing bowl, and stir until evenly combined.
  2. Season. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or hot sauce, if needed.
  3. Serve. Serve immediately, or transfer to a sealed jar or food storage container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.


Notes

Source: Slightly adapted from All Recipes and Sarah O’Kelley.

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31 comments on “Pimento Cheese”

  1. I love pimento cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches…sounds maybe a bit strange with the mayo in it, but it is a must-try!

    Thank you for the recipe!

  2. We make ours minus the mayo. We use cream cheese, sharp cheddar, hot pepper jack cheese, pimentos, a diced jalapeno, onion and garlic powder. Then we eat on it for a week (we make a huge batch). My daughter loves it on grilled cheese. Hubby loves it with celery and I can just eat it plain!

  3. There is a deli in my hometown (Louisville, KY) that makes a delicious white cheddar pimento cheese! They use green chilis (I think) in place of the pimentos and it’s amazing. I guess technically that doesn’t make it pimento cheese, but same concept.

  4. Parker and Otis in Durham, NC makes a pimento grilled cheese with bacon that I still dream about ten years after moving from NC. Can’t wait to try this!

  5. Sounds great. My current favorite pimento cheese recipe has jalapenos and gruyere cheese added in as well. I’ll have to try yours.

  6. Could you please clarify the measurement for green onions? Is it 1/2 cup? 12 green onions? Planning to add this to the menu for next week — we LOVE pimento cheese!

  7. What is the measurement for the green onions?

  8. Why is it so hard to spell pimiento the way it’s spelled on the jars? Pimiento, not pimento!

    • It’s spelled both ways. ;) Most commonly in English, this is known as “pimento” cheese. But here in Spain, the word for peppers (of all kinds) is “pimientos.”

  9. You forgot the best way to eat it!! By the spoonful !! LOL Barb

  10. It’s killer stirred into a bowl of grits, too. ;o)

  11. Aren’t there 8 ounces in 1 cup? How much cheese? Is it 1:1 cheddar and cream cheese?

    • The measurements here are by weight, not volume, so I’m recommending the usual package of an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese and 8 ounces of shredded cheddar (which usually measures around 2 cups). Enjoy!

  12. This looks delicious!! I bought all the ingredients today and even found Duke’s May and will make it this weekend. Thanks!!

  13. I’m a former Midwesterner living in the South. Don’t tell anybody (shhh!), but I use Miracle Whip in anything calling for mayonnaise. And I may even use it for this. Just had to get that off my chest.

  14. I made this today and it was fabulous! I used Dukes Mayo and omitted the onions. Next time I want to use smoked cheddar or smoked Gouda. Yummy!

  15. Delicious! So quick to make and my husband, a southern boy, loves it! Thank you!

  16. Delicious. I brought it to girls night and my friends and I devoured it. Thank you for the recipe!

  17. Tasted like cream cheese not the cheddar with tangy zip I was looking for. It’s a def let down.

  18. I live in England and have never heard of Pimento Cheese (just read it in a novel set in USA), it sounds delicious, and I plan to adapt it to English ingredients and try it on crispbread (type of crackers) and maybe in toasted cheese sandwiches (our version of grilled cheese sandwiches). Wish me luck!

  19. Can I not use any hot sauce when I make this?

  20. This is is the best I have ever had. Can’t stay out of it. Good with crackers. I will be making this again.

  21. I must say this is my first time making Pimento cheese dip and I’m glad I find this recipe. Full of flavor and smoky flavor. I cant til tomorrow to take it to the Music festival Im going to tomorrow.