This pimento cheese recipe is an iconic taste of the south with shredded cheddar cheese swirled with rich mayonnaise and other seasonings, the perfect cheese spread or dip. Learn how to make it.
Looking for a quick and easy cheese spread or appetizer to serve at your next gathering? Look no further than classic Pimento Cheese, my friends.
Pimento cheese is simple and easy to whip together at a moment's notice, so rich and decadent and huge on flavor. And incredibly popular. Keep this one in your recipe rotation, as it is sure to satisfy.
Now that I've moved south, I see pimento cheese on menus everywhere, as well as for sale in grocery stores. Of course I had to learn how to make my own, as homemade is always better than store bought when it comes to spreads and condiments.
What is Pimento Cheese?
Pimento cheese is a beloved recipe of the American south, a creamy mixture of cheddar cheese, diced pimento peppers and mayonnaise with a few other flavoring ingredients tossed in. It's iconic, dubbed the "pate of the south", found in southern kitchens everywhere, ubiquitous on southern menus.
It is famous as a component of the famous dish fried green tomatoes, though you'll find it served on sandwiches and as a component in other dishes as well.
You can use store bought pimento cheeses for your parties, but homemade pimento cheese is so much better. It's fresher with a superior texture and flavor, of course, from your own personal touches.
This is how I like to make mine.
Let's talk about how to make pimento cheese, shall we?
Pimento Cheese Ingredients
- Cheddar Cheese. I'm using a combination of both white and yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese.
- Pimentos. Use jarred pimentos, drained.
- Mayo. Duke's Mayo is preferred, as it is a classic southern staple, but you can use your favorite mayonnaise.
- Worcestershire Sauce. For depth and extra flavor.
- Garlic. My own personal addition. I love a lot of garlic.
- Cayenne Pepper. For a touch of heat. Use paprika for a milder pimento cheese.
- Salt and Pepper. To taste.
- Hot Sauce. Optional, for a touch of spicy goodness.
How to Make Pimento Cheese - the Recipe Method
Stir the Ingredients. Gently stir together the pimentos, cheddar cheeses, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.
Combine. Fold the mixture gently to combine. You can use a food processor or a hand mixer, but it will change the overall texture and consistency.
Taste and Adjust. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Add in a dash or two of hot sauce to your preference. Add a bit more mayo if you'd like a thinner consistency.
Refrigerate the Pimento Cheese. This is an important step. Refrigerate the pimento cheese in a sealed container at least 1 hour before serving to let the flavors develop. This will also help to firm up the cheese.
Boom! Done! Ready to serve. Who wants some pimiento cheese? Absolutely delicious. It's perfect served with crackers or for topping all sorts of delicious foods, making them even more delicious. It's the perfect appetizer.
How are you serving yours?
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Cheeses. Extra sharp cheese works best for making pimento cheese because they contain less moisture. You'll achieve a better texture with it. You can use other cheeses for this recipe, though cheddar is classic. Also, it is best to shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses from the store contain anti-caking elements that can affect the texture of your pimento cheese. It is best to avoid them.
- The Mayo. Duke's mayo is definitely preferred for making pimento cheese, as it originates from the south and it has a higher ratio of egg yolks than most other commercial mayos, making it extra rich and creamy. Try it with Japanese Kewpie mayo as well. Talk about delicious.
- The Pimentos. Canned or jarred diced pimento peppers are a must here, hence the name of the dish. Pimentos are mild and sweet and add a wonderful flavor. Learn more about pimento peppers. You can use roasted red peppers as a substitute. The flavor will change somewhat, but it is still quite tasty.
- Additional Ingredients. Every southern family has their own personal touch to pimento cheese. Some I've learned are yellow mustard, dash of sherry, garlic powder, onion powder, grated vidalia onion, cream cheese, paprika, jalapeno pepper, dry mustard and green onion. Feel free to add your favorite flavors.
- Serving Pimento Cheese. Pimento cheese spread is great as a simple appetizer, snack or party food served with Ritz crackers or club crackers. It's perfect on another icon southern dish, fried green tomatoes. Use it to make pimento cheese sandwiches on simple white bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, or as a general condiment. I love it for topping my burgers!
Not the prettiest photo, my friends, but dang is it delicious! I'll take a pimento cheeseburger anytime.
Or give my recipe for pimento cheese jalapeno poppers a try. These are the perfect appetizers or party food!
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my pimento cheese recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you and how you're making it your own. And how you're serving it!
If you're interested in southern cooking and cuisine, check out this cookbook for some great southern recipes. I'm learning quite a lot about southern food from it. Definitely some great eating!
- The Southerner's Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories (affiliate link, my friends!)
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Jalapeno Popper Dip
- Homemade Nacho Cheese
- Bacon Jam
- Bacon Onion Jam
- Zesty Sour Cream Dip
- Chili Cheese Dip
- Creamy Beer Cheese
- Queso Dip
- Black Bean Dip
- Check out all of my Spicy Dip Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Pimento Cheese Recipe
- 1-1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1-1/2 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese
- 1 4- ounce jar diced pimentos drained
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise Duke's Mayo is a southern classic
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic optional, my personal addition
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder or to taste - use paprika for a milder version
- Salt and pepper to taste about 1/2 teaspoon each
- Dash of hot sauce optional - Crystal or Tabasco are great here
- Gently stir together the cheddar cheeses, pimentos, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.
- Fold the mixture gently to combine until uniform.
- Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Add in a dash or two of hot sauce to your preference.
- Refrigerate in a sealed container at least 1 hour before serving to let the flavors develop.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 9/30/21 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 4/7/21.