With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn’t require the oven.

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

Watch the video to make it here!

 


Let me relay to you a conversation I’ve had more times than I can count. It goes exactly the same way every time.

“Are you from here?” 

“Yup.”

“Have you always lived here?”

“My whole life.” (or, nowadays, I might qualify that by saying I went to Arizona for college and then came back.)

“Where are your parents from?”

“Michigan.” 

“Ohhhhhh.”

We’re in South Carolina, and they just can’t place my neutral accent until we have that conversation.

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

When my parents were newlyweds, they decided they wanted to move from Michigan to the East coast. They marked a bunch of cities on a map and took a road trip, stopping in each one to get a feel for the city. 

When they got to Charleston, they knew it was the one. And I can’t blame them. 

I’ve been proud to call Charleston my hometown and South Carolina my home. And I think the fact that I very easily could have not been born here, or in the South at all, makes me appreciate and embrace it all the more.

And so the South has had much more of an impact on my culinary taste and repertoire than I’ve even realized until I started this blog. 

I love my sweet tea, fried chicken, grits, and okra. In my book, no other barbecue sauce can compare to South Carolina mustard-based barbecue. The blog has featured three meat and okra gumbo, and pickled okra straight from my garden. 

And today, I give you Southern pimento cheese.

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

So what exactly is pimento cheese? 

Well, it can be almost anything you want it to be.

It can be a cheese, a spread, a sandwich filling, or a dip.

You can put it on a burger with some bacon. You can mix it into your grits. You can simply spread it on crackers, like I’ve done here. 

You can use it for grilled cheese sandwiches or dainty finger sandwiches. You can put some on top of crab cakes and broil it until it’s all bubbly. 

And you haven’t lived until you’ve had a fried green tomato BLT with pimento cheese.

It’s great to bring to parties because it’s delicious cold and you don’t have to worry about having access to the oven. But if you wanted to serve it warm, it would be excellent too. 

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

Basically, pimento cheese is shredded cheddar cheese with pimentos (yes, like the little red things in the middle of your green olives), seasonings, and something added to make it into a creamy spread – usually some combination of cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream. 

I’ve had people ask me if you have to extract each pimento from a jar of olives, but fortunately it’s much easier than that. They sell pimentos in the same section of the store as the olives, in little four- or eight-ounce jars.

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

Some people use roasted red peppers, but pimentos actually begin their lives as sweeter cherry peppers rather than bell peppers, so you’re not getting exactly the same thing.

In fact, if you want to get technical about it, the pimentos you find in green olives do contain actual minced pimento, but are mixed with gelatin to make them easier to slice and stuff.

I’d say if you want to be really authentic or gourmet, you could roast your own sweet cherry peppers, but what exactly makes authentically Southern pimento cheese? Probably using the little jars of ready-sliced stuff.

Anyway, besides your pimentos, I’d use a nice sharp cheddar cheese to get the full effect. 

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

I find that many recipes have too high a proportion of cream cheese to cheddar cheese for my taste.

In my opinion, a good Southern pimento cheese should taste mostly like the cheddar. The cream cheese and mayo should be just enough to bind the cheddar together and make it creamy, but should not dominate the flavor.

So rather than using a full block of cream cheese for two cups of cheddar, I only use half a block.

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.

I like mine to have ample seasonings and a little kick. Mike’s number one comment across all my recipes is that “it could use a little kick” and suggests adding cayenne pepper to almost everything.

So, this recipe has a little cayenne in it, but feel free to add more to taste. Do taste it first though before adding more. 

This Southern pimento cheese is an easy and delicious way to get a little taste of the South, even if you don’t live here (but it might make you wish you did!).

This recipe contains affiliate links.

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.
4.75 from 8 votes

Southern Pimento Cheese

With ample seasonings and just a little kick, creamy Southern pimento cheese is great with everything from crackers or burgers to crab cakes or grits! This cheddar cheese spread also makes a great cold party appetizer dip that doesn't require the oven.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 mins
Total Time:10 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Tried this recipe?Mention @pinchmeimeating or tag #pinchmeimeating on Instagram!

Notes

Serve with crackers, mixed into grits, on a grilled cheese sandwich, on a BLT, with fried green tomatoes, over crab cakes, or as a hamburger topping.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Caroline Lindsey

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55 Comments

  1. Mark and I had our first pimento cheese when we visited his brother and wife in Gainesville for Christmas almost 10 years ago! Becky’s family was from the Carolinas and her Christmas tradition always included pimento cheese. It was so good – I can see why you’d want it on everything! Thanks for the recipe, Caroline, and I wish you, Mike, and your families a wonderful Christmas season!

  2. Looks delightful! But pimento is missing from the list of ingredients, along with the amount. I bookmarked through Foodgawker. Will check back and look forward to making pimento cheese for my Austrian friends!

    1. 5 stars
      Oh my goodness. I’m currently enjoying this recipe. Made it last night. Just got home for lunch to try it. It is wonderful. Pimento cheese is a favorite of mine. I’ll never buy it from the store again! Made recipe exactly as is. I did dice a block of extra sharp cheddar instead of using the pre shredded. Yum! Thanks Caroline

  3. Finally made this recipe tonight, and it is amazing! I love the Old Bay seasoning taste; I would have never thought to try that!

  4. Love pimento cheese. Was raised in the Midwest and pimento cheese is often served at get togethers! Will try your recipe. I’m sure it is yummy!

  5. I grew up eating pimento cheese, and my mother used to make pimento cheese toast. Spread it on white bread and stick it under the broiler and oh, my goodness! Cheesy heaven!

  6. Looks great! Definitely want to try this! What kind of jar are you using for it in your pretty picture? Is it a Weck? 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        Of course you did! I would totally do the same thing. I made this last night – turned out great! I really need to get some of those jars. Seems likes I am drawn to pictures on food blogs of delicious looking concoctions in Weck jars LOL!

    1. Unlike a Mason jar, which has a screw on metal lid, a Weck jar has a rubber ring, glass lid, and two little metal clips that hold the lid and rubber ring on the top. Both Mason jars and Weck jars can both be used for canning, though, although only the Mason-style jars are USDA approved (Wecks are popular in Europe).

      Here’s a link (affiliate) to what appears to be a similar Weck jar to the one I used: http://amzn.to/2yTvKjD – but I got mine individually at World Market! They come in different sizes and shapes, but I love the “tulip” shape!

      Theresa Loe at “Living Homegrown” prefers Mason jars for canning (https://www.livinghomegrown.com/how-weck-jars-work/) and I’m sure I would too – they seem more foolproof – but the Weck jars sure are pretty for storing jams, lemon curd, or pimento cheese in the fridge!

  7. Sounds wonderful, I must make this for our annual holiday wine & cheese party. Would a single recipe be enough for 15-20 people (with other appetizers) or should I double it?

    1. For that many people, I’d say double it. It just makes a couple cups’ worth, so a single batch would not be comparable to, say, the amount of dip in a casserole dish. And even if you end up with leftovers, you won’t regret it! Have fun at your party!

    1. Hi Anne! Pimentos are a type of mild, sweet cherry pepper and you frequently see them as stuffings for green olives. If you can’t find a jar of pimentos by themselves in Australia you can substitute roasted piquillo peppers, or if you can’t find those, regular roasted red peppers (skin removed if there is any). Pimentos are a little sweeter than either of these but they are very similar and will still make a tasty pimento cheese!

  8. Is there something I can substitute for the pepper blend? Not something I have here locally and don’t want to buy a specific spice that I may not use again.

    1. I haven’t tried this myself but I would add roasted, seeded jalapeños or maybe some from a can (pickled or regular). I’ve seen recipes that just call for finely diced, seeded jalapeños but I wouldn’t want the texture of the pimento cheese to be interrupted by a crunchy raw pepper!

  9. 5 stars
    How long does this dip last? I’m thinking I’d like to give this as gifts in air tight jars, but want to know how far in advance I can make it!

    1. I’m afraid I can’t speak to the canning possibilities of the pimento cheese! Usually when I see it available for purchase it’s in refrigerated tubs (rather than any shelf-stable form). I’d say it would be good for about a week though, if kept refrigerated! I’m not sure how long its life might be extended if you were using a suction food saver thing to suck all the air out of your containers.

  10. 5 stars
    I recently found you recipe on Pinterest. This is a fabulous Pimento Cheese! Just the right spice and creamy. My husband loves it so much I can’t keep it in the house!

  11. 5 stars
    Goodness gracious, this is delicious! Made it tonight and am having it with crackers and olives. Just couldn’t wait to try it!

  12. 5 stars
    I have both tasted and made several variations of pimento cheese spread but this one is my favorite and the best in my opinion. It has lots of flavor, zesty taste and just darn good. Everyone wants the recipe which I tell them to go to this website. This is the tops.

    1. I felt the same way. I added some finely chopped jalapeno, reduced the pimento a little, and mixed extra sharp white cheddar with the sharp orange cheddar. Everyone liked the additions a lot.

  13. 5 stars
    I made this, I spread it on a plate and topped with big lump carb, little old bay. Serve with crackers and it was a huge, huge hit. I am asked all the times to bring for party’s. Thank you

  14. I made it and I loved it!
    Ever since I ate pimento cheese for first time a few months ago, I was in search of a good recipe and this one is great.
    I absolutely recommend it, now I don’t have to over pay it at the downtown deli any more!

  15. Great recipe! The only thing I did was to use Miracle Whip in place of the mayo. It gives it more of a flavor like “Price’s Pimento Cheese”, which is our favorite!

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