Pimento Cheese

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Southern Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a tangy and creamy cheese spread that’s often referred to as the pâté of the South. It’s wonderful on crackers, crudités, sandwiches, or even burgers.

pimento cheese

I grew up in northern Virginia, which is basically the only part of the state that’s not considered the South, but I’ve always loved Southern food. That’s thanks in part to my longtime childhood babysitter, Mabel Smith, who hailed from South Carolina and introduced me to good Southern cooking. One of Mabel’s specialties was pimento cheese, the tangy and creamy cheese spread that’s often referred to as the pâté of the South.

Made from sharp Cheddar, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and jarred pimentos, pimento cheese is wonderful on crackers, crudités, sandwiches, or even burgers. It makes a fabulous party dip but don’t wait for a special occasion to make it; you’ll love having a jar in the fridge for everyday snacking.

What you’ll Need To Make Pimento Cheese

how to make pimento cheese

Be sure to use a good quality mayonnaise, such as Hellmann’s, Duke’s or Best Foods, and grate the cheese from a fresh block, as pre-shredded bagged cheese has a powdery coating to keep it from clumping together.

How To Make Pimento Cheese

I think it’s easiest to make pimento cheese in a food processor but no worries if you don’t have one; you can easily make it in a mixer or by hand.

how to make pimento cheese

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth and evenly combined. how to make pimento cheese

Remove the blade, scraping any of the mixture back into the bowl. Switch to the grating blade. how to make pimento cheese

Cut the Cheddar cheese into pieces that will fit into the feed tube. With the machine running, add the cheese through the feed tube until it is all grated in.

how to make pimento cheese

Transfer the contents of the food processor to a large mixing bowl and add the diced pimentos. how to make pimento cheese

Stir everything together to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

how to make pimento cheese

Serve with crackers or crudités and enjoy!

how to make pimento cheese

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Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a tangy and creamy cheese spread that’s often referred to as the pâté of the South. It’s wonderful on crackers, crudités, sandwiches, or even burgers.

Servings: About 3½ cups
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 (8-oz) block sharp Cheddar cheese (a good supermarket brand like Tillamook or Cabot is fine)
  • 1 (4-oz) jar diced pimentos, drained

Instructions

  1. Food processor instructions: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth and evenly combined. Remove the blade, scraping any of the mixture back into the bowl. Switch to the grating blade. Cut the Cheddar cheese into pieces that will fit into the feed tube. With the machine running, add the cheese through the feed tube until it is all grated in. Transfer the contents of the food processor to a large mixing bowl. Add the diced pimentos and stir everything together to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon more salt, but it depends on the saltiness of the cheese.)
  2. Mixer instructions: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Beat until smooth and evenly combined. Coarsely grate the Cheddar cheese and mix in along with the diced pimentos. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. (It's a good idea to taste the pimento cheese on the crackers you plan to serve it with, as the saltiness can vary.)
  3. Transfer the spread to a serving bowl and serve with crackers and/or crudités. If serving later, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • I’m making this again for my book club meeting, because it’s the right balance of spices and cheese. I’m serving in a jar as shown in your photo.

    • — Phyllis on May 16, 2022
    • Reply

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