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Pimento Cheese

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Southern Pimento Cheese

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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.

Jar of pimento cheese on a plate with crackers.

I grew up in Northern Virginia, pretty much the only part of the state that’s not considered the South, but I’ve always loved Southern food. One of my favorite Southern specialities is pimento cheese, which is often referred to as “the pâté of the South.”

Made from sharp Cheddar, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and jarred pimentos, this spread is wonderful on crackers, crudités, sandwiches, or even burgers. It also 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.

“I will never buy store bought again. Oh, my was this fun to make and DELICIOUS.”

Jan

What You’ll Need To Make Pimento Cheese

Cheese ingredients including mayonnaise, cream cheese, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Cream Cheese: Serves as the creamy base that binds all the ingredients together, ensuring a smooth and spreadable consistency. Be sure it’s a room temperature for easy mixing.
  • Mayonnaise: Contributes creaminess and imparts a rich, slightly tangy flavor. It’s crucial to use a good quality brand, such as Hellmann’s, Duke’s, or Best Foods.
  • Worcestershire Sauce, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper: These seasonings provide depth, savory flavor, and a subtle kick.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Lends a bold and tangy flavor. A good supermarket brand like Tillamook or Cabot is fine. Grate the cheese from a fresh block, as pre-shredded bagged cheese has a powdery coating to keep it from clumping together.
  • Diced Pimentos: Adds a sweet and tangy flavor, a pop of color, and a slightly chunky texture. Find them in the supermarket near the pickles, olives, and capers. Some stores may also stock them in the canned vegetable aisle, alongside items like artichokes and roasted red peppers.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

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.

Cream cheese, seasonings, and other ingredients in a food processor.

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.

Cream cheese processor with seasonings.

Remove the blade, scraping any of the mixture back into the bowl. Switch to the grating blade.

Shredding blade on a food processor.

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.

Shredded cheese in a food processor.

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

Bowl of unmixed pimento cheese ingredients.

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

Bowl of pimento cheese.

Serve with crackers or crudités and enjoy!

Jar of pimento cheese on a plate with crackers.

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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.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (18 servings)
  • Serving size: 3 tablespoons
  • Calories: 141
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 164 mg
  • Cholesterol: 28 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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 had pimento cheese years ago and loved it. I saw this recipe and had to try it. This is delicious. It is very easy to make and so so yummy. I did use Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese and Duke’s mayo. Jen, your recipes never disappoint!

    • — Sally on April 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • This pimento cheese spread is delicious, and very similar to the way I’ve made it for years. The difference is that I never included cream cheese, and I like the taste better as you make it, including the cream cheese – when it’s initially made. But after it’s refrigerated it gets so much firmer as the cream cheese hardens again, and the spread tears the bread or breaks the crackers. I tried to microwave some on a very low setting, which softened the cream cheese but also began to melt the cheddar, and was not a solution! Your recipe doesn’t say to use whipped cream cheese (which I don’t usually care for anyway) but would that be a solution? I don’t see that others find the firm cream cheese to be a problem, but maybe they eat it all when freshly made?

    • — Judy on March 29, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, Glad you like it! I’d just let the cheese come to room temperature before serving – it will be much easier to spread.

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2024
      • Reply
  • I made this as a cheese ball and covered with fresh, chopped parsley for a gathering. The only thing I added to the recipe mixture was chopped, green onions (scallions). I served with Fritos and it was truly delicious.

    • — Colleen on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • one more helpful addition: I froze this for an hour or so to harden enough to form into a ball.

      • — colleen on November 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made things for an early thanksgiving, came out very yummy! Thank you-

    • — Ashlley Ashland on November 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Loved it. Tangy sweetness with a bite.

    • — Steven Cottler on November 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Way too much mayonnaise

    • — Lynn on November 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is the first time I’ve made pimiento cheese. I could no longer find the brand I like, so decided to try home made. I will never buy store bought again. Oh, my was this fun to make and DELICIOUS.

    • — Jan Seabaugh on November 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • My husband is from the Deep South and was craving Pimento Cheese. I’m not southern, so I didn’t know where to begin when it came to making pimento cheese. I went to Jenn’s site because she always has FABULOUS and consistently great recipes and this one was no exception! He LOVED this recipe! Made my heart so happy to see him so happy eating this delicious southern spread! I have to say this is the best pimento cheese spread I’ve ever had. We are enjoying it on grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and crackers…my hubby even had it on top of a warm piece of southern cornbread for lunch today! Please try this recipe…it will not disappoint. Jenn, thank you for yet another spectacular recipe! We appreciate you!

    • — Sally on March 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn:
    This pimiento cheese dip is fabulous! Such a perfect blend of ingredients. Love that little kick of cayenne. My husband wanted to make sure I saved the recipe. Thank you.

    • — Joanne Peyton on March 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this yesterday for a small get-together last evening and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved it. I have very little left today but I’m tempted to make a quick sandwich with it! Thank you for your wonderful recipes, Jenn!

    • — Nancy on December 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • What size food processor would you need for this?

    • — bonnie oliver on November 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Bonnie, You could get away with as small as 7 to 9 cups.

      • — Jenn on November 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • Delicious-will make again!

    • — Melanie on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • 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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