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Pimento cheese is a Southern staple. Maybe you’re not from the South and you haven’t tried it. You might be wondering, what is pimento cheese? It’s not a block of cheese that you can buy from the grocery store; it’s a spread.
Even though you can buy it, it is best if you make your own. Not surprisingly, there are many variations to this Southern classic. What you need to do is experiment and find out what you like. As you might have guessed, pimento cheese has cheese in it. Most home cooks can agree that it tastes best with extra sharp cheddar, but a lot also use cream cheese. How you grate the cheese is also very personal. Old timers would put their cheddar through a meat grinder, or use a box grater. Some cooks prefer grating the cheese on a box grater with the large holes, some use the small holes, and some use both in the same recipe. It’s up to you.
The pimentos, of course, are an important ingredient. You will achieve the best flavor from fresh large pimento peppers that you have roasted yourself. But if you want an option that you can use year round, buy the jarred whole pimentos that you dice yourself. Another ingredient to consider is the mayonnaise. Use the real stuff, not salad dressing. If you have the time, make your own mayo from our Caesar salad dressing recipe; it’s not hard. The spices you use to flavor the pimento cheese are personal, so experiment away.
Pimento cheese is usually served chilled or at room temperature. It’s most commonly used as a spread on sandwiches, crackers, or hamburgers, but it can also be served as a warm dip with chunks of fresh bread like our pretzel buns.
Looking for more tasty appetizer recipes? These ones should satisfy your appetite.
Laugenbrötchen: German Pretzel Buns: these chewy soft pretzel buns taste amazing with pimento cheese or made into a burger.
Easy Baked Jalapeño Poppers: this crowd-pleasing snack is perfect for game day.
Easy Southern Cheese Straws: a crunchy, cheesy treat that the kids will love to make with you!Print
Homemade Southern pimento cheese is perfect as a dip or spread. Since its easy and quick to make, you can enjoy this southern staple frequently. Serve it at your next party with bread or crackers, or make it into sandwiches the whole gang will devour when tailgating. It’s low carb, so enjoy it without any guilt.
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, such as Duke’s
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- pinch of white pepper
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (if you aren’t using Duke’s mayo)
- 4 teaspoons dill pickle brine
- 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4-ounce jar pimentos, diced
- Preheat the oven to 350F, if planning on serving the pimento cheese as a warm dip.
- Put the cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Mix together with a hand mixer until softened and thoroughly combined, then add the the spices and blend again.
- Grate the cheese using the large holes of a box grater. Add the grated cheese along with the pickle brine, lemon juice (if necessary), and pimentos. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- To serve the pimento cheese hot, place the pimento cheese in a 6-inch cast iron skillet and warm it up in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes.
- To serve the pimento cheese cold, place the pimento cheese in a serving bowl. Cover it tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Duke’s mayonnaise has a lemony taste. If you want to use Hellman’s mayo, add fresh lemon juice.
- Serving the dip warm gives the dip a smooth texture and a saltier taste.