Pimento Cheese

This pimento cheese is a Southern classic made from Cheddar cheese, pimentos, sweet onion, and mayonnaise.

Crackers topped with pimento cheese.

After having consumed approximately half of Vermont’s supply of Cheddar cheese in the name of research, I’ve discovered that this pimento cheese recipe from Rebecca Lang is the best dang pimento cheese I’ve ever had. I also found that doing yourself a favor and making it a day ahead of time only improves the taste. The onion mellows, the pimento perks up, the color blends, and everything becomes, well, ambrosial. And it’s one less thing for you to do the day of when guests are on their way. And you can do waaaaay more than just slather the pimento cheese on crackers. You can also  set it out as part of a crudités platter, stuff it in sandwiches (whether petite tea party bites or gooey grilled cheese sandwiches), or perhaps even scoop it straight from the container at 2:00 a.m. as you lean against the sink. Not that I know anything about that.–David Leite

Mellow Yellow Cheddar Cheese Note

When a Southerner makes pimento cheese, he or she is usually pretty particular about the type of cheese. David isn’t a Southerner but he is plenty particular about his recipes. He instructed us to share with you that he uses white Cheddar, not orange. He prefers the flavor of white. Besides, you still get a lovely orange tint from the pimentos. We haven’t run this by the author of the recipe, Rebecca Lang, although we’re curious to hear what she thinks. Let’s see if she notices…

☞ Contents

Pimento Cheese

Crackers topped with pimento cheese.
This pimento cheese is a Southern classic made from Cheddar cheese, pimentos, sweet onion, and mayonnaise.

Prep 10 minutes
Total 10 minutes
Hors d’Oeuvres
12 servings
253 kcal
4.86 / 7 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Around the Southern Table cookbook

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  • 1 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese (or if you’re a true Southerner, by all means, stick with orange Cheddar)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • One (4-ounce) jar pimentos drained well
  • 2 tablespoons grated Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Crackers, toast points, crudités, or anything else you can think to serve with it


  • Grate the cheese in a food processor or on the large holes of a box grater. (Just between us, a food processor is the way to go. Five seconds max. Although you can do it by hand just for old-time's sake to get that Southern nostalgia mood going.)
  • In a bowl or your food processor, mix the grated cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, grated onion, and a few good grinds pepper until blended. Resist the urge to dig in immediately. Instead, cover it and stash it in the fridge for at least a couple hours and, preferably, 24 hours. (Trust us, the pimento cheese is unspeakably better after it rests. You can refrigerate it for up to 4 days, provided you can resist it that long.)
  • To serve, decant the pimento cheese into your loveliest serving dish. Serve with crackers, toast points, crudités, or anything you fancy.
Print RecipeBuy the Around the Southern Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 253kcal (13%)Carbohydrates: 2g (1%)Protein: 9g (18%)Fat: 23g (35%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 44mg (15%)Sodium: 338mg (15%)Potassium: 52mg (1%)Fiber: 0.2g (1%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 638IU (13%)Vitamin C: 10mg (12%)Calcium: 269mg (27%)Iron: 0.3mg (2%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This pimento cheese is very addictive! It’s easy to prepare but the 2-hour to overnight waiting period is definitely difficult to endure. Your reward, though, is a pleasingly rich cheese dip that really shows itself off, especially at room temperature.

Using a food processor will save some time but I do recommend grating the cheese first. After that, put everything into the processor and pulse a few times until you get texture and orange color you’re after. I found some of the pimento from the jar were rather large, so if doing this all by hand, be sure to finely chop the pimento so they mix adequately with the cheese, mayo, and onion.

Originally published December 30, 2020


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. I know I’ve got no business monkeying with a respected tradition of Southern cooking but one day I had a little bit of muhmmara left over. I’m also a person who borrows the French tradition of fromage fort (got no business messing with their traditions either but then fromage fort is pretty flexible concept so porquoi pas?). I used them together and came up with something that was pretty awesome in a SoCal sort of way.

    I’ve made it many times since. It’s pretty damned good!

    (If anyone gets an itch to try it Ottolenghi has a good muhmmara recipe.)

  2. 5 stars
    Whichever pimento cheese recipe that I try, they all taste better when I roast a red bell pepper on my gas stove. No gas? Broiler works well, just be sure the skin is charred black which comes off easily under cold running water in the sink.

    1. What a great tip, low and slow! As a pimento cheese lover, I’ll be sure and try this next time I whip up a batch.

  3. I have a fabulous poster in my kitchen from the Southern Foodways Alliance which reads “pimento is a vegetable not a cheese” — a piece of useless information that has nothing to do with my recipe for Pimento Cheese! I rarely measure, and don’t at all with this recipe. It uses a couple of bricks of sharp (yellow) cheddar, always freshly grated — a pox on those who would use pre shredded — Hellman’s mayonnaise, a large jar of diced pimentos, Worcestershire sauce, and a good deal of freshly ground black pepper. It is a staple at my house and one simply cannot tailgate in the SEC without it! Enjoy!

      1. There’s no arguing that Duke’s is the Southern mayo of choice, Tom. But for the rest of us who have no hope of finding it, Hellman’s does the trick nicely.

  4. Hello, John. Thanks for this. I don’t suppose you’d share your recipes with us! 😉 I disagree about the onion. I think it adds just a bit of sweetness, which is welcome.

  5. Well, y’all, I prefer my OWN pimento cheese recipe, but I wouldn’t turn down a bite of this one. My favorite Scarlett line is (something like): “I can’t think about this now. I’ll go crazy if I do. I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

    1. Laughs! Love everything about your response, Jean! And yes, tomorrow. And yes, it is possible to have two favorite pimento cheese recipes…

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