Pimento Cheese

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

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…

Video

Video: How to Make Rebecca Lang’s Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

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

Prep 10 mins
Total 10 mins
Condiments
Southern
4.86 / 7 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Around the Southern Table cookbook

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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese (or if you’re a true Southerner, by all means, stick with orange Cheddar)
  • 3/4 cup store bought or homemade 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

Directions
 

  • 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.

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

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Comments

  1. Although I divide my time between NYC and a little town in upstate NY, I lived in Atlanta for eight years in the ’70s when I became all too well acquainted with pimento cheese, although I don’t think I’ve ever had it made exclusively with white Cheddar, which I will be sure to try. Julia Reed discusses it in the epilogue to her hilarious and delicious Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties, where she quotes Scott Peacock as correctly pronouncing it “puhmenna cheese.” There is one brand of prepared pimento cheese that is (1) in every grocery store in Atlanta, and (2) pretty darn good, and when I found it in a supermarket in Williamstown, MA, I almost fainted and then took a picture of it with my iPhone to send to my Southern friends. It will not be as good as this recipe, I am sure, but if you want to know the name (this is not an advert), just holler. Happy New Year.

      1. It is Palmetto Cheese from Pawley’s Island, SC “The Pimento Cheese with Soul.” It comes in Original and Jalapeño; both are good, but I go for the Original

        If you don’t know her (and maybe you do), Julia Reed will move to the top of your list of people you don’t know who you want to hang out with to eat good food!

        Happy New Year.

        Palmetto Cheese

        1. Palmetto cheese is also available with green olives. You may only be able to get iit at their shop in Pawleys Island. I’ll check next time I’m in there, y’all 🙂

          1. go to their website and they will tell you where you can find it in your zip area. Walmart and Albertsons have it around here – Baton Rouge, Louisiana

          2. Does that mean a Care Package should be in the works?Let’s see who is closest to you ….I am sure we can manage to get some to you somehow. BTW, how could Stop&Shop NOT have it? Maybe someone beat you to the shelf?

          3. Remember to take pictures for all the rest of us before you and The One devour the entire contents. I do hope you ordered more than one container! BTW, just another reason to make that reservation now, – we have Palmetto here and a good supply is on every shelf!

          4. Hello! I realize this post is 4+ years old, but thought you might like to know that they were selling Palmetto Cheese (yes, the Pawley Island one) at Costco over Christmas. I haven’t looked for it since then, but imagine it’s still there. Just in case you get that hankerin’ again. 🙂

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