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…

Crackers topped with pimento cheese.

Pimento Cheese

4.86 / 7 votes
This pimento cheese is a Southern classic made from Cheddar cheese, pimentos, sweet onion, and mayonnaise.
David Leite
CourseHors d’Oeuvres
CuisineSouthern
Servings12 servings
Calories253 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25 cupCalories: 253 kcalCarbohydrates: 2 gProtein: 9 gFat: 23 gSaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 0.03 gCholesterol: 44 mgSodium: 338 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Rebecca Lang. Photos © 2012 David Leite. All rights reserved.

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.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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184 Comments

  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.