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. I am from Oregon, learned about Pimento Cheese traveling in the South. I always use Tillamook aged white cheddar. Those other cheeses seem oily and bland. I use jarred roasted red peppers instead of pimentos. They integrate into the mix much more and I prefer the flavor. I was convinced to add 8 oz of cream cheese; I like the flavor and consistency. I add a fair amount of Worcestershire Sauce. Think I’ll try some microplaned onion. Like it for tea sandwiches on crust trimmed thin white bread, sandwiches on toast, in celery, and cold right out of the jar. Grating your own cheese is by far superior, but that food processor equals almost instant gratification. Bravo to who ever came up with Pimento Cheese.

    1. Joan, there are as many versions of pimento cheese as there are people who eat it. I was completely immune to its charm–and, frankly, didn’t understand all the fuss until I tried it at the house of Beth Price, our director of recipe testing. I was BLOWN AWAY. (And I’ll confess, I ate an entire quart if it in a week. I know, shame, shame. But it was so freaking good.)

  2. Making your own Pimento Cheese is a must and I can’t wait to try this! I found the tester, David Kraan’s comment “pleasingly rich cheese dip” too funny. It might be a Southern thang but Pimento Cheese is Pimento Cheese or Minna Cheese not some cheese dip. I make mine in clamp lid jars at Christmas & New Year’s to give to folks. I use a combo of Sharp Cheddar, Jalapeno Jack and Cream Cheese as well as a combo of Miracle Whip and Mayo along with roasted red bell pepper. But your recipe is up next!! Thank you Sir!!

  3. The best pimento cheese recipe I have found. Dukes mayo is essential. I never stock any other in my pantry. Like other suggestions here add Tabasco- replace onions in your recipe with scallions. In this recipe, I reversed the salt and pepper quantities. This stuff is culinary “crack.” Highly addictive 🙂 Totally get the 2AM leaning on the counter eating it over the sink deal.

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