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. 5 stars
    Thank you so much. This really took me back to my childhood in Texas. We had pimento cheese often and its still a favorite of mine. I loved hearing all these southern voices.

  2. Hello David!
    In the Philippines we call this cheese pimiento and the recipe I remember from childhood uses evaporated milk instead of mayo which makes it a bit more spreadable. Cheese pimiento is very popular both as a school snack and traditional fare at children’s birthday parties. No onions in the mix but some people use crushed pineapples (canned variety) for that bit of tang. For special occasions, we use Edam cheese (locally known as queso de bola) instead of cheddar for a richer, stronger taste. Thanks for this great post!

  3. 5 stars
    I am currently living in Australia and I couldn’t find any pimento so I subbed some roasted red peppers for pimento and it was very good and satisfied that craving for home. I have always used Hellman’s sorry. I didn’t grow up with Duke’s. I like the tangy twist.

    1. Cleo, no apologies necessary. I know some people do use red peppers in place of pimentos. And right now The One and I are in the middle of a taste-test challenge between Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Duke’s. We shall see who the victor is.

  4. Duke’s mayo is the ONLY mayo allowed in my house and perfect for pimento cheese. I didn’t notice that anyone used eggs in their recipe. There was never a real “recipe” but my grandmother always chopped up boiled eggs in hers and used a generous helping of mayo. It’s kind of like a pimento cheese/egg salad combo. I eat it on celery and on fresh white bread…at room temperature. Everyone thinks I’m nuts but if you let it sit out about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat it’s much better than eating it ice cold. Just one opinion of a true southern girl and you know what they say about opinions!

    1. Yes, always at room temperature! In New Orleans one of the marks of a good hostess is pimena’ cheese nicely brought up to room temperature but not vile and obviously-left-out-for-hours at just the right time – it’s a challenge!

    2. Penny, I’m not convinced yet about Duke’s Mayo. We did buy some but are on the fence. More taste tastes required. But…I do agree with the room-temp pimento cheese perspective. I think the flavors come out more when it’s warmer. (Colder foods require more salt and spices in order to be tasted.)

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