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
Hors d’Oeuvres
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 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 make pimento cheese at least once a month – love it! I add prepared horseradish for zing and some sweet pickle juice for sweetness. (Old recipe from my Grandmother) Never added onion…I’ll try that next time!

  2. As a current Alabamian, this is a staple at any tailgate (*roll tide*). My mom bases her recipe off the Southern Living one, but uses half regular cheddar and half extra sharp to give it a more balanced taste. She also adds a dash of worcestershire.

    Down here we always like keep a jar of pepper jelly next to it for a little extra thrill on gameday.

  3. Sugar Pie, aren’t you the sweetest thing to spread the word around about the delights of PC! The whole pimentos are more flavorful than the already-diced. Cut them up and add a bit of juice to your mix. A dab of Parmesan gives it a certain je ne sais quoi, but that’s a secret. Also, don’t ever use anything but homemade mayo as a binder.

  4. I have heard Southern Belles on various sites go on and on about pimento cheese for years. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise, which is what kept me from it all those years. I bought my first and only taste and it was not very good. I don’t remember the brand, but it was greasy and bland. I’ll try your recipe but might use sour cream instead of the mayo. I am sure it will work as I garnish leftover mac and cheese with it to moisten it and it works wonderfully. So..based on that, sour cream it will be. I’ll report back.

    1. Susan, the sour cream is a known and perfectly acceptable variation. Though somehow it just does not achieve the ‘ah’ on the palate that the classic does; for the mayo-adverse it’s better than the yogurt thing. Add some pickle juice or something acid. (just a tiny bit) to tip the Ph though.

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