Pimento Cheese, Times Two | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Pimento Cheese, Times Two

“The Caviar of the South” is perfect for holiday parties


Pimento (or pimiento) cheese is a very popular spread in the Southern United States. Not that you don’t find it elsewhere, but you’ll find it frequently on restaurant and café menus in the South and almost every Southern family has their own version of the spread. It’s often called “The Caviar of the South” because of its frequent appearance at party spreads.

Pimento Cheese, Times Two
Tambi Lane Photo
Pimento cheese makes a great sandwich spread and is also excellent as a dip for crackers, chips and veggies

Base ingredients include cheeses, pimientos (canned red peppers) and mayonnaise. Regional ingredients vary and can include jalapeños, horseradish, cream cheese, hot sauce, paprika, onions, garlic, dill pickles, cayenne peppers, etc. It can be served as a spread for crackers, chips and veggies or made into a sandwich or mixed into grits, used in deviled eggs or spread onto hamburgers and hot dogs.

Pimento cheese is great to serve at the holidays because it’s so easy to make and there are very few folks who turn up their nose at cheese. Here I’m giving you two versions, one made with sharp cheddar cheeses which is a bit chunkier and great on sandwiches. The other version is the one I grew up with, which is a bit creamier and smoother. I love them both!

Pimento cheese is great to serve at the holidays because it’s so easy to make and there are very few folks who turn up their nose at cheese.

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Keep in mind you can do add-ins to your heart’s desire. I suggest a dash of hot sauce for starters. You can also season with paprika or add chopped jalapeños, diced dill pickles or minced onions. Get creative and make it to suit your own taste.

Pimento Cheese Version 1
Makes 6-8 servings

-1 block sharp white cheddar cheese, diced into small cubes
-1 block sharp cheddar cheese, diced into small cubes
-1 small jar red pimentos, drained and chopped
-Mayonnaise, to taste
-Small pinch cayenne pepper, optional

The only time-consuming task in making this recipe is dicing the cheese into small cubes. You could grate it instead but, in my opinion, it’s much better in little square chunks and the chunks are less likely to clump together when you’re mixing.

Place diced cheese into a mixing bowl and add the strained pimentos. Mix in a dollop or two of mayo, stir and taste. The idea is to bring the mixture together into something you can spread. Then you take a taste and trust your taste buds. If you want more mayo, go for it. If you like it just the way it is, then leave it be. Add cayenne or whatever seasonings you prefer and mix well.

Make a nice sandwich or place in a pretty dish and serve with crackers or veggies on the side.

Pimento Cheese Version 2
Makes 6-8 servings
-5-ounce jar Old English Cheese, softened
-4-ounces cream cheese (1/2 of the typical 8-ounce package), softened
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2 teaspoons lemon juice
-1 small jar red pimentos, drained and chopped
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, your choice of mild, medium or sharp

In a small bowl, blend softened cheeses together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if desired.

Place in a nice dish and serve with crackers or veggies on the side.

About The Author

Donna Britt

Food writer, food stylist, recipe tester, cookbook editor, podcast producer/host are a few of the creative hats Donna Britt wears. Donna loves to hike, paddle board and spend quality time with family and friends. Oh, and she also collects cookbooks and cast iron cooking vessels.
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