Classic Pimento Cheese

in Appetizers, Snacks

Classic Pimento Cheese //

I was born in the south and my family has lived there their whole lives but I don’t really consider myself southern, though I’m definitely southern-ish. I have a strong attraction to southern states, people and food. It was really no surprise that I went back to the south for college, North Carolina to be exact.

My first friend (and best friend ’til this day) at college was a svelte costume design major named Tre. We went everywhere together, including the cafeteria. Rumor had it that our school was just one grade above prison food, which as you know re: Orange is The New black is BAD. Naturally since we were in the south, they had pimento cheese at the salad bar. And everyday Tre would eat pimento cheese on white bread. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (I opted for cereal.) I honestly never touched the pimento cheese because if you think it looks a little scary now in my pictures, imagine how it looked at the ‘one grade above prison salad bar’. Rough.

Classic Pimento Cheese //

Anywayz, through him is where I learned to appreciate this spread. It took years for me to turn around but when I had a good version of it I was like OMG this is what I’ve been missing!

It’s the laziest most delicious thing you could ever make to take to a friend’s house. Friend is having a bad day? Pimento cheese. Going to a promptu dinner party and need a quick and easy appetizer? Pimento cheese.

Classic Pimento Cheese //

It’s classic yet interesting enough where people ask you what’s in it.

I served this with bread because the bread was amazing, but really it can just as easily be eaten with crackers or chips.

Sometimes I like recipes that are more assembly-based, especially when I’m feeling lazy and sweating a lil’ bit. Perfect for summah.

Classic Pimento Cheese //

Classic Pimento Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Serving Size: 6 (as an appetizer)

Classic Pimento Cheese


  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small dill pickles, minced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack
  • 1 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained (not rinsed)
  • Few turns of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used Texas Pete, which is very mild so do this to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise


  1. In a food processor add garlic clove, dill pickle, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded Monterey jack, pimentos, black pepper and hot sauce. Pulse until just combined, stopped and scraping down the sides as needed. Note: This is a personal preference but I like mine with texture. If you like it more smooth, simply pulse some more until you're at the desired texture.
  2. Give it a taste and add more hot sauce if you like. Next, fold in the mayonnaise and mix until it's completely incorporated. Adjust any seasoning or flavoring if you like.
  3. To serve: some like to serve this cold. I like it room temperature. It's definitely your call. Serve with chips, crackers or slices of bread.


Like every classic dish, it seems like everyone has their own idea what should go in to Pimento Cheese. In the comments below, tell me how your family makes it, what they add, etc.! I wanna hear it all!

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche July 16, 2014 at 12:47 am

Pimento cheese isn’t really a ‘thing’ in the UK so I’ve never had it, but I just KNOW I’d love it! Can’t beat a gooey cheese sandwich, I think I’d have been there with Tre and the white bread 😉


Averie @ Averie Cooks July 16, 2014 at 1:01 am

I saw your teaser pic on IG and I loveeee pimento cheese. Yours looks awesome! I’d lick the bowl :) pinned


Marie @ Little Kitchie July 16, 2014 at 4:57 am

Pimento cheese is my jam. Such a perfect food for a summertime picnic!


Kelsey @aslolife July 16, 2014 at 5:20 am

I had never really even heard of pimento cheese until we moved from Cali to Virginia, but my husband is completely obsessed now. He always runs to the free samples as soon as we get to the grocery store–will definitely have to make this soon!


Allyn July 16, 2014 at 7:26 am

I’m a born and raised southerner (and missing it terribly now that we’re living in NYC), so this makes me soooo happy.
Other uses for this? On top of burgers, and in a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.
I die.


Stacey July 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Those are all my favorite ways to eat it, too!


Leslie July 16, 2014 at 9:34 am

I could eat this everyday, but don’t!!! I do not use pickles, I add a small dash of Worcestershire sauce. I use only Duke’s mayo! Reading this is making my mouth water.


Mel July 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

Mmmmm… H&H in NC used to sell a delicious Pimento Cheese “Pizza” – Pimento cheese on heated crispy flatbread with hardboiled egg “pepperonis”! So delicious – I may need to recreate this!


erin {yummysupper} July 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

Okay lady… you’ve convinced me. I need some pimento cheese in my life:)


Jenny Ramsey July 16, 2014 at 11:58 am

I LOVE PIMENTO CHEESE! I could eat it every day, but then I wouldn’t be able to get out the front door. Hubs won’t eat it, so, alas, I don’t have it often. On a burger is the best, but I’d eat it with a spoon right out of the bowl. Like all of it. In one sitting.


Stacey July 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Pimento cheese is one of my all-time favorite things to put in my face. I add some fresh dill and grated red onions to mine… never thought to add a pickle! I will definitely give it a shot!


Loryn July 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Oh, gurl. Da Yum!


stephanie @ iamafoodblog July 16, 2014 at 6:20 pm

i tried pimento cheese recently and couldn’t agree more with you, “OMG this is what I’ve been missing!” love it!



Stu Borken July 17, 2014 at 6:14 am

I was stationed in Louisville, Ky. in the military in the 1960’s and pimento cheese spread was served at the lunch buffet daily . Never had it before that. Had it every day for 2 years. Loved it. The recipe is quite simple. I would leave out the pickle and add a dash of the Worcestershire sauce for umami.


Katie July 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I just love that you used dill pickles, such a great flavor addition.


Thalia @ butter and brioche July 17, 2014 at 7:21 pm

i have never tried this before! definitely will be making this to spread over my next lunch time baguette. love it!


Jana H. July 18, 2014 at 6:35 am

My mom makes a pretty good pimento cheese. She uses a little dab of cream cheese with mayo. Whenever I’ve made it, I’ve used pepper jack cheese with the cheddar and sour cream with the mayo. And I sometimes use cream cheese like Mama does. ;-)Never heard of it will pickles but I’ll bet it’s interesting.

I actually grew up on the grocery store stuff that comes in a the small plastic tub. Mrs. Staub’s, I think is the brand name. I hated it. It wasn’t until I was an adult that Mama started making it from scratch and I realized I actually do love it.

Now there’s a place in town that serves grilled pimento cheese and I order it just about every time I go there. So good!


Curtis Jackson July 18, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I grew up with my dad’s pimiento cheese, which was very similar to this only with extra-sharp cheddar and without the dill pickle. Due to the extra-sharp cheddar it had a serious bite. The first time I tried grocery store pimiento cheese I was horrified: bland, excessively sweet, AWFUL.

I think the dill pickle is an excellent addition, and can’t wait to try this. I’ll report back when I do.


Arthur in the Garden! July 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Yummy! Great recipe!


Bryn July 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm

We use extra sharp cheddar, normal cheddar, a little grated onion, worcestershire sauce, and of course mayonnaise and pimentos! I think I would really like the pickle, but I know my mother wouldn’t ;). I love seeing recipes like this on blogs!


francesca July 22, 2014 at 7:10 am

I love that this takes you back to the south 😀

Looks delish.


bev @ bevcooks August 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I’ve been dying to make this forever!


Sandy August 9, 2014 at 9:19 am

We always had sweet pickles instead of dill. Something about those sweet pickles (not relish) and a little juice makes the pimento cheese perfect! And always use the juice from the jar of pimentos! Yummm


Loretta October 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Toasted pecans chopped takes it over the top. I like it on celery.


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