What Is Pimento Cheese?
Pimento cheese! If you are from the South, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, of course. You likely have your favorite way of making it and may even take issue with our recipe that follows.
If you are not from the South, you might be scratching your head at this point. Pimentos? Those red things in olives, shmooshed together with cheese? Yep.
Welcome to “Carolina caviar” or “Southern pâté,” a dip containing cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, and cream cheese.
Spread it between two pieces of white bread for a quick sandwich, or stuff into celery sticks for the southern version of ants on a log. You can even put it on a burger.
What’s the History of Pimento Cheese?
According to Robert Moss on Serious Eats, pimento cheese didn’t originate as a southern thing, but first made an appearance in the early 1900s when packaged cream cheese and canned pimentos became popular.
A recipe for it appeared in a 1908 Good Housekeeping article. Somehow along the way, it took root in the South, and now you’ll find them right next to the deviled eggs at any church social, along with celery sticks and Ritz crackers.
Our Version of Pimento Cheese
Our recipe is rich and creamy with sharp cheddar cheese, jack cheese, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. We are seasoning it with Worcestershire sauce, some dry mustard, onion and garlic powder, paprika and of course, plenty of pimentos. We’re also mixing in some chopped celery tops which brighten the dip.
How to Store Pimento Cheese
Store any leftover pimento cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It’s great for sandwiches or a quick snack.
If you have your own favorite pimento cheese recipe, or story to tell about it, please let us know in the comments!
More Great Dips and Spreads
Pimento Cheese Recipe
- 8 ounces (full fat) cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika if you have it)
- 1/2 cup diced canned pimentos, drained
- 3 tablespoons minced light green celery leaves
1 Place the cream cheese into a food processor and pulse until lightly whipped.
2 Add the shredded cheeses, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika, and pulse until well mixed.
3 Add the diced pimento and pulse one or two times only. Remove the mixture from the food processor bowl and place into a mixing bowl. Stir in the minced celery leaves.
4 Place into a serving bowl and serve with crackers and/or celery.
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