Pimento Cheese

DipSouthernVegetarianCheese

Pimento Cheese! It's a Southern staple: a spreadable dip for celery, sandwiches, crackers. We make ours with pimentos, cheddar and jack cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese. Dig in!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Pimento Cheese

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

Updated May 1, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Pimento Cheese Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

28 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jana

    I made this according to the recipe and found it way too spice heavy. I will make it again but will add only 1/2 tsp of each dry spice and Worchester sauce.

  2. Laura

    Delicious and addictive! I like to add garlic chile paste for some kick (leave out the mustard powder ). In my opinion you must always grate your own cheese.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Zorka DeFreeuw

    what is the difference between the old mix master and the paddle mixers? Could I use the old one?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Dana Ernspiker

    For something different like a game tailgating add some horseradish to the recipe then buy some pork rinds heat in oven for a few minutes then sprinkle a dry rub over them. Enjoy!

  5. Melanie Boettner

    I have learned to love pimento cheese since moving to Memphis ten years ago. I have even developed my own recipe, which is similar. No mustard, celery, or the spices you have, but I do add Black & Red (black and red pepper blend) from Penzy’s. Give it a bit of a kick. I think your additions may add some depth, so I’m gonna give it a try — but keep my Black & Red.

    And truth be told, Dukes is the only way to go!

    Show Replies (1)
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Pimento Cheese in bowl surrounded by crackersPimento Cheese