This Pimento Cheese recipe is the 10-minute prep, luxuriously creamy, cheesy, tangy, and as-spicy-as-you-like dip or spread that you’re going to want to serve with everything!
Pimento Cheese is a classic Southern cheddar cheese and pimento pepper dip or spread that’s a must-make for game-day, holidays, get-togethers, or just to enjoy every day! It’s luxuriously creamy, cheesy, tangy, and as-spicy-as-you-like and so easy to make with just a handful of ingredients in less than 10 minutes. This homemade Pimento Cheese recipe is guaranteed to knock the socks off of any store-bought version and is incredible versatile: use it as a spread on sandwiches, burgers, wraps, etc. as a dip for vegetables, crackers, chips, or in stuffed chicken breasts, potatoes, quesadillas and more! It also earns major points because it’s make-ahead friendly and tastes even better the next day for an outrageously delicious, stress-free, crowd pleaser.
Dips are always a party favorite! Don’t miss these popular recipes: Jalapeno Popper Dip, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Hot Crab Dip, French Onion Dip and, of course, this new Homemade Pimento Cheese Dip.
How to Make pimento cheese Video
What is pimento cheese?
What is it? Pimento Cheese is a classic Southern spread or dip, also affectionately referred to as “pâté du Sud,” Southern pâté, or “the caviar of the South,” but at our house, we just call so good. It is primarily served as a dip with crackers or vegetables, or as a spread for sandwiches, but it can also be used to flavor deviled eggs, grits, pasta, potatoes and more.
What is it made of? In its most essential form, Pimento Cheese is made with cheddar cheese, pimento peppers and mayonnaise. Depending on the region, it may also include cream cheese, jalapeno peppers, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, dill pickles, garlic and/or onion.
What does it taste like? Pimento Cheese tastes like a rich and creamy sharp cheddar cheese dip/spread with a subtle sweetness and tanginess from the pimentos. We also like it spicy at our house, jalapenos elevate it to a whole new level!
What are Pimento Peppers?
What do they look like? The star of every recipe for Pimento Cheese is the pimento peppers (also spelled pimiento), or cherry peppers. These peppers are small, heart-shaped sweet red peppers that are typically 3-4 inches long and 2-3 inches wide.
What do they taste like? Pimento peppers are a little peppery but incredibly mild, registering between 100 and 500 heat units on the Scoville scale, making them one of the mildest of all the chili peppers (the jalapeno is 40 times hotter). You can think of them as a tangier, sweeter, more aromatic red bell pepper. Pimientos are also responsible for the signature reddish hue of Pimento Cheese.
What are they used for? You might recognize pimiento peppers as the little red peppers from “pimento stuffed olives,” or dried and ground with other spices to make paprika. They can be stuffed like mini bell peppers or used in soups, pasta, risotto grains etc., or anywhere you would use a red bell pepper. They are especially tasty in Southwest and Mexican fare such as in chilis, tacos, beans and rice.
PIMENTO CHEESE Recipe ingredients
Your mind will be blown at how these everyday ingredients transform into hypnotic Pimento Cheese Dip. This homemade recipe tastes far superior to store-bought options and is easy to customize depending on personal preference. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
Do I have to use cream cheese?
Not all of today’s recipes for Pimento Cheese include cream cheese, but according to Serious Eats’ history on pimento cheese, they all use to! In fact, in an article published in Good Housekeeping in 1908, it recommended stuffing sandwiches with a blend of soft cream cheese, mustard, chives, and minced pimentos – and many similar recipes followed.
I find Pimento Cheese Dip with cream cheese highly superior in both flavor and texture and don’t recommend skipping. When combined with sour cream and mayonnaise, you’ll enjoy the tastiest combination.
HOW TO MAKE Pimento Cheese
Homemade Pimento Cheese is one of the easiest dips or spreads you can make, ready in just 10 minutes. You can simply mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, pimentos, and seasonings together, OR for the creamiest texture, I like to use my hand mixer. Here’s how to make it (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
HOW TO SERVE HOMEMADE PIMENTO CHEESE
Pimento Cheese can be served in so many different ways! Here are a few ideas to upgrade veggies, sandwiches and more!
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches are scrumptious served hot or cold.
As a Dip
This recipe for Pimento Cheese is so incredible tasty as dip – we inhale it! Keep in mind the, the dip should be at room temperature when serving, otherwise it can be too hard. Try it with any of the following dippers:
As a Spread
As an Add-In
Pimento Cheese is tasty wherever cheese or cream cheese can be used!
possible recipe variations
You are welcome to jazz up your recipe for Pimento Cheese until your heart (and belly) are content! Most of these add-ins are not traditional, but don’t let that scare you away!
pimento cheese FAQS
Pimento Cheese is a popular American dish claimed by the South. However, it actually originated in 1870 in New York! NY farmers invented the early versions of cream cheese around the same time Spain began importing jarred “pimiento” over to the United States. The two were a match made in heaven!
Pimento Cheese is rich, creamy and tangy with a thick, spreadable consistency. It is often made spicy with the addition of jalapenos, cayenne pepper or Tabasco, zesty with horseradish sauce, more tangy with dill pickles or more savory with Worcestershire sauce.
Pimento cheese has several affectionate names in the south including “Carolina Caviar,” “pâté du Sud,” Southern pâté, or “the Caviar of the South.”
I’ve included all sorts of ways to enjoy Pimento Cheese in this post! A popular favorite in the South, however, is to make tea-size finger sandwiches. It is also used as a dip with vegetables and crackers, as a spread for toast or burgers, stirred into grits or in deviled eggs.
Pimento Cheese is typically served slightly chilled, but not straight out of the refrigerator, otherwise it will be too thick (because the cream cheese hardens). It is also delicious warmed because it becomes melty and creamy like in quesadillas, or in pasta or grits.
HOW LONG is HOMEMADE PIMENTO CHEESE good for?
The shelf life of your homemade Pimento Cheese Dip will depend on the freshness of your sour cream/Greek yogurt. If they are fresh, then your Pimento Cheese should last for up to 7-10 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften before serving, or microwave for 20 seconds.
CAN I FREEZE PIMENTO CHEESE DIP?
You won’t be worried about leftovers once you taste this dip! I do not recommend freezing homemade Pimento Cheese due to the cream cheese/sour cream/mayo base. The fat will separate and become a funny texture once frozen and thawed.
Looking for more Dip Recipes?
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Hot Crab Dip
French Onion Dip
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- 1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried oregano, salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (go extra sharp if you can)
- 1 4 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos, well drained (or substitute with 1 seeded diced jalapeno, cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste)
- Green onions (optional)
- Add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream/Greek yogurt and spices to a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat the mixture until it is well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add the cheese, pimentos and jalapenos and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with optional green onions. Serve with crackers, vegetables, or as a spread. See post for TONS of serving ideas!
- Pimentos: These are easy to find at the grocery store, typically in glass jars, stocked with the olives and pickles. You will need one 4-ounce jar for this recipe. Pick up a jar of chopped pimentos, otherwise, if they come in slices, just chop them yourself into a ¼-inch dice.
- Storage: The shelf life of your Pimento Cheese will depend on the freshness of your sour cream/Greek yogurt. If they are fresh, then your Pimento Cheese should last for up to 7-10 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften before serving, or microwave for 20 seconds.
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