This easy homemade pimento cheese spread is the perfect thing for making pimento cheese sandwiches or serving with crackers for a delicious southern appetizer.
My Wisconsin-raised, cheddar-loving heart, would never in a million years have guessed that homemade pimento cheese would be part of my kitchen repertoire after moving to the South.
When I first spotted it in prepared tubs at our local grocery store, I wasn't quite sure what pimento cheese was or what you used it for.
But after 10 years of Southern living, creamy pimento cheese spread is one of my guilty pleasures every fall.
I recently tried a homemade pimento cheese as a spread over fresh, warm fried green tomatoes at a barbecue restaurant in Greenville, SC and it was INCREDIBLE.
I had to rush right home and try it myself!
P.S. Don't miss the other tasty eats in Greenville, SC we enjoyed during our anniversary trip in July.
What Is Pimento Cheese?
Pimento cheese is a spread or a dip that is made with sharp cheddar cheese, traditional mayonnaise, diced pimento peppers, cream cheese, and seasonings.
This classic Southern recipe is used as an appetizer with crackers or a sandwich filling.
Why This is the Best Recipe
I've tasted several different pimento cheese variations over the years because this local favorite is often sold in fancy food shops and produced by small batch kitchens throughout the south.
Sometimes you can find spicy pimento cheese, other times it is listed as sweet, mild, or seasoned.
I believe this is the best pimento cheese recipe of them all because it combines all the best elements:
- High quality sharp cheddar cheese
- Classic Duke's mayonnaise
- Fresh green onions
- Mild pimento peppers
- And the perfect balance of seasonings
My recipe has the perfect thick texture for spreading on a cracker or using as the base for a grilled pimento cheese sandwich but you could always thin it out if you prefer a smoother dip.
Just be sure to see my variations listed below!
Classic pimento cheese has just a few basic ingredients:
- Brick of Sharp Cheddar Cheese: I used both orange and white cheddars but you can use what you love. Don't use the pre-shredded cheese, they are coated in powder so the shreds don't stick, a fresh shredded brick will be much more delicious.
- Cream Cheese
- Mayonnaise: Either Duke's or Hellman's. I chose the Southern Favorite Duke's but grabbed the light mayo made with olive oil to lighten things up just a touch.
- Diced Pimento Peppers: You will find the jar of pimento peppers near the pickles, in the Mexican food aisle, or sometimes near the canned vegetables in the grocery store.
The remaining ingredients are unique additions to this pimento cheese recipe and are what make it so special:
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Dijon Mustard
- Fresh Green Onions
- Cayenne Pepper
- Seasoned Salt
- Mike's Hot Honey: You can use whatever honey you love.
How to Make It
Since it is important to use a brick of cheddar instead of pre-shredded cheese, I love to make my homemade pimento cheese right in a food processor.
I start by chopping the green onions into large chunks and then using the processor to mince them:
Cut the softened cream cheese into cubes and add it to the food processor bowl. Pulse the blade until the cheese and green onions are fully combined.
Add the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne to the food processor and pulse it into the mixture.
Cut the bricks of cheddar cheese in half and then grate them into shreds right into the food processor bowl:
Scrape all the shredded cheese and the seasoned green onion-cream cheese mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl to finish the pimento cheese.
Add the drained, diced pimentos to the bowl along with the mayonnaise and honey and stir with a spatula to combine:
Cover and chill for 2 hours before serving to let the flavors mingle.
However, pimento cheese tastes best at room temperature, so let it sit out for 20 minutes before serving.
How to Use Pimento Cheese Spread
This thick pimento cheese spread is perfect for serving as an appetizer with butter crackers alongside one of my other favorite Kentucky Derby party recipes.
Simply use a knife to scoop a dollop and spread it on the cracker and enjoy!
You could also use this thick cheese spread for the base of an amazing pimento cheese sandwich. It will hold up perfectly as a grilled cheese and melt to a lovely consistency.
You could add thick cut fresh tomatoes to the pimento cheese sandwich or even a couple slices of my favorite peppered bacon.
Pimento cheese also makes an incredible topping for fried green tomatoes.
My pimento cheese recipe is a little bit on the spicy side of things. It has just a touch of sweetness from the honey.
You could mix things up a bit and try one of these fun variations:
- Mild Pimento Cheese: Use a mild cheddar instead of sharp. Skip the cayenne pepper.
- Sweet Pimento Cheese: Use a sweet honey instead of Mike's Hot Honey and add up to 1 tablespoon. This may thin the pimento cheese out a bit, too.
- Roasted Red Pepper Cheese: If you can't find pimentos, you could mince a few jarred roasted red peppers instead. This will add a bit of sweetness to the final dip.
More Southern Recipes
The South is filled with tons of delicious foods that we've adopted into our cooking routine.