Pimento cheese is a Southern staple that is downright delicious. If you're not from the South, you may have never even heard of this cheesy dip. What is pimento cheese? Put simply, pimento cheese is a cheesy spread loaded with pimento peppers.
This delicacy is sometimes referred to as the pate of the south. You'll find the dip on high-end menu's throughout Georgia and South Carolina.
The word pimento is derived from the Spanish word meaning red pepper. Both spellings are interchangeably used when talking about pimiento cheese. These peppers are not spicy and are milder than a red bell pepper.
Pimento cheese always contains sharp cheddar cheese, pimento peppers, and mayonnaise. Purists will tell say you must use Duke's mayo to be considered officially Southern. Everyone has their favorite mix-ins to add to the basic recipe. Popular ones include cream cheese, white cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pickles, and cayenne pepper.
Eating Pimento Cheese
There are several ways to consume pimento cheese, not including spooning it directly from the bowl. In the South, you're likely to find it mixed with the yolks in deviled eggs, slathered on a hamburger, and even mixed in with grits.
One of the most popular ways to eat pimento is pimento cheese dip. It makes a great appetizer for large crowds and often makes an appearance on Super Bowl Sunday and game nights. You can serve this spread with veggies like carrots and celery sticks or chips and pretzels.
Another classic is a sandwich. Think grilled cheese sandwich with a kick. It's gooey and melty, with the added flavor of the peppers.
Pimento Cheese Recipe
You can hit up your local grocery store for this dish, but nothing beats homemade. If it's your first time making this yummy spread, do not fear! It is extremely easy and you probably already have most of the ingredients.
We think it's worth the time and effort for this classic appetizer! The total time, including prep time, is only 10 minutes.
You can make pimento cheese in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or use a stand mixer. We don't recommend a food processor because we want to retain some texture. Make sure to buy shredded cheese for the best texture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine extra sharp cheddar, cream cheese, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, diced pimentos, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and onion powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Season everything with salt and black pepper. We like the kick of chopped jalapeno, but if you're not a fan of spice, you can omit it.
Thoroughly mix everything and serve immediately. To store, keep in an airtight container for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Get the recipe here.
Pimento Cheese Nutritional Information
Pimento cheese is by no means a low-calorie food. It's made with cheese and mayonnaise, making it heavy on cholesterol and carbohydrates. On the plus side, it does provide a substantial amount of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.
One cool thing about this dish is that it is gluten-free and vegetarian. You could make it vegan by substituting vegan cheese and vegan mayonnaise, but that would most likely change the taste.