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pimento cheese

Ramona King

Classic Pimento Cheese

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Four new pimento cheese recipes, just in time for the Masters

Pimento cheese is the "pâté of the South," and there are hundreds of variations.

From a ladies' luncheon to snacks on the deck, elegantly served in your grandmother's silver serving dish, or spread between two pieces of white bread and wrapped in waxed paper to be taken to your favorite fishing hole for your lunch, pimento cheese is a perennial favorite in this region. A few minutes of prep and you have the food of the gods.

One critical tip? Please always grate your cheese yourself. The purchased, pre-shredded type cheese has additives that keep it from sticking together in the package, which means it won't combine well with your ingredients. Shred the cheese first, then measure.

Here are several variations for pimento cheese. If you don't want to eat it with crackers, how about trying it as a topping for hamburgers or baked potatoes?


Lolly's Favorite Pimento Cheese

Ingredients
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
6 ounces softened cream cheese
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
A few grinds of black pepper

Instructions
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients using a wooden spoon. You'll need some elbow grease to get everything thoroughly mixed together. Keep refrigerated until about 20 minutes before serving to allow it to soften enough to be spreadable on crackers.


Spicy Pimento Cheese
This version is great served with corn or tortilla chips. You can adjust the amount of cayenne and jalapeño to suit your taste.

Ingredients
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces chipotle white cheddar cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

Instructions
Using either a food processor or a box grater, grate both kinds of cheese and place in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in the mayonnaise. You can add either more or less to get the consistency you like. Fold in the pimentos, jalapeño and cayenne, and make sure it's well combined.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. It's best if made a few hours before serving, so the flavors will have time to blend. Serve with corn or tortilla chips.


Fancy Pimento Cheese

Ingredients
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar
2 cups shredded mild cheddar
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small cubes and softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons minced water chestnuts
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. If possible, make a day ahead and refrigerate. The flavors will have time to blend. Serve on crackers, as a sandwich filling or spread on celery sticks.


Pimento Cheese Ball
For an entirely different serving idea, how about a pimento cheese ball covered in pecans?

Ingredients
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (7-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Instructions
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except pecans. Shape the mixture into a ball. Spread chopped pecans onto a piece of foil or plastic wrap large enough to wrap around the cheese ball. Carefully roll the cheese ball in the chopped pecans until completely covered. Wrap the foil or plastic wrap securely around the cheese ball and refrigerate until ready to serve with your favorite crackers.

Want more? Try these pimento cheese recipes from our collection.


Author image

Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. You can contact her at fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.

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