Have you noticed that pimento cheese is having a moment?

While you often hear about this delicious cheesy spread during the month of April in conjunction with the Master’s Golf Tournament (apparently pimento cheese sandwiches are an event favorite), I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember.

Mind you, the only southern thing about me is that I grew up in Southern California…yep, I know, doesn’t really count.  But I am a foodie, and this classic southern spread is an easy way to serve up an appetizer with a variety of crackers or pretzel chips.

Pimento Cheese Basics

With the exception of the actual pimento peppers (these come in a jar and are usually where you find green olives and dill pickles in grocery stores) I almost always have the other ingredients for a tasty pimento cheese spread on hand.  It’s an easy recipe, uses simple ingredients and is just a delicious dip.

southern pimento cheese recipe by Jill Bauer

Let me say this.  If you were born and raised in the south and grew up eating your grandmother’s pimento cheese spread recipe, I’m not here to compete with that!  There are a lot of different ways to make this classic southern recipe.  My homemade pimento cheese spread recipe is based on an original recipe I was given almost 35 years ago by a family friend.  It’s the only recipe I’ve ever used because it’s just a delicious cheese spread that everyone seems to enjoy.

Personally, I find that the cream cheese mayonnaise base gives this dip the best texture when the spread is served slightly chilled, but closer to room temperature.   It’s just not as flavorful if it is served too cold.

And a word about mayonnaise.  Yes, you should use the real thing and a better brand like Hellman’s or Dukes will make a difference. Don’t go the Miracle Whip route.  Just trust me on that one!

I also like to use extra-sharp cheddar cheese.  And don’t buy the packaged pre-shredded cheese. You don’t want the anti-caking agents to mix into the dip.  It drys things out. Take the little bit of time to add freshly grated cheeses to this creamy cheese spread. 

How To Serve Pimento Cheese

One of the great things about homemade pimento cheese dip is that it’s such a versatile recipe and there are some fun ways you can serve it to guests.  While you can always serve it with crackers, it’s also great with veggies like celery sticks and sliced red peppers.  Sometimes I’ll add some cut up slices of white bread to serve along with this delicious spread.  

pimento cheese on a celery stick. recipe by Jill Bauer

Of course, this easy pimento cheese recipe can be used as a sandwich filling for finger sandwiches.  The perfect accompaniment to your next book club gathering or afternoon tea!

You’ll find my easy pimento cheese recipe below.

pimento cheese served with crackers and celery. recipe by jill bauer
Yield: 3 cups

Easy Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a tasty spread that can be used as a dip, a sandwich filling or a delicious topping for burgers, chicken and bbq.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise (use REAL mayo, not Miracle Whip)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (8oz) block extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 4oz jar diced pimentos, drained.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl (or In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment ) combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Beat until smooth and evenly combined.
  2. Grate the cheese (use a coarse grater, not a fine grater that you'd use to zest or for parmesan). Mix in to creamy mixture with the diced pimentos. This will be thick, so you may need to mix together by hand if your hand mixer isn't that powerful. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. *See note
  3. Transfer the spread to a serving bowl and serve with crackers and/or crudités. If serving later, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving. Spread will last for 5 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • It's a good idea to taste the pimento cheese on the crackers you plan to serve it with, as the saltiness of crackers can vary and affect the flavor of the spread.
    1. And if you have any leftover pimento spread, it’s a great topping on chicken sandwiches, pulled pork bbq, grilled hamburgers or even as the filling for a grilled cheese sandwich.

      I love rediscovering old recipes in my recipe box, don’t you? I hope this easy pimento cheese recipe becomes an “old favorite” in your collection too!

      My family loves any kind of dip, which is why I have quite a few in our collection here at Just Jill. Be sure to check out my “Dips For Any Occasion” blog for some more recipe ideas!

      From my kitchen to yours,

      Jill

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