Southern style pimento cheese is a staple in our house, either for lunch or for a snack. Both my husband and I grew up on it, so it’s normal to always have it on hand. You can use medium or sharp cheddar cheese … or whatever kind of cheese you have in your fridge, depending on how strong of a cheese taste you want.
Homemade Southern Style Pimento Cheese
My mother started working on southern style pimento cheese recipes so she wouldn’t have to rely on whatever she could find in stores.
Obviously, you can put any add-ons you want in the pimento cheese. But some basic ingredients are essential.
Here are the things you’ll need:
- Cream cheese (optional)
- Jalapeños (optional)
Some people leave out the cream cheese and use more mayo, but I like the thickness of the cream cheese. It keeps the cheese from sliding out of the sandwich.
My husband prefers it without the cream cheese because his mother never used it.
So sometimes I make separate batches or cut way back on the cream cheese to make him happy.
Additional Pimento Cheese “Secret Ingredients”
I think my dad enjoyed that because he kept asking her what “secret” ingredient she was going to add next. She kept trying different things, until she settled on one we all liked.
Hands down, our favorite add-on was chopped jalapeno peppers. Here are some of the other things we tried:
- Black olives and green olives (good but not great)
- Onions (our least favorite)
- Cinnamon and nutmeg (whole different taste)
- Diced green peppers (good)
- Red bell peppers, either diced or cut into strips
- Tomatoes (caused the mixture to turn to liquid and separate)
- Crumbled bacon (delicious and our second favorite)
- Ground cayenne pepper
How to Make Southern Style Pimento Cheese
I always start with any kind of shredded cheese I have on hand. For this one, I used Colby jack.
Most of the time, I use sharp cheddar. I’ve tried mozzarella, but it’s a tad too bland for pimento cheese.
Although I purchased diced pimentos this time, I have bought whole pimentos and chopped them myself.
Add the cream cheese. I typically prefer the whipped version because it’s easier to stir than the one that comes in a block.
Next, stir in some mayonnaise. I specifically used Duke’s brand. I like equal amounts of mayonnaise and cream cheese.
However if you want a creamier texture, go a little heavier on the mayo. As I mentioned earlier, you can also leave out the cream cheese if you prefer.
After you have everything mixed, taste it to determine if it needs anything else. Some people prefer adding salt and pepper, while others like the taste of Worcestershire.
It’s your pimento cheese, so make it like you want it. And don’t be afraid to experiment.
Store-Bought vs. Homemade Pimento Cheese
Homemade pimento cheese always beats the store-bought version, hands down. I appreciate the fact that when you make it yourself, you control the amount of each ingredient.
However, I have to admit that sometimes I cheat and purchase it already made. When Publix has it on sale, I might pick up a tub … or two when it’s BOGO.
I’ve even gotten some from Costco on occasion. But they have it in huge tubs that are too big for just my husband and me.
Also, there are certain brands we prefer, but we almost always like the homemade version best. That’s because I use the proportions of ingredients that suit our taste.
Reactions of Others
My dad was in the U.S. Air Force, so we moved around quite a bit. Yes, I admit it. I’m a military BRAT and proud of it.
Every time we had an assignment in a non-southern area, my mother got strange reactions when she asked for pimento cheese in the store. It was, like, “What kind of cheese?”
I’m not sure my mother actually believed that these people had never had pimento cheese.
After all, southern style pimento cheese was standard lunch fare at our house. But back then, when you weren’t in the South, the food was different.
That’s changed quite a bit over the years. Now you can find southern food almost anywhere you go in the U.S.
How to Eat Southern Style Pimento Cheese
Most of the time, my husband and I eat pimento cheese between two slices of bread. However, it also makes a delicious spread on crackers and dip for chips.
You can also stuff celery or any other raw vegetable with it. Or—sshh, don’t tell anyone—I sometimes eat it right out of the container.
With a spoon. Yeah, I’m bad like that.
Questions and Answers About Pimento Cheese
If you’ve had pimento cheese, all that really matters is that you love it. However, if you’re not familiar with it, you may have some questions.
Here are a few with some easy answers:
Can You Freeze Pimento Cheese?
Yes, you absolutely can freeze it. Make sure you pack it in an airtight container and label it. Then be sure to eat it within 3 months.
Is Pimento Cheese Keto Friendly?
It is Keto friendly as long as you only use low-carb ingredients. Also, if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t over do the amount of pimento cheese you use. I recommend putting it on low-carb bread, or even better, stuffing celery with it.
Is Pimento Cheese Gluten-Free?
Those who follow a gluten-free lifestyle will be happy to know that pimento cheese doesn’t contain a drop of gluten. However, you need to make sure you don’t put it on regular bread or crackers.
More Delicious Food
I hope you enjoyed this southern style pimento cheese recipe. If you’re out of bread, make some southern style cornbread to slather it on for a totally different taste.
You might also enjoy this barbecue beef sandwich from my friend Julie’s Back to My Southern Roots blog. It’s absolutely delicious and perfect for those times when you’re really hungry.
Another recipe my mother worked on until she perfected it for our family was for these salmon patties. Mmm, so good!
We also enjoy a delicious dinner made with this Cajun shrimp sauce.
Pimento Cheese Addiction
Once you try pimento cheese, don’t be surprised if you become addicted to it. There’s a reason the Masters Golf Tournament has named it their official sandwich. It’s absolutely delicious!
- 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Colby, or jack)
- 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (more if you prefer a creamier spread)
- 1/4 cup chopped pimentos
- 1/4 cup chopped jalapenos (optional)
- In a medium bowl, mix the shredded cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos.
- After it is well mixed, stir in any optional ingredients you like. I used jalapenos in this one.
- Serve your delicious pimento cheese spread on bread, toast, crackers, or vegetables.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 506Total Fat 48gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 25gCholesterol 91mgSodium 623mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 16g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.