Get ready to indulge in the creamy, peppery goodness of Homemade Pimento Cheese, a classic Southern recipe that’s perfect for any occasion. With its blend of shredded cheddar cheese, mayo, and diced pimentos, this versatile spread is not only a delicious sandwich filling but also a crowd-pleasing dip for crackers and veggies or a flavorful topping for burgers.

Pimento Cheese is such a delicious appetizer – we love to serve it alongside crack pretzels, chex party mix, cheese straws, or deviled eggs at nearly every family gathering.

A few months ago, I wanted to come up with our own pimento cheese recipe to become our new family recipe. I made several different kinds using all different types of cheese and served them to my husband and brother-in-law to try to find the best pimento cheese recipe.

I let them taste them all, then choose their favorites. I froze the leftovers and brought what was left to my in-laws for Christmas, and we did the taste testing again. This recipe – a Copycat Palmetto Pimento Cheese – was the clear winner, though I’ll be posting my personal favorite next – it is made with pepper jack cheese and jalapeños and is super tasty.

A glass bowl of homemade pimento cheese surrounded by pretzels and crackers.

🧀 What is Pimento Cheese?

This tasty cheese dip is a Southern spread made from cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheese, and pimento peppers – and is usually served with crackers.

This Palmetto Pimiento Cheese recipe is a copycat version of the cheese spread that is similar to one that you can buy in the deli section of the grocery store in North Carolina and South Carolina. It’s a pretty traditional pimento cheese recipe. It’s made with cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, diced pimientos peppers, and some spices. It is SO delicious. We moved to Tennessee and can’t buy it here, so I have to make it from scratch, and I make it ALL THE TIME.

📚 Pimento Cheese History

While it is now a Southern delicacy, and you will nearly always find it at most social gatherings – picnics, potlucks, and barbecues – would you believe that pimento cheese actually originated in New York? It became more of a southern thing when Georgia began growing and canning pimentos in the early 1900s. The history of pimento cheese is actually really interesting.

A glass bowl of homemade pimento cheese surrounded by pretzels and crackers.

🥘 Ingredients Needed

The ingredients in homemade southern pimento cheese, laid out and labeled.
  • Sharp or Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated – You can use yellow or white sharp cheddar cheese; white cheddar just won’t be the same color as the original “Palmetto Pimento Cheese.” It will still be delicious.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated, not the powdered stuff. I don’t use salt because of the addition of parmesan cheese.
  • Regular Cream Cheese – Softened to room temperature. This will take 30-45 minutes.
  • Mayonnaise – Pimento Cheese should be made with Duke’s Mayonnaise. It’s the southern way. If you can’t find Duke’s brand, use Blue Plate or Hellman’s but do not use Miracle Whip.
  • Jarred Pimento Peppers, drained and rinsed.
  • Cayenne Pepper – I just use a little bit of cayenne pepper, but you can use more if you like your pimento cheese to be spicier.
  • Onion Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Optional Mix-ins – Green Onions, Garlic Powder, Hot Sauce, Jalapeños, Worcestershire Sauce.

🌶 What are Pimiento Peppers?

Pimiento peppers (or pimento peppers) are small, red, sweet cherry peppers that you can buy in jars. I like to buy the jarred pimentos that are already diced – it makes it much easier to make this recipe quickly. You can read more about Pimiento Peppers here.

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • A Stand Mixer with a Paddle Attachment or a Hand Mixer (You can also use a food processor if you want a softer, smoother cheese.)
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
  • A Cheese Grater or Food Processor
  • A Fine Mesh Sieve/Metal Strainer

🥣 How to Make Pimento Cheese

There are a lot of great ways to make pimento cheese, but the way I make it is incredibly easy. I like to grate the cheddar cheese using a food processor and finely grate the parmesan cheese using a small hand grater or zester. (You can also use a box grater and work out your muscles.)

Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients. Mix for about 2 minutes until it’s nice and creamy. Super easy, right?

A collage of images showing how to mix up pimento cheese in a stand mixer.

I like to keep it a little chunky, so there are larger pieces of cheddar cheese, but you can mix it for longer if desired to mash the cheese up a little more.

For best results, chill the cheese mixture for about two hours to let the flavors meld together a little before serving, but it is best served at room temperature.

Serve with your favorite chips, crackers, or pretzels.

Expert Tip for a Smoother Texture

For a really smooth pimento cheese, you can use a food processor to chop the cheese into smaller pieces and kind of blend it together, or you can use your hand mixer or stand mixer and mix the cheese for several minutes until it is the texture you desire.

You can also mix it up by hand or using a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl, just use your arm muscles to stir well and make sure everything gets completely combined.

A white bowl of homemade southern cheese dip surrounded by pretzels and crackers on a cutting board.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

What is pimento cheese made of?

It is made with grated cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, diced pimentos, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Does pimento cheese need to be refrigerated?

Yes, it should be stored in the refrigerator but can be served warm or at room temperature.

A glass container filled with homemade pimento cheese glistening in the sun.

🥡 How to Store It

Store your cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Try to scoop it into a separate bowl for snacking or serving to prevent contamination from chips, crackers, or crumbs – it will last longer.

⏲ How Long Does Homemade Pimento Cheese Last?

It will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator and up to about 3 months in the freezer.

🧊 Can You Freeze Pimento Cheese?

Yes! It freezes very well. I like to freeze it in small, freezer-safe 8-ounce containers to have it ready to grab and bring to parties. (I like these containers because they don’t crack and get brittle when frozen.)

Button linking to the Pinterest page for Southern Bytes.

✏️ Helpful Tips

  • Use a food processor to grate the cheddar cheese – it is easier to grate cheese while it is still cold.
  • Make your cheese dip several hours before serving to allow time for the flavors to meld in the refrigerator, but serve the spread at room temperature.
  • Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before mixing the ingredients together – it will be much easier to mix.

Random Fun Fact

Pimento Cheese is sometimes known as the caviar of the South or the pate of the South. I’ve never heard anyone say either of those, but the internet tells me these things, so they must be true, right?

🧂Variations

  • Add a diced jalapeño to make it a little spicy.
  • Use a mix of pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese.
  • Add some diced green onions if desired.

🥓 What to Serve with Pimento Cheese

This recipe is a Southern classic and can be served on crackers, bread, or as a delicious dip for vegetables. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Crackers, Pretzels, Pretzel Crisps, Chips, Tortilla Chips, Bagel Chips, Potato Chips, or Pita Chips – Choose your favorite type of cracker, chip, or pretzel and serve them alongside a bowl of pimento cheese for an easy appetizer.
  • Vegetables – Serve with raw vegetables like carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices, or bell pepper slices for a healthy and flavorful snack.
  • Burgers – Top a burger with a spoonful of pimento cheese with some crispy bacon for a delicious southern twist on a classic dish. (You can also stuff a burger with cheese to make a southern “Juicy Lucy.“)
  • Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs – Mix pimento cheese into your deviled egg filling for a new take on the classic appetizer.
  • Make Pimento Cheese Sandwiches – Pimento Cheese is the dream sandwich spread. With two slices of white bread, you can make the perfect sandwich – just like you would find at the Master’s Tournament. You can leave it cold or heat it up to make a delicious Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon. It is also delicious if you make a sandwich with fried green tomatoes.

Want to make a sandwich just like the signature Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich? The Masters’ Recipe uses Monterey Jack Cheese and Garlic Powder, so check out Gina’s recipe if you want to make an authentic sandwich.

A glass bowl of homemade cheese spread surrounded by pretzels and crackers.

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A white bowl of pimento cheese with pretzels and crackers around it.

Homemade Pimento Cheese

5 from 4 votes
Get ready to indulge in the creamy, peppery goodness of Pimento Cheese Dip, a classic southern recipe that's perfect for any occasion. With its blend of shredded cheddar cheese, mayo, and diced pimentos, this versatile spread is not only a delicious sandwich filling but also a crowd-pleasing dip for crackers and veggies or a flavorful topping for burgers.
Author: Kari
Servings: 12
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated, not the powdered stuff
  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • cup mayonnaise use Duke's or Blue Plate
  • 8 ounces jarred pimiento peppers drained and rinsed (pimentos)
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For Serving

Instructions 

  • Grate the cheddar cheese using a food processor or box grater, and finely grate the parmesan cheese using a hand grater or zester.
  • Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients. Mix for about 2 minutes until it's nice and creamy.
    2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, 4 ounces cream cheese, ½ cup parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ⅓ cup mayonnaise, 8 ounces jarred pimiento peppers, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to develop, then serve at room temperature.
  • Serve with your favorite chips, crackers, or pretzels.
    crackers, mini pretzel twists, tortilla chips

Notes

How to Store Southern Pimento Cheese

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. It will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator and up to about 3 months in the freezer. I like to freeze it in small containers to have it ready to grab and bring to parties.

Recipe Tips

  • Use a food processor to grate the cheddar cheese – it is easier to grate cheese while it is still cold.
  • Make your pimento cheese several hours before serving to allow time for the flavors to meld in the refrigerator, but serve the spread at room temperature.
  • Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before mixing the ingredients together – it will be much easier to mix.

Recipe Variations

  • Add a diced jalapeño to make it a little spicy.
  • Use a mix of pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese.
  • Add some diced green onions if desired.

Special Equipment Needeed

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 8gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 293mgPotassium: 75mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 919IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 227mgIron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Appetizer, Condiments, Snack
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: pimento cheese, pimento cheese dip, pimiento cheese
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I'm Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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