Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe – A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit!

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe - A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit! //

My grandmother made her pimento cheese the old fashioned way. She had a dedicated meat grinder she used to grind her cheese. It was a process definitely worth watching as a little girl. And it resulted in the most delicious pimento cheese I’ve ever tasted.

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe - A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit! //

Not having my grandmother’s meat grinder, I quickly shred cheese and add it to a few other ingredients to make the quickest, simplest, delicious pimento cheese. And, it includes my grandmother’s other secret ingredient (cream cheese).

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe - A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit! //

You can easily shred your cheese in a food processor or even with a box grater, but I really recommend shredding your own cheese instead of using store-bought shredded cheese. Store-bought shredded cheese is includes a coating to prevent the cheese from clumping together that tends to make the pimento cheese not as creamy as I personally like.

Now, if you are in a pinch, it still works okay, just give it a try sometime shredding your own cheese and I think you’ll see the difference.

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe - A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit! //

Once I shred my cheese, I then mix in my softened cream cheese until well combined. Since I already was using my food processor, I just switched out my blades and continued to use it. Of course, you can easily mix it together by hand or even using an electric mixer, if you like.

Once I have my cheeses well combined, I then stir in the remaining ingredients: pimentos, salt and pepper, and any mayonnaise or Greek yogurt that I may be using.

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe - A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit! //

You can also include other spices and seasonings if you prefer. Garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper or even a couple of dashes of hot sauce. I think I’ve tasted and love them all! But I always begin with my Grandmother Verdie’s base recipe. Most times, I stop there since it is practically perfect in every single way, but there are times that I spice it up a bit depending on my mood.

Pimento cheese is delicious served with bagel chips, pretzels, or crackers and I especially love it spread on a sandwich or wrap or served with veggies. Basically, pimento cheese just goes well with anything and just about everything!

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe - A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit! //

And one thing is for certain, it always disappears!

Here’s how I make Grandmother’s Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe - A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit! //
Yield: 12 servings
Cuisine American

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe

Total Time 10 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe – A staple spread in Southern home and parties, pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos and a secret ingredient, this pimento cheese recipe is always a hit!

5 from 17 votes
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  • 1 (8-ounce) sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 (8-ounce) mild cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup diced pimentos
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yogurt optional


  1. Cream together cheddar cheese with the softened cream cheese until well combined.

  2. Stir in pimentos and salt and pepper.
  3. If you prefer your pimento cheese to be a bit thinner for spreading, add in optional mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or liquid from the diced pimentos to preference.


Use pimento cheese as a dip with vegetables, crackers or pretzels or as a spread for sandwiches, burgers, chicken and more!

Make-Ahead Instructions:
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Optional Ingredients:
Add garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper or hot sauce to your preference. 


Nutrition Facts
Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe
Amount Per Serving (0.25 cup)
Calories 112 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 361mg 15%
Potassium 77mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Sugars 1g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 6.1%
Vitamin C 4.1%
Calcium 20.2%
Iron 1.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Robyn xo


From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2010. Republished with updated photos and nutritional information.

82 comments on “Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe”

  1. Family recipes are the best! Great snack or appetizer!

    • How do you cut or shred your pimento?

      • I use my blender Put everything in and turn it on

      • I use sharp and extra sharp cheddar. The sharp cheddar is grated on the large sized holes of a box grater and the extra sharp on the smaller sized holes. This makes a great difference in the texture of the pimento cheese. I love the cream cheese idea in this recipe. I would use just 4 oz of cream cheese and 4 oz Dukes Mayonnaise. I also add 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp sugar. Mix together well softened cream cheese with mayo and other small ingredients. Then stir in cheeses.

      • Oops, forgot to add pimentos. A small jar of sliced pimentos. If pimentos are not sliced I cut them into slices 1/4 inch wide by 1/2 inch long or so. I have also roasted a red pepper and cut in small strips for my pimentos.

        Thanks for this great recipe. I am making it tomorrow for 4th of July.

      • The recipe is more for a “purist” of pimento cheese. I make mine similar to yours.

    • good recipe..BUT…it doesn’t go all the way…ADD a very small pinch salt, a very small sprinkle of Splenda (any sucralose) and most of all a small sprinkle of RED PEPPER…

    • Use velvetta easier n tastier creamer and if you want a change add small amount of jalapeño no salt needed. Always use HUG MAYO The simpler the better

  2. Believe it or not, I never liked pimentos until recently – too bitter! But now? Well now I’m looking to put pimentos in EVERYTHING! And during our trip to Charleston the past spring, found a new favorite – this pimento cheese – who knew something so simple could taste soooo divine!

  3. That looks so good! I’m going to have to give this a try, I think it would be a huge success at our family gatherings 🙂

  4. I am craving pimento cheese. Thanks for sharing a family recipe and an updated shortcut. The million dollar question…does it include the secret ingredient?

  5. Yum! I’ve got a meat grinder I’ve never used and have never thought about using it to grind cheese. Good idea.

  6. Oh, how I love pimento cheese! I could sit and just eat it. LOL! 🙂 YUM!

  7. Oh Robyn, You just made my day with this post. As a child we also made homemade everything. I had all my old time things stolen and never quite found anything close to replacing them. Thanks for making it possible for me to make homemade pimento as soon as I can get the rest of the ingredients. It may not be the exact thing but it’s very close. Again THANKS!

  8. My family recipe is similar – I use my grinder attachment for my stand mixer to shred cheddar 🙂 But I have to thank you for the cream cheese ingredient. We have one in our house that is allergic to eggs and has never been able to have my pimento cheese – because of the mayo. I’ll try it this way now. Thanks again!

  9. Try making “grilling” it like a grilled cheese sandwich on some multi grain bread with a couple slices of bacon! To DIE for!

  10. Do you drain your pimentos?

    • NO, NO, the oil in the pimento is A high grade of OLIVE OIL. I use the chopped pimento and just “dump the whole jar”

  11. I did not realize this was a secret lol. I have only made pimento cheese a couple of times but I could not imagine not using cream cheese…but then again, I add cream cheese to almost everything–mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes, tortilla soup, spaghetti bake, cheese dip, nachos etc. I’m a big fan of cream cheese, can you tell? Btw, I strongly suggest purchasing block cheese and using a small hand held grater to shred it (it’s not very time consuming). It really does make a difference in the taste. Additionally, if you really want to go the distance, use a smoked cheese as one of the cheeses–it’s absolutely wonderful!

    • This is the cheese I use. I get block cheese (American) from the deli, cut it in chunks to fit my salad shooter. I place these in the freezer to get firm, not frozen. Then I place in salad shooter to grate and use for my pimento cheese. Easiest way to grate cheese. Mom always used American cheese and that’s the only way I can find American cheese in block form anymore.

  12. Hi Rachel, so glad you enjoyed it. We love that pimento cheese on sandwiches! It’s one of my favorite go-to lunches for the summertime, especially. You can add a bit of mayonnaise to thin it a bit or allow it to stand for a little while to reach room temperature. I’ve not had that problem, so please let me know what works best for ya.

    • I don’t understand this response. Why do you say you “can add a bit more mayonnaise to thin it a bit” where there isn’t supposed to be ANY mayonnaise in it at all?

      • Hi Kiki, I should have said that you can add a bit of mayonnaise to it to thin it a bit. Another idea is to add a little bit of the liquid from the pimentos if you prefer not to use mayonnaise. I hope you enjoy it and thanks so much for clarifying!

    • yum! love it grilled! best sami on the planet!!

  13. Too sweet, that is how I have always made mine because I HATE mayo..:)

  14. I have GOT to try this! I LOATHE mayonnaise too!

  15. Thank you! I love pimento cheese, from the Kraft processed stuff in the glass jar to the stuff from Ohio Amish country to the cheese sandwiches I get down in Kentucky.

    I rushed to the kitchen and made due with what I had in the kitchen, I had to substitute roasted red peppers but it still tastes divine! I agree that it is too thick for a dip but I might try whazzing it in the food processor with a tad bit of the roasted red pepper juice to thin it.

  16. New twist on sandwich…try this
    Toast your bread…put your pimento spread on,
    add tomato and bacon and enjoy the best sandwich
    ever! I know…it sounds strange…but it really is good.

  17. I love pimento cheese but I have never heard of it not having mayo in it. But I do love cream cheese so I really can’t wait to try this.

  18. A spoonful in your grits the next morning is amazing!

  19. Will have to try this with the cream cheese instead of mayo. My mom always added a bit of celery seed to it also.

  20. I just made this with half the cream cheese and pimentos and only 8 ounces of sharp cheddar (that’s all the cheese I had on hand). Mine came out really really thick, to, so I added some pimento juice. I added in sweet pickle relish and juice (that’s how my mom always made it.) and it was still super thick, so I added a big dollop of Miracle Whip (some of you I know will say ‘Ew!’, but again, that’s how Mom always made it.) I like the addition of cream cheese. I’d never made pimento with it.

  21. Love pimento cheese with cream cheese!! For those who do not like mayo but find this a little thick – try adding a little plain greek yogurt! Wonderful substitute for Mayo and/or sour cream in almost anything!

    another yummy flavor addition is a little dill pickle juice and a dash of cayenne!

  22. One can never go wrong with cream cheese in the reicpe. This sounds devine. We love pimento cheese, and this recipe goes to the front of the line. I’m thinking of variations too…olive juice, pickle juice, jalapenos, smoked gouda, or white cheddar. I can’t wait to try this. Yum!

  23. I made this today and it was awesome. Best I’ve ever tasted.

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  28. Diced. Green Chiles. They add a little kick if you like that sort of thing. I do.

  29. My mom’s pimento cheese was always made with grated Kraft Sharp Cheddar, a jar of pimentos & juice (crushed), and lots of mayonnaise, much more than 2 or 3 tablespoons, plus salt & pepper. That is a simple southern pimento recipe. If it used 8 ounces of cheese, then the mayo would be at least half a cup, maybe more. She never measured, just mixed it until it looked the right consistency. The consistency when you mix it will be creamier than after it has been refrigerated for a few hours.

  30. Do you use a mixer, food processor or squish with your hands?

    • Hi Ann,
      I use my stand mixer to cream together all of the cheeses. However, you can also use a food processor if you’d prefer.

      • This sounds really good. I have never used cream cheese. I have always used mayo but I am going to try the cream cheese. I also chop up just a little onion and put in it. It gives it an amazing taste. My 15 year old granddaughter says it is so good we need to open a restaurant and just serve our pimento and cheese sandwiches. Don’t knock the onion until you try it.

  31. Add a touch of garlic powder and some black pepper. Oh My Word! Good stuff!

  32. We have a vegetable garden. Every year we plant a few pimento plants. I roast the red ripe pimentos, peel them and store them, layered in groups equalling a quarter to a half cup in each quarter inch thick layer. You use a double sheet of plastic wrap between layers. I seal them tight in a plastic freezer box and store in the freezer for later use. When you want to make pimento cheese, just use one layer. It will thaw quickly. You can chop it up while it is frozen. There is nothing like fresh pimento, compared to the jars. I hope, one day, you will get a chance to try it. We add a dash of cayenne, Tabasco, onion powder, some very finely chopped onion and sometimes garlic. I wonder, if you make it in a food frocessor, if a few teaspoonfuls of your favorite oil would make it more spreadable.

  33. I for one don’t eat cheese… But I just made pimento cheese for my bf tonight… I used Colby and swiss I think it was and pepper jack cheese and mayo.. Dukes.. Never heard anyone using cream cheese in it until now. May try that on next batch. Thanks for the tip!!

  34. my grandmother used that old crank meat grinder too. Wouldn’t use a shredder, salad shooter, food processor- nothing else. I tried but prefer the salad shooter. It’s the best, shred in the pimentos and small piece of green onion and sweet pickels. I could bathe in this stuff!! Oh and make a grilled cheese with it. Pure heaven!!!

  35. I was at a restaurant last weekend that offered a smoked pimento cheese appetizer. Well, today I made your recipe for pimento cheese using smoked gouda and sharp cheddar. Wow! This is going in my keeper book! Thanks for the recipe. I have been making pimento cheese recipes for years and this is the best! My search has ended!

  36. I usually make a big batch and refrigerate, before using I place it in the microwave for 45 sec to 1 minute and it makes is easy to spread.

  37. I like to use the cream cheese, extra sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese….it adds just a little kick to it. Yummy!

  38. Read with interest and this is a great recipe. I have been for years collecting historic traditional Southern recipes. For pimento cheese, I have settled on a recipe from the 30’s blended with my families home recipe. The major difference is 4 or so green onions (white part only) The difference in taste is remarkable and a must for pimento cheese. Try it!

  39. I have made this with cream cheese for years but I put the green part of the onion and celery in mine. My family loves it and I don’t add mayonnaise until we are ready yo eat it. This way the cheese keeps longer.

  40. I use a similar recipe but mix in a can of Rotel, drained, and a tbsp. of worchestershire sauce…..It is important to use Block cheese and grate it yourself whichever way you choose.. That gives it the moisture that you don’t get with pre-shredded cheese. I use one block of sharp cheddar and one block of medium. My recipe call for a cup of mayo and we like mayo but use less than a cup Haven’t used cream cheese so will try it. I use the jar of pimento too and I do drain it.

  41. I had deep fried pimento cheese fritters at a restaurant in Georgia. They were wonderful!

    • Jim Shaw’s Restaurant in Macon, GA has the fried pimento cheese fritters (balls) served with hot pepper jelly. The best things I have ever eaten in my life!!!

  42. Don’t use mild cheddar EVER! LOL!

  43. I’ve never tried it with cream cheese…sounds Yum! I’m a purist…No onion, NO miracle whip ( yuck!), &…definitely NO sugar! Cheese & sugar…Groos! And, I’ve always roasted the pimento…too Yummy! And, grating your cheese is Always more flavorful! And, when I make it…I Have to double it & take 1/2 to my daughter…lol…she loves it as much as I do!
    Bought pimento cheese can Never compare to the the Real Deal! … Homemade!…there is No comparison!
    And, easy to make!

  44. Add sweet pickles when grinding your cheese and pimento then dig in. My grandmother jack cheese, ched cheddar cheese , pimento, and sweet pickles that’s all she did.

  45. If you want a REALLY awesome twist use the pimentos out of olives. I do this to serve with wheat crackers (or cornbread crackers when I can find them) at parties. Talk about a WOW taste! Very addictive!

  46. We eat at a seafood restaurant, Tubbs, in Florence, SC and they have a pimento cheese appetizer — warm pimento cheese with hot hushpuppies. We now have this appetizer down to a science or an art by cutting the hushpuppy into 4 parts to dip in the pimento cheese. It is wonderful!

  47. The ladies in Catering at the hospital that I work at swear by adding jalepeno juice (from a jar of pickled jalepeno’s – as in the ones they put on nachos) as the liquid to thin it out a little… I’ve also had it with Pepper Jack cheese grated into the mix…

  48. I have always loved pimento cheese, especially sandwiches. I haven’t been able to find it in the stores, so I’ve been making my own. Your recipe looks great!!

  49. I grew up in South Carolina and we ate Pimento Cheese sandwiches at least one a week. My homemade Pimento Cheese never results in a creamy texture and now I know why….I needed cream cheese! Love your recipe Robin and I am making this tomorrow.

  50. Love this recipe, Plan to take it to a family picnic in April. Enjoy your spring.

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