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Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe is a staple spread in Southern homes and parties. Pimento cheese is a classic! Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos, and a secret ingredient, it is delicious as a spread, pimento cheese dip, or sandwich!
Looking for more cheese recipes? I think you’ll love my Queso recipe, Skillet Mac and Cheese, and my Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball.
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 best pimento cheese I’ve ever tasted.
How to Make Pimento Cheese
Not having my grandmother’s meat grinder, I quickly shred the cheese and add it to a few other ingredients to make the quickest, easiest, and most delicious pimento cheese I’ve ever tasted! And it includes my grandmother’s other secret ingredient (cream cheese).
Shred Your Cheese
You can easily shred your cheese in a food processor or even with a box grater, but I definitely recommend shredding your own cheese instead of using store-bought shredded cheese.
Can I use packaged pre-shredded cheese?
Store-bought shredded cheese includes a coating to prevent the cheese from clumping together which makes the cheese not cream together, as well as cheese that is freshly shredded from a block of cheese.
Now, if you are in a pinch, you certainly can use pre-shredded cheese. But do shred your own cheese sometime when making it, and I think you’ll see the difference.
Once I shred my cheese, I then mix in my softened cream cheese until well combined. Since I was already 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.
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.
What to Serve with Pimento Cheese
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, it just goes well with anything and just about everything!
And one thing is for certain, it always disappears!
Whether you serve as a dip or as a pimento cheese sandwich with a side of chips and a pickle, you can’t go wrong! If you prefer it as a hot dip, you definitely should try my hot pimento cheese dip recipe, too!
More Favorite Appetizers or Snacks
Here’s how I make Grandmother’s recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe
- 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
- Cream together cheddar cheese with the softened cream cheese until well combined.
- Stir in pimentos and salt and pepper.
- 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.
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.
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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
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!
Yes, it is truly divine. Be sure to include the cream cheese. It’s the secret weapon.
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 🙂
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?
Absolutely – it’s the cream cheese!
Yum! I’ve got a meat grinder I’ve never used and have never thought about using it to grind cheese. Good idea.
Oh man, Amy, you should give it a whirl.
Oh, how I love pimento cheese! I could sit and just eat it. LOL! 🙂 YUM!
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!
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!
Instead of mayo, add a little Olive oil. I’ve always added a few pinches of sugar. I MUST try the cream cheese !!
Does Miracle Whip have eggs in it. If no substitute it for Mayo.
Try making “grilling” it like a grilled cheese sandwich on some multi grain bread with a couple slices of bacon! To DIE for!
And before “grilling” instead of butter on the bread brush on olive oil w/lots of Italian Seasoning in it!
Grilled pimento cheese and bacon sandwiches? I think I may have died and gone to heaven…..this sounds DELICIOUS!!
Add a fried green tomato to that sandwich for true nirvana!
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”
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.
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!!
Too sweet, that is how I have always made mine because I HATE mayo..:)
I have GOT to try this! I LOATHE mayonnaise too!
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.
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.
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.
A spoonful in your grits the next morning is amazing!
I always put a piece of sliced cheese in my grits.
Will have to try this with the cream cheese instead of mayo. My mom always added a bit of celery seed to it also.
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.
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!
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!
I made this today and it was awesome. Best I’ve ever tasted.
Diced. Green Chiles. They add a little kick if you like that sort of thing. I do.
Oh my! Sounds delicious!
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.
Do you use a mixer, food processor or squish with your hands?
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.
Add a touch of garlic powder and some black pepper. Oh My Word! Good stuff!
I sprinkle a little garlic powder on my sandwich.
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.
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!!
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!!!
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!
Oh my goodness! Thank you so much, Linda! xo
I use pimento cheese made with the cream cheese to stuff cucumbers for appetizers and parties. Makes great finger foods!!
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.
I like to use the cream cheese, extra sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese….it adds just a little kick to it. Yummy!
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!
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.
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.
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!!!
Oooh, I’ll have to try those next time we go to Jim Shaw’s!!
Don’t use mild cheddar EVER! LOL!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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…
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!!
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.
Love this recipe, Plan to take it to a family picnic in April. Enjoy your spring.
My mother used and old fashioned meat grinder and it was outstanding. She had hard boiled eggs crackers olives and onions. I think most of the additional ingredients were used to clean out the grinder. I remember they always went into the grinder last.
Great memories, Scott! Thanks!
This was easy to make with my mixer and all I added was a bit more pimentos and it was perfect for me! Thanks for sharing this!
Glad to hear you enjoyed it too, Rose! xo
Yummy. Just made this yesterday. Added a bit of Worcestershire sauce, a little hot sauce & garlic powder. Did not have to use a mixer or blender, just hand mixing & it came out nice and creamy.
It’s been one of our family favorites for many years, Carolyn and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it as well! xo
Can the sandwiches be made the night before, I’m making for 75 people?
If you need to make these sandwiches the night before, just place them in an airtight container and keep refrigerated til time to serve. Hope you enjoy!
Thank you for this recipe. It is perfect and easy to make. No need for extra ingredients.
Just made this after searching different recipes and I love this the most. The simplicity of it is wonderful! I made a double batch because we will be eating it for a few days. Everyone loves it! Delicious on butter crackers and croissants!
So happy you like this pimento cheese. It is a favorite of ours, too. Thanks!
Do you really have to leave it in the refrigerator for a week?
I think you misunderstood. Once prepared you can leave it in the fridge for a week.
Your Grandmother and my Grandmother must have known each other!
Excellent, easy!!!! Will make again!!!
I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! Thanks! xo
Very good!! Will make this again soon!!
Grandma & my mom made this. I loved pimento cheese growing up. This recipe is wonderful. Thank you!-
I just made this with 14” of snow outside and it is delicious! The only thing I did different was add chopped jalapeños because I like it spicy. I served it with a variety of crackers and crusty bread. I love that it’s easy yet so yummy. Thank you!
So easy tasted really good! but Mine hardened after I put it in the refridgerator… is it suppose to do this or do I need to add more mayonnaise?
Heather, the pimento cheese does sometimes harden a little when it is refrigerated. Take it out of the refrigerator about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve to let it soften. You can always add more mayonnaise if you wish.
Yours is the first recipe besides my grandmas that talks about using a food grinder! I have made this a 100 ways and something about the way the grinders mix it all together you just can get that with shredded cheese and a spoon, never thought of a food processor. A tip from my Grams….to clean the grinder after run a few slices of bread through it. Virtually spotless after!
Great tip, Heather! xo
I don’t have a food processor, but I do have my grandma’s meat grinder (her’s was used mainly for nuts). Might have to give it a whirl. Looks yummy! Thanks for sharing!
I think I would get out your grandma’s meat grinder. That’s what my grandmother used and she made the absolute best!
We love pimiento cheese (I always spell it with 2 i’s) at our house and appreciate reading your version and the mention of your grandmother. I’d have to add more pimientos for such a large amount of cheese, though. I feel it needs lots of pimientos.
Thanks for your comment, Daphne,
Of course, you can always add as many pimiento peppers as you want to this recipe. Hope your family enjoys this as much as my family does.
This is truly the BEST pimento cheese!
We eat it a lot – especially in the summer on sandwiches and with fresh veggies from the garden. It’s out of this world for sandwiches and on some fried green tomatoes! Yum!
Thank you Robyn!
Finally got to make your mom’s pimento cheese tonight, first time I have ever made any pimento cheese. It is awesome I will be making more. We actually served it grilled and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
So happy y’all liked the pimento cheese. We actually love it grilled, too. Aren’t you glad it is so easy to make?
Try it on a hamburger! Pimiento burgers are popular here in South Carolina!
Thanks, Linda. Pimento cheese is really good on a hamburger, isn’t it?
I’m going to make this – need to get some pimentos first. Going to use it to make your Pimento Chicken. It looks delicious. Thank you for sharing. Going to look to see if you have alternative recipes for chicken. Bought quite a lot of frozen chicken to use.
I hope you like the pimento cheese and the pimento chicken recipes, Priscilla. I have many chicken recipes on my site I hope you will like. Just Search for chicken in the Search bar at the top of the page and it should bring up all the recipes I have that include chicken. Hope this helps. xo
Very good recipe! Love the cream cheese, not a fan of mayo!
You can always use Greek yogurt if you don’t like mayonnaise,LaTai.
just made this and it’s delicious!
added garlic powder, red pepper flakes and a bit of cayenne.
oh my goodness!
I always make this for baked potatoes or add to a sandwich wrap with bacon and tomato.
Sounds like an amazing sandwich wrap, Paula.
Best I have eaten
add finely chopped green olives with pimento.
Thanks for telling us the way you make this pimento cheese, Ellen. I haven’t made pimento cheese with green olives.
Good recipe.Could also substitute a little pickled jalapeño.
Born and bred in SC so have made this pimento cheese a thousand times (almost). My grandmother grated a tablespoon of sweet Vidalia onion in hers and I do the same. Since cream cheese wasn’t available in her day, I generally don’t add it to mine.whatever you do, this is a staple at our house.
JM, I’ve never had pimento cheese with Vidalia onion. I’ll have to try that sometime.
And back at you XO, this is one of my favorite Pimento chees recipes Robyn
Add a little garlic powder to taste, that really knocks it up a knotch. Yummy!!!!!
A capful of apple cider vinegar works wonders!