Pimento Cheese Recipe

5 from 1 vote

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A Southern classic, pimento cheese is the ultimate savory spread with a bit of sweetness and heat for balance. Delicious on sandwiches and crostini or as a dip for crackers and veggies, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy this creamy, cheesy masterpiece.

closeup: pimento cheese on a Ritz cracker

Nothing beats a good dip — especially one loaded with cheese! And lucky for you, I have plenty to choose from, whether it’s a creamy queso blanco or my Rotel dip loaded with ground beef and tomatoes. If tangy is more your style, you’ll love pairing wings and veggies with this blue cheese dip recipe.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s circle back to today’s star: pimento cheese. Also known as Southern pâté, the original recipe combined cream cheese and canned pimentos — two newly available ingredients at the turn of the century. It was an easy spread for tea sandwiches and was popularized by recipe books in the early 1900s.

closeup: a large bowl of my pimento cheese recipe

Over time, the mixture improved with cheddar cheese for a bolder flavor, mayonnaise to balance the texture, and a variety of seasonings. It also made its way out of parlor rooms and into more casual picnics and neighborhood gatherings. One bite, and you’ll see why it’s so popular! And my added touch is bacon, because everything tastes better with bacon in my book!

Tip From Kevin

Are Pimentos Hot?

Pimento peppers, also known as cherry peppers, boast a sweet and mild flavor. Surprisingly, they’re not spicy! Originating from Spain, they’re a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Their unique taste shines in dishes like this Southern pimento cheese and stuffed olives.

overhead: Southern pâté in a black bowl with Ritz crackers to the side. Some crackers have pimento cheese on them

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Pimento Peppers – These small, heart-shaped peppers are mild and somewhat sweet in flavor. Also known as cherry peppers, they have the tiniest bit more heat than a bell pepper. I’m using jarred pimentos, which can be found near the pickles and olives or sometimes with canned veggies like artichoke hearts.
  • Cheddar Cheese – Sharp cheddar will give you the best flavor balance. Choose a high-quality brand for this pimento cheese recipe, and as always, buy a block and shred it yourself!
  • Mayonnaise – For true, traditional Southern pâté, use Dukes Real Mayonaisse. The consistency is thicker and almost custard-like, thanks to the extra egg yolks! Some recipes call for Miracle Whip, but I suggest sticking to the real thing.
  • Cream Cheese – Block cream cheese is preferred. Let it fully soften at room temperature, which will make it easier to blend smoothly.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – The secret umami sauce! A little goes a long way, but you definitely don’t want to skip it. It adds much-needed acid to the mix as well.
  • Seasonings – A little garlic powder, kosher salt, and white pepper are all you need to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients. I chose white pepper over black to avoid specks in my pimento cheese spread. It also has a milder flavor and heat.
  • Bacon (optional) – I like to add some crispy bacon pieces on top of my pimento cheese dip for some crunch and extra smoky flavor!
closeup: my pimento cheese recipe ona Ritz cracker

How to Make Pimento Cheese Spread

  1. Drain & Rinse Peppers. This is an important step to keep the color and flavor of the finished spread. Reserve the liquid from the jar — it’s a great way to thin pimento cheese dip if it’s too thick. 
  2. Combine Ingredients. Add everything to a medium mixing bowl and stir by hand or with a handheld mixer. I don’t recommend using a food processor because it’s easy to over-purée the mixture, and you want to have some texture.
  3. Refrigerate. Let pimento cheese chill for about 1 hour before serving. This allows all the flavors to meld together and helps it thicken up a little.
  • Mixing Bowl – Choose one with enough room for mixing, meaning ingredients should fill it no more than halfway.
  • Sturdy Spoon or Spatula – It takes a little muscle to get the cream cheese well blended. Alternatively, you can use an electric hand mixer.
  • Cheese Grater – Use the largest holes to shred your cheese so there’s plenty of texture in the dip.

Storing Leftovers

Keep pimento cheese well covered in the refrigerator, though storing it in an airtight container will maximize its longevity. Use within 2 weeks and never let it sit out for more than 2 hours at a time.

I don’t recommend freezing pimento cheese dip — the texture would become grainy and unpleasant once thawed. Plus, it’s so easy to make fresh!

closeup: a hand holding a Ritz cracker with my pimento cheese spread on it

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you serve pimento cheese?

Serve pimento cheese spread onto crackers or baguette slices, or use it as a dip for easy snacking. Sliced vegetables such as celery, red or yellow bell pepper, and cucumber are also excellent options.

It’s not just for appetizers, though! Make a pimento cheese sandwich by spreading some between two slices of your favorite sandwich bread. Use it to elevate grilled cheese sandwiches, add a scoop to baked potatoes, or mix it with pasta for a unique mac and cheese.

What else can I add to pimento cheese?

I love to top or add crumbled bacon to my dip, but diced jalapeños or green onions are popular choices as well.

Can I make this pimento cheese recipe ahead of time?

Since this spread will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, you can easily make my pimento cheese recipe in advance. Aim for no more than a day or two ahead if you’ll be serving it to guests so it’s still quite fresh.

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Pimento Cheese Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Pimento cheese is a creamy blend of sharp cheddar, cream cheese, mayo, peppers, and seasonings. It’s the ultimate party spread or dip!
Servings: 6
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes



  • 1 box of crackers of choice or toasted baguette slices


  • In a medium bowl mix all of the ingredients by hand or with hand mixer until combined. I highly recommend not in a food processor as it will over puree, you'll want some texture.
  • Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Spread on crackers of choice (or toasted baguette slices) or with sliced vegetables for scooping. I add a few pieces of cooked bacon on top, optional.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.



  1. It’s important to rinse and drain the pimentos to keep the color and flavor of the cheese spread.
  2. A traditional Southern mayonnaise to use would be Dukes Real Mayonnaise.
  3. Nutritional information is for pimento cheese only.
  4. Recipe adapted from The Loveless Cafe.


Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 537mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1146IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: Southern
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): pimento cheese recipe


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Very good! Makes a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich. If you can’t get your hands on some Dukes, which really is the best, a good substitute is to mix 1/2 Miracle Whip and 1/2 Hellmans Mayo.