What Is Pimiento Cheese and Why Everyone (Not Just Southerners) Should Try It

Are you really asking "what is pimiento cheese?" Well, take it from a Southerner on why this spread is a must-try.

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Pimiento cheese easily tops my list of foodie favorite things, I’m literally obsessed! This dip-able Southern delicacy is everything you dreamed or thought it to be! Use this versatile spread smeared on anything from crispy crackers or gingersnaps to stirring into your macaroni mixture or placing on top of a burger or breakfast sandwich. Heck, eating by the spoonful works too! Keep reading to learn more, and by the end of this you’ll be obsessed just like me!

What Is Pimiento Cheese Made Of?

Pimiento Cheddar SpreadTaste of Home

Many might venture to call it basic, but to me, pimiento cheese is a Southern classic made of a blend of cheeses, mayonnaise (Southerners are serious about their mayo) or salad dressing and spices. Basic spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt or pepper are typical, however minced or pickled onion, jalapeños, green chiles or chopped pickles (including the juice) could also be added to give it that Southern twang. A splash of Worcestershire or hot sauce is not uncommon—and it goes without saying that the must-have ingredient, and its namesake, bright red, chopped pimiento peppers must be seen throughout.

Speaking of pimiento peppers, you’ll likely see it spelled two different ways, pimento or pimiento with a second i. Here at Taste of Home we use the later spelling, as it’s shrouded in the folds of history. Both are acceptable, common variations and technically one is not more correct than the other… it’s a matter of preference.

What Do You Eat with Pimiento Cheese?

Pimento Cheese Sandwich on White BreadLauriPatterson/gettyimages

Eat it alone with a sleeve of buttery crackers or spicy gingersnaps (topped with a red pepper jam). Down South, you’ll commonly find pimiento cheese spread between white sandwich bread and cut into tea-sized finger sandwiches. It’s versatile and can be used like most other spreads; try stirring into grits, deviled egg mixture or place on top of your avocado toast or burger to take it to the next level. Fresh vegetables, sliced bread, pretzels or pita chips also work well as dippers. It’s perfect for any occasion.

What Does Pimiento Cheese Taste Like?

It hits all the senses…its creamy, spicy and cheesy goodness that coats the roof of your mouth (in a good way).

Why I Love It and How You Can Try It

I grew up in the South, so pimiento cheese is engrained in me. It’s part of my family cookbook; a comforting recipe that reminds me of home, family and friends.

All you need is 10 minutes to make pimiento cheese yourself (that means you can be obsessed in just a few minutes)! Start by making our Southern Pimiento Cheese Spread. It can be made ahead (just make sure it chill it thoroughly) to snack on throughout the week, if it lasts that long!

Rather buy something prepared? This is the brand I tried and liked. If you’re near a Bo-Jangles restaurant, swing by for a 15-ounce family-sized tub of their pimiento cheese spread or try it on their Cajun Filet Breakfast Biscuit….pssst they also have pimiento cheese sauce for your fries (yes, please!).

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Rashanda Cobbins
When Rashanda’s not tasting and perfecting Taste of Home’s recipes, you’ll find this food editor sifting through our recipe collection, curating digital content or tracking the latest culinary trends. While studying for her bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, Rashanda interned in Southern Living’s test kitchen and later spent nearly a decade developing recipes and food content at ConAgra Brands. In her spare time, she loves scoping out local farmers markets and having picnics in the park.