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Pimento Cheese

February 1, 2024

A little savory and a little sweet with miles of cheesy goodness, our best pimento cheese recipe is an immediate classic. Grab some crackers and get the party started!


homemade pimento cheese in a bowl on a serving platter with celery, carrots and ritz crackers
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Classic Spreadable Cheese That Everyone Loves

Pimento cheese is a famous combination of cheese, peppers, and mayonnaise with a storied past. Pimento cheese was invented in NYC and then adopted by Southerners, and it has since become such an important part of Southern foodways that it is sometimes referred to as “Southern pâté.” It’s perfect as a snack with crackers and your favorite cut vegetables for dipping. If you weren’t passed down your grandma’s pimento cheese recipe, we offer this old-fashioned pimento cheese recipe for you to make your own.

cheddar, cream cheese, mayo, spices, worcestershire, diced pimento, ritz crackers, celery and carrots to make pimento cheese

How To Make Pimento Cheese

Making pimento cheese from scratch is super duper easy, and we think you’ll be glad to have this recipe on hand next time you’re entertaining because it easily serves a crowd. Make pimento cheese spread for your next tailgate or football party, potluck, or part of your holiday spread.

  1. Think about your cheese in advance. Pimento cheese requires room temperature cream cheese (it’s easier to mix when it’s softened), and both white and extra-sharp cheddar cheese (which you can buy shredded, or grate yourself).

  2. Gather all of your seasonings. You’ll need garlic powder, ground cayenne pepper, onion powder, sea salt, granulated sugar, and Worcestershire to make the best pimento cheese!

  3. Add cheese, seasonings, and mayo (Duke’s is the king of mayonnaise in the South, but any brand will work! We also love Hellman’s) to a large mixing bowl and give it a good stir to combine everything. You can mix by hand, or with a handheld mixer, but we do not recommend using a food processor because it will produce a texture that is too smooth and dense. You want to be able to still see the shreds of cheese!

  4. Gently stir in the drained and diced pimentos. If you over mix, you will lose those pretty red speckles, so the idea here is to just stir until combined.

  5. Wait patiently until your guests arrive to dig in! We serve our pimento cheese. with a stack of Ritz crackers and fresh cut vegetables.

homemade pimento cheese made with cheddar, cream cheese, mayo, spices, worcestershire and diced pimento

Pimento Cheese Dip, More Than Just A Fun Word To Say

What is pimento cheese made of? The foundation of every pimento cheese recipe is cheese, peppers, and mayonnaise. From their family traditions, regional variations, and personal preference might intervene for subtle differences in the recipe.

What is the taste of pimento cheese? Pimentos are sweet, mild peppers with a slight peppery flavor. If you are spice averse, these peppers more closely resemble red bell peppers than chili peppers. These peppers, combined with the sharpness of cheddar, creaminess of cream cheese, and blend of spices make a fabulous savory dip.

Why is pimento cheese so popular in the south? The history of pimento cheese deserves its own encyclopedia entry, but to summarize, it all began with cream cheese. The production of cream cheese coincides with the arrival of sweet red peppers from Spain. In the early 1900s these two ingredients were combined by enterprising cooks to create a spread that is an early version of the pimento cheese we know and love today.

homemade pimento cheese in a bowl surrounded by ritz cracker, celery and carrots for dipping

A Couple Of Our House Secrets

Mayonnaise is a condiment with fierce alliances, and as we mentioned, Duke’s is the likely default in the South. Hellman’s is more widely available, and its fluffy texture is a surefire candidate for light as a cloud pimento cheese spread. You would also do well to make a batch of Homemade Mayonnaise to add to your homemade pimento cheese! And this isn’t *just* a cracker spread, it’s a time-honored cheesy tradition and must be treated with respect! That means we’re asking you to mix this gently, or as Moira would tell you to “fold in the cheese,” so all the “broken cheese” and little flecks of pimento stay intact.

homemade pimento cheese in a bowl on a serving platter with celery, carrots and ritz crackers

Pimento Cheese Can Elevate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches And More!

This Southern staple is perfect on a straightforward slice of white bread, or you can add it to our Perfect Grilled Cheese recipe to make it even more perfect. Since the pimento cheese sandwich was the original use for pimento cheese, we recommend you try it on Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Sandwich or add it to your next Fried Chicken Sandwich. If you are making sandwiches from leftovers of our Perfect Roast Turkey Recipe or Roasted Garlic Honey Baked Ham, starting with a smear of pimento cheese will kick things off on the right foot. You can also sneak it into your next batch of 4-Ingredient Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese or Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese, for a little extra oomph! Pimento cheese loves burgers, so don’t forget to sub in pimento cheese next time you make a Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce and maybe use it as a dip for Patatas Bravas. For more dipping goodness, check out our Rotel Dip recipe.

Tools You’ll Need

We Have Made All The Dips, And Want To Share Them With You

Good dips are an essential part of life. Get out the chips and whip up a few of our favorites with these recipes:

Puttin’ On The Ritz Crackers!

We think your friends and family will love pimento cheese as much as we do. Snap a photo of your homemade pimento cheese and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Pimento Cheese

  • Yields: 3 cups
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min


  • 1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded extra-sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded white cheddar
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimento, drained
  • Ritz crackers, for serving
  • Carrot and celery sticks, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine the yellow cheddar
, white cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, salt, sugar, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce until fully incorporated.

  2. Add in the pimentos and stir until combined. Serve with ritz crackers and/or vegetables for dipping. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories404
  • Protein13 g
  • Carbohydrates4 g
  • Total Fat35 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol79 mg
  • sodium637 mg
  • Total Sugars2 g

Pimento Cheese

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn

    Incredibly easy, fast and very tasty. My kids loved this as an after school snack!

    Thanks Jenn! Glad they loved it!