Listen here, Pimento Cheese is an iconic Southern snack food and appetizer that’s so flavorful and delicious, y’all. This homemade pimento cheese recipe features classic elements like sharp cheddar, mayonnaise, and diced pimientos. Cream cheese adds a delightful tanginess and Cajun spice gives this signature cheese spread some oomph. Serve up this Southern favorite for any occasion from fancy events to informal gatherings. Enjoy as a spread or with crackers and/or vegetables!

pimento cheese in small bowl with crackers and veggies on the side

Pimento cheese is one of those foods that folks seem to either love or hate, ha. And then there are the people that are indifferent to it as well. Growing up as a kid, I couldn’t stand it at all. Then my tastebuds matured as I got older and now I love me some pimento cheese. I’ve been slowly rounding up all of my favorite Southern-inspired eats that I’ve yet to share on the site and making it happen.

Southern Pimento Cheese 🧀

Pimento cheese is a quintessential snack and a beloved staple of the American South just like sweet tea. It’s a cheese-forward, creamy dip or spread that’s loaded with peppers and more. Sure, store-bought is fine but you know homemade is sooo much better. This creamy pimento cheese gives you heaps of flavor while being so incredibly fresh since it’s scratch-made. Whew!

Did you know that it’s affectionately dubbed “The Caviar of the South” 🙌🏾

pimento cheese with crackers, celery, and carrots on white tray

Why You’ll Enjoy This Snack Spread! ♡

  • IT’S SO EASY! Skip the commercial, store-bought stuff and whip up this homemade pimento cheese in under 20 minutes! I’m willing to bet you have almost all the ingredients on hand, too! Ever since I developed this recipe, it’s become a favorite that I make all the time for myself and my peeps.
  • PERFECT FOR ENTERTAINING! I love making a batch of this cheese whenever I’m hosting a gathering at my crib or menu planning for snacks. Set it out on a platter with chips, crackers, and veggies and let everyone dig in! It’s also a bomb appetizer to have on the table before big holiday-centered meals like Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and everything in between.
  • SO FRESH & GOOD! Because this pimento cheese is made from scratch, I honestly feel like that’s what makes it better. I’m just keeping it real with ya. The flavors meld even deeper and the taste is top tier because of it.
ingredients for pimento cheese laid out on white surface

Ingredients You’ll Need For This Recipe:

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Cream cheese: One of the main components of Southern pimento cheese is cream cheese. This softened cheese brings plenty of creaminess and a flavorful tang to the dish.
  • Mayonnaise: Around this way, it’s always Duke’s mayonnaise or bust!
  • Diced Pimientos: A pimiento pepper or a pimento pepper/cherry pepper is mild, and slightly sweet with very little heat. You can find them in grocery stores either canned or jarred in their whole size or diced. Aside from making pimento cheese, they’re commonly used for stuffing green olives and in cooking applications in the way you’d use roasted red bell peppers.
  • Jalapeño: I love the subtle heat it adds to this snack spread.
  • Seasonings: Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, and ground white pepper are the three seasonings that add a fragrant and scrumptious taste here.
  • Sugar: Just a pinch to add some depth and contrast.
  • Cheddar cheese: Sharp cheddar cheese is a must for pimento cheese.
pimento cheese mixed together in large bowl

How To Make This Fresh Pimento Cheese:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. In a large bowl, stir the softened cream cheese with a stiff whisk until smooth. Then add the mayonnaise and continue stirring until both ingredients are well combined. Then add the pimientos, jalapeño, Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, white pepper, and sugar and stir to combine.
  2. Fold in the freshly grated cheddar and use a rubber spatula to combine and distribute the cheese evenly until just combined.
  3. Serve this fresh pimento cheese STAT with crackers of choice- I highly recommend buttery Ritz crackers + Club crackers with this (it’s the Southern way ya know!)…or vegetables like celery sticks/carrots! Mmm!
pimento cheese spread on top of crackers on small white plate

Tips + Tricks & More For Recipe Success

Just a little more information about this pimento cheese recipe:

  • Drain the jar of pimientos– I’d hate for you to have a runny or soggy batch of pimento cheese. Be sure to drain the diced pimientos very well.
  • Use block-style cheddar– For the best taste and texture, please don’t use pre-shredded cheese for this recipe. Grab a block of sharp cheddar and shred it by hand on a box grater. Pre-shredded cheese contains a coating on it that doesn’t quite give you a good quality taste and creamy texture.
  • What to serve with/pair with pimento cheese– This snack spread is besties with crackers, and vegetables like celery, carrots, bell peppers and more. Additionally, you can use it up on toast and sandwiches as well. It’s so freaking tasty with >> fried green tomatoes << on a sandwich, y’all! 👅
  • Storing– Transfer the pimento cheese into an airtight container with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Alternatively, you can freeze, where it will last for up to 3 months.
  • A note on refrigeration– The pimento cheese does firm up in the refrigerator. I like to set it on the counter for at least 30 minutes before serving for a loose, creamier texture.
pimento cheese in bowl with knife and crackers/veggies on the side

This Pimento Cheese recipe is such a fun appetizer or snack to have on deck to enjoy in a variety of ways, it’s dang good! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

More Southern-forward eats we love:

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pimento cheese in small bowl with crackers and veggies on the side

Fresh Southern Pimento Cheese (Cheese Dip/Spread)

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  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Appetizers & Snacks
  • Cuisine: Southern
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Description

Listen here, Pimento Cheese is an iconic Southern snack food and appetizer that’s so flavorful and delicious, y’all. This homemade pimento cheese recipe features classic elements like sharp cheddar, mayonnaise, and diced pimientos. Cream cheese adds a delightful tanginess and Cajun spice gives this signature cheese spread some oomph. Serve up this Southern favorite for any occasion from fancy events to informal gatherings. Enjoy as a spread or with crackers and/or vegetables!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8-ounces block-style cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, liquid drained
  • 1 small jalapeño, membranes removed & finely diced
  • ½1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, to preference
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • 8-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, fresh-grated on large holes of a box grater

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir the softened cream cheese with a stiff whisk until smooth. Then add the mayonnaise and continue stirring until both ingredients are fully blended into a well-combined consistency.
  2. Add the pimientos, jalapeño, Cajun seasoning- to taste, smoked paprika, white pepper, and sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Fold in the freshly grated cheddar and use a rubber spatula to combine and distribute the cheese evenly until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, the cheddar cheese should remain in its coarse pieces.
  4. Serve this fresh pimento cheese with crackers of choice (we love buttery Ritz crackers & Club crackers with this!), vegetables, or spread on sandwiches/toast, as desired! Enjoy!
  5. Storing pimento cheese: Transfer the pimento cheese into an airtight container with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Alternatively, you can freeze, where it will last for up to 3 months.

Notes

  1. Please read blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.

Recipe by: Quin Liburd- Butter Be Ready

Photography by: Ashley McLaughlin