BEST Southern Pimento Cheese Sandwich Recipe 2021

BEST Southern Pimento Cheese Sandwich Recipe 2021

In the cuisine of the Southern United States, pimento cheese is a spread or relish made with cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. Elsewhere, different ingredients may be used. It is served on bread, crackers, and vegetables, or in sandwiches.

I love pimento cheese. There, I said it. If you’re not from the South, you might be wondering, “What is pimento cheese?”

Pimento cheese is a classic Southern cheddar cheese and pimento pepper dip. It’s affectionately referred to as “pâté du Sud,” or Southern pâté. If you appreciate cheddar cheese, pimento cheese is going to be your new favorite party dip and sandwich spread.

YIELDS:PREP TIME:TOTAL TIME:
6 0 HOURS 10 MINS 0 HOURS 30 MINS

INGREDIENTS

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar
8 oz. pimiento peppers, drained
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 boule, top hole removed
Sliced green onions, for serving
Potato chips, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheddar, pimiento peppers, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Transfer mixture to bread bowl and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake until warmed through and bubbly, 20 minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve hot with Ritz crackers.

BEST Southern Pimento Cheese Sandwich Recipe 2021

VIDEOS

My grandmother, Mimi, made pimento cheese when I was little. I was a picky eater back then, but at least I had the good sense to appreciate her pimento cheese.

best I order pimento cheese every time I find it on a menu, which to my delight, seems to be happening more frequently these days.

I tried to find Mimi’s recipe in her handwritten recipe books, which are among my treasured possessions, along with her ring that I’m wearing on my left hand.

I got lost in nostalgia and found my great-aunt’s Jell-o cucumber salad recipe, but not Mimi’s pimento cheese.

So, I came up with my own pimento cheese recipe. Let’s make some!

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What are pimento peppers

Pimento (also spelled pimiento) peppers are small red peppers that are not at all spicy. They’re often called cherry peppers when you find them sold fresh in grocery stores.

Pimento peppers are even more mild than red bell peppers. You might recognize them as the little red peppers stuffed inside green olives.

If you’re from the Midwest, rest assured that pimento cheese has nothing to do with pimento loaf. Pimento peppers are the only common ingredient.

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Pimento Cheese Ingredients

In its most essential form, pimento cheese is made with cheddar cheese, pimento peppers and mayonnaise. I’ve played with the proportions of common elements to find my ideal levels of cheesy, tangy, peppery (spicy if you wish), and spreadable.

Freshly made, homemade pimento cheese tastes far superior to store-bought options. By making it yourself with quality ingredients, you can avoid strange preservatives. Here’s what you’ll need.

Pimento Cheese Recipe
Pimento Cheese Recipe

Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Be sure to buy a delicious extra-sharp variety so the cheddar flavor shines above all else. I used Tillamook.

Grate your cheese by hand on the large holes of a box grater. Don’t buy pre-shredded cheese, which is coated in powder that mutes the flavor and interferes with its creamy texture.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese enhances the cheddar flavor and ensures that your pimento cheese is tangy and spreadable.

Not all pimento cheese recipes include cream cheese, but it just doesn’t taste right to me without it. I’d bet money that Mimi’s pimento cheese was made with cream cheese. If you read Serious Eats’ lengthy history on pimento cheese, you’ll see that cream cheese and pimentos have been friends for a long time.

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Pimento Peppers

Pimento peppers are a given. They infuse the dip with mild pepper flavor and provide its signature reddish hue. Be sure to drain your peppers well, and give them a few extra chops if they come in slices rather than a tiny dice.

If you can’t find pimento peppers, roasted red peppers are a great substitute. Chop them up until you have a scant one-half cup. I used jarred peppers for my recipe tests, but you could go the extra mile and roast your own peppers.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise lends a silky texture and some key flavor. If we weren’t using cream cheese, we’d make up for it with additional mayonnaise, but I’ve found that a combination of the two yields the tastiest results.

Duke’s brand of mayonnaise is standard in Southern pimento cheese. I used Sir Kensington’s instead, since that’s the brand I keep on hand.

A Few Simple Seasonings

Pimento cheese flavorings vary by recipe. A combination of garlic powder and onion powder lend subtle and irresistible savoriness.

I like my pimento cheese a little spicy, so my recipe includes cayenne pepper as well. The heat is subtle but makes me go back for more. Take it up a notch with fresh jalapeño pepper, which adds seriously fresh flavor and a light crunch. A little bit goes a long way.

If you’re sensitive to spice, you can reduce or omit both the cayenne and jalapeño. You can always add more heat, but you can’t take it away.

Pimento Cheese Recipe
Pimento Cheese Recipe

How to Make Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is super easy to make, and ready in 10 minutes. You essentially just need to stir the ingredients together until combined.

I use my hand mixer to beat the ingredients together, which yields a nice, lightly fluffy texture. Don’t mix it up in a food processor, since pimento cheese is best when the individual ingredients retain some texture.

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How to Serve Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

You haven’t lived until you’ve had a pimento grilled cheese sandwich. You can also follow tradition and serve pimento cheese between two slices of bread, sliced into tea sandwich form if you’re throwing a party.

If you want to build a more substantial sandwich, pimento cheese is great with sliced cucumber (or dill pickles), tomato, sprouts or arugula, and even a fried egg.

As a Dip or Spread

Pimento cheese and crackers is a winning combination. If you want to lighten up your party spread, serve it with substantial strips of bell pepper (any color but green), cucumber, or celery.

You can take cues from pimento cheese and add pimento peppers to your favorite cheddar dishes. I can’t wait to add some to my go-to mac and cheese.

What is pimento cheese made of?

Pimento Cheese Ingredients. In its most essential form, pimento cheese is made with cheddar cheesepimento peppers, and mayonnaise. I’ve played with the proportions of common elements to find my ideal levels of cheesy, tangy, peppery (spicy if you wish), and spreadable.

What is the best pimento cheese?

The Contenders

  • Publix Cheese Spread with Pimentos.
  • Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread.
  • Trader Joe’s Pimento Cheese Dip.
  • Price’s Pimento Cheese Spread.
  • Palmetto Cheese Spread by Pawleys Island Specialty Foods.

How can you tell if pimento cheese is bad?

The best way to tell if pimento cheese has gone bad is to do the sniff test. Pimento cheese stores quite well in the fridge if it’s sealed properly. If you notice an “off” or spoiled smell from your pimento cheese, you should toss it as it most likely has spoiled

How can you tell if pimento cheese is bad?

The best way to tell if pimento cheese has gone bad is to do the sniff test. Pimento cheese stores quite well in the fridge if it’s sealed properly. If you notice an “off” or spoiled smell from your pimento cheese, you should toss it as it most likely has spoiled

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