This pimento cheese recipe is made with two different types of sharp cheddar and a special ingredient—pickle brine—for an extra punch of flavor, making this the perfect snack, appetizer, or sandwich spread.
Pimento cheese is a Southern staple, right up there with deviled eggs, potato salad, and cornbread. The zesty cheese dip (with a thick texture more akin to a spread or paté) is something I’ve always loved but hadn’t tried my hand at until recently when a friend shared her recipe with me. Not only is homemade pimento cheese cheaper, but dare I say it’s exceedingly more delicious than any fancy storebought brand I’ve tried.
There are two things that make this version stand out among the rest. One is the addition of pickle brine. My friend swears by it after trying hers and being forever ruined for any other versions. I agree. I love pickles and dill pickle brine is full of delicious acidic flavor, which is such a tasty addition to this pimento cheese. The other tip is to use roasted red bell pepper in place of pimento peppers. Roasted red bell pepper adds a subtle smokiness to the dip and is easier to find at the grocery store. If you’re a traditionalist, def go with pimentos where I give you amounts to use in the recipe card below. Or try a combo! This pimento cheese spread recipe is a game-changer, and is addictively good, no matter how you eat it.
What’s in Pimento Cheese
Pimento cheese is comprised mostly of pantry ingredients, many of which you likely already have. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Extra-sharp cheddar cheese—we’re using yellow and white here
- Roasted red pepper—not traditionally used in pimento cheese, but I love it since it’s easier to find at the grocery store. Or here’s how to quickly roast a red pepper at home. However, I give amounts of pimento peppers to use instead.
- Mayonnaise—they’ve finally started selling Duke’s brand in my area and I really dig the tang. Use more mayo if you want a looser, creamier texture
- Whole grain/stone ground mustard
- Pickle brine—the acidity adds so much flavor and really makes this pimento cheese recipe stand out from all the rest.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper—depending on how much pickle brine you add, you may determine that you don’t need any salt. Taste as you go.
- Cayenne pepper—optional, but I like the subtle kick it adds
How to Make Pimento Cheese
This pimento cheese is made quickly and effortlessly in the food processor. As you’d expect, there’s no cooking involved. It comes together in just 15 minutes or less.
Shred your cheeses. Use the shredder attachment of your food processor and get grating. I just replaced my 30-year-old food processor with this food processor and I love it. It makes grating cheese much easier than using a box grater. Place the cheeses into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Mix up the creamy seasoning. Switch out the shredder attachment of your food processor for the blade attachment. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, roasted red pepper or pimentos or a combination of the two, pickle brine, garlic, cayenne, salt, and black pepper, and process until smooth.
Process ¾ of the shredded cheese into the food processor and pulse until mixed and chopped to the texture you like (I prefer a rough, light mayonnaise consistency).
Taste, season, and mash. Add more seasoning if desired, then add the mixture to the large bowl, along with the remaining ¼ of the shredded cheese, and stir, mashing some with a spoon or spatula until everything is well combined.
Add more mayonnaise if the mixture is stiff. I typically add another spoonful or two of mayo so the dip creamy not chalky.
Note: Pimento cheese will keep in a jar or airtight container in the fridge for about 7-10 days.
What Does Pimento Cheese Taste Like
This pimento cheese is the perfect blend of creamy and chunky, with some balanced acidity from the pickle brine and mustard, and a bit of spice from the cayenne. It’s rich and addicting!
How do Southerners Eat Pimento Cheese
There are so many delicious ways to enjoy this classic Southern dish. Here are some of the most common:
- With crackers—preferably Saltines—bonus points if you fry ’em. I like a buttery cracker too.
- On biscuits
- Slathered on slices of white bread for pimento cheese sandwiches—cold or as a grilled cheese sandwich
- With crudités
- In deviled eggs
- Mixed into omelets or scrambles
- Stirred into grits
- Tossed with pasta—it would be killer in a pasta salad or used for mac and cheese
- On burgers
More Cheesy Dips You’ll Love
- Hot Crab Dip
- Bacon Beer Cheese Dip
- Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Easy Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Mexican Corn Dip (hot or cold!)
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