I grew up eating pimento cheese (in the north even!) (My parents were displaced Southerners). If you are what you eat, then there is a certain portion of me that is rich, sweet, salty, cheesy with an occasional red pimento thrown in for fun and acidity. Here’s the thing – it wasn’t until I was a little older that I was introduced to REAL pimento cheese – the kind that all Southerners grow up on – this is the EASY recipe you need!
Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese, if you will. My mother always purchased that soulless orange supermarket stuff that is a poor cousin of deep rich homemade pimento cheese. It wasn’t until I moved to the south, that I learned how to make the Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese myself. Making your own is so simple there really is No Need to EVER eat that gloopy store-bought stuff again. Read on and learn how you can make Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese.
I will admit, I have been doing Pimento Cheese experimentation for a long long time in search of the Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese. Over the years I have probably had 3 or 4 episodes of making one batch after another to try to find just the right recipe. What I discovered along the way is that making pimento cheese is as varied as families themselves.
Some folks like their pimento cheese a little sweet, some like theirs a little hot, some like blander cheeses, some like sharper cheese. Me? I like something for my teeth to do – I don’t like the kind that is just completely mush. I also like to know when I have found the pimentos. Its like the prize in the box of cereal!
In past years, I experimented with what my mom gave me as my aunt’s pimento cheese recipe. Delicious when my aunt made it. Not that great when I made it. I think my mom didn’t quite know all of the ingredients or something. All that I am sure of now is that my aunt used some processed cheese food – and it was delicious – but I can’t seem to make it that way and have it turn out well.
This year, I began experimenting again, I thought about going a little more “foodie” and adding something with a smoked flavor, adding some jalapenos or adding some other more popular ingredient. As I experimented, I found that as far as I am concerned, the more like original pimento cheese, the better.
Important Factors to Know when Making Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese
- The kind of cheese and Mayonnaise is IMPORTANT! I don’t like reading a recipe that says something generic like “add a red wine that you would drink to the sauce” or “use only dry red wine”. Well, I don’t drink red wine and I have no idea which one is drinkable or dry and which are not. I am guessing that depending on who you are – most of them might be drinkable and to me, they almost all taste dry ! I want to know some name brands so that I can make what you made! For this recipe – I have named the type of cheese I have used and the Mayonnaise. Of course, you may choose to use something different – but then that is on you. I can vouch for the kind that I make and the ingredients are listed below. I didn’t want to leave you with “use Mayonnaise” when I knew that I had experimented with Hellman’s and Dukes – and in this case found Dukes to work the best.
- Drain the pimentos! Drain them very well. If you don’t drain them, your pimento cheese will be soupy and that is yucky.
- Do NOT overmix the pimento cheese – just give it a light stir until you see that everything has mixed together. Leaving the cheese in bigger chunks makes for nice flavors in your mouth later and it won’t be quite so mushy.
- The Cayenne in this recipe makes the pimento cheese a little hot. If you are not that crazy about hot pimento cheese – back off on the Cayenne. Cut it in half or leave it out altogether – although I WOULD add a tiny bit – just to give it a little kick.
- Use the larger pieces of pimento – even if you never have before. It gives your mouth a new flavor to explore – it is nice!
- Pimento cheese is meant to be shared. Please find someone to share a cracker of this with. If you eat the entire amount yourself, you will be sorry and your waistline will grow and then you will be upset with me. Instead, take a loaf of bread to work and let everyone make a sandwich for a snack. Take a bowl to church and some crackers and let everyone gobble it up. Mix a tiny bit in your grits and surprise your family – YUM! What I am getting at here – share the wealth. You can always make more!
- Do not try to freeze Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese – it won’t work and will make a gloopy mess. Ewwww.
The One Most Important Thing about Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese
Let it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Overnight if possible. When you mix up a batch, it is the first time that the ingredients are meeting and they need to get to know each other a little bit. They will hit it off and eventually marry and – oh my – it will be a beautiful thing – but it does take a little time. Don’t rush it. OH! AND ONE MORE THING, just let me say this. Grilled Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. That is all.
Photo Instructions for How to Make Ultimate Southern Pimento Cheese
- 4 oz (1/2 block) white VERY SHARP cheddar cheese (I used Cabots Extra Sharp) (DO NOT USE PRESHREDDED CHEESE)
- 4 oz (1/2 block) orange creamy sharp cheese (I used Hellavagood Sharp) (DO NOT USE PRESHREDDED CHEESE)
- ½ CUP Mayonnaise (I used Dukes – it is slightly sweet and I think works best for pimento cheese – otherwise, I am a Hellmans girl)
- ½ cup pimento slices – if you can’t find – then the chopped is ok.- drain well!
- 3 stalks of green onion – chopped (use the white and green parts)
- ½ tsp kosher salt (NOT table salt – kosher salt)
- 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp hot sauce (I used Franks)
- ¼ tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
- Grate the cheeses with a hand grater on the largest holes available. Place the cheese in a large bowl.
- Add all of the ingredients to the bowl. Use a rubber spatula and gently mix all ingredients together. Do not over mix – you don’t want all of your cheese breaking.
- Put plastic wrap over the top and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Overnight is better as this allows the flavors to marry and get to know each other better.
- Serve on sandwiches, as a grilled cheese, in your grits, on crackers, on a baked potato, on celery or other veggies – you name it!