A pimiento cheese recipe for the winter months!
Of the many southern foodstuffs that we talk about on our culinary tours, pimiento cheese might be our favorite to discuss and to eat! This easy-to-make, versatile dish never lingers in the fridge for long when a fresh batch appears. It can serve as a satisfying sandwich spread, a spreadable cracker accompaniment for snack time, and a no-fail dish to bring to any kind of gathering – from holiday parties to baby showers. And while we love eating pimiento cheese all year long, its stick-to-your-ribs richness makes perfect for the wintertime. As southern food has gained increasing national (and international) popularity over the years, pimiento cheese’s star has risen to such a degree that multiple brands of packaged, pre-made pimiento cheese are now ubiquitous in grocery stores across the south and even outside of the spread’s original stomping grounds. Just as pimiento cheese enthusiasts hold strong opinions about what type of mayo deserves to be a part of this iconic dish, (right answer: Duke’s) folks now hold fierce loyalties to one commercial brand or another. While we’ve tried our fair share of pre-made pimiento cheeses and definitely have some preferences for certain brands, we hold to the old school logic that no packaged brand can beat a solid homemade recipe. So, we’re sharing the rough outlines of our recipe below – seriously rough! Folks’ taste for pimiento cheese texture, flavor, spreadability, and more can be wildly variable, so we’re supplying you with just enough info to gather the basic materials and make it your own. Enjoy it at absolutely every meal, and many in-between!
What you’ll need:
A block of sharp yellow cheddar cheese (we usually use Cracker Barrel brand)
A block of a white cheddar cheese (ditto Cracker Barrel brand)
Duke’s mayo (non-negotiable)
Jarred diced pimientos
Ground black pepper (we like ours hand-ground fairly coarse)
Grate your cheeses and toss them together in a large mixing bowl. Add pimientos with their juice (start with one or two small jars and add more as you wish), and then mix in mayo to reach your desired level of spreadability. Add the rest of ingredients to taste – we like ours with a fairly tart lemon kick and LOTS of black pepper. Depending on the brand of cheese you’re using, salt may or may not be needed. Taste as you go and stop adding once you’ve reached the flavor profile that suits you best! We also recommend starting with this basic recipe before experimenting with other ingredients, like spice blends or jalapenos. Enjoy – and don’t forget to book our Downtown Charleston tour if you’re eager to hear more about the storied history of pimiento cheese in South Caroline!