Classic Pimento Cheese Recipe

Pimento cheese is a spread that's long been a staple of Southern cooking. Typically it's made from mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar, and, of course, pimentos, although cooks who like to experiment will sometimes make some tweaks to the classic version. Some will even go so far as to (gasp!) replace the pimentos, but recipe developer Kate Shungu doesn't go quite that far. Rather than replacing anything, she instead adds an ingredient not typically found in this dish: crumbled bacon. She also likes to make her pimento cheese with smoked paprika, saying this "adds a slight smokiness to the finished dish."

Unconventional though this pimento cheese may be, it's still just as tasty (or perhaps even more so) than the traditional kind. As Shungu describes it, "The flavors of the cheese, pimentos, bacon, and chives work really nicely together to create a flavorful spread." She feels it works great with crudités and crackers, although there are numerous other uses to which it can be put.

Assemble the ingredients for this pimento cheese

To make this pimento cheese, you'll need the typical ingredients of cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and mayonnaise, along with a small jar of pimentos. If, by chance, you happen to have a larger jar of them, Shungu says the amount of pimentos she used came out to about 3 tablespoons. You'll also need the aforementioned bacon and smoked paprika. Additional seasonings for this spread include garlic powder, salt, and snipped chives.

Cook the bacon

The first step in making this pimento cheese is to cook the bacon until it's nice and crispy. While Shungu favors the pan-frying method, you could cook yours in the microwave or the oven, if you prefer. Once the bacon is cooked, drain it (if necessary), then crumble it into bits.

Combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, seasonings, and bacon

The next step involves mixing all the ingredients together — well, all but the pimentos, that is. The cheeses, mayonnaise, bacon, and seasonings all go into a bowl and gets blended together. Shungu uses a stand mixer, but you could use a handheld one or even blend the mixture by hand. The texture of the pimento cheese, when blended, is something Shungu describes as "mostly smooth, with a little bit of crunch from the bacon."

Stir in the pimentos

As a final step, stir the pimentos into the cheese. Why do these go in at the end? Shungu explains that they change the color of the cheese, telling us, "If they're mixed in with the rest of the ingredients, it won't have quite the contrast of colors between the yellow/orange spread and the red pimentos." She admits, though, that adding the pimentos along with everything else only affects the appearance, not the flavor, of the spread, and says, "If you don't mind [how the cheese looks], just add them with the rest of the ingredients."

Keep your pimento cheese in the fridge until you are ready to use it. In addition to employing it as a dip, Shungu suggests using it to make deviled eggs or sandwiches. Pimento cheese can also make a tasty spread for burgers or chicken breasts.

Classic Pimento Cheese Recipe
4.9 from 35 ratings
This pimento cheese recipe is a Southern classic, and it makes for the perfect appetizer.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pimento cheese with vegetables, crackers
Total time: 14 minutes
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (2-ounce) jar pimentos, drained
  1. Fry the bacon until crisp.
  2. Drain the bacon on paper towels, then crumble.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients except the pimentos and beat until combined.
  4. Stir the pimentos into the cheese mixture until just combined.
  5. Refrigerate the pimento cheese until ready to use.
Calories per Serving 324
Total Fat 30.6 g
Saturated Fat 13.7 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 72.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Total Sugars 1.3 g
Sodium 424.2 mg
Protein 10.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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