Homemade Pimento Cheese is one of those foods I always have on hand. Many of my friends are surprised to learn that I adore it. Maybe, like them, you’ve seen neon-orange tubs of the stuff for sale at the store. Maybe, like them, you’ve even tried it once and weren’t too impressed.
Unfortunately, I can’t have you all over to try my homemade pimento cheese as I’ve done with my friends because, honestly, the homemade stuff is a world apart from that goop you’ll find at the store. At least I’ve managed to convert a number of my friends into loving it almost as much as I do!
The thing about Homemade Pimento Cheese (besides the arguments about whether it should be called “Pimiento Cheese” or “Pimento Cheese”) is that it’s so versatile. It’s excellent on celery sticks, which means you’re eating veggies so you can feel a bit better about the fact that you’re snacking on a mixture of cheddar, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. On the other hand, if you’re eating low-carb or following the keto diet, this will become your new favorite dip or spread!
Homemade Pimento Cheese
It’s delicious on crackers (and a perfect topping for my Homemade Wheat Thins). You can use it as a dip for veggies, a filling for omelets, or a bagel topping, even. Tired of deviled eggs? Replace the yolks with a dollop of this Homemade Pimento Cheese. Nom! And as a grilled cheese sandwich? Oh, baby. Words fail.
Most homemade pimento cheese recipes call for a mixture of white and orange cheddar. I’ll let you in on a secret: orange and white cheddar cheese are the same things! Orange cheddar cheese is merely white cheddar cheese to which they’ve added annatto as a coloring agent.
Also, most call for pimentos out of a jar. Whether I use fresh or jarred pimentos depends on the time of year. I grow a lot of peppers in my garden in the summer then turn the green ones into vinegar peppers while adding the red ones to homemade giardiniera.
So, if I’ve got freshly-picked peppers, I’ll roast them myself. It’s easy enough to do, especially if you make the peppers ahead of time while you’re cooking something else.
If you want to roast your own red peppers, I’ll start with that recipe then share my homemade pimento cheese recipe with you. Tinker with it as you will — that’s what makes Homemade Pimento Cheese so individual: everyone prefers a different flavor profile.
But mine’s the best. Just ask me.
How To Roast Red Bell Peppers
1. Wash and dry the peppers, leaving the stems intact.
2. Put them on a baking sheet in a 450° F / 230° C / gas mark 8 oven. Turn every 15 minutes.
3. When the skin has blackened all over, remove the peppers and immediately put them in a bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Let them cool — about 15 minutes — and the steam will loosen the skin.
4. Slip the skin off, pull out the stem, remove the seeds and slice what’s left.
You’ll notice when slicing them that the peppers give off a lot of liquid. You can use that to thin the homemade pimento cheese to your liking or try adding it to a Bloody Mary. Yum!
Homemade Pimento Cheese
A true Southern staple that's perfect spread on crackers, piped into celery sticks, or even in omelets or grilled cheese sandwiches.
- 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup mayonnaise NOT Miracle Whip!
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce optional
- 4 ounces pimentos minced
Grate the cheddar cheese.
Whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and hot sauce (if using).
Fold the cheese and pimentos into the mayo mixture. Chill 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
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Note: This recipe originally appeared on March 4, 2013. It has been republished with new photos.