Pimento Cheese is a beloved southern classic that’s also known as the “caviar of the South”. This delicious Pimento Cheese Spread is a recipe handed down to me by my stepdad that I’ve enjoyed throughout my life. I’m so excited to share it with you!
Easy Pimento Cheese Spread
I’ve watched my stepdad (John) make this recipe since I was 12 years old. It’s so delicious that I ask him to make me a batch every year for my birthday and he never fails!
His mom passed the recipe down to him and he’s made a few changes to it over the years to make it his own.
I could never precisely come close to duplicating it (until now!) because he always uses a manual meat grinder at the first stage of the recipe. He grinds the cheese, whole midget sweet pickles and pimentos before mixing the ingredients together with a hand mixer.
I realize that everyone doesn’t have a meat grinder (including myself), so I’ve found a way for his recipe to be enjoyed without being required to use one.
Pimento Cheese Spread Ingredients
The ingredients are VERY simple. What John emphasizes most about what makes this recipe unique is the brand of cheese to use (he always uses Cracker Barrel) and to use whipped salad dressing (Miracle Whip) instead of mayonnaise.
I can personally vouch for this because I have made it with different brands (and regular mayo), and it did not taste the same.
- Cheddar cheese – Extra sharp (Cracker Barrel) that has been hand shredded. My dad strongly suggests not to use low-fat cheese. I’ve never tried this recipe using low-fat cheese, so I can’t say with 100% certainty how it would turn out.
- Whipped salad dressing – Miracle Whip gives this pimento cheese a sweet and tangy flavor.
- Onion salt
- Sweet pickle relish
- Jarred diced pimentos (pimento peppers) – drained well.
What are Pimento Peppers?
Pimentos are a sweet and mild variety of a chili pepper. They are typically red in color and have a slightly sweet and tangy flavor.
How to Make Pimento Cheese Spread
- Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Using a hand mixer, beat until well combined and your preferred consistency is reached. Add additional whipped salad dressing for a creamier consistency if desired.
- Taste and season with additional seasonings if desired.
Although I love this recipe as-is, here are a few ideas to customize this pimento cheese into your personal favorite!
- Add garlic powder for a hint of garlic flavor.
- Smoked paprika adds a smoky and spicy kick.
- Turn up the heat by adding one or more of the following: cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, or a few dashes of hot sauce.
- Process in your food processor for a smoother texture if that’s how you prefer it.
Tips for Making the Best Pimento Cheese
- Use a high quality cheese for the best flavor.
- Shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese often contains additives to prevent clumping which can affect the texture.
- Drain the pimentos well to prevent the cheese mixture from being watery.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
How to Serve Pimento Cheese Spread
- Use it as a sandwich spread – I love it on fresh, soft white bread.
- Slather it on burgers for the ultimate pimento cheese burger!
- Serve it with veggie sticks, crackers, chips or pretzels.
Pimento Cheese Spread
- 2 (8 ounce) packages extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded Cracker Barrel
- 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos well drained
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon whipped salad dressing Miracle Whip
- ½ teaspoon onion salt more or less to taste
- Place cheese, pimentos, relish, salad dressing and onion salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Using a hand mixer, beat until well combined and desired texture is met. Add additional dressing for a creamier consistency if desired.
- Taste and season with additional onion salt if desired.
- This recipe yields approximately 3 ¼ cups, which is 13 (¼ cup) servings.
- Adapt to your personal taste by adding one or more of the following: garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or a few dashes of hot sauce.
- Although not required, I recommend to refrigerate (covered) for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
If provided, nutritional info is a courtesy, is not guaranteed and should only be considered as a guideline.