A southern classic, this Pimento Cheese Sandwich recipe is the absolute BEST! It’s quick and easy to throw together and tastes amazing with pickles!
Pimento Cheese Spread is most commonly seen as an appetizer, lathered onto celery sticks or even on crackers, but in the deep south, it is also one of the most popular sandwiches.
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches rival the great PB&J, you heard me right!
Homemade Pimento Cheese
Pimento cheese is a blend of cheddar cheese, pimento peppers, mayo and cream cheese.
Pimento is just a fancy word for roasted red peppers, if you aren’t familiar. It originated and is still most popular in the South and sometimes listed as “pâté du Sud,” or Southern pâté or the caviar of the south.
If you happen to find it in the midwest, primarily made with Wisconsin cheese, it might be palmetto pimento cheese or simply palemetto.
Southerners are very particular to how their pimento cheese sandwich is prepared and like many regional cheeses there are several “right ways”. There are also many fun variations.
One thing is for sure, it is a chunky mix. It is best made in a food processor with a few pulses (do not just let the machine run, this is not a smooth mix). You can hand mix it in the mixing bowl too, but the cream cheese is hard to blend super smooth.
Pimento Cheese Ingredients
This pimento cheese sandwich recipe is basic, from there you can customize to your liking. Spicy, garlicky, more towards the cheesy side or even switch up the cheese.
- Cheddar Cheese– we like to use a sharp cheddar cheese for flavor and texture. You can switch it up and use a combination of sharp and regular cheddar or even white cheddar. We do strongly recommend shredding your own right off the block. Pre shredded cheese has a light coating of starch to prevent sticking which can impact the texture of your dip.
- Cream Cheese– adding more cream cheese makes a thicker dip perfect for cheese balls and grilled cheese sandwiches, while less makes it easier to spread on crackers.
- Pimento Peppers– What is a pimento? Pimento is just a fancy word for roasted red peppers. You can roast them yourself or save some time and buy them in a bottle, most commonly found in the International food aisle near Italian foods or by sandwich condiments and pickles.
- Mayonnaise– Southerners typically have very strong feelings over what brand of mayo to use. Duke’s seems to be the most preferred brand, but whatever you do, use a good quality brand since it is the base of the dip.
- Add-Ins– from here you can customize for flavor. Garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped parsley or chives and salt and pepper are the most common.
Spicy Pimento Cheese Sandwich
If you want to make your pimento cheese spread spicy, add 1-2 teaspoons of seeded and diced jalapenos. If you don’t want to mess around with chopping peppers, add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
For best results, allow your spread to sit and the spicy flavors to marry and sink into the cream cheese and mayonnaise before assembling the sandwich.
Light Pimento Cheese
It is hard to make a super light version of the dip due to the main ingredient being cheese, however, you can use reduced fat cheese.
You can also substitute light mayo or plain Greek yogurt for full fat mayonnaise and use light or reduced fat cream cheese.
Traditional spread uses a sharp cheddar cheese, but you can use a combination of any mildly soft cheese for your easy Pimento Cheese Sandwich. Some use a medium sharp cheddar with sharp.
Others prefer smoked gouda or white American cheese. I’ve even used pepper jack. Totally your call!
The most traditional of sandwiches is just the spread, that is it. But you can also add pickles, if you’d like. I’ve seen some folks even add potato chips to make it crunchy!
I used fancy toothpicks and pimento stuffed olives on mine.
More southern classics:
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Pimento Cheese Sandwich
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse it several times until a pale pink and fully combined but still chunky.
- Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Equally divide pimento cheese spread between 4 slices of bread and top with additional slice. Here you can add pickles or olives, if desired.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and leave us a comment to let us know how it was!