How to make a Pimento Cheese Sandwich

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!

Sliced pimento cheese sandwich stacked with a toothpick and olive


 

Homemade Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

Pimento cheese is a blend of cheddar cheese, pimento peppers, mayo and cream cheese.

bowl of pimento cheese dip

Palmetto Cheese vs Pimento 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. And tons of other things you can make with it.

pimento cheese spread in the food processor

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.

What is Pimento Cheese?

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!

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.

butter knife spreading pimento cheese onto whole wheat bread
  • 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.

Best Bread for Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Plain white bread is generally used for these hearty sandwiches, but they would also be delicious with a sprouted bread, whole wheat, rye or even sourdough.

Pimento Cheese Sandwich variations

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.

pimento cheese sandwich on wheat bread with olives

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 Sandwiches

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.

close up of pimento sandwiches

You can also substitute light mayo or plain Greek yogurt for full fat mayonnaise and use light or reduced fat cream cheese.

What cheese is best for a Pimento Sandwich

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.

pimento cheese spread on slices of bread

Others prefer smoked gouda or white American cheese. I’ve even used pepper jack. Totally your call!

Sandwich toppings for this Pimento Sandwich

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.

close up of olive secured with a toothpick

How to make a Pimento Cheese Sandwich

  1. Combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayo, pimento peppers, garlic powder and salt in a food processor and pulse it several times until a pale pink and fully combined but still chunky. You only need a few pulses and want to keep it with a bit of texture, not smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to assemble. It is better a little chilled, but will need to soften if you want a smooth spread.
  3. Equally divide the pimento cheese spread between 4 slices of bread and top with additional slice. Here you can add pickles or olives, if desired.

What to serve with Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

I like to serve mine with a side of fruit or a saladColeslaw and potato salad are also popular.
Sometimes crunchy, salty chips like potato chips to tortilla chips.

How to store a Pimento Sandwich

Pimento cheese sandwiches can be stored for short periods of time, 4 hours or less, wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or even a plastic sandwich bag. Because they have so much cheese, they should be kept chilled.

You can make the pimento spread ahead of time and then assemble them when time to serve.

Unfortunately, these sandwiches do not freeze well.

Pimento Cheese Sandwich Recipe FAQs

What is a pimento?

A pimento, also known as a cherry pepper, is a sweet, red, heart-shaped pepper that is typically mild in heat. It is often used to add a sweet and slightly tangy flavor, as well as a pop of color, to various dishes, including the popular Pimento Cheese spread or sandwich filling.

Is pimento cheese sandwiches a southern thing?

Pimento cheese sandwiches can be found many places throughout the United States, but they are most common in Southern regions.

Why is pimento cheese so good?

They are rich, a little tangy and the perfect comfort food. They are also simple and easy.

How do you keep pimento cheese sandwiches from getting soggy?

Try not to assemble the sandwich until you are ready to serve. Any spread on bread will start to turn soggy if left for too long.
Also choose a hearty bread to hold this serious spread

pimento cheese sandwiches for Pinterest

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Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

4.27 from 34 votes
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!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayo, pimento peppers, garlic powder and salt 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 the 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!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 440 kcal, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Protein: 14 g, Fat: 31 g, Saturated Fat: 13 g, Cholesterol: 67 mg, Sodium: 847 mg, Potassium: 135 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Vitamin A: 702 IU, Vitamin C: 3 mg, Calcium: 364 mg, Iron: 2 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 440
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pimento cheese sandwich
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. Didnt have any cream cheese onhand so used a few wedges of laughing cow, and used mild cheddar cheese instead of sharp…..was so good!!!!
    This recipe is def a keeper!!

  2. 5 stars
    My husband loves pimento cheese but won’t buy it because of how unhealthy it is and I had no idea how easy it could be to make at home. I used your recipe and used low fat reduced calories options, while not exactly healthy not nearly as bad either. I was worried he wouldn’t like it but he absolutely loved it. Thanks!!!

    1. Awesome! I’m glad we could help you out. I agree, it is delicious, but an “every once and while” type of option.

    1. Sure! Just fine chop it and use a mixer for best results, although it can be done by hand.

  3. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this since I have never had pimento cheese and your sandwich looks delicious and perfect for a light lunch.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh, wow! This not only looks incredible but tastes absolutely unbelievable. I will definitely make it again. My whole family enjoyed it!

  5. One thing I’ve learned since moving south (I am in Charlotte) is that Pimento Cheese is like, THE thing. Most restaurants have it in some form…loaded Pimento Cheese Fries, Loaded Pimento Cheese Fritos, sandwiches, etc. I’ve never actually known how it is made, though. Your recipe sounds SO good. I can’t wait to try it and then make extra to use on fries, Fritos, etc!

  6. 5 stars
    Anything with roasted red peppers can come. I am also looking for more savory breakfast options. Thanks for this recipe. Added to my list to try next.

  7. 5 stars
    This pimento recipe is absolutely delicious! I used this recipe to make picnic sandwiches and my family loved them! I kept it chunky as the recipe calls for and it was a hit!

  8. 5 stars
    I used to get pimento cheese spread from the grocery stores and never knew it’s this easy to make it at home. Now I can make this all the time and it’s so much better than store-bought.