Ingredient Spotlight: Pimento Cheese

Referred to as the "pâté of the South" by those below the Mason-Dixon Line, pimento cheese originally hails from New York (gasp!). Now a creamy concoction of pimento peppers, mayonnaise and shredded cheese, this long-popular Southern spread began as a mixture of canned pimentos and cream cheese. It has evolved into both a staple stocked in the standard Southern pantry and a gourmet condiment worked into trendy "modern Southern" restaurants. Atlanta-based Watershed presents a "pimento cheese pecan log with benne wafers and pepper jelly" (drool) while Homegrown (which has served Mr. President himself) boasts a homemade grilled pimento cheese sandwich.


Variations on the classic pimento cheese recipe are common. While some add onions or jalapenos to kick up the flavor, others believe the magic lies in the cheese selection. Though its ingredients may be simple, pimento cheese is here to stay.

Hooked on testing pimento cheese out in a recipe? We go crazy for this take on the spread worked into our Smoked Salmon Quesadilla with Lime-Cilantro Crema & Black Bean-Cherry Tomato Salsa.