An easy recipe for homemade pimento cheese boldly flavored with Dijon mustard, garlic, and smoked paprika.
It's such a wonderfully creamy delicacy and it's so easy to make it at home with just a few simple ingredients.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to recreate this delicious spread at home. It's so easy to make and it's so very flavorful. But I'm very glad that I finally did. It's a delicacy! And it goes perfectly with fresh-cut vegetables.
I tried pimento cheese for the first time during a visit to Charlotte, North Carolina, back in 2013. I was smitten! It was so creamy. I thought the flavor combination was wonderful. It took me a few years to realize that this is a recipe I can easily make at home. 🤦♀️
For the exact list of the ingredients I use and precise measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Cream cheese: Normally I don't object to using reduced-fat cream cheese. But in this recipe, it's best to use full-fat cream cheese.
Mayonnaise: I like to use avocado oil mayonnaise.
Dijon mustard: I insist on Dijon mustard because it's smooth and creamy and I find other mustards too vinegary.
Minced garlic: Mince it by yourself (most flavorful) or use the stuff that comes in a jar (easiest!).
Smoked paprika: The smoked paprika is what makes this dish, in my opinion. It adds a wonderfully rich and smoky flavor.
Shredded cheddar: I much prefer extra sharp cheddar for its wonderful flavor, though sharp cheddar works too.
Pimiento peppers: They come in a little jar. You should be able to find them next to the pickles and olives in your grocery store.
It's surprisingly easy to make homemade pimento cheese. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Soften the cream cheese in the microwave. This should take no longer than 30 seconds.
Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and smoked paprika. Mix well, until everything is combined and smooth.
Mix in the shredded cheddar and the pimientos. Again, make sure the mixture is nice and smooth.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, or until ready to serve.
I like this spread chunky, so I simply mix everything by hand. But some people like to use their food processor and achieve a smoother texture.
Although the peppers should still remain chunky, so if you do use the food processor, you should add them last and process for just a few seconds.
Frequently asked questions
They are a type of red pepper. Their flavor is on the sweet side, with very mild heat. They are very flavorful, more so than red bell peppers, making them the perfect condiment for someone who doesn't like very spicy foods.
This classic Southern dish is basically a mixture of mayonnaise, shredded cheddar, and diced pimentos. Those are the very basic ingredients, and then one can add others, including cream cheese and smoked paprika.
It's typically served cold, although you can heat it up if you wish and serve it as a warm dip.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can use reduced-fat cream cheese if you wish, but full-fat cream cheese is better. Mascarpone cheese works too.
- Instead of sharp cheddar, you can use shredded gouda. Smoked gouda is especially good.
- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Add a pinch of onion powder.
This tasty cheese spread is traditionally served with crackers or with white bread. But I like to serve it with any of the following options:
- Cut-up vegetables. It's especially good with mini peppers, as shown in the photos - they are perfect for scooping it out. But you can also serve it with celery sticks, snow peas, bell pepper strips, or cucumber slices.
- Almond flour crackers.
- Pork rinds - I love these homemade pork rinds, but plain store-bought ones are also good.
I wouldn't use cheese crackers, though. Although generally a great low-carb and keto option, in this case, it would simply be too much cheese!
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. I don't recommend freezing this cheese.
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Homemade Pimento Cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz)
- 1 (4 oz) jar diced pimiento peppers, well-drained
- Cube the cream cheese. Place it in a medium microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds.
- Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and smoked paprika. Mix with a rubber spatula, then use a hand whisk to whisk the mixture until smooth.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix in the shredded cheddar and the pimientos. Mix well, until the mixture is uniform.
- Transfer the pimiento cheese to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until ready to serve. If refrigerating for longer than 30 minutes, remove from fridge 15 minutes prior to serving. Mix again before serving.