Pimento cheese
Pimento cheese served in a bowl
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsCheddar cheese or processed cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos

Pimento cheese (or pimiento cheese) is a spread most popularly made of cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos and served on crackers and vegetables or in sandwiches. A favorite of the cuisine of the Southern United States—it has been referred to as the "pâté of the South" and "the caviar of the South."[1]—it also is enjoyed elsewhere, with regional variations in ingredients.


The basic pimento cheese recipe has few ingredients: sharp cheddar cheese or processed cheese (such as Velveeta or American cheese), mayonnaise or a similar salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip), and pimentos (also known as pimientos), blended to either a smooth or chunky paste.[2] Regional ingredients include horseradish, cream cheese, salt and pepper, Louisiana-style hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, jalapeños, onions, garlic, and dill pickles.[2][3]

Pimento cheese can be served as a spread on crackers or celery, scooped onto corn chips or tortilla chips, mixed in with mashed yolks for deviled eggs,[4] added to grits, or slathered over hamburgers or hotdogs.[5]

A pimento cheese sandwich can be a quick and inexpensive lunch, or it can be served as a cocktail finger food (with crusts trimmed, garnished with watercress, and cut into triangles) or rolled up and cut into pinwheels. It is also a common snack in the Philippines, where it is referred to as "cheese pimiento".[6][7]

Pimento cheese has been referred to as the "pâté of the South", "Carolina caviar" and "the caviar of the South."[8][9] Pimento cheese sandwiches are a popular item at the Masters Tournament.[10][11] Minor controversy ensued in 2013 when the Augusta National Golf Club switched food suppliers for the Masters and the new supplier was unable to duplicate the recipe used by the previous supplier, resulting in a sandwich with a markedly different taste.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "Caviar of the South (pimento cheese)". 2015-02-04.
  2. ^ a b Bryan, Wright (17 January 2007). "Pimento Cheese: It's A Southern Thing". NPR. NPR, Wright Bryan, January 17, 2007.
  3. ^ "Pimento Cheese Dip That Southerners Love (Kids Too!)". Southern Eats & Goodies. 2020-02-03. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  4. ^ "Pimiento Cheese: One of Life's Simple Pleasures". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  5. ^ Bryan, Wright (17 January 2007). "Pimento Cheese: It's A Southern Thing". NPR. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Homemade Cheese Pimiento - Recipe - Yummy.ph". Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Cheese Pimiento Sandwich Spread". 22 February 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Caviar of the South (pimento cheese)". 2015-02-04.
  9. ^ "Serve Carolina Caviar (Pimento Cheese) For the Game". HuffPost. 2010-01-20.
  10. ^ "Perfecting pimento: gourmet gives us our own recipe". Golf Digest. 2003.
  11. ^ "Augusta Georgia: Features:Pimiento cheese is soul food of the South 04/14/02". Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  12. ^ Thompson, Wright (April 11, 2013). "A sandwich stumper at the Masters". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 13, 2013.