Pimento cheese

Pimento cheese

Pimento cheese is a common food in the Southern United States. It is also a common snack in the Philippines, where it is referred to as "Cheese-Pimiento". It is typically served either as a spread for crackers or celery, or as a sandwich. As with many southern foods, its appeal crosses class boundaries. A pimento cheese sandwich may be a quick and cheap lunch for children, or it may be served as an elegant cocktail finger food (with crusts trimmed, a bit of watercress, and cut into triangles). Pimento cheese sandwiches are a signature item at The Masters Tournament.


Pimento cheese is one of those dishes that generates a great deal of debate and discussion on technique and variations. Recipes are often handed down across generations. The core ingredients are grated cheddar cheese (sometimes referred to as 'rat cheese'), chopped pimento, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and black pepper. Horseradish, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce are three common options. The ingredients are mashed together with a fork and allowed to sit for a while in order for the flavors to mingle and develop.

There is common agreement that the pimento cheese should not be a puree. But there are differences as to how much mixing and mashing should go on. Some favor a gentle tossing while other seem to advocate a more thorough combination.

In some recipes, only yellow cheddar cheese is used. Other recipes call for a mixture of white and yellow cheeses. In some cases cream cheese is called for as well. A key point of debate is on the mayonnaise. Some authors strongly advocate home-made mayonnaise. Others argue that only Hellmann's should be used. And still others argue for regional favorites Miracle Whip or Duke's.

Pimento cheese is often made with Jalapeño pepper. It is called Jalapeño Pimento Cheese or Pepper Cheese.


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