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The South’s Cheese of Choice

Y’all may know it as the “pâté of the south”, “Carolina caviar”, or even simply “the caviar of the South.” Whatever you may call it, Pimento Cheese is a staple of southern eating.

There’s almost no wrong way to enjoy the south’s favorite dairy product. You can use it as a spread on breads, crackers, and vegetables. You can mix it into some of your favorite dishes. You can even heap it on at the cookout, covering your burgers and hot dogs.

The origins of the dish are unclear. It may have been a high society dish at some point thanks to the price of importing Spanish pimentos. But thankfully, ingenious southerners quickly found out their own red peppers fared just as well in the southern heat. With that, Pimento Cheese spread across the south and became the staple we love today.

When I was growing up, after a hard morning of working in the garden or canning, we would slap a mixture of 8 ounces grated Velveeta, 1/4 cup Miracle Whip, and 2 ounces of drained pimentos on a slice of bread, fold it over and eat it. Easy and simple. It was the perfect lunch to hold us over until dinner. On stomachs full of nothing but those delicious sandwiches, we could keep working all day.

But since then, I’ve come to be a little more precise with my recipe. These days a more authentic pimento cheese spread rules and serves in a multitude of settings.

Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Michael Gomez at Westlight Studios

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 jar drained pimentos (4 ounces), diced

2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Dash of hot sauce

  • In a medium-size bowl, mix all ingredients as listed above by hand.

  • Simply spread on crackers to enjoy or between two slices of bread for grilled pimento cheese sandwiches. The mixture also makes the most appetizing tea sandwiches.


You can find recipes like this and many others in Servin’ Up Summer available for purchase here. It’s my newest collection of recipes. Servin’ Up Summer includes my favorite summer dishes, cocktails, and desserts. It’s a taste of summer in the South on every page. Available now for only $29.95.

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