Pimento cheese is sometimes called “the caviar of the South,” because, at every Southern social event, a bowl of it appears on the table. With its creamy texture and the tangy flavor contributed by pimento peppers, it’s commonly eaten as a delicious dip or spread for crackers and sandwiches.
But there are many other ways of enjoying pimento cheese. Here are some suggestions:
Try a spoonful or two as a filling for an omelet or a grilled pimento cheese sandwich. Deviled eggs stuffed with pimento cheese make a change from the usual yolk-and-mustard stuffing.
Grill a low-fat hamburger and top it with a tablespoon of pimento cheese. Stuff a tomato, thick bell pepper slices, or cucumber boats with pimento cheese.
Classic pimento cheese recipes are made with plenty of mayonnaise. We offer healthier, low-fat versions of pimento cheese that you can whip up in a few minutes.
Healthy Pimento Cheese
Yield: 2.5 cups
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unflavored Greek-style yogurt
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce, if desired
- Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garlicky Pimento Cheese
Prep time: 5 minutes
Calories: 149 kcal
2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup unflavored zero-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
4 oz jar chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Jalapeno Pimento Cheese, No Mayonnaise
This is great as a sandwich spread. Fill the sandwich with a big slice of juicy tomato.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
1 cup unflavored Greek yogurt
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (add more for extra spicy heat, or less for milder heat)
2 oz jar diced pimento
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz Monterey jack cheese, grated
Dash of cayenne pepper, if desired
- In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients until combined.
- Chill for ½ hour to meld the flavors.
Pimento Cheese with Scallions
Scallions add a light, oniony touch to this version of pimento cheese.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1.5 cups
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Calories per Serving: 93.1
1 ½ cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 ounce 1 4-ounce jar sliced pimientos, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons minced scallions
Optional: 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- Combine cheese, mayonnaise, pimientos, scallions, and hot sauce (if using) in a medium bowl. Mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Fat-Free Pimento Cheese
This skinny spread tastes surprisingly rich.
Prep time: 7 minutes
Yield: 6 servings of 1/3 cup each
Calories per serving: 115.9
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
4 oz fat-free cheddar, shredded
¼ cup chives, diced
3 oz fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup unflavored, fat-free Greek yogurt
4 oz jar pimentos, drained
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl together. Chill in an airtight container.
Low-Fat Pimento Cheese
Prep time: 10 mins
Chill time: 8 hours
47.3 calories per serving
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
1 cup grated 2% sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated 2% Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons pimento peppers, chopped finely, and more if desired
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pinch paprika
- Combine cheeses, mayonnaise, yogurt, pimentos, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, hot sauce, and paprika in a bowl. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight, before serving.
Baked Pimento Cheese Dip
This is different: the pimento cheese is baked to a warm, sticky dip that’s fabulous with celery sticks or crackers.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
1 (8-oz package) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 (12-oz) jar roasted red peppers
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- Drain and chop the roasted red peppers.
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until well combined. Spread into prepared pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly.
Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Prep time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon pimentos, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped pimentos to garnish
- Remove egg yolks to a bowl. Reserve whites for stuffing.
- Mix yolks thoroughly with the cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, mustard, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon or pipe the yolk mixture into reserved whites. Garnish the eggs with chopped pimento.
Let’s find out more about pimentos
Pimentos are a sweet, almost heat-free pepper. They’re also known as cherry peppers because of their red color and heart shape. They usually measure about 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide, with a short, thick green stem.
The pimentos you buy in jars are preserved in brine. You can also use fresh pimentos in any of the above recipes – raw and finely chopped, or roasted.
Fresh pimentos can be frozen. Wash and dry them, then decide if you want to freeze them whole, sliced, or chopped. They’ll keep 6 months in the freezer. Frozen pimentos are best in cooked foods rather than pimento cheese, so we suggest using their mild flavor to liven up a pot of rice or any pasta dish. Or spread some over fish you intend to bake.