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Pimento Cheese

This heavenly concoction pairs well with celery sticks or bread.

January 17, 2017

One of our favorite series on KCTS 9 is A Chef’s Life, and Chef Vivian Howard’s discovery of the riches and recipes of eastern North Carolina. When she made Pimento Cheese in one episode, we had an attack of nostalgia and dug in the recipe box for our family’s version of this Southern classic. Dangerously addictive when spread on white sandwich bread (with the crusts cut off), you can feel virtuous by stuffing this heavenly concoction into celery sticks!

Makes about 1-and-1/2 cups.


  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons minced pimentos (sweet pickled red or cherry peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon grated red onion
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Using a mixer or food processor, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. (We prefer the mixer because it leaves the spread a bit chunky.)

Add remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. Add mayonnaise as needed to smooth out the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. You’ll want to taste the pepper.

Best made a day ahead so the flavors blend, this keeps well in the refrigerator for up to three days.


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should work halved, but likely neds hand beating