I may be the south’s foremost expert on pimento cheese. (Or is it pimiento cheese?)

Homemade Pimento Cheese on White Bread
Back in my newspapering days, I was assigned to write not one, not two, but three articles about this southern delicacy, for three different publications.

For a while, I joked that pimento cheese was my “beat.” There was a period of time when I regularly got calls at work asking if I was “that Kernersville cheese place” after I wrote about Musten & Crutchfield, a local manufacturer of pimento cheese. (Seems people confused my contact info at the end of the newspaper article with the manufacturer’s.)

Tribute to Stan's Pimento Cheese

Did you know that the pimento cheese is one of the most popular sandwich offerings at the Masters Tournament? (I did, because I wrote about it back in 1998. Alas, I didn’t get to go to the Masters this year, so I don’t know if the sandwiches are still $1.)

We southerners are passionate about our sandwich spread. We can wax poetic about cheese. pimentos and mayo sandwiched between two slices of white bread.

And no wonder. Pimento cheese is good.

Maybe not good for you. But delicious.

This week, I’m resurrecting my notes from all those long-ago articles about pimento cheese and sharing two pimento cheese recipes. One is my homemade version of southern-style pimento cheese, strongly influenced by my favorite store brand, Stan’s Pimento Cheese.

Homemade Southern Style Pimento Cheese Recipe Labeled

I had the chance to visit Stan’s manufacturing plant in Burlington for a magazine story on the company a few years back. They didn’t share their recipe with me, but I did pick up some pointers that I’ve used in formulating my own southern style pimento cheese recipe.

I also learned that my 6th grade boyfriend’s family owns Stan’s Pimento Cheese. If only things had worked out differently, if only our relationship had survived longer than two weeks, I might be pimento cheese royalty now. I think I would look stunning in a pimento-studded crown.

Enough with my silliness, let’s talk ingredients.

Shredded American Cheese & Duke's Mayonnaise The Secret to Great Homemade Pimento Cheese

You only need three ingredients for true southern pimento cheese — shredded cheese, pimento peppers and mayonnaise.

(You can tell Paula Deen I said real women don’t use cream cheese in their pimento cheese!)

Everything else is just seasoning.

When I’m making southern style pimento cheese, I use shredded American cheese. It’s what the experts (Stan’s, Musten & Crutchfield and generations of country home cooks) use. And your mayonnaise has to be Duke’s. I’m pretty sure it says so in the Bible and the Constitution. You can look it up if you don’t believe me.

Homemade Pimento Cheese ingredients

Mix in a little Texas Pete (also made in North Carolina), some salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika and you’re going to have a mighty tasty sandwich spread. It also makes a great dip, burger topping or toasted sandwich and it’s perfect atop a ripe homegrown tomato.

Homemade Southern Style Pimento Cheese

You can whip up a batch of homemade pimento cheese in no time. I recommend it on (homemade) white bread.

Pimento spread between two pieces of soft, white bread. Does a sandwich get any better than this? This simple southern pimento cheese recipe is a family favorite.

Check out my recipe below for Homemade Southern Style Pimento Cheese.

Homemade Southern Style Pimento Cheese Recipe
  • 2 cups shredded American cheese
  • ½ cups Duke's Mayonnaise (you can add more for a creamier texture)
  • 2 Tablespoons diced pimento peppers
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon onion onion powder
  • dash of Texas Pete hot sauce (or more, to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, combine shredded American cheese and mayonnaise until well blended and creamy.
  2. Add spices and mix well.
  3. Mix in Texas Pete hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve on white bread or saltine crackers.

If you think that sounds tasty, be sure to check out my recipe for a fancified version that uses three gourmet cheeses, homemade roasted peppers and some unexpected ingredients.

Who says all pimento cheese is the same. These recipes are both delicious, but one is a traditional southern style sandwich spread made with cheese, pimientos and mayo. The other is a gourmet spicy-sweet spread made with three cheeses, homemade roasted peppers, honey and jalapenos. Give both a try and try to pick a favorite.


  1. Palmetto cheese from Pawley’s Island is pretty much the bomb diggity!

  2. I am hooked on those fried pimento cheese balls at Relish in Raleigh!….Thanks for the recipe Amy…

  3. Looks great, Amy! Might have to actually make it soon! Fried pimento cheese is da bomb!
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  4. Barbara F.

    First time I tasted pimento cheese was at the Southern Bloggers’ conference in Raleigh in October! Loved it. Will be making this recipe for sure. And I agree about not using cream cheese.

  5. I so enjoyed this! I wouldn’t touch anything but Duke’s — my poor inlaws who live in Texas can’t get it there. They stock up when they are here.

    I am not familiar with some of the brands, but we like the Palmetto brand with Jalepenos which tastes like the way I make it. I do grate a bit of fresh onion instead of onion powder, but I am sure your version is equally good.
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  6. I love Pimento and Cheese! My grandmother made the best, and i remember remember eating it all the time when I was a little girl. Us southerners know what good food is! I’m from South Georgia.
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  7. What brand of American Cheese did you use?

    • Atta Girl Amy

      Pam, if memory serves, I bought a block of American cheese from my grocery store’s deli. So, it was likely Boar’s Head or Land O Lakes. I think those are the brands my local stores carry. Or it could have been the store’s private label. I probably bought what was on sale! Normally, I prefer white American cheese, but for my pimento cheese, I did buy the yellow American cheese.

  8. OMG!!! I am sooo excited to find this. I was getting ready to try to make my own and figured that I would do a Google search first – why reinvent the wheel and all. I grew up in Kernersville!! My sister is friends is the current Crutchfield family. Of course, growing up in Kville, M&C Pimento Cheese is the ONLY way to go. I moved to FL 9 yrs ago and when I go back home (all of my family still lives there) I am content to eat BBQ (Lexington style is the only way to go as well!!) and Pimento cheese sandwiches. Since it is summer, my parent’s garden is bursting with tomatoes so of course I have to add a big slice to the sandwich. And you are right – on their ingredient list, it’s only American cheese, Mayo, Pimentos and seasonings. Can’t wait to try this, you just might be a lifesaver.

  9. Kathleen

    I LOVED what you said about Duke’s mayonnaise and the Bible and Constitution! I laughed out loud. I have been using it since I discovered it while a student at Clemson (it’s made nearby) and will not use any other kind!

  10. Pimento cheese sandwiches are now $1.50 at the Masters.

    • Atta Girl Amy

      Darn inflation! But still a great deal compared to other professional sporting events. That’s one of the things I liked about the Masters; you didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for food. Sounds like you must have been at the tournament last week. Hope you enjoyed it.

  11. How do you shred American cheese? It is usually soft. I always buy Land of lakes

    • Atta Girl Amy

      I usually buy a block in the deli. I always make sure it’s really cold from thr dridge when shredding. I run mine through the food processor. Ir will clump some, but that’s OK. Hope this helps. (And sorry for taking so long to reply.)

  12. Probably a dumb question, BUT the only American cheese I have ever seen is in slices. Does it also come in a block? (I obviously live in the north)

  13. Thank you posting this. I can’t wait to try. They stopped carrying Stan’s here in SC. My dad was from the Burlington area and understand the original owners sold a few years ago. If they have stopped making it, maybe you can find them and ask for the recipe. I sure miss it, as well as Huey’s barbecue sandwiches and hush puppies. In fact, I would occasionally add it to my barbecue sandwich.

    • Atta Girl Amy

      Hope this recipe lives up to your memories of Stan’s. It’s my best guess at their secret formula! As far as I know, Stan’s is still in operation in Burlington. Just found this story from earlier in the year: http://www.ncfolk.org/stans-pimento-cheese/ (It references a partnership between Stan’s and Biscuitvill.) A bacon pimento cheese biscuit! I might have to try that.

      And I love Huey’s barbecue and hush puppies. I grew up in Alamance County, and my parents still live there. I have had debates with my husband about who makes the better hushpuppies — Huey’s and other Eastern-style restaurants or Bridges Barbecue in Shelby, where he’s from. I’m right, of course. Their hushpuppies do not hold a candle to Huey’s.

      My brother lives in Arkansas, and when my parents go to visit him, they take him some frozen NC barbecue because he can’t get anything like it there.


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