KITCHEN SCOOP: Alicia’s Favorite Pimento Cheese Spread


    Pimento Cheese Spread is so common these days I can buy several brands of prepared spread in the grocery cheese case. When I am really desperate, it’s not a bad option. But when I taste homemade, I am transported to a picnic of my childhood in my grandmother’s yard.

    The buzz of cicadas, the cows gently grazing just beyond the fence and the precious shade provided her huge oak trees are all part of the memory. White sandwich bread with a thick slather of freshly made pimento cheese, a sweating Ball jar of sweet iced tea and potato chips delivered in a can is backyard picnic heaven.
    While just a basic recipe, the secret to My Classic Pimento Cheese is allowing the cheese and cream cheese to come to room temperature before mixing with a stand mixer. Having a paddle attachment is very helpful, but not necessary. Unlike the food processor or chopper, the mixer combines without obliterating the ingredients; so in every bite there’s a touch of cream cheese, a lump of cheddar, a discernible pimento to treasure.
    You can make your Pimento Cheese as spicy as you’d like by adding additional black pepper and cayenne. As written, this is mild mixture with only the slightest heat at the finish. Give my version of an old classic a try and let me know what you think. Suggestions, additions, etc. are always welcome in the comments section below. Enjoy!

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    Alicia’s Pimento Cheese Spread

    3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, at room temperature
    8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    ½ cup light or regular mayonnaise
    1/3 cup jarred pimento peppers, drained well and chopped
    ½ teaspoon onion powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
    1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or Tabasco to taste

    Combine all the ingredients using a mixer with paddle attachment if possible. Mix just until blended. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Best if brought back to room temperature before serving. Will keep, sealed and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.