Zingerman’s Pimento Cheese Recipe

While everyone in the South knows this stuff at a level of intimacy my family would have reserved for chopped liver, it’s still relatively unheard of up here in the North. Although pimento cheese doesn’t have bacon in it, I’m giving you the recipe because it’s so good with bacon on it—the two pair up nearly perfectly.

Small slices of toast, spread with pimento cheese and topped with a bit of crisp bacon and a leaf or two of celery make a superb appetizer. Pimento cheese sandwiches with bacon and tomato are terrific, too. I like them grilled, but they’re actually very good toasted, as well. As for the bacon, I’d go for Broadbent’s, Edwards’ or Burger’s: nice and meaty and smoky, but not so much so that they overpower the cheese.

We make a pimento cheese macaroni and cheese at the Roadhouse that’s at its best topped with chopped bits of crisp bacon. This is also outstanding on a burger—not really melted, just softened up a bit from the heat of the meat. If that’s where you’re headed, I’d go for a couple of slices of Arkansas peppered bacon, along with a little bit of chopped celery leaf to lighten the whole thing up ju

st a touch.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound sharp cheddar, coarsely grated (we use the two-year-old raw milk cheddar from Grafton Village)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s up here: out West the same mayo is sold under the brand name Best Foods )
  • 2 ounces by weight roasted red peppers, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3/4 teaspoon juice from the roasted peppers (if you’re using jarred roasted peppers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Pinch coarse sea salt

Procedure:

Fold all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Eat.

Repeat as regularly as you like. It’s addictive: as more than one person around here has said more than once, “It’s kind of good on pretty much everything, isn’t it?”

Serves… well, it’s kind of hard to say. A real addict could probably consume this entire recipe in a single setting. Being more conservative, let’s say it’s enough to serve eight as an appetizer. You’ll probably have to test it on your family and friends to see how much they can eat!

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18 Responses to “Zingerman’s Pimento Cheese Recipe”

  1. SH McCannell says:

    This recipe is super. And what is even better is that Zingerman’s serves it! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • cdarragh says:

      I’m so glad that you’re enjoying it! I love it too. It really is one of my favorites, and it’s so easy to make.

  2. ginger parkey says:

    Another Southern nick-name for the creamy, cheesy, concoction around our house was “pinner minner cheese”. We always packed up pimento cheese sandwiches to take fishing at our favorite spot. I think the nickname came from using minnows to fish with (to the non-southerner: minnows are tiny fish used as bait), then eating the pimento cheese sandwiches for lunch. Hence “pinner minner cheese”. I know to some this classic memory may sound disgusting, but as a child spending an entire summer day outside – there IS nothing better! Now when I take my 3 year old son, Ryland, fishing and we share a pimento cheese sandwich, I am instantly transported back in time… It is pure bliss!

  3. Susan Platt says:

    I recently paid a visit to Zinggerman’s Roadhouse and experienced the pimento cheese with bacon mac & cheese. I been to “6 goat ropin’s, 8 pie contests and a dozen county fairs” and I ain’t NEVER had anything as tasty as this!!! Now, can you guys send me some in California!

  4. Tommy Charles says:

    Try 2 or 3 tablespoons of Zingerman’s pimento cheese in a bowl of hot grits for a super Southern treat. It’s lip-smackin’ good.

  5. Jim Yarbrough says:

    Pimento cheese is wonderful on tortilla chips, potato chips, and English muffins, too. Boy, am I ever getting hungry or what?

  6. John R. says:

    Ever tried Zingerman’s pimento cheese on a thick slice of lightly toasted pound cake? Or put the whole thing under the broiler to let the cheese melt? Would you call it an appetizer or a dessert?

    • cdarragh says:

      This sounds great, thanks for sharing. I think I’d enjoy it as both an appetizer and dessert – that’s how much I love pimento cheese!

  7. John R. says:

    Wow, I posted a comment here about Zingerman’s pimento cheese last week, and now it’s gone.

  8. I found the Zingerman’s Pimento Cheese at the East Lansing Food Co-op this weekend and it is fabulous. Thanks for posting the recipe. It is the best pimento cheese I have ever tasted! It is amazing what this can be like with premium ingredients!

  9. Evan says:

    wow, im glad this recipe is here as I’m making a version of your pimento mac and cheese for the vegetarians on thanksgiving. This recipe looks great

  10. bob and roz's fiesta fan says:

    ARI Weinzweig!! THANK YOU! THE THING I MISS MOST FROM ANN ARBOR (besides the parmesean peppercorn) and you LEFT US THE RECIPE! I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE A GOD.
    GO BLUE!

  11. [...] mini-burgers made from Niman Ranch beef. The assortment is topped with different cheeses, one being Zingerman’s lip-smacking, signature Pimento Cheese spread. The Roadhouse is happy to top all of the sliders with pimento cheese, if that’s what [...]

  12. Rhonda says:

    RE: the first ingredient…is it 1/2 pound of cheddar or should it be more?

    Thanks!
    Rhonda

  13. Joanie Hales says:

    Hi Rhonda, it is a 1/2 pound of cheddar, I am sorry it was confusing, I’ll fix that right away!

  14. LINDA OBREGON says:

    MY FORMER MOTHER-IN-LAW MADE, HANDS DOWN,THE BEST PIMENTO CHEESE (OR SPREAD, IF YOU WILL)EVER!SHE MIXED SHARP CHEDDAR, JAR PIMENTOS, SMALL AMOUNT OF MUSTARD,TABASCO OR CAYANNE, GRATED ONION, MAYO & WORCESTERSHIRE. WHIP IT IN A MIXER (JUST LIKE A CAKE)UNTIL IT IS LIGHT AND FLUFFY.IF REFRIGERATING, LET COME TO ROOM TEMP BEFORE IT IS SPREADABLE AGAIN

  15. [...] personal email from Ari Weinzweig (at least I choose to believe it was personally from him) with a link to the recipe.  I have yet to make it myself because I can always pick it up locally at the East Lansing Food [...]

  16. Jeannie and Tim Thoits says:

    Hi!

    We remember the cheese spread with bread sticks we must have had HUNDREDS of nights at Real Seafod after our shifts at Maude’s…what was in it?

    Our best to you, Ari.

    Jeannie and Tim Thoits