Pimento Cheese

Robert Moss's Go-To Recipe for a Favorite BBQ Treat

By Robert F. Moss

Pimento cheese and crackers—a classic BBQ appetizer (Courtesy Robert F. Moss)
Pimento cheese and crackers—a classic BBQ appetizer (Courtesy Robert F. Moss)

When you’re barbecuing for guests, it’s wise to have a few munchies ready when they arrive and the main event is still finishing out on the pit. For my money, nothing sets the stage better than a little pimento cheese and crackers. Here’s my standard recipe—it’s always a hit.

Pimento Cheese

  • 8 ounces medium yellow cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Duke's mayonnaise, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup pimentos from a jar, drained and diced
  • pinch of salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-3 dashes cayenne

Grate the cheddar using the larger holes on your cheese grater and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add in a little less than half a cup of mayonnaise, reserving some for adjusting later. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir until well mixed. If needed, add a little more mayo to get the right consistency—it should be thick but still loose enough to spread easily.

I like to make my pimento cheese the day before I serve it so it has a good night in the fridge to let everything merge and meld together. You can serve it immediately, though, if you just can’t wait.

You can get all fancy with gourmet, seed-encrusted crackers or little crostini for spreading the cheese on, but pimento cheese is really best when you keep it simple. Plain, mild crackers like saltines or water crackers are my go-to foundation for the spread.


About the Author

Robert F. Moss

Robert F. Moss is the Contributing Barbecue Editor for Southern Living magazine and the author of numerous books on Southern food and drink, including Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Southern Spirits: 400 Years of Drinking in the American South, and Barbecue Lovers: The Carolinas. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.