Food & Drink

The Garden & Gun Club’s Signature Pimento Cheese

A punchy take on the Southern classic

Photo: amy sinclair

Every Southern restaurant needs a signature pimento cheese, and the Garden & Gun Club is no exception. Developed in collaboration with chef Mike Lata of Charleston, South Carolina’s FIG and the Ordinary, executive chef Ann Kim’s recipe has every hallmark of the classic dip, along with a few delicious departures. “I prefer the look of white cheddar over orange, so that’s what we use,” she says. “But there are some other ingredients that make it special, like the peppers. Our recipe calls for piquillo peppers, which are like Spanish bell peppers but slightly sweeter. They come pre-roasted in the can, which makes it super easy. I also add pickled red onions for some extra bite.” As for the mayo, Kim sticks to most Southerners’ brand of choice. “Using Duke’s is always important, in my opinion,” she says.

To get even more out of the recipe, Kim suggests whipping up a little extra base mixture. “When we opened, I developed a recipe for what I call ‘base’—cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, hot sauce, garlic, Dijon, and Worcestershire sauce,” she says. “Once you puree all of that, it can be adapted into so many things. At the restaurant, we use it for the fish dip, dressings, and of course, the pimento cheese.” 

Once fully incorporated, your dip may be a little loose, but don’t fret; Kim says a few hours in the fridge will firm it right up. The final product pairs well with just about everything. “We serve our pimento with crudités to detract from the heaviness a bit, as well as homemade buttermilk crackers,” she notes. “But it’s also great on a sandwich, a burger, or even fried green tomatoes.” 


  • Pimento cheese (Yield: 1 ½ quarts)

    • 1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise

    • ½ cup sour cream

    • ½ cup cream cheese

    • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

    • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

    • 1 tsp. hot sauce

    • ½ tsp. garlic, minced

    • 2 lbs. white cheddar cheese, shredded

    • 2 cups piquillo peppers, diced and drained

    • ¼ cup pickled red onions (recipe follows)

    • 1 bunch chives, thinly sliced

    • Pinch black pepper

  • pickled red onions (Yield: ¼ cup)

    • ¼ cup water

    • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

    • ¼ tsp. salt

    • ¼ tsp. sugar

    • ¼ cup red onions, diced


  1. Make the pickled red onions: In a small pot, bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil, then pour in the red onions. Cover with a paper towel to keep the onions submerged, and pickle for at least ten minutes. Drain the onions and let cool. Pickled onions can be made up to one month in advance. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

  2. In a food processor, puree mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and garlic. 

  3. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.