Three Variations on Classic Pimento Cheese

Makes 1 pint

Riffing on the pâté of the South

photo: Peter Frank Edwards


  • Spicy Pickle Pimento Cheese

    • 1 tablespoon pickle juice

    • 1 batch "Classic" Pimento Cheese

    • 1/3 cup drained spicy pickle chips

  • Country Ham Pimento Cheese

    • 1/2 cup finely diced country ham (about half of a trimmed steak)

    • 1 batch "Classic" Pimento Cheese

  • Charred Onion & Pecan Pimento Cheese

    • 1 (1-inch-thick) Vidalia onion slice, skin removed

    • 1/3 cup pecan halves

    • 1 batch “Classic” Pimento Cheese


  1. Start with our Classic Pimento Cheese as a base.

  2. Spicy Pickle Pimento Cheese

  3. Diced pickles—spicy dill chips, not sweet bread-and-butters—along with a teaspoon of juice brings some brininess to the party.

  4. Whisk the pickle juice into the pimento cheese base when you add the mayo. Fold in the pickle chips as you add the cheddar cheese.


  5. Country Ham Pimento Cheese

  6. Ham always goes with cheese. Here, extra-salty, smoky country ham goes in the cheese. Save the neat slices of ham for breakfast and use scraps or end pieces here.  If you’re using a single plastic-wrapped slice from the grocery store, it will likely be more moist than traditional country ham. Let it air-dry in the refrigerator unwrapped overnight. It will be easier to chop, and the drier texture will hold up better in the creamy pimento cheese. 

  7. Fold the ham into the pimento cheese base as you add the cheddar cheese.

  8. Charred Onion & Pecan Pimento Cheese

  9. Think of this as kin to a nut-rolled holiday cheese ball; char brings out the sweetness of the onions, and toasting deepens the crunch of the pecans.

  10. Place a cast-iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Add the onion slice and cook for 5 minutes, until charred on the underside, then flip and cook for 5 minutes more, until charred on the other side and tender all over. Transfer to a plate to cool, then finely chop and transfer to a bowl.

  11. Reduce heat to medium, add the pecans, and toast them for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally. Transfer to a plate to cool, then finely chop the pecans and add them to the bowl with the chopped onions. Fold the mixture into the pimento cheese base as you add the cheddar cheese.

Recipes from Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Handbook.


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