If you’re a Southerner- You know Pimento Cheese, it is a tailgating and happy hour staple. But have you ever thought about elevating Pimento Cheese, aka, “The Caviar of the South” with smoke flavor from the grill? In this recipe, I grill red mini peppers to add some smokiness to Pimento Cheese, amping up the flavor of this iconic Southern staple. If you want to add a bit of spice, grill a jalapeno and add that too! 

What is Pimento Cheese?

Growing up in the South, I always took Pimento Cheese for granted, just like you take things like Bojangles Sweet Tea or Biscuits for granted. You just assume everyone knows about it. But, believe it or not, Pimento Cheese, also known as “Southern Caviar” or “The Caviar of the South”, is decidedly Southern. 

Pimento Cheese is a cheese spread consisting of grated cheese, mayo, cream cheese, and pimento peppers. Everyone has their own version, and the version that is often searched for is the Pimento Cheese from the Masters Tournament in August Georgia, as well as the best Store bought Pimento Cheese, Palmetto Cheese. 

What is the History of Pimento Cheese?

While Pimento Cheese is as intrinsic to the South as Sweet Tea, but believe it or not (gasp!) it appears that it originated in the Northeast originally when cream cheese and pimiento (notice the original spelling) were imported and became available to the public. Pimento Peppers, also known as Pimiento peppers, are the small heart shaped sweet peppers that we get sweet Paprika from, and the same ones you often find stuffed in olives. 

The story on Pimento cheese is that once these two ingredients became available, they were considered a delicacy (because they were expensive) and were used to make the sandwich spread on tea sandwiches in high society circles.

Fast forward into the mid 20th century and Pimento Cheese became a working class staple of the South, a sandwich spread for the masses. 

Now we’ve come to the time when the rest of the world has discover that we Southerners know a thing or two about cooking and Southern Food like Fried Chicken and Biscuits, Shrimp and Grits and Pimento Cheese is now trendy and found in Southern style restaurants across the US. So, on behalf of all the Southerners out there let me say- You’re Welcome!!

authentic Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe


Is Pimento Cheese Keto?

If you make my Pimento Cheese recipe, it has minimal carbs. If you buy store bought Pimento Cheese, beware of added sweeteners or other weird stuff. 

Is Pimento Cheese Gluten Free?

If you make this recipe yes it is Gluten free, if it is store bought, check the label and ingredients!!

How to Eat Pimento Cheese?

Pimento Cheese is great paired with crackers, (I like Ritz Crackers), but it is also quite often used as a Sandwich Spread. If you’re keeping it low carb and eating Keto, pair it with celery and this is a keto friendly snack. I also like to add Pimento Cheese to my burgers, like in my Pimento Cheese bacon burger. You can also see Pimento cheese added to mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, and even deviled eggs. Get creative with this sandwich spread!

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Grilled Red Pepper Pimento Cheese

Grilled Red Pepper Pimento Cheese

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  • Author: Robyn
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x


The Classically Southern Pimento Cheese Spread gets a smoky flavor upgrade with the addition of grilled red peppers in this highly addictive spread that pairs with crackers, burgers and even deviled eggs.


  • 2 cups cheddar, grated
  • 4 smoked mini red bell peppers OR one average sized grilled red pepper- equivalent to roughly one cup chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayo – *true Southerner’s use “Dukes”, but if you are Paleo or care about your health I recommend making your own and getting rid of any seed oils in your diet! When I can’t make my own I buy avocado oil mayo
  • 2 tbsp cream or neufchatel or cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill pickle juice (optional but so worth it!)
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash hot sauce (Crystal is a what Southerners often use)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste


Prepare a grill for medium direct heat and grill the peppers until they have developed char marks on all sides. Remove from the grill and let cool.


While the peppers cool, combine the remaining ingredients. Chop up the peppers finely and add to the pimento cheese mixture. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving so the flavors have time to come together.


Serve with Ritz crackers and celery at your next tailgate or add as a topping to cheeseburgers. It’s delicious, such as in my Pimento Cheese and Bacon Cheeseburgers.


  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Appetizers, Sandwich Spread, Dip,
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American, Southern