Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese
Credit: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

When you spell it out--shredded cheese mixed with mayonnaise--it sounds like something you shouldn't want to like. When we talk pimiento cheese, we're basically talking chicken salad...but with cheddar instead of chicken and no celery to make it count as a "salad." And yet, somehow when mayo (p.s. I highly recommend making your own for this application) meets cheese, the partnership begets a rich, sharply cheesy, and so conveniently spreadable magic that rightfully should be stuffed into everything that can accommodate it. What follows are 11 places you could [read: should] start.

Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I can imagine no better way to honor a seasonal treat as lovely as the squash blossom than to fill it with smoky, bacon-studded pimiento cheese. I know I would certainly be honored if someone called me a delicate flower, then offered to stuff me with cheese. Find these squash blossoms at your local farmer's market, grab this recipe, and go for it.

Pimiento Cheese Scones

Are you hosting or attending any sort of brunch situation in the impending future? Maybe you should consider it. Maybe you should definitely make these. Your friends will be into it and admire your hospitable spirit. They will also bow down to your clearly advanced scone game. I bet they didn't even know you had any level of scone game. Now, they do and they won't forget it. You're welcome.

Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs require some mayo action anyway. Might as well take it next level and go pimiento cheese. Again--always take it next level and go pimiento cheese where you can. A sprinkling of toasted pecans adds a touch of crunch and sweet nutty depth. Making Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs your next foray into summer appetizers is well worth a little angst over shelling boiled eggs. Or you can skip the angst altogether with this genius technique for making perfect-peel eggs every time.

Cheese-and-Bacon Risotto

So this Cheese-and-Bacon Risotto recipe clearly doesn't have "pimiento cheese" spelled out in the title (for reasons I cannot understand), but fret not--it's there. If you make it at home, you go forth and announce the pimiento cheese presence loudly and proudly. I support you. Also, despite the obvious titling booboo, pimiento cheese and bacon risotto is brilliant.

Pimiento Cheese Gougères

Things we know:

  1. Gougères are fancy as hell. French things made with pâte àchoux (i.e. this style of cooked dough) are generally fancy as hell.
  2. Despite being fancy as hell, gougères are very simple to make.Which means it's fairly easy to feel fancy as hell.
  3. Most of us like feeling fancy as hell, on occasion
  4. Gougères, aside from the fanciness, are puffy, rich, and delicious.
  5. Adding a pimiento cheese twist to this French pastry simultaneously elevates pimiento cheese to fancy level and brings a playful spirit to the gougères. I like to call that a happy medium.
  6. We should all aim to make Pimiento Cheese Gougères to create a sense of happy medium-style balance in our lives.
Pimiento Cheese-Bacon Burgers

If I have to sell anyone on the idea of putting pimiento cheese on a bacon cheeseburger... I don't understand people at all. And I'm done.

But being that this is a 5-star rated recipe, I don't think that's the case. And I'm so not done. Let's keep moving.

Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese

OK, so I think the obvious lesson we're coming to learn right now is that any place where cheesiness and/or creaminess is appreciated is a place where pimiento cheese belongs. Because pimiento cheese offers both of those things plus a hint of smokiness from the peppers, as well as a touch of heat if you so desire. Mac and cheese is a prime example of this. Pimiento cheese belongs, put it there. Be happy.

Also, we need to pay mind to the fact that sometimes the obvious course of action is the best course of action. A Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwich is a hard thing to resist.

Pimiento Cheese Squares

Pimiento Cheese Squares

DIY Cheez-Its with a southern spin and no stale cardboard box taste. Sounds like a victory to me. Make a big batch of these Pimiento Cheese Squares and keep them in an airtight container to serve all of your easy, cheesy, kid-friendly summer snacking needs.

Pimiento Cheese Rolls

What I'm trying to say is that folding pimiento cheese into baked goods is the right thing to do. And in this recipe, a lot of the "baked goods" work is done for you as we're utilizing canned biscuits (everything has a place in this world).

Pimiento Cheese Cookies

Yes, these are cookies-- savory Pimiento Cheese Cookies filled with sweet strawberry preserves. Yes, baking gooey fruit filling into a cheddar cheese cookie package is an excellent idea. Yes, I am jealous I didn't think of this first. Yes, I firmly believe you will be incredibly pleased with yourself should you choose to make them.

By Darcy Lenz and Darcy Lenz