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Apr 10, 2009 03:14 PM

Augusta National Pimento Cheese

Hi there,

Does anyone have THE recipe? Or one that they consider to be very close?

We're hosting a Masters party on Easter Sunday and would LOVE to boast the recipe or a near imitation.

Thank you!

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  1. I have no idea what their pimento cheese recipe is, but I did find this recipe online, which claims to be an approximation.

    I'm actually making some for canapes for Easter lunch - I use sharp white Vermont cheddar, good quality jarred red peppers, Duke's mayonnaise (my Southern friends tell me that only Duke's will do), white pepper, tabasco and some chopped scallions.

    Some other threads:

    I am not a fan of cream cheese in Pimento Cheese.

    32 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Sorry, MMR, but the original has cream cheese. A Maannly Man eats pimento cheese sandwiches only when the chilled lobster medallions and beef tenderloin sandwiches have been exhausted. It is an emasculating moment to pick up a quarter of a dainty sandwich, cut into triangles, raise the little pinkie during the first bite, and feign a pathetic british Peter Allis accent as we alpha males proclaim how delicious they are.
      To my knowledge, there are no photos of me in such a compromising position. (Or I would buy them back for a premium price.)

      1. re: Veggo

        Yes, I've heard that, but several of my very Southern friends' recipes do not contain cream cheese.

        My husband loves pimento cheese, as it turns out it was always served at children's birthday parties in the Dominican Republic. Sometimes after a big lunch out on the weekend, we'll have have pimento cheese sandwiches and some wine for dinner.

        I can't believe that my Charleston Receipts book doesn't have a recipe for this. Here's one of the three recipe in Julia Reed's book, which I don't have yet:

        I'll have to try some Worchestershire next time.

        1. re: MMRuth

          As a life long Southern who has lived in three Southern states and travelled all of them....I have never had cream cheese in my pimento cheese. But I know some people do it that way....just no one I know. You can use Duke's or Hellman's....but not Miracle whip...yuck!And if you must use onion it has to be grated and sweet.
          And pimento cheese was eaten way before the Masters in the South....

          1. re: LaLa

            Very true. The Country Club in Brookline served it up in !882, Newport C.C. and Essex County Club in 1893, Myopia Hunt Club in 1894, and Kittansett C.C. in 1922. The first pimento at the Masters was in 1934.

            1. re: LaLa

              Lala, yes. Cream cheese? Not in eastern North Carolina, that's for sure. And no onions, either.

            2. re: MMRuth

              It is in the Party one...Charleston Party Receipts.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Wooster is great in Pimento Cheese! And Julia Reed's book is a delight. I love it.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  correctamundo. Southern pimento cheese does not have cream cheese in it. While I can't wax as poetic as others have, I'll offer this suggestion: I have seen spreads presented to go w/ bread or crackers as a butter or tapenade. These spreads have had cheddar, cream cheese, pimentos (or sundried tomatoes) and cayenne. They aren't bad. They aren't Pimento Cheese, but they aren't bad. Perhaps that's where the confusion started.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Augusta won't give out the recipe but will only say that it is made locally. The last time I went to the Masters it was still only $1 per sandwich (around 2000). Here's the recipe from Second Round: Tea-Time at the Masters, Junior League of Augusta


                    Although purists would use only sharp Cheddar cheese, Hellmann's or Duke's mayonnaise, pimentos and possibly finely chopped onion, the ladies of the Junior League of Augusta have a wonderful, spicy version.

                    1 1/2 pounds grated sharp Cheddar cheese
                    1/2 cup horseradish sauce
                    1/2 cup mayonnaise
                    1 tablespoon mustard
                    1 7-ounce jar chopped pimentos, drained

                    Combine all ingredients, except the pimentos, in a bowl. Once spreadable, add in the pimentos and combine. Store covered in the refrigerator. Yields four cups.

                    I make this version for our annual Masters party but make my Grammy's version for Showers, Holidays and family gatherings. She used Worcheshire Sauce in pretty much everything including Pimento Cheese.

                    1. re: oldbaycupcake

                      Mustard. French's Classic Yellow?
                      Now. About this "horseradish sauce."
                      Is that something that they sell in stores in Augusta that all the JL Ladies know about and the rest of us don't?
                      What is it?

                      Heck, I'm game for trying this if you give us a translation, please.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        My translation has always been to use French's Classic Yellow and a commercial horseradish sauce,like Tulkoff, Boars Head or Heluvagood. I'm in the Mid-Atlantic and its commonly found at grocery stores, I think Heinz even makes a version.

                  2. re: Veggo

                    Sorry, Veggo, maybe there were pimento cheese sandwiches somewhere or other made with cream cheese but not in the South. (We ARE talking about Augusta here, remember?)
                    Cream cheese wasn't commonly available there until the past few decades but pimento cheese was a classic on lunch tables and at teas, weddings, and pretty much everywhere for as long as anybody can remember. Probably got folks through the Depression made with good old gov'mint cheese.
                    Except for your Mama's or Grandmother's, the highest and best example is the Pimento Cheese Sandwich served at the concession stands at Augusta National during the Masters on Easter Weekend, wrapped in that white deli paper.
                    Good, close-grained white bread. Grated yellow cheddar. Good mayonnaise. A shot of Tabasco. Simplicity.
                    When made at home, some people might - repeat, might - add a tad of finely grated onion, or use cayenne pepper instead of Tabasco, but that's it.
                    Never, ever is Pimento Cheese made in a food processor. The cheese is always grated by hand and mixed with a light touch, and just enough mayonnaise to bind the cheese.
                    Recipe? Not really. Southerners just know how to make it. And good Southern men have no problems enjoying it.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      Let us gently rally the troops around the standard, united in stalwart guard of the Traditional Pimento Cheese.

                      Let us restore the humble dignity of hand grating the ripened hoop cheese, of dicing the piquant canned red pimento peppers, of slowly folding in the mayo to unite the Two.. suspending, but not homogenizing.

                      Real Pimento Cheese will stroke the palate and connote the sounds of the creaking chain of the front porch swing as it pendulums its way through a lovely and lazy summer afternoon.

                      Real Pimento Cheese will conjure the picture and the soothing memories of our individual kitchen-ruling matriarchs who made sure that those under her care were well and simply fed.

                      Let there always be those among us who have a generational connection to the beauty of the simplicity of Real 'Menter Cheese.

                      Let there always be the courage to make it like Grandma did, without the "improvements" of the cream cheese or the food processor.

                      Let there always be the sweet and soft hum of the cheese upon the hand grater, the sweet memory of the matriarch, and the sound of the front porch swing.

                      1. re: FoodFuser

                        food fuser, just now, i can feel the warm breeze here in my rocking chair on the porch.

                        now WHERE is that flyswatter? ;-).

                        mom likes duke's mayo, which adds no sugar (unlike hellman's, which is what i use). miracle whip has sugar and mustard.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          now i'm a duke's gal… and have been for a while.

                        2. re: FoodFuser

                          Ah Foodfuser, what a lovely paean to Real Pimento Cheese! I believe I can see the delicate magnolia blossoms swaying in the wind. I am moved beyond belief, and miss my beloved "pimenno cheeeese" dreadfully.

                          I'm not even a Southerner, and even I say "please no cream cheese in my pimento cheese".

                          1. re: FoodFuser

                            Thank you, FoodFuser. What a lovely homage to 'menter cheese like it ought to be. And thanks, MakingSense, for teeing it up. FWIW, we almost always have a container of homemade pimento cheese in the fridge. For when you don't know what you want for dinner, or when you need a little pick-me-up. It's one of those foods that we just never tire of.

                            1. re: FoodFuser

                              Each of us has several culinary sentiments that run deep, and Real pimento cheese is the Mariana Trench of my early memories.

                              Most imbedded: As a four year old I helped Grandma cut the kernels for canning corn, in the wood floored kitchen of a Mississippi Delta shotgun farmhouse. She was really old, and she was really cool. That same day we made pimento cheese, and I remember her saying: "I taught your Mama how to make this, and she can teach you."

                              Real Menter Cheese springs not from the Cream Cheese of closely monitored industrial steel kettles, nor from the 70's concoction of California Monterey Jack. Real Menter goes back to those kitchens with wood floors that were scrubbed down with coarse salt; to those spartan menus of the Depression Generation just getting by; to those days when just having a screen door was an item of importance.

                              See this for more, an earlier missive:

                            2. re: MakingSense

                              I grew up in Atlanta and actually ate a pimento cheese sandwich while attending the Masters in 1993. Haven't had one sense but you've gotten me in the mood definitely. Thanks, MS.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                We have been fortunate enough to have been invited to the Masters a couple of times. Nothing really like it.

                                I know that the PCheese at Augusta is no different from what you and I make at home. Simple ingredients, wrapped in that plain paper.
                                Yet it seems so delicious and elegant out there on the course with those perfect azaleas and the sunshine watching them come in on the 18th.

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  It's the only golf tournament I've ever been to so I'm too spoiled to go to any other one. It is wonderful the way all the concessions are tucked away under trees and such. And so reasonably priced --- at least when we were there. And you're right; the setting certainly made it taste (more) special. Nice :)

                              2. re: MakingSense

                                Vidalia, GA native here and homemade pimiento cheese was always a mild grated cheddar, mayonnaise (Kraft in my family), and pimientos slathered between 2 slices of store bought white bread. I have never had it made with cream cheese and it was always mixed by hand. My father, uncles, and cousins never had a problem eating it. I love it served as you would a grilled cheese sandwich!

                                1. re: alliedawn_98

                                  Tho' I live on the Left Coast now I'm eagerly awaiting Vidalia onions. I was so pleasantly surprised when we started getting them out here every spring. We used to have 10# bags as our carryon bags if we visited Atlanta in the spring.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    The first summer after I moved to Indiana, my parents brought me a 50 lb bag. Boy, did we eat a lot of onions! lol Now they are available all over here for several months a year which is a good thing since my dad is not able to travel this far. They are great onions, especially when the weather is right. I don't know how good they will be this year. That area has had some flooding and lots of rain. That usually means the onions will not keep very well. We shall see! Unusually hot temperatures sometimes make for a stronger tasting onion so maybe they will be sweet!

                                    1. re: alliedawn_98

                                      Other than just eating plain (which is heaven), I lie to slice them in half cross-wise, brush on olive oil and balsamic vinegar, place cut side down on aluminum foil and fold close the packet. Cook on the grill or in the oven. Ooh, I can't wait. Hopefully they WILL be sweet!

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Ooooo, I haven't tried that! I know what I'll be grilling this summer! I have doused them with worcestershire and sometimes a bit of brown sugar or butter and brown sugar and then wrapped in foil and grilled.

                                        1. re: alliedawn_98

                                          Yum Vidalias!! In our southern home our fav way to eat them is a large bowl of black-eyed peas, cooked with fatback and onions, cornsticks, made from stone-ground corn meal, buttermilk, baking soda, a bit of salt and some bacon grease, cooked in cast iron cornstick pans made blazing hot in the oven before being filled (and adding MORE bacon fat to the pans), then crumbled up in the black-eyed peas, topped with chopped raw vidalias. Yum! Not exactly health-food, but we had this at least once a week, usually on Sundays. Now, I have it maybe twice a year. It is SO GOOD!!! I would love a bowl right now. I WILL have it on New Year's. (My cousin mails me the corn meal from GA each Christmas, along with a large bag of fresh pecans in the shells.) BTW, as if the black-eyed pea concoction wasn't bad enough, we usually served this along with fried chicken, corn souffle, (probably not what MOST people call souffle, but SO GOOD!), maybe mashed potatoes and gravy or potato salad, usually Ambrosia salad, plus green salad, fresh tomatoes in season, sliced and all sorts of home made pickles and relishes. Oh, those were the days!!!

                                          1. re: FibroLady

                                            Everything you mentioned sounds delicious! I haven't had black-eyed peas, cornbread, and sweet onions in forever! No one else in my household will eat the black-eyed peas so I never make them. I'm doing good to get them to eat pintos or great northerns that I cook at home.

                                            1. re: FibroLady

                                              when i come over to eat, may i bring along my texas pete pepper vinegar for the beans? ;-)).

                                            2. re: alliedawn_98

                                              Of course I STILL love Vidalias, and use them whenever I can buy them, it's just most of the other stuff I seldom eat any more. (And, when Vidalias weren't in season, we just used regular onions) They are also excellent stuffed. I par-boil them whole after cleaning, then remove the centers and fill them with a bread-crumb stuffing with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese, then bake until they are cooked through and the tops are brown and crisp. I also saute the centers I remove and add them to the stuffing as well. YUM-O!!

                                2. re: MMRuth

                                  Coincidentally, I was just looking up a cole slaw recipe in "Bon Appetit, Y'All" and here's what Virginia Willis has to say on the subject of mayo:

                                  "Mayonnaise is a subject of much debate in the South. I've even heard rumors about a veritable barroom-type brawl between chefs at the Southern Foodways Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi, that rose out of a discussion of Duke's versus Hellmann's. I grew up on Duke's mayonnaise and strongly believe that if it's not homemade, it's got to be Duke's!"

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Unless you grew up in New Awlins. Then is should be Blue Plate Mayonnnaise, sometimes pronounces My-naz in the Irish Channel and Lower Ninth Ward.

                                3. The original comment has been removed
                                  1. This is how I make Pimiento Cheese: Let an 8-oz piece of extra-sharp cheddar and a block of cream cheese soften on the counter to room temperature. Put all the cheddar and about 3-4 oz of the cream cheese in the Cuisinart with about 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Coleman's dry mustard powder, and 1/4 tsp hot red pepper. Process this thoroughly. Then add about a cup of canned pimientos and process briefly so that they are smashed up but not completely pureed. Taste the mixture and correct seasoning with more mustard powder and/or hot pepper: you should have a sharp flavor of cheese and a definite bite. In a covered jar this keeps for weeks in the refrigerator and gets better as it sits.

                                    1. I like my own recipe that I posted but for purists here is the recipe from the Charleston SC Junior League Cookbook: 1 lb grated sharp cheddar, 2 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier, 1/4 cup Durkee's Sauce, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper, 4 oz chopped pimientos, and 1 1/2 tsps Dijon mustard. Process all.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Querencia

                                        Grand Marnier? I have to say that sounds quite foul! Have you tried it? Thanks for posting it.

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          MMR: Yuck, I agree. Sweet orange liqueur? Anybody else tried it and have opinions?

                                          I must say this thread is giving me lots of laughs. The ferocity of those in the non-cream cheese camp and the tenacity of those in the pro-cream cheese camp is terrific.

                                          I always love these "MY RECIPE is the ONLY recipe!" or "Nobody who's REALLY from the South would ever add .....!" statements.

                                          The mention of "hoop cheese" also brought back memories of my mother and her friends trying to reduce fat in cheesecake and using hoop cheese as part of the filling. This was obviously the fresh kind. I think it was similar to "Farmer's Cheese" at one time.

                                          This is almost as good as a discussion of whether one should be executed for ordering pastrami on white with mayonnaise.

                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            I'm not a Yankee but even I know the last sentence is a hangin' offense :)

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              I agree. I just posted my recipe for pimento cheese today, and all I can say is this is the way I like it -- I can't possibly claim to have the be all end all recipe, but then, I'm from California, so I have no pimento cheese lineage so to speak. I can say that mine takes five minutes to make.


                                          2. re: Querencia

                                            I think I'm going to have to try this just for the hell of it. But I might make half a batch, in case I hate it.

                                          3. As a born and bred southerner, I have also never heard of cream cheese in pimento cheese, though I can imagine it could be very good. Below is my favorite recipe.

                                            As a note: my grandmother made amazing pimento cheese... she added some Durkee's to hers, which gave it a really nice tang.

                                            PIMENTO CHEESE

                                            1/2 lb extra-sharp Vermont White Cheddar
                                            1/2 lb extra-sharp aged New York (orange) cheddar
                                            1 (7-oz) jar of pimentos, drained and finely chopped
                                            black pepper (or to taste)
                                            cayenne to taste
                                            salt to taste
                                            2/3 cup mayonnaise

                                            Finely grate cheeses into a large bowl. Stir in pimentos and seasoning.

                                            Stir in mayonnaise, mashing until relatively smooth (or to your own desired consistency).
                                            Scrape into a crock or jar and let chill at least 2 hours.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: Tom P

                                              Definitely in the no cream cheese camp! Where did this bizarre idea come from?

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Strangely - to me at least - Frank Stitt's recipe calls for it. But after making it for the first time w/ cream cheese, I omitted it since then, and added a little scallion, per Candy.

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  Now you've got me thinking. The only time I ever made pimiento cheese, possibly the only time I ever *ate* pimiento cheese, was when I used Frank Stitt's recipe (and, god forbid, Hellman's). I wonder if that's why I didn't understand what all the fuss was about. May have to give it another try after reading this thread.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    None of you guys ever had the store-bought pimento cheese? I believe Kraft even made it. They still may make it for all I know. It was a staple of the school lunch sandwich as well as the cocktail dip.

                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                      I did many times and even bought a container a few months back. It was 2am, just came in from out of town, fridge broke while out of town and only had beer, bagels, cream cheese and bread in the cooler with me. My credit card packed in my suitcase and about 3 dollars on me ... Pimento cheese was it. First thing I saw in the cheese aisle when I walked in so that and cottage cheese for breakfast was it.

                                                      Honestly it was pretty good, I really enjoyed.

                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                        My mother lives in North Carolina now, and at Christmas she had some purchased pimento cheese. I tasted it, and immediately made her some. I thought there was a huge difference.

                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                  Cream cheese is creeping into Southern food like some kind of terrorist plot.
                                                  Is this the work of Southern Living, the Food Network, and Kraft Foods? Some new Axis of Evil?
                                                  They've done away with good old 7-minute frosting and now they're trying to poison Pimento Cheese.
                                                  They MUST be stopped!
                                                  Frank Stitt's grandmother must be rolling in her grave.

                                                3. re: Tom P

                                                  Tom P - that's the one I make - very similar to this old southern family's recipe.
                                                  But with us it was always Hellman's or homemade. Can't believe someone mentioned Miracle Whip earlier - yuck! I do add a tiny touch of jalapeno now and then.

                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                    NOOOO miracle whip. I use hellmans for most everything just got it is readily available.
                                                    Jalapeno is good in anything as far as I am concerned :)

                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                      I've really been loving jalapenos lately. Usually add jalapenos to half of mixture for appetizers. After reading these posts, I may try a tiny bit of grated onion and/or garlic. Never really messed with the basic recipe before.