The classic grilled cheese is given a Southern facelift in this Pimento Grilled Cheese with three kinds of cheeses, lots of spice and a bit of hot sauce for an extra zing, not to mention…bacon. You’ll never go back to the boring grilled cheese again.
My pimento cheese is pretty well known in my social circle. No one would be surprised at my love of toasted cheese, just check out this Cheesy Braided Pesto Bread. And not to brag, but it’s honestly ridiculous how much of this pimento cheese I can eat in a sitting.
I use a trademark blend of Shredded sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses in a cream cheese base. Along with lots of spice and of course pimentos.
What’s in Pimento Cheese
First things first. We need to make the base of this pimento grilled cheese sandwich, which is….pimento cheese! Pimento cheese is a Southern classic.
Every household has their way of making it, and that’s the only right way. In it’s most basic form, pimento cheese is just cheddar cheese, mayo and pimentos, but that’s a bit on the bland side. My recipe is a little more flavorful and has a bit of heat. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Extra sharp cheddar cheese. It’s better to get a quality block of cheese and shred at home. Pre-shredded cheese has lots of extras included to avoid clumping.
- Pepper jack cheese. Same here!
- Cream cheese
- Hot sauce. Tabasco is the right choice here!
- Spices (garlic powder, cayenne and ground pepper)
- Pimento peppers
- Green Onions
But what is a pimento pepper?
Pimentos are a type of sweet pepper. They are very similar to a red bell pepper. You can find little jars of diced pimento peppers at most grocery stores. I will give you fair warning, they are usually tiny and I have a devil of a time finding the right aisle! They are typically near the olives or canned fruits.
Building the Perfect Grilled Cheese
Let’s talk about the elements to make a perfect grilled cheese. No, it’s not rocket science, but realistically, grilled cheese is a lot more important to my life and I want a really darn good one.
I use a quality crusty white bread or sourdough. Skip the sandwich bread aisle, and head to the fresh baked bread.
It’s a little unorthodox, but this method is catching fire and for good reason. Instead of butter to toast the bread, we’ll use mayo. It creates a more golden brown crisp. And since we’re already using mayo in our pimento cheese, we won’t have the butter flavor competing.
Use a hearty bacon and get it nice and crisp before building your sandwich. It won’t crisp after and there’s nothing worse than a flabby piece of bacon in my book.
Use a shallow pan that has a matching lid. As the bread is toasting, cover the pan to create steam. This will help the cheese to melt.
What to do with Extra Pimento Cheese
This recipe makes more pimento cheese than necessary for the sandwiches. And that’s because this dip is ridiculously addictive and you’ll want to have this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wondering what to do with the extras? Here’s a few suggestions:
- Serve with crackers. My favorite is pita chips. Ritz crackers are the traditional option.
- Serve with crudités, like celery and tomatoes
- Use as a spread on biscuits
- Use as a fried green tomato topping
- Make an old-school sandwich. Serve cold on white bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
This pimento cheese recipe has some spice, but I wouldn’t say it HOT. It’s more of a background kick of heat. But if you don’t like any spice in your sandwiches, here are a few adjustments you can make:
1. Remove the hot sauce completely
2. Remove or put in half the amount of cayenne pepper
3. Swap the pepper jack cheese for Monterey jack cheese
Pimento Grilled Cheese with Bacon
- 113 g extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 113 g pepper jack cheese
- 56 g cream creese very soft
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce Tabasco preferred
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- Pinch black pepper
- 2 ounces diced pimentos, drained 1/2 jar
- 1 ½ teaspoons green onions thinly sliced
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon pre-cooked
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 8 slices country style bread
- Pimento cheese: Shred cheddar and pepper jack cheeses113 g extra sharp cheddar cheese, 113 g pepper jack cheese
- In a large bowl, whip cream cheese until its soft and spreadable using rubber spatula. Mix in 2 tbsp. mayo.56 g cream creese, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Add garlic powder, cayenne powder, pepper and hot sauce.1 teaspoon hot sauce, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder, Pinch black pepper
- Stir in cheddar and pepper jack cheese, pimento peppers and green onion.2 ounces diced pimentos, drained, 1 1/2 teaspoons green onions
- Building Sandwiches: Follow package directions to crisp bacon. I typically microwave between two sheets of paper towels. Set aside8 slices thick-cut bacon
- Smear one side of bread with about 1/4 tbsp. of the remaining mayo and turn over. Spread about a heaping 1/4 cup of pimento cheese evenly on dry side of the bread. Add two slices of bacon. Top with second slice of bread and smear with mayo on top. Repeat for 4 total sandwiches.2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 8 slices country style bread
- Preheat skillet with lid over medium-low heat. Working in batches, place 1-2 sandwiches in pan (depending on size). Avoid overcrowding the pan or you will not brown evenly.
- Cover the skillet and toast until bread is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Check occasionally, but don’t move around the pan too. Moving will slow down the browning process. Once brown, flip and replace the lid. Allow second side to brown.
- Serve hot.