This Simple Ingredient Swap Takes Your Pimiento Cheese To The Next Level

In the South, pimiento cheese could be considered an art form. While every grandma might believe that her version is the best, most flavorful spread in all of the southern states, the reality is that not all pimiento cheese recipes are the same. According to Southern Living, one simple ingredient swap will change that luscious, cheesy spread from blah to bold. It is time to say goodbye to the pimiento pepper and welcome roasted red peppers to the fold. Skipping the pimiento will help give it the flavor boost that the dish is missing.

Although the dish's name might seem like pimiento peppers are a required ingredient, various recipes skip that type of pepper (via Southern Living). Some people believe that pimiento peppers can be watery or lack bold flavor. By using roasted red bell peppers or piquillo in your recipe, the swap adds another layer of flavor. From cutting through the richness of the cheese and mayonnaise to breaking up the softness of the spread, this single ingredient swap could make your pimiento cheese the dish that earns the blue ribbon for the best recipe.

The history of pimiento cheese holds a surprising secret

While people may believe that pimiento cheese is a Southern food staple, the combination of shredded cheese, pimiento peppers, spices, and mayonnaise was not discovered in the deep South. According to Serious Eats, the North, the invention of cream cheese, imported pimiento peppers, and a Good Housekeeping article all had a hand in the birth of the now-Southern staple. As "domestic scientists" grew fond of cream cheese and the imported Spanish peppers, the combination found its way into easy recipes. Companies started to make their own pre-made versions. Then, Good Housekeeping suggested a simple recipe that included the spread between two pieces of bread. Soon, the idea took off and grocery stores offered various brands.

For Southerners, the lore of the simple, yet tasty recipe is muddled with family tradition and secret ingredients (via Southern Kitchen). From Sunday dinners to family reunions, someone would bring that flavorful spread served between two pieces of white bread. More recently as Southern food has seen a resurgence, both chefs and home cooks have rediscovered that food tradition. Beyond the sandwich served at the Masters golf tournament for just $1.50 (via The New York Times) or at the Kentucky Derby, pimiento cheese is now a topping for Southern-style chicken sandwiches, burgers, and more. Even if history tells a different tale, pimiento cheese will always have roots in Southern cuisine.