The Unexpected Ingredient That Will Majorly Upgrade Your Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is one of many foods that's passionately associated with the South, like grits, fried chicken, and collard greens. A typical recipe consists of pimento peppers, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and seasonings, though there are numerous variations on the original. The creamy, sweetly spicy spread can be used however you like, though it's most often served as an appetizer with crackers or crunchy vegetables. Another delicious application for gooey pimento cheese involves dolloping it atop burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, or grilled cheese — cue the Homer Simpson drool effects.

Of course, you can always enjoy a simple pimento cheese sandwich on white bread, a culinary rite of passage at the annual Masters tournament held each April in Augusta, Georgia, per Golf. At $1.50, the sandwich offers one of the few bargains you can find at this hallowed golf course if you're fortunate enough to ever attend. Though the recipe is available online, it's famously hard to replicate, as reported by ESPN. Instead of trying to crack that code, why not try an unexpected ingredient that will majorly upgrade your own signature pimento cheese?

You'll need pickle juice for this special pimento cheese

If you've always wondered what you can do with your leftover pickle juice, aside from gulping it down as a potential hangover cure, look no further than jazzed-up pimento cheese. Sharing her Southern pimento cheese recipe with Mashed, recipe developer Erin Johnson explains that she adds a teaspoon of dill pickle juice to the mix because "the acidity really brightens the spread."

This version of pimento cheese requires wrangling all the typical ingredients, such as mayo, cream cheese, grated cheddar, and pimentos (Johnson recommends the diced and jarred variety). For extra flavor, she adds grated onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and, of course, the aforementioned dill pickle juice. For those who are pickle-averse, however, Johnson said vinegar can be substituted. Fans of a kick could also opt for the liquid from a jar of pickled jalapeños, plus a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or cayenne.

Once you've whipped up your pickle juice-infused pimento cheese, Johnson suggests combining it with another Southern favorite, grits. Otherwise, don't hesitate to embark on your own culinary adventure. Pimento cheese-stuffed pickles, anyone?