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A Southern Staple With a Twist: Lighter Pimento Cheese

By Allison Bonner | November 3, 2015 | Explore NC

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“Good pimento cheese comes together in minutes, keeps for days, and stays on our minds for years. The simple concoction is special, but not reserved for special occasions. It is the food of everyday folks, the stuff of every day life.” – Southern Living

Pimento cheese is a simple Southern staple: it’s an appetizer, a comfort food, and a great way to add a little pizzazz to any sandwich.

But pimento cheese isn’t just a food; it’s a tradition that has been enjoyed for generations while front porch or back porch sittin’. Many have their own secret family concoction — I know mine does — and today, I’m going to reveal the recipe that is found its way to the table of many a family gathering. It’s lighter pimento cheese. And that means you can enjoy with a little less guilt.

True, there’s not much you can do to make this dish truly light, but I have a couple of tips that will help you enjoy without adding too many extra calories. I promise it’s a recipe that is easy to make and sure to delight taste buds at any event.

As with anything, a little moderation goes a very long way. Cheese is still full of calcium and protein and this recipe can be a great compliment to veggies.


Lighter Pimento Cheese 


  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 (4 oz.) jar of diced pimentos (drained)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (8 oz.) block of 2% reduced fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1 (8 oz.) block of 2% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

Secret ingredientLighter PimentoCheese

  • A spoonful of sugar (or if you prefer, a little agave or honey)


  1. Stir together light mayonnaise, pimentos, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, sugar
  2. Mix in grated cheddar cheeses
  3. Let sit in refrigerator
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe makes about 3 cups

Our family’s substitutions to make it light include using Duke’s Light Mayonnaise, reduced fat cheese, and only adding just enough mayonnaise to keep the ingredients stuck together. Other substitutes you might consider: Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, or a canola or olive oil blend mayo.

Pro tip: Make your pimento cheese the day before you actually want to eat it. It will taste better after you give it 24 hours to set in the refrigerator.

[Top image: Shutterstock]