Pimento Mac and Cheese

Pimento Mac and Cheese

This recipe combines two classic Southern dishes to create something special: Pimento cheese, a spread for sandwiches, crackers and vegetables, meets mac and cheese for a peppery and spicier version of the traditional baked casserole. The core ingredients of pimento cheese — sharp yellow Cheddar, pimento peppers and cream cheese — cook into a sauce that’s creamier and tangier than the usual purely cheese base.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, until golden and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Step 3

    Melt remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add flour and paprika, stir well, and cook until vegetables are coated, about 1 minute.
  4. Step 4

    While whisking, carefully stream in the milk until smooth and incorporated. Bring to a simmer while continuing to whisk. Simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the Cheddar cheese, cream cheese and pimentos, and stir until the cheese is completely melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Step 5

    Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Transfer to the baking dish and spread evenly. Evenly sprinkle the toasted panko on top. Bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve.