Masters Pimento Cheese

You don’t have to be a golf lover to enjoy a delicious pimento cheese sandwich just like the ones served during Masters Week. With two types of cheese, cream cheese and pimentos, it’s a taste of the Masters in every bite.

Halved Masters pimento cheese sandwich stacked on a plate.

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If you’re ever visiting the South and offered something called pimentacheese, don’t be alarmed. More than likely, they’re referring to the Southern staple known as pimento cheese, one of the few dishes I know of that can be served alongside fancy crackers at a wedding reception or smooshed between two slices of white bread for an ideal little treat for lunch. Everyone has their favorite pimento cheese recipe, but the most famous pimento cheese sandwich is served at the Masters Tournament, a nationally recognized professional golf tournament held every year at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Why do they serve pimento cheese sandwiches at the Masters Golf Tournament?

The iconic sandwich dates all the way back to the late-1940s. Husband and wife Hodges and Ola Herndon, who oversaw the concessions at the tournament, made the sandwiches in their home kitchen before transporting them to the tournament. Back then, the sandwiches sold for a quarter a piece. Unbelievably, low prices have only increased marginally over the years. Today, you can purchase a sandwich for only $1.50.

Since then, the pimento cheese mantle has changed hands several times. South Carolina caterer Nick Rangos took over the job in the 1950’s and held onto that corner of the market for 48 years. That is, until 1998 when the job was handed to Wife Saver, a local Augusta establishment. Not surprisingly, Rangos was a little salty over the snub and refused to share his original recipe.

The supplier, and the secret recipe, changed again in 2013 when the tournament brought all their concessions in-house. While researching this post, I found pimento cheese recipes that called for everything from blue cheese to parmesan cheese. The current recipe is a closely guarded secret; however, the FDA and the USDA do require the tournament to include a list of ingredients on every green wrapper the pimiento cheese sandwiches are sold in at the tournament. Just like with my Central Grocery copycat olive salad recipe, I had a list of ingredients. I just needed to figure out the measurements with a little trial and error (and a lot of taste testing).

Ingredients and tools you will need

This is a very simple recipe that packs a lot of flavor. To make a Masters pimento cheese sandwich similar to what you would find at the famous golf tournament, you will need:

  • 2 cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated onion – I grated my onion using a box grater. If you don’t want to go through all that trouble, you could use 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced pimento peppers, drained
  • 1 loaf white bread, optional
  • Electric mixer, hand-held or stand optional – you can mix the pimento cheese spread by hand, but for a smooth spread, I recommend using a mixer.
Collage of ingredients needed to make Masters pimento cheese.

How to make the Masters Pimento Cheese recipe

Add the pre-shredded cheeses, mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to a large mixing bowl. Mix everything by hand or on low using an electric mixer until everything is evenly combined. 

Since pimentos are soft and it could take a minute to evenly mix everything together, I wanted to wait and add the pimentos last so they wouldn’t get pulverized during mixing. Once you’ve added them, gently fold them into the cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. 

For the best flavor, chill the pimento cheese in the refrigerator for a few hours. But if you are making sandwiches, I recommend spreading it over slices of white bread while the pimento cheese is at room temperature and still soft. Otherwise, you risk tearing the soft bread. Wrap your delicious sandwich in plastic wrap or a freezer bag and chill the sandwiches for several hours before serving.

Storage and freezing instructions

Storage. Store any leftover pimento cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours. Consume within five days.

Freezing. While freezing doesn’t affect the flavor of pimento cheese, it does affect the texture. Mayonnaise and cream cheese separate when frozen, so the texture ends up lumpy and watery. If you do decide to freeze this, transfer it to plastic freezer bags and press out all the air before sealing. Thaw completely in the refrigerator. Giving it a quick whip with an electric mixer once thawed can help improve the texture.

Frequently asked question

How far in advance can I make this?

The pimento cheese will keep for five days in the fridge. If making sandwiches, I recommend making the sandwiches the day you plan to serve them to prevent soggy bread slices.

How much pimento cheese should I use per sandwich?

Plan on using between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of pimento cheese per sandwich.

Can I serve this hot?

Yes! Try using it on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Hand reaching into a napkin lined basket for a pimento cheese sandwich.

You might also like

If you’re not a fan of this iconic sandwich, the Masters tournament is also known for its egg salad sandwiches.

Halved Masters pimento cheese sandwich stacked on a plate.
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5 from 1 vote

Masters Pimento Cheese

You don’t have to be a golf lover to enjoy a delicious pimento cheese sandwich just like the ones served during Masters Week. With two types of cheese, cream cheese and pimentos, it’s a taste of the Masters in every bite.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Chill Time 2 hours
Servings 4 cups
Calories 258kcal
Author Lisa B.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated onion or 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced pimento peppers drained
  • 1 loaf white bread

Instructions

  • Add the pre-shredded cheeses, mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix everything by hand or on low using an electric mixer until everything is evenly combined.
  • Gently fold the pimentos into the cheese.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • For the best flavor, chill the pimento cheese in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Video

Notes

*two slices of white bread would add 154 calories, 1.9g of fat, 28g of carbohydrates and 284 mg of sodium.
Storage. Store any leftover pimento cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours. Consume within five days.
Freezing. While freezing doesn’t affect the flavor of pimento cheese, it does affect the texture. Mayonnaise and cream cheese separate when frozen, so the texture ends up lumpy and watery. If you do decide to freeze this, transfer it to plastic freezer bags and press out all the air before sealing. Thaw completely in the refrigerator. Giving it a quick whip with an electric mixer once thawed can help improve the texture.
** Recipe inspired by Intentional Hospitality and The Weekend Golfer.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.4g | Protein: 6.8g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6.2g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 322mg | Sugar: 0.5g

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