Despite being crazy about cheese as a kid, I avoided pimento cheese because of mayonnaise.

GaspI am self-confessed mayonnaise hater.

I still refuse to even let a jar of mayo enter my home and have no desire to go to the effort of making it from scratch. It’s a condiment I just don’t like.

However, I wanted to enjoy pimento cheese so much that I set out to make a mayo-free version—and one that mayo-lovers would enjoy, too. I was convinced there had to be another binding ingredient. Much to my excitement, Greek yogurt works well—seriously.

Despite the healthier benefits (healthy bacteria in the yogurt) to this Spicy Tangy Pimento Cheese dip, I am cautious to admit to people that there is no mayonnaise in it. I am all too familiar with the “I love mayo” camp.

However, not only are they shocked to learn there is no mayonnaise, they are equally taken aback to discover that the not-so-secret ingredient is Greek yogurt, since some have an aversion to it. They love pimento cheese made with it though!

Curious, I wanted to know if mayonnaise was always a prime ingredient in pimento cheese and discovered cooks only started adding it around the 1950s.

According to Robert Moss on Serious Eats, it started with cream cheese. “From Scientific Cuisine to Southern Icon: The Real Story of Pimento Cheese.”

So, don’t worry. Making this pimento cheese does not technically go against a time-honored tradition, but instead, you’ll be returning the dip to its roots—free of mayonnaise


Hints for the best pimento cheese

Never buy pre-shredded cheese! It has added ingredients resulting in different flavors and textures. And don’t ever be caught with mild cheddar cheese in your shopping cart! {duh}

Wine pairing: Extra sharp cheddar cheese pairs beautifully with Napa Valley Cabernet.

Try another pimento cheese variation made with Greek yogurt, garlic and walnuts that takes on the flavors of bourbon!
Get the recipe.