Mac ‘n Pimento Cheese

The secret ingredient!

The secret ingredient!

Spoilers: this recipe contains a secret ingredient. Of course, trained chef’s are reluctant to tell their secrets, but I’m not a chef. I’m just a decent cook. Says so on my business card. But this dish has received too many great comments from taste-testers to keep the recipe under wraps. It’s easy to assemble, cooks in the slow-cooker so you don’t have to watch it much, and is a great twist on what might be the world’s most popular comfort food.

Did I sell you on it?

I hope so.

Next time you need something new for a potluck, try this version of Mac ‘n Pimento Cheese!


  • A 4.5 quart crock pot, or the equivalent-sized oven-safe casserole dish or pot.


  • 16 oz. cooked macaroni (I use spirals, but the traditional elbow style will be fine)
    • Helpful hint: cook the macaroni the day before and keep refrigerated until needed. Saves time the next day when you are worried about the guests coming early. And they always come early.
  • 10 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 oz. Pimento Cheese
    • Spoiler: I use Palmetto Cheese with Jalapeno as my secret ingredient. This South Carolina low country specialty food is thankfully available in most higher quality grocery stores, or online here.
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (any version that works for you. Except chocolate milk. That would be a bad choice.)
  • 12 oz. Evaporated Milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced


I use a “layer” approach to building this mac ‘n cheese.

  • Place enough cooked macaroni in the bottom of the crock pot to cover the bottom.
  • Sprinkle a handful of shredded Colby Jack cheese on top of the cooked macaroni.
  • Using a small spoon, or a melon baller, place 4 – 5 small scoops of pimento cheese evenly on top of the Colby Jack cheese. I do four corners and a center.
    • Helpful hint: use the spoon to spread the pimento cheese into a thin layer across the entire pot.
  • Repeat the layering of macaroni, Colby Jack cheese, and pimento cheese. Make the top layer one of the cheeses.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
  • Pour the liquid mixture on top of the macaroni and cheese. Try to drizzle it around the entire top surface so liquid will seep down throughout the crock pot.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours. If using the oven, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • Now check the inside of the crock pot wall. Using a plastic spatula, scrape the macaroni away to keep the cheese from forming a burnt crust.
  • If your mac ‘n cheese has thickened to the point a large spoonful will maintain its shape, you are done!
    • If still soggy, then cover and continue to cook for 30 additional minutes.
    • Check again. The dish should be done.
      • The longest I have let this cook is 4 hours, but I ended up with a thick inedible crust which wasted probably three servings.

This dish has won rave reviews from both office-mates and church ladies. I don’t which group has the more discriminating palate, but on both occasions I returned home with zero leftovers.




Baconfest 2010 – Bacon Pimento Cheese Burgers (with a twist)


The Bacon Pimento Cheese Burger

The snow has pretty much stopped falling, but the temperature has continued its downward slide, causing the streets to become slick with ice. My fellow drivers in Virginia Beach are skill-challenged enough in good weather – poor conditions just bring out the best of the worst. Time to light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a hearty meal of traditional modern American fare: the cheeseburger.

Zingerman’s (remember, this is a baconfest based on the book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon,) has a recipe for homemade pimento cheese. Where’s the pig, you ask? On top of the pimento cheese burger, of course. I added a few things to spice the burger up a little, but the pimento cheese recipe is straight from the book. My esteemed photographer, Mr. Roostre, had one and he loved it, too! Try this recipe and you’ll never go back to golden arches again. And is that such a bad thing? Really. Have you seen the movie Super Size Me?

Pimento Cheese
8 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise (use real mayo, not “salad dressing””)
1/2 cup roasted red pepper, diced into small little squares
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash of sea salt

Directions (you’ll love this…)
Mix well.
Eat. Make sure you save some for the burgers!

The Burger
8 oz. ground beef – use good quality beef, don’t go for anything too lean.
1 teaspoon minced garlic mixed into the beef – this is the twist!
Black pepper, put on both sides of the patty as it cooks
– cook the patty until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

2 slices bacon, cooked separately, until crispy

1 slice tomato
lettuce (optional)

Putting it all together – from the bottom to the top:
Lower bun
Cooked beef patty
Pimento cheese – the heat from the burger will warm it up just enough!
Top of bun

The cayenne comes through but is very unobtrusive. Just the right amount of zing.

Perfect for a snowy, Winter night. Pairs well with a glass of Cabernet Franc from the Chatham Winery on the Eastern Shore. I put a link to the winery over on the side – check it out!