Kryptonite Pimento Cheese Recipe

Use fish sauce, an unorthodox ingredient, for flavor balance to prepare Kryptonite Pimento Cheese a twist on the traditional flavor of the classic recipe.

From “Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways”
July 2018

  • Creamy, tangy kryptonite pimento cheese is a twist on the traditional flavor of the classic recipe.
    Photo by Getty/NRedmond
  • “Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways” by Jennifer Brule teaches readers to cook 25 classic southern recipes three different ways, encouraging contemporary and international influences with the classics.
    Cover Courtesy University of North Carolina Press

Yield: 3-1/2 cups

Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), by Jennifer Brule features classic recipes that can be prepared 3 different ways.  In the following recipes, readers are encouraged to learn the basics of cooking, and then expand on them by using contemporary and international inspiration through ingredients or cooking techniques to make variations of the classic recipes.

Creamy, tangy pimento cheese is my Kryptonite, my delicious weakness. There are some dishes that simply aren’t as good when put through a healthy makeover — but this is not one of them. Through a few modifications and one unorthodox additional ingredient, I’ve come up with a pimento cheese recipe that can hold its own against the traditional favorite. Don’t be thrown by the fish sauce — it doesn’t give even a trace of fish flavor; it only adds umami and balances out the sweetness that comes with low-fat mayo. Seriously, hold your nose and use the fish sauce! It’s my secret for making many dishes more delicious.


  • 2 cups shredded 2 percent sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded 2 percent mild cheddar cheese
  • 3 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped pimento (roasted red pepper), drained
  • 1/4 cup juice from jarred pimentos
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup low fat or light mayonnaise (preferably the souths favorite, Dukes, if you can get it)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 dashes cayenne pepper, or more, to taste


  1. Combine the shredded cheeses in a mixing bowl and add the onion, pimento, pimento juice, fish sauce, mayo, yogurt, and cayenne.
  2. Mix well with a spoon or rubber spatula.
  3. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve with crackers or as a filling for sandwiches
  4. Grate the onion on a box grater or, better yet, a Microplane — it should be almost puréed in consistency.

More from Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways:

Southern Classic Pinto Beans Recipe
Hungarian Chicken Paprikash with Dumplings Recipe
Tuscan White Bean Soup

From Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways: Traditional, Contemporary, International by Jennifer Brulé. Copyright © 2016 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher.

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