Creamy Pimento Mac and Cheese

creamy pimento mac and cheese in pot with wooden spoon

This Creamy Pimento Mac and Cheese is the ultimate holiday side dish! Ultra creamy, spiced to perfection, it combines a classic southern staple with delicious gooey mac and cheese. Yes please! 

Alright y’all, so as a Southern woman myself, I have been wanting to make this recipe for SO long. I am an avid lover of pimento cheese. 

To the point where I remember growing up that my Mom would just straight up eat pimento cheese sandwiches on white bread. It’s a southern staple for a reason, y’all! 

Especially now that I’m pregnant…if you put a box of crackers in front of me with a jar of pimento cheese, I truly don’t know that I would be able to exercise any form of self-control. And who could blame me?!

garnished mac and cheese in bowl

There is something about it – it’s creamy, it’s smoky, it’s just….delicious. And so I knew I wanted to combine it with one of my favorite meals of all time: mac and cheese. You guys know I love mac and cheese, considering I already have 4 different varieties on my blog!

And here we are! 

Why You’ll Love This Dish: 

First off – who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?! Especially when it’s this gooey, creamy and ultra cheesy?!

But really, I do love this version a lot. It’s loaded to the brim with large shells (my personal favorite pasta when it comes to mac and cheese) and CHEESE. Lots of it. 

We’ve got both freshly shredded cheddar cheese AND softened cream cheese in this dish. The cream cheese helps give it that “oomph” that really mimics the pimento cheese flavor. 

And of course, you can’t forget about the pimentos themselves! You can easily find these in your grocery store, usually near the jarred olives/pickle section. They’re usually pretty inexpensive and they are a MUST HAVE for this recipe! 

mad and cheese in pot with diced pimentos on top

You also have of course, some spices including salt and pepper (basic but SO important) and my personal favorite – smoked paprika! The paprika really gives it that smoky flavor and also helps give it some extra color for looking beautiful on a holiday dinner tablescape! 

Not to mention, I use my favorite Stovetop Mac and Cheese method which is SO helpful and easy. This dish comes together so quickly and easily! 

So let’s get into what you need to make it! 

Ingredients You Need: 

  • Large shell pasta 
  • Salted butter 
  • All purpose flour
  • Freshly shredded cheddar cheese
  • Softened cream cheese 
  • Diced pimentos
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Whole milk 
  • Smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste 

Tips for Making the Creamiest Mac and Cheese: 

I recommend getting all of the ingredients out and ready to go – that means, go ahead and shred the cheese, make sure the cream cheese is softened, have a colander ready to drain the pasta etc. 

This will make it so much easier when you’re in the thick of things to make sure that your sauce doesn’t clump up because you accidentally left it on the heat for too long while you were doing something else….been there!

cooked noodles in colander

I always start this recipe by cooking the pasta. Get the water boiling, make sure the water is SUPER salty and get the pasta cooking. While it’s cooking….

It’s time to make a roux! This basically means to melt butter, add flour to it and let it combine and cook together for a couple of minutes. This roux will help thicken your sauce to cheesy perfection! 

Once the roux is created, your pan will be on medium to low heat and you’re going to begin to add the whole milk. Be sure your pan is not too hot or your milk WILL scald. 

cheesy cheese sauce in pot

You want to pour in the milk about ½ cup at a time, whisking it as you go to make sure it doesn’t clump up. Continue to do this until you have all of your milk in the pot. 

Once all the milk is in the pot, get ready to have your arm do a quick workout because you will be whisking the milk to help thicken it for the next 5-7 minutes!

It’s important during this time to make sure you have adequate heat in the pan to help the mixture thicken but you NEVER want this to boil. I would recommend medium heat for this process. 

Once the milk has thickened slightly, go ahead and add in the shredded cheese and softened cream cheese and mix in with a wooden spoon until it’s fully combined and melted in.

It should be a thick and creamy sauce! Take it off the heat and by now – your noodles should be done so it’s time to drain them! 

extreme close up of creamy pimento mac and cheese

Once they are drained, add them directly into the pot with the cheese sauce as well as the drained diced pimentos. Stir stir stir until combined and the noodles are fully coated with that luscious cheese sauce. 

Taste and then time to add in the seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste (to your liking!) and then of course, that delicious smoked paprika! 

pimento mac and cheese in bowl with fork in it

And time to eat it up! This is best eaten warm + immediately. Garnish with extra paprika if desired and enjoy every bite. 

Best Way to Heat Up Leftovers: 

If you do have leftovers, no worries! This is a super easy recipe to heat up. I store my leftovers in a tightly sealed tupperware container in the fridge and then when I want to heat it up, I scoop out my serving into a bowl and microwave it for about 1 minute or so until it’s adequately heated. 

Once it’s heated up, I add a splash of milk (or heavy cream if I’m feeling crazy!) and then mix well. The extra added milk really helps restore that creaminess! 

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few others you might like: 

Spicy Mac and Cheese

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

Creamy Pimento Mac and Cheese

This Creamy Pimento Mac and Cheese is the ultimate holiday side dish! Ultra creamy, spiced to perfection, it combines a classic southern staple with delicious gooey mac and cheese. Yes please! 

Course Side, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword pimento cheese, pimento cheese mac and cheese, pimento mac and cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Haylie

Ingredients

  • 16 oz large shell pasta 
  • 6 tbsp salted butter 
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese 
  • 6 oz pimentos, diced 
  • 2.5 cups whole milk 
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus more to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

  1. Shred the cheese and get all of your ingredients ready - be sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature.

  2. Begin to cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Don't forget to salt your pasta water generously!

  3. While your pasta is cooking, melt better in a large pot on medium heat. Add in your flour and using a whisk, quickly to make a roux until the two are combined. Let cook for 1 minute or so and then add 1/2 cup of whole milk and begin stirring. It should thicken up pretty quickly. 

  4. Add in remaining 2 cups of milk a little at a time, continually stirring as you go. Do not let this mixture begin to boil! Continue to stir for about 5-7 minutes, until thickened.

  5. Once creamy, using a wooden spoon, add in your freshly shredded cheese and cream cheese and mix to combine until the cheese is fully melted and it is one thick, creamy cheesy sauce. Take it off the heat. 

  6. At this point, your noodles should be done. Drain them and add them directly into the cheese sauce. Stir gently to combine. Add in the diced pimentos, smoked paprika as well as add in a heavy amount of salt and pepper for seasoning. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

  7. Eat immediately and enjoy! If you need it even creamier, add in a splash more milk and stir.

Recipe Notes

Store leftovers in a tupperware jar in the fridge for up to 3 days. To heat up, add your serving size to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds or until warm. Once warm, add in a splash of milk and mix until combined. Enjoy! 

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.