Pub cheese and pimento cheese are two popular cheese spreads in the United States.
While they share some similarities, there are important differences between these Southern favorites.
What is Pub Cheese?
Pub cheese is a soft, spreadable cheese dip or appetizer. It is made with cheese as the main ingredient and often contains beer or ale. Pub cheese can be made with smoked cheeses to give it a smoky flavor. Some versions also contain added liquid smoke.
Pub cheese is served with crackers or vegetables. People spread the cheese onto the crackers or dip the vegetables into the cheese. Pub cheese can also be used as a topping on sandwiches like burgers. It's a customary snack served at bars and pubs in the US.
Some pub cheese is made with a blend of processed cheese and real cheese. Major brands like Président and Trader Joe's make mass-produced versions of pub cheese that are sold in grocery stores across the country.
Additionally, many bars, breweries, and restaurants produce their own unique pub cheese recipes. These artisanal versions use high-quality ingredients.
Key Takeaway: Pub cheese is a soft, spreadable cheese dip made with cheese and sometimes beer. It often has a smoky flavor.
What is Pimento Cheese?
Pimento cheese is commonly served on white bread sandwiches. The crusts are cut off and the spread is slapped between two slices of soft white bread. This simple pimento cheese sandwich is a dietary staple across the South. It's a quick snack for kids and a go-to dish at church gatherings.
In addition to sandwiches, pimento cheese is used as a spread for crackers, a dip for celery and carrots, and a topping for baked potatoes. Restaurants like The Varsity in Atlanta famously use it as a burger topping.
The specific origins of pimento cheese are uncertain, but it became widely available in the early 1900s after developing on Southern farms.
Today, mass-produced pimento cheese sold in supermarkets contains artificial ingredients for color and texture. But authentic homemade pimento cheese is easy to make at home with just shredded cheese, mayo, pimentos, and simple seasonings.
Key Takeaway: Pimento cheese is a Southern staple often served on white bread sandwiches. Authentic versions contain just cheese, mayo, and pimento peppers.
Comparing Pub Cheese and Pimento Cheese
While pub cheese and pimento cheese are two of the most popular cheese spreads in the US, they have some distinct differences:
- Pub cheese is made primarily with cheese and sometimes beer or ale. Different varieties of cheese like cheddar, gouda, and smoked gouda are commonly used.
- Pimento cheese contains shredded cheddar, mayonnaise, and pimento peppers as the core ingredients.
- Pub cheese often has a smoky, beer-infused flavor from the addition of smoked cheese or liquid smoke.
- Pimento cheese gets a mild spiciness from the pimentos. Some recipes add jalapeños or hot sauce for extra heat.
- Pub cheese has a very soft, spreadable consistency. Some versions are nearly smooth like a cheese dip.
- Pimento cheese tends to have a chunkier, thicker texture with visible shreds of cheese. It's spreadable but not as smooth and creamy as pub cheese.
- Pub cheese is classically served with crackers and veggies for dipping at bars.
- Pimento cheese is most often spread on white bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
- Pub cheese is served throughout the country but is especially popular in Midwest/Northern regions like Wisconsin.
- Pimento cheese is strongly associated with the Southeastern US and Southern food traditions.
Making Your Own Pub Cheese or Pimento Cheese
With just a few simple ingredients, you can easily make homemade pub cheese or pimento cheese from scratch.
For pub cheese, combine shredded cheeses like cheddar with beer, cream cheese, and seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onions, or mustard. The cheese can be ground together using a food processor for a smooth dip or left chunky.
To make pimento cheese, shred sharp cheddar cheese and fold in mayonnaise, diced pimentos, and spices like paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add other shredded cheeses like Monterey Jack or spices like garlic powder to switch it up.
Making your own pub cheese or pimento cheese allows you to control the ingredients. You can avoid artificial additives and preservatives found in store-bought versions. Homemade also tastes incredibly fresh and flavorful!
Key Takeaway: Pub cheese uses cheese and beer while pimento cheese uses cheddar, mayo, and peppers. Both are easy to make at home.
Is pimento cheese the same as pub cheese?
No, pimento cheese and pub cheese are different types of cheese spreads. While they are both soft and spreadable, pub cheese contains cheese and sometimes beer or ale while pimento cheese is made with cheddar, mayo, and pimento peppers.
What kind of cheese is used in pub cheese?
Popular cheeses for pub cheese are cheddar, gouda, and smoked gouda. The cheese gives pub cheese its distinctive flavor.
Does pimento cheese have to be refrigerated?
Yes, both pub cheese and pimento cheese need to be stored in the refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth. Keep leftover pub cheese and pimento cheese refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 1 week.
Can you freeze pimento cheese?
You can freeze homemade pimento cheese for longer storage. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before using. The texture may become more crumbly after freezing.
What is the traditional way to serve pimento cheese?
The classic preparation is a pimento cheese sandwich with the spread slathered on soft white bread with the crusts cut off. Pimento cheese sandwiches are a Southern staple.
What goes well with pub cheese?
Pub cheese is traditionally served with crackers and vegetables. The creamy, spreadable texture makes it perfect for dipping and spreading onto crackers.
Pub cheese and pimento cheese are two of the most beloved cheese spreads in American cuisine.
Pub cheese delivers a smoky, cheese-forward flavor often with beer notes, while pimento cheese offers a spicy creaminess from cheddar, peppers, and mayonnaise. Both pair perfectly with crackers and make memorable sandwiches.
Southern cooks may debate which one is better, but their popularity proves that both pub cheese and pimento cheese deserve a spot on the table.