Pimento Cheese with Bacon Jam – Homemade pimento cheese spread is perfectly paired with a tangy, sweet onion bacon jam and served on a toasted piece of white bread or your favorite crackers.
Living in Atlanta has enriched my life in so many ways, but none more than through my stomach. Southern food has been such a culture shock to me but a welcomed one for sure!
One food that was introduced to me for the first time while living in Atlanta was pimento cheese. Growing up in Florida in a Latino household, pimento cheese was never something we’d heard of, let alone tried. But as soon as I stepped foot into Atlanta, it seemed that I was seeing pimento cheese everywhere.
Pimento cheese has become a favorite snack of mine so I wanted to make my own recipe. One of my favorite ways to enjoy pimento cheese has been to spread it on a piece of buttered, white toast with a dollop of bacon jam. The sweet and smokey flavor of the jam is the PERFECT pairing with the tangy cheese spread.
Without further ado, check out my version of Pimento Cheese & Bacon Jam!
What is pimento cheese?
When I first heard of pimento cheese, I thought it was just another name for pepperjack cheese. But I was wrong. Pimento cheese, at its core, is a cheese spread made from shredded cheddar cheese, mayo, and diced pimentos and served on crackers or a sandwich.
There are so many variations of pimento cheese out there: pimento cheese made with white cheddar or orange cheddar, pimento cheese served cold or warm, pimento cheese with cream cheese, pimento cheese with a variety of spices. So what kind of version did I make? See below to find out!
What is bacon jam?
Bacon jam is just a fancy name for caramelized onions reduced in vinegar, brown sugar, and maple syrup with little pieces of bacon. As the onions cook, they become jammy and perfect for spreading on this pimento cheese.
How is this recipe made?
This recipe is so basic. It’s simply shredded white cheddar cheese, diced pimentos, mayo, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, and a pinch of cayenne. The gamechanger in this recipe, however, is the smoked paprika. Smoked paprika adds a level of flavor that really makes the cheese pop. But don’t just buy regular paprika – it’s so important to make sure you find the smoked kind.
Now for the bacon jam. Bacon jam is made by cooking onions until they are super soft and then we add cooked bacon, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar and reduce the mixture to make it into a spreadable jam.
Tips & Tricks
As always, below are some tips to making sure this recipe comes out perfect:
- The quality of the cheese is super important since it is the major ingredient in the pimento cheese recipe. As such, please use high-quality sharp white cheddar cheese for this recipe and you’ll notice a tremendous difference.
- When making the bacon jam, the longer you cook the onions, the better the jam will be. You don’t want to bite into your bacon jam and hit a crunchy onion. Yucky.
- The roasted pimentos can carry a lot of excess water. As such, it’s important that you drain them before adding to the cheese – otherwise, your pimento cheese mixture will be watery and gross.
And there you have it – a wonderful pimento cheese spread to serve at any event. Or you can make pimento cheese and bacon jam sandwiches to eat on their own or for your next brunch event!
Pimento Cheese with Bacon Jam
For the pimento cheese:
- 16 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup diced roasted sweet pimentos
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- toast wedges, crackers for serving
For the onion bacon jam:
- 1 pound bacon
- 1 medium sweet onion diced
- 3 shallots minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Shred sharp white cheddar cheese into a medium bowl. Add mayo, mustard, paprika, salt, and diced pimentos to bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon until mixture is completely combined. If you desire a creamier texture, add more mayo, as needed. Set aside and prepare the bacon jam.
- Using kitchen shears, cut bacon into small pieces. Place sauce pan on stove and heat to medium. Add bacon pieces and cook until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from saute pan.
- Return pan to heat and set to medium low. Add diced onion and minced shallots to pan and cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, brown sugar, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and cooked bacon to onion mixture. Bring mixture to a simmer and then reduce to low until consistency turns jammy and liquid reduces, about 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Transfer pimento cheese and bacon jam to separate serving bowls. Serve alongside toasted white bread or butter crackers.