Pimento (also spelled ‘Pimiento’) cheese is made with cheese, mayonnaise and pimento peppers. The versatile American spread called the ‘Carolina caviar’ or ‘Southern Pate’ is a delicious Southern classic.
What to do when you have some leftovers and want to avoid them going bad?
Can you freeze it?
Yes, pimento cheese can be frozen safely and still taste delicious as long as you know-how.
I’m going to tell you how to freeze the cheese so its shelf life will no longer dictate to you as to how quickly you must eat it.
What Happens When You Freeze Pimento Cheese?
People often ask if they can freeze cheese. The answer is yes. And no. It really depends what you want to use it for. Let me explain.
Due to its mayonnaise and cheese content, it doesn’t freeze well as it is. Its thawed texture will not look so great so don’t think you will be able to use it again as a dip or spread. There’s no getting around that it will look unappetizing.
I know some people say you can prepare it for use as a dip again by whizzing it up in a blender with a small amount of water until it’s smooth once more, but to me, that’s way too much of a compromise. Each to their own, but… no.
The flavor, however, of Pimento cheese that’s been frozen stays incredible. Not quite as good as fresh but still, pretty amazing. And, the most important thing to note is, Pimento cheese is not unsafe to freeze (as long as you freeze it properly and thaw it properly).
If it’s going to be used in a recipe where the texture doesn’t matter so much and/or it will get disguised in the cooking by other ingredients, Pimento cheese is then perfectly fine to freeze.
How To Properly Store Pimento Cheese in the Refrigerator
There are lots of inventive ways to use up your Pimento cheese so you don’t have to freeze it in the first place.
I would always advise you to cook with it first and then freeze whatever you’ve made wherever possible because it’s safer that way and the cheese will then retain more of its freshness and flavor.
Pimento cheese will store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks as long as it is well-sealed. If it’s not well-sealed, it won’t last long and should be binned after a few days in there.
Don’t take any risks because it’s a dairy substance that left too long could give you a really bad stomach.
You should take even less risk with Pimento cheese that has been made with homemade mayonnaise because of the lack of preservatives or homogenization. The homogenization process helps dairy products last longer. So our advice is, be ultra-careful.
The best way to tell if Pimento cheese has gone off is to smell it. Look for unusual texture, smell or flavor, and if in doubt, toss it out.
How to Safely Freeze Pimento Cheese
Here are 8 top tips for freezing Pimento cheese safely, without giving you and your loved ones food poisoning:
- If you are going to freeze Pimento cheese, then buy it as fresh as possible with the longest possible shelf life still on it.
- Freeze it as soon as possible, when it is at its freshest. Don’t have it in your refrigerator for 3 weeks and then freeze it just before it’s about to go off.
- Before freezing, put the Pimento cheese into plastic food wrap and then bundle it up as tightly as possible. Doing this will help the cheese to maintain some of its texture. Consider it as kind of like a corset for the cheese.
- You can, if you choose, divide it into several small amounts rather than one amount if you think you will likely thaw it out in stages.
- Place the wrapped pimento cheese bundle/s into a heavy-duty freezer bag, trying to remove as much air as possible before sealing, or alternatively an airtight freezer container. If the cheese is not airtight, it is a health hazard and can go off even in the freezer.
- Seal the packaging or container.
- Label and date the packaging. (Check out our top picks of freezer labels)
- Store the pimento cheese in your freezer for a maximum of 3 months. If you don’t eat it in that time, dispose of it.
How To Safely Thaw Pimento Cheese From Frozen
Along with the need to freeze Pimento cheese safely, you have to thaw Pimento cheese safely.
- Pimento cheese always should be thawed in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
- When you remove your bundles of cheese from the freezer you will see the cheese’s texture is dry and grainy and not smooth and creamy. This is a perfectly normal reaction to the cheese being frozen. It’s not a sign of anything remiss.
- Ensure the cheese is defrosted thoroughly before cooking.
- Once you thaw the cheese, cook with it quickly. Do not leave it hanging around in the refrigerator. It will last less time in there than when it was fresh even if you did happen to freeze it straight away.
- Once thawed, do not refreeze it. However, if you thaw it and cook with it (such as making cheese muffins or mac and cheese) then you can safely freeze those dishes for a few months.
Top Ten Frozen Pimento Cheese Recipes
You can use Pimento cheese in delicious recipes before freezing the whole dish, or you can cook with Pimento cheese after thawing the ingredient out.
There are lots of ways you can use this Southern classic. Pimento cheese is incredibly versatile and can go in anything from comfort food classics to Cordon bleu dishes.
Here are ten ways you can cook with Pimento cheese that’s been frozen and then thawed out where the texture won’t matter one little bit:
- Pimento Mac and Cheese
- Pimento Cheese Muffins
- Pimento Cheese Loaded Fries
- Pimento Cheese Grits
- Pimento Cheese Biscuits
- Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
- Pimento Cheese and Tomato Pie
- Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs
- Pimento Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- Pimento Cheese Omelet
I have to add a #11 in here. One dish I was recently introduced to was Pimento Cheese Roast Chicken. Oh my, it was out of this world! Just spread Pimento cheese under the chicken’s skin and add a dash of salt and pepper before roasting the bird in the oven.
The bird will be moist and juicy, brimming with flavor, and its skin will be melt-in-the-mouth crispy. You have my friend from North Carolina, Bonnie, to thank for that recipe! Try it!
Conclusion: Is Freezing Pimento Cheese a Good Idea?
In summary, you can freeze Pimento cheese as long as you know its limitations when freezing it and you are very careful how you freeze it and defrost it.
Have you ever wondered what would make a good pimento cheese substitute?