Pimiento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers

Chef Carla Hall makes her own crunchy crackers to serve with this cheese spread, a riff on a Southern classic. Slideshow: More Bar Snack Recipes 

Pimento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers
You can’t have a derby party without pimiento cheese. I just won’t allow it. This classic version from Carla Hall is made in the food processor and can be refrigerated up to one week in advance. While the butter crackers are highly recommended, use store-bought saltines and celery sticks if you’re tight on time. Photo: © CON POULOS
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

  • 2 tablespoons baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more for sprinkling

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, plus 3 tablespoons melted butter

  • 6 tablespoons canola oil

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water


  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped

  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)

  • 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Make the crackers

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse both flours with the baking powder, sugar, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Add the cubed butter and the oil and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and pulse just until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead several times. Divide the dough in half and form into two 1-inch-thick squares. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out 1 piece of dough to an 1/8-inch-thick square. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into twenty-four 2½-inch squares. Arrange the crackers on the prepared baking sheets, spaced 1/2 inch apart. Poke 4 rows of holes in the center of each cracker. Freeze the crackers until firm, 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the crackers with half of the melted butter; sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, shifting the pans halfway through. Transfer the crackers to a rack to cool. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 with the remaining dough.

Meanwhile, make the pimiento cheese

  1. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended. Scrape the pimiento cheese into a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving with the crackers.

Make Ahead

The pimiento cheese can be refrigerated for 1 week. The crackers can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

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