Pimento Macaroni and Cheese

Pimento macaroni and cheese in a skillet with spoon

Pimento Macaroni and Cheese is hard to resist. It’s a luxuriously easy skillet mac with the legendary flavors of pimento cheese folded in. If you’re a pimento cheese lover, I’ve got your new favorite dinner.

macaroni and pimento cheese in a skillet

This easy pimento mac and cheese got raves!

I’m the mac and cheese lover in this house, Grant doesn’t like it…until now. He couldn’t stop raving about this recipe. Every time he reheated a bowl for himself he reminded me that he doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, or pasta at all, for that matter, but he loves this. I must have heard that five times. So here it is, the mac and cheese that converts mac and cheese haters to ravers.

Pimento macaroni and cheese in a cast iron skillet

Shopping list for pimento macaroni and cheese

Let’s get right to the important stuff, what you’re gonna need to whip this baby up!

  • your favorite mac and cheese pasta ~ it might be elbows, rotini, or cavatappi, like I used. I like the dramatic swoop of this pasta, and it grabs a lot of that amazing sauce.
  • some amazing cheddar cheese. The sharper the flavor the better, so look for aged cheddar. It gets more flavorful as it ages.
  • pimentos.  You could buy the itty bitty jar of minced pimentos, but I recommend looking for the whole jarred peppers. They’re much better and you’ll get more of them.
  • smoked paprika ~ one of my favorite spices. You can get it hot or mild.
  • whole milk (and a bit of cream to enrich the sauce, but the cream is optional.)
  • Ritz crackers for the crumb topping (use other crackers or seasoned bread crumbs if you prefer)
  • butter
  • flour
  • salt and pepper

 

ingredients for mac and pimento cheese

What are pimentos?

A pimento or cherry pepper is a variety of red chili pepper. They’re small and round, and bright red. Pimentos are super sweet and mild, too. You probably know them as the little red things stuffed inside of green olives.

What is pimento cheese?

Pimento cheese is a Southern concoction of cheddar and cream cheese (and sometimes mayo) mixed with pimentos and other ingredients to be used as a dip or spread. It has a cult following.

Macaroni and pimento cheese ready for the oven

Why I love this mac & cheese recipe

This recipe has that magical combination of being easy to make, comforting and familiar, but unique at the same time. Mac and cheese can be ho hum and this brings it to life again.

A few tasty variations on this mac and pimento cheese

  • If you’re into spicy foods then either use hot paprika, or add some hot sauce to the recipe.
  • Worcestershire sauce is a common pimento cheese addition, so add a few dashes if you love it.

a bowl of pimento macaroni and cheese

 

WANT TO TRY THIS PIMENTO MAC & CHEESE?

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Pimento macaroni and cheese in a skillet with spoon
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5 from 7 votes

Pimento Macaroni and Cheese

Pimento Macaroni and Cheese is an easy skillet mac with the flavors of pimento cheese. If you're a pimento cheese lover, it'll be your new favorite dinner!
Course 30 minute dinner
Cuisine American
Yield 6 servings
Author Sue Moran

Equipment

  • a 10 inch cast iron skillet (or comparable sized baking dish)

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces cavatappi pasta (or elbows, or rotini)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (yellow or white is fine) shredded
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pimentos (I used a 5 ounce jar of whole pimentos)

crumb topping

  • 1/2 cup Ritz cracker crumbs (process them in a food processor or crush them in a baggie with a rolling pin)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325F and lightly butter a 10 inch cast iron skillet.
  • Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk in the flour, paprika, and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly.
  • While whisking, add the milk and cream slowly to avoid lumps. Whisk or stir with a silicone spoonula until all the milk and cream are incorporated. Keep cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture ALMOST comes to a boil, and thickens. Do not let it boil.
  • Remove the pan from the heat (this is important) and let it cool for a minute or two.
  • Add the shredded cheese to the pot, stirring until the cheese has completely melted. This may take a few minutes. If necessary you can put the pot back on the stove to gently heat until the cheese melts.
  • Stir in the pimentos and cooked pasta and turn into your buttered skillet.
  • Mix the cracker crumbs with the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly saturated.
  • Top with the crumb mixture, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Pimento Mac and Cheese pin

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8 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Tara
    September 4, 2021 at 10:41 am

    5 stars
    Such a flavor-packed skillet Mac and cheese! I absolutely love the addition of those spices. Great contrast in texture with the ritz cracker crumbs on top too!

  • Reply
    Cyndy
    September 4, 2021 at 10:35 am

    5 stars
    I looooove pimento cheese! It’s so under-utilized in my opinion! This was insanely delicious and kind of addicting!

  • Reply
    Kristen
    September 4, 2021 at 10:22 am

    5 stars
    This was truly so tasty! We can’t wait to make it again! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. 🙂

  • Reply
    Michele
    September 4, 2021 at 10:01 am

    5 stars
    Comfort food at its best! Love the addition of the pimentos. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Beth
    September 4, 2021 at 9:33 am

    5 stars
    This combination is a real winner. I loved every last bite of it.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 4, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Thanks Beth, I’m glad you loved it!

  • Reply
    Janelle
    August 6, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Oh my gosh! Definitely making this. My two favorites rolled into one. Thanks Sue!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 4, 2021 at 7:49 am

      Such a simple tweak makes this so delish!

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