These Pimento Cheeseburgers bring the addictively creamy, mildly sweet heat of pimento cheese to the top of a juicy burger! Amped up with a special ingredient, you will want these burgers to be a part of all your summer gatherings.
This post is sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council. As always, all opinions are my own.
THE GLORY THAT IS PIMENTO CHEESE
My first real encounter with pimento cheese happened in 2015. Prior to that time, my only association with it was one of skepticism when I’d pass it in the grocery store, leering at me from the dip aisle in its plastic container. Surely nothing in the natural world can be that orange!
Then, in 2015, we took a family vacation to Charleston, SC. We ate our way through all the Southern favorites–buttermilk biscuits, shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and fried green tomatoes.
One day, as we strolled through Sullivan’s Island farmer’s market, I spotted a local cheese maker and made a bee-line for her booth. She had all sorts of tempting cheeses, but when I asked for her favorite, she handed me a tub of pimento cheese spread and emphatically said, “Put this on a burger.”
Not one to argue with a fromager, I handed over the cash and hurried home to give it a try.
I will be completely honest with you: it was a revelation. So creamy! So cheesy! So wonderfully spreadable and dippable!
For the remainder of the week, I ate that cheese on everything–smeared on Honey Bacon Biscuits in the morning, spooned onto a tomato sandwich for lunch, and yes, slathered on top of a burger for one decadently cheesy and delicious dinner.
By the time we headed home, the container was empty, but I knew I’d be recreating the Pimento Cheese Burger at home.
I did A LOT of research on pimento cheese, and finally settled on a recipe that I feel gets the right balance of cheesiness, creaminess, spreadability, and flavor.
The result? The quintessential summer burger, perfect for cookouts, backyard BBQs, or any old weeknight you feel like a cheeseburger is in order.
- CHEESE: You’ll need both cream cheese (softened to room temperature) and shredded cheddar for this recipe. If you’re trying to decide between sharp or mild cheddar, remember that sharp cheddar gives off a stronger flavor from having been aged longer than its mild counterpart.
- MAYONNAISE: Combined with the cheeses, mayo is an essential part of the creamy texture you want here.
- PIMENTOS: A relative of the red bell pepper, these small, round peppers are known for their unique flavor with just a touch of heat. This recipe calls for a 4 oz. jar of them, and you can find them at most major grocery stores near the pickles or olives.
- TABASCO SAUCE: Different from run-of-the-mill hot sauce, Tabasco sauce’s signature vinegar-based tang blends well with the heat from the peppers that are used to make the sauce.
- OLD BAY SEASONING: This is the unexpected ingredient that really takes it over the top. Old Bay Seasoning might be a new spice blend for you, but its origins in the U.S. date back to the late 1930s when a German refugee combined 18 spices and named the savory concoction for a ship line in Chesapeake Bay. Here, it adds its unique flavor to both the pimento cheese AND the burgers. We also use it in our favorite Hot Crab Dip and for Air Fryer Fish Sandwiches.
- VEGGIES FOR SERVING: We recommend tomatoes, red onion, and lettuce for jazzing up these already-amazing pimento cheese burgers.
- GROUND BEEF: We always recommend using 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef for juicy burgers. Ground beef is an affordable and filling option that provides 25 grams of protein and 10 essential nutrients in one 3 ounce package. It’s also an excellent source of iron, which came in handy during my pregnancies. Suddenly my beef cravings made sense!
HOW TO MAKE PIMENTO CHEESEBURGERS
- Make the pimento cheese spread. You’ll want to use either a stand mixer or a handheld mixer to blend together the cheeses, mayonnaise, pimentos, Tabasco sauce, Old Bay Seasoning and salt. Blend on medium speed until it’s got the perfect creamy, spreadable, lick-the-spoonable texture. Feel free to add salt to fit your preferences.
- Prepare the patties! Using your hands, gently combine the raw meat with Old Bay Seasoning, salt, and pepper. (Yep, it’s that easy! The seasoning does allll the heavy lifting here when it comes to the flavor of these burgers.) Form into four equally-sized patties.
- Grill it or skillet! Fire up the grill or a cast iron pan to medium-high heat. If you’re using a cast iron skillet, add a pat of butter and let it melt. Grill or fry the burgers for 4-5 minutes on each side, flipping only once, or until you reach an internal temp of 160 degrees for medium burgers. Add big scoops of the pimento cheese to the top of the burgers and cover for the last two minutes of cooking time to allow the cheese to melt. See below for our grilling tips.
- Butter your buns (but don’t call yourself a biscuit). This is optional, but we absolutely recommend buttering the sandwich buns and grilling them alongside the burgers for about a minute.
- Dress up your amazing Pimento Cheese Burgers! Serve burgers with slices of lettuce, red onion, tomato, and more pimento cheese if desired.
BURGER GRILLING TIPS AND TRICKS
For perfect grilled burgers, follow these simple tips
- Use your thumb to indent the center- Making an indent in the center of your patty prevents it from puffing up in the center and allows for more even cooking.
- Oil your grill grates– Avoid mangling your burgers by starting with clean, oiled grates. You can oil them by spraying with cooking spray (BEFORE lighting the grill), or using a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil to wipe them down (my preferred method).
- High heat and minimal flipping: If you want those perfect grill marks, be sure to preheat to medium/high heat and minimize your flipping. The burger has to have time to sit on the grates undisturbed to get the grill mark.
- Never press burgers down– Nothing hurts me more than watching someone press their spatula into a burger patty and seeing all those delicious juices run out. We want all those juices in our burgers, not at the bottom of the grill.
For even more tips, be sure to visit our in-depth post on How To Grill Burgers.
Skirt steak, flank steak, and ribeye are also wonderful options for the grill (try my Flank Steak Sandwiches or Cilantro Marinated Skirt Steak!). Ohio Beef has some great beef grilling guidelines for all of the different cuts.
HOW LONG CAN I STORE HOMEMADE PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD?
If you have extra, you can store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 10 days.
CAN I MAKE PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD AHEAD OF TIME AND FREEZE?
You can, but the texture will likely suffer for it. We recommend making it ahead of time and storing it in the refrigerator if you want to plan ahead for this recipe… or just have an emergency stash at all times.
THIS SPREAD IS LIFE. WHAT ELSE CAN I PUT IT ON?
Folks down south will be the first to tell you that it goes on…everything. There’s really no wrong answer here, but some of our favorites include using it for deviled egg filling, stirring it into your grits, spreading a layer between white sandwich bread, using crackers, Melba toast, or sliced veggies as a vehicle for getting it into your salivating mouth…You get the idea.
IS PIMENTO CHEESE A SOUTHERN THING?
Yep! The spice blend we used in our recipe may have originated in Maryland, but the concept of pimento cheese spread has thrived in the south.
North Carolina holds the distinction for being the state that consumes the most of this stuff, but we’re doing our part to get this delicacy into the hands of Midwesterners like us – and folks beyond.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH PIMENTO CHEESEBURGERS
Check out my post, Sides for Burgers and Hot Dogs, for plenty more side dish ideas for your next cookout!
MORE GREAT SUMMER BURGER RECIPES
We love crafting unique burger recipes! Try out these other favorites, or check out our entire collection of burger recipes on our sister site, Ground Beef Recipes.
- Taco Burgers
- Banh Mi Burgers with Quick Pickled Carrots
- Cajun Burgers
- Avocado Burgers
- Ranch Burgers
- Mushroom Swiss Burgers
For the pimento cheese:
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 ounce jar pimento peppers, drained and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- Salt, to taste
For the burgers:
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pat of butter (optional)
- Sliced tomato
- Leaf lettuce
- Sliced red onion
- In a stand mixer or a bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, Old Bay Seasoning, and Tabasco. Blend on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Season with salt to taste.
- In another bowl, gently combine the ground beef, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, divide the burger meat into four equal sized patties. Press your finger into the center of each patty so there's an indent. This will keep your burgers from doming in the center when cooked.
- Heat a grill or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. If you're using a cast iron skillet, add a pat of butter and let it melt. Grill or fry the burgers for 4-5 minutes on each side, flipping only once, or until you reach an internal temp of 160 degrees for medium burgers. Add big scoops of the pimento cheese to the top of the burgers and cover for the last two minutes of cooking time to allow the cheese to melt.
- Meanwhile, butter the sandwich buns and grill them alongside the burgers for about a minute. Serve burgers with slices of lettuce, red onion, tomato, and more pimento cheese if desired.
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