How to Make a Pimento Cheese Sandwich Like Dolly Parton Does

Updated: Apr. 26, 2023

When Dolly Parton celebrates the holidays, she always includes her pimento cheese sandwich recipe. Here's how she makes this easy, savory snack.

Dolly Parton loves spending time in the kitchen at Christmastime. She says, “My mouth waters when I just think about my holiday dishes.” Those dishes include her biscuits, sweet butterscotch pie and famous chicken and dumplings. Here’s another recipe you’ll find on the table at Dolly’s family gatherings: a pimento cheese sandwich. The tangy cheese mixture is also served as a dip at Dollywood, paired with a side of crispy pork rinds.

Here are more Southern foods Dolly loves.

What Is a Pimento Cheese Sandwich?

Toh 3 2 Dolly Parton Pimento Cheese Sandwich Gettyimages 1439345358 Nancy Mock For Toh JveditNancy Mock for Taste of Home, Getty Images

Pimentos (or pimientos) are small, heart-shaped peppers with a slightly sweet flavor. You can find them at stores in small jars or cans, and they may be whole, sliced or diced. Pimento cheese is a cheese spread made with these diced peppers, soft cheeses, mayonnaise and diced pickles. Onion, spices and hot sauce may also be added.

To make a pimento cheese sandwich—a favorite Southern comfort food—spread this mixture between pieces of soft white bread. Serve them for a light lunch or as an appetizer.

How to Make a Pimento Cheese Sandwich

ingredients for a pimento cheese sandwich on a plateNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Dolly’s recipe makes 6 whole sandwiches. They can also be cut into halves or quarters to make appetizers.


  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons diced dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons diced pimentos
  • 2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and grated
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 12 slices of good white bread (like Pepperidge Farm Sandwich Bread)

Editor’s Tip: Grate your own cheddar cheese for pieces that will easily blend into the mixture. Pre-shredded cheese will work too, but the shreds will keep their shape in the mixture.


Step 1: Combine the ingredients

Dolly Parton Pimento Cheese Sandwich.toh.nancy Mock 2 JveditNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Put the shredded cheddar cheese and softened cream cheese in a large bowl. Mash them together with a large spoon or fork. Add in the diced pickles, diced pimentos, mayonnaise, grated hard-boiled egg, salt and pepper. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined.

Step 2: Spread the cheese mixture on the bread

Dolly Parton Pimento Cheese Sandwich.toh.nancy Mock 3 JveditNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Divide the pimento cheese mix between six slices of white bread, and spread it evenly over each slice (feel free to cut the crusts off the bread). Top each one with the remaining slices of bread.

Step 3: Slice and serve

Dolly Parton Pimento Cheese Sandwich.toh.nancy Mock 6 JveditNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Use a sharp knife to slice the sandwiches into halves. Or, slice each sandwich into four squares and skewer each one with a toothpick to make appetizers.

Editor’s Tip: You can also omit the white bread and serve the spread as a dip instead. Spoon the pimento cheese into a small serving bowl and place it on a plate with crackers, bagel chips or Melba toast.

Here’s What I Thought

These sandwiches are very tasty—and it’s a little too easy to keep eating one after another. Diced pickle gives the cheese spread a nice crunch. It’s pretty too, with red and green flecks throughout. I’d recommend adding a dash of pickle juice to the cheese mixture to cut the richness, and cayenne pepper, hot sauce or diced jalapeño to give the spread a little kick.

How to Make Dolly’s Recipe Your Own

Make an elevated grilled cheese

Spread both sides of an assembled pimento cheese sandwich with butter. Toast it in a skillet over medium heat until golden-brown and gooey, about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Put a cheesy twist on a BLT

Lightly toast slices of white bread. Spread the slices with pimento cheese, then fill the sandwich with fresh lettuce, tomato slices and two pieces of crisp, cooked bacon.

Create a pimento breakfast sandwich

Spread pimento cheese on a toasted English muffin. Add a fried egg and your choice of breakfast sausage, bacon or Canadian bacon. Add a splash of hot sauce if desired.