The Pie Queen's Perfect Pimento Cheese Pie

This singularly Southern recipe will have you coming back for seconds.

Pimento Cheese Pie
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a latecomer to pimento cheese. Growing up in Southern California, it just wasn't part of my family's food repertoire. It also wasn't exactly readily available at my local bodega in New York City, where I lived for most of my adult life, and even if it was, I wouldn't have known about it.

It wasn't until moving to South Carolina last year that my husband surprised me with a small tub of this cheesy Southern delicacy from our local Publix along with a disclaimer: "I don't know if you're going to like this," he cautioned.

His logic wasn't wrong. I tend to steer clear of most mayonnaise-based foods, with the rare exception of tuna melts, which I love, open-faced, light on the mayo, and topped with gooey melted Cheddar and Gruyère.

Similar to a tuna melt, when done right, pimento cheese is fairly simple, but it packs a big flavorful punch. Lots of cheese bound together with a little mayo and bursting with tiny flavor bombs of pimento peppers. I devoured that small Publix tub in no time and have been a die-hard fan ever since.

So, when it came time to take my newfound pimento cheese obsession to the next level, I immediately turned to Brie Golliher. Unlike me, Brie, who goes by the moniker "Pie Queen of Bowling Green," is a tried and true Southerner who has baking in her blood.

"I'm a hostess at heart and I love to serve others," Golliher told me over the phone recently. "Being in the kitchen is my therapy. Along with my two boys, it's my whole heart."

Brie's passion for baking and serving others has been the success story that every small business owner dreams of. Along with her husband Brad, the couple took over Boyce General Store in Bowling Green, Ky. in 2012, where they've served everything from pies to Friday night fish frys and a wildly popular pimento cheeseburger over the years.

"As long as the Pie Queen has been a thing, there's been pimento cheese pie," Brie said.

Both savory and sweet, the one thing she said the store couldn't keep on the shelves were her pies, and in October 2020, Brie made the pandemic pivot into baking pies full time.

"I was able to make the leap that I might never have been able to make otherwise, and it's been the biggest blessing ever," Brie told me.

Today, in addition to the General Store, Brie runs a mobile pie wagon delivering her famous homemade pies to food festivals and farmers' markets across the state. She also ships her pies and themed packages like her "SurPieval Box" to help promote other small business owners across the country.

In her spare time, she runs a successful social media channel @thepiequeen_bg, which is full of how-tos and easy-to-follow recipes, including her recipe for her signature savory pimento cheese pie.

"The beauty of pimento cheese pies is that the recipe can be adjusted depending on the season," Brie said. "In the summertime, I like to put tomatoes in it because that's when they're at their best. In the winter, I'll add a little extra bacon. This is a pie you can really have some fun with."

Here's a look at the Pie Queen's signature savory Pimento Cheese Pie.

Pimento Cheese Pie
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

The Pie Queen of Bowling Green's Signature Savory Pimento Cheese Pie

The signature savory option at The Pie Queen, Brie Golliher's recipe for Pimento Cheese Pie can be baked all year-round. Perfect during the summertime when tomatoes are in their prime, or for Thanksgiving—sub the tomatoes for extra pieces of bacon and pop it in the oven first thing in the morning so you can continue to snack on it all day, Golliher said.

The pickled jalapeños give it a good kick and are an ode to Golliher's grandmother who would always add them to her pimento cheese pie recipe. Most importantly, the flaky crust with its gooey filling is a delightful and easy-to-make dish that will have you coming back all year round.

Of course, if you're looking for a quintessentially Southern comfort food, pimento cheese always stands on its own, no matter the season.


Pie Crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup lard (cold or room temperature)

  • 2 pinches salt

  • ½ cup ice water

Pimento Cheese Filling

  • 1 large local tomato

  • 4 to 5 strips of bacon, cut into half-inch pieces

  • 2 cups shredded cheese mixture—preferably Colby and Cheddar with a thick feather shred

  • 1 (4-oz.) chopped pimentos, strained and set aside to dry

  • 1 (4-oz. can of pickled jalapeño, strained, chopped, and set aside to dry)

  • cup mayonnaise

  • Dash of pepper


For the Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. While the oven is preheating, combine the flour, salt, and lard in a large bowl, and mix with your hands until it's a crumbly texture. Very slowly, incorporate ice water until the dough starts to form. Adding water to your hands will help make the dough more pliable.

  3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough about 2 inches wider than your pie dish. Place the dough into your dish, and using cold water as the "glue" start folding over the edge all the way around the pan. Poke holes with a fork in the bottom of the pan, then blind bake the crust for 20 minutes.

  4. While your crust is in the oven, prepare the Filling. Set the crust aside to cool when it's finished baking.

For the Filling

  1. On a baking pan, cook bacon in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until crispy, and set aside on paper a towel to drain.

  2. While the bacon is in the oven, assemble the Pimento Cheese Filling: In a bowl, combine the shredded cheese, pimentos, jalapeno, and a dash of pepper until evenly distributed. (For best results, don't forget to strain the pimentos and set a few minutes aside to dry before adding them to the mixture.) Add in mayonnaise, and mix until it's combined.

  3. Set aside one tomato to top the pie, and dice the remaining tomato. Lightly salt the tomatoes, and place on paper towels to remove excess moisture.

  4. Once the pie crust has cooled, spoon enough Filling to completely cover the bottom of the pie. Next, layer the middle section with tomatoes and bacon. Add the remaining pimento cheese mixture, and place the slice of tomato on top.

  5. Bake in the oven at 350°F until slightly browned and bubbly for 35 minutes.

  6. This pie can be served immediately or at room temperature. Letting it cool to room temp will allow the filling to set a bit more. Cut into six gooey slices, and serve on a small plate solo or with a small side salad.


Don't be afraid to play around with this recipe. The filling can be easily adjusted to include more or even no tomatoes, bacon, or the cheese mixture of your choice. Best served slightly warm and with good friends, these are equally—if not even more—delightful in mini-pie format.

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