pimento cheese potato bites

Sorry, I blinked and missed 2016 in that way that happens when you’re so deeply in it, you forget to look up. I went from having one kid and a tiny bundle wrapped in a blanket to have two real-live mobile children and they are impossibly cute and exhausting and I wouldn’t want it any other way except for maybe once a week if we can find a babysitter. Like all parents ever, I think my seven year-old says amazing things, such as when he told us this weekend we needed to get our New Year’s Revolutions ready. My 17-month old is a tempest of curls and a blur of frenetic energy and whenever she exhibits, ahem, “low frustration tolerance” people decide this is the perfect time to tell me how much we are alike, not sure what that’s about… Both kids got serious birthday cakes and for once, my husband did alright too. I got to go on a surprise birthday trip to Mexico City without kids (!) and then we went to Portugal with two children, had a great time, and even remembered to bring the same two children home with us. If we can do that, we can do anything, right?

baked alaskachocolate peanut butter icebox cake

More relevant to this space, Smitten Kitchen turned 10 years old and I wrote some completely earnest stuff about 10 years of food blogging. I also gave a completely terrifying keynote address at a conference. This site was at last redesigned, the culmination of a multi-year and multi-design team effort to release this site from my circa 2006 attempts at CSS. This was a challenge and a life lesson in accepting that sometimes 95% done, at least for websites is good enough. (That said, we tweak things every week. I expect it to be perfect by 5 years from now, precisely in time for the next redesign.) I finished (well 95% again, but not the kind I’m at peace with because I’m the kind of author that gives publishers ulcers) a cookbook and then I let 13 people with cameras and mics and lights wreck havoc on my apartment one day (more soon on both of these). I hosted my first Thanksgiving and also we started having people over almost every other week because have you ever been at a restaurant with a toddler? Suddenly the idea of cooking even for 11 people on the regular is wildly more appealing. I enjoy the results this has had on my cooking, too, figuring out which meals scale easily, can be prepped in advance and accommodate various diets.

Although my updates here have been slower for parts of this summer and fall than almost any other year, I really love what we’re cooking here more than ever, a mix of the practical (sheet pan dinners, pumpkin bread, avocado toast, everyday meatballs, the platonic ideal of blueberry muffins, spaghetti pie and a taco torte) and the terrifying (Baked Alaska, towering Russian cakes and more). I am forever trying to find my footing in the kitchen, trying to find a balance between the ambitious stuff that fuels me but also, you know, dinner, dinner I’m actually excited to make and eat. These lists look like we’re almost getting there.

Best of 2016

2016 smitten kitchen favorites, savory

Most Popular Savory Recipes

  1. Chicken Chili
  2. Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka
  3. Nolita-Style Avocado Toast
  4. Root Vegetable Gratin
  5. Summer Squash Pizza
  6. Everyday Meatballs
  7. Brussels Sprouts Apple and Pomegranate Salad
  8. Chicken Gyro Salad
  9. Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Soup
  10. Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche
  11. Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt
  12. Spaghetti Pie with Pecorino and Black Pepper

2016 smitten kitchen favorites, sweet

Most Popular Sweet Recipes

  1. Pumpkin Bread
  2. Homemade Irish Cream
  3. Chocolate Caramel Crunch Almonds
  4. Confetti Cookies
  5. Blood Orange Almond and Ricotta Cake
  6. Belgian Brownie Cakelets
  7. Strawberry Milk
  8. Russian Honey Cake
  9. Apple Strudel
  10. Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Slab Pie
  11. The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Revisited
  12. Failproof Crepes + A Crepe Party
2016’s Flops and Rejects

This is my favorite part of year-end round-ups: a sampling of the many things that never got out of dev, a veritable Festivus of aired cooking grievances. (Will you share your own?)

not how you make tergoulebuffalo wing caramel corn smothered cabbage flopbuttermilk pancakes

    • A failed attempt at tergoule. I understand that you need a deeper pot. And also not to burn it.
    • I made buffalo wing caramel corn from Bon Appetit and it was good but I like my miso caramel popcorn better.
    • I seem to be the only person on the food internet that has not found nirvana in Marcella Hazan’s famous smothered cabbage. My savoy cabbage burned; I had better luck with heartier white cabbage.
    • I made all the best-rated buttermilk pancake recipes I could find and didn’t like any of them. I mean, we liked them but none were what I was looking for.

a fattoush-ish saladdown with filo eggplant parmesan tianthe only way to grill corn

• After having one of my favorite meals of the year at Damas in Montreal, I came home and attempted to make their fattoush salad as I remembered it. I have not a single complaint about it, I just didn’t jot down my measurements, like some sorta noob.
• 2016 was not the year I made peace with my mortal enemy, storebought filo.
• Every summer I make this thing I call an Eggplant Parm Tian and every summer I swear I’ll publish it but I lose interest before we finish it. I don’t know what it’s missing but perhaps I’ll figure it out in 2017.
• I wanted to rant about the only great way to grill corn but then decided there were enough bossy rants on the internet.

handmade trofie with pestomy favorite spinach quichea master lesson in apple tarte tatincharred chilis and more for chili

• I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole and when I emerged, I decided that making trofie pasta, a wonderful shape that requires only a cutting board and knife, no pasta machines, was something easily pulled off. After a significant learning curve, indeed I did pull it off but it was not pro-level. I realized that the brilliance of pasta-rollers is that evenly thick pasta cooks, uh, evenly. These — half soft, half undercooked — did not.
• I went to update the photos for my old favorite spinach quiche and decided instead to make it party-sized. But I still like this photo.
• I begged Susan Spungen for an apple tarte tatin lesson and she obliged. “We” (ha, she) made this. I think in four more apple seasons, I will be seasoned enough to make one this stunning again without help.
• I charred the onions, garlic and chilis I used as a base for a no-bean chili and whoa, this little step changed everything. More on this soon, perhaps?

a chocolate olive oil cakea pasta bakesome pretzel stick grissini that floppeda gingerbread loaf that flopped

• This chocolate olive oil cake was not improved by my meddling.
• This is one of approximately 14 pasta bakes I made before settling on the one I wanted. But I still think it has potential.
• Let’s not even talk about my grissini/thin pretzel sticks flop. You know things are bad when salty carbs aren’t edible.
• Last week I worked on a one-bowl gingerbread loaf with pear and lemon and candied ginger and it was absolutely not up to snuff. But not because of the pear, lemon, or candied ginger so I’m going to get back to that next Christmas.

Something New

And at last, something that did not flop, not even a little. 10 years is too long for this website to have gone without pimento cheese, a Southern relish used in and on everything worth eating. Think of fromage fort or liptauer cheese as its European cousins. I said in my newsletter earlier this week that my goal this week was to pass off as many party snacks for dinner as I could, but I wasn’t joking. These potatoes (like twice-baked potatoes, except we’re going to boil them first so they’re less shriveled) are bite-sized and go quickly. I want to be at any party where you’re serving them.

what you'll needmaking pimento cheesereason # gazillion to buy a melon ballerhollowed and seasonedpacked and ready to bakepimento cheese potato bites

Pimento Cheese Potato Bites

  • Servings: About 42 bites
  • Print

This will make twice as much pimento cheese as you need. You can halve the cheese mixture so everything lines up, use double the potatoes (which you totally should for a crowd) or you can save the extra pimento cheese for everything that’s amazing with pimento cheese (grilled cheese and omelets are my top picks, my friends say we should put it on celery). You can easily pre-prep these, either by mixing the pimento cheese and boiling the potatoes one day (they’re easier to work with when cold, anyway) and chilling the potatoes for up to two days and the pimento cheese for up to a week, if needed, or by fully assembling them and baking them right before a party. They also reheat well. You can use the same approach for twice-baked full-sized potatoes, hooray.

Some potato-scooping tips: There’s a temptation to scoop them all out perfectly, but I find scooping out shallow round is sufficient once remixed to have a fully-flavored potato and it’s only when I attempt to cut further that I cut holes in the bottoms or rip the sides. Even if you do, however, the oiled foil will keep it from being too much of a mess.

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) baby potatoes (I used a mix of red and yellow)
  • 2 heaped cups (8 ounces or 225 grams) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, ideally a mix of yellow and white
  • 1/2 cup (2.75 ounces) finely chopped drained pimentos or roasted red peppers (from 1 4-ounce jar of pimentos)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 scallions, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • Cayenne or hot sauce, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Smoked hot or sweet paprika, more cayenne, chipotle powder and/or minced chives to garnish

Put potatoes in a large pot, cover them with two inches of water, set them over high heat and set your time — as soon as you turn on the flame — for 25 minutes and bring to a boil. When the timer rings, the potatoes are either done or need up to 5 minutes more. If a skewer goes in them easily, they’re done. Drain and let cool until you can pick them up. Or, you can chill them for up to 2 days, until needed.

Meanwhile, make the pimento cheese by mixing the cheddar(s), pimentos, mayo, scallions, celery salt and cayenne or hot sauce together until evenly combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Either use this right away or keep it chilled for a week, until needed.

Cover a large baking sheet with foil and lightly coat foil with nonstick spray. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness of skin and potato (essentially, you want to leave a shell inside for stability). A melon baller makes easy work of this. Arrange potatoes on prepared baking sheet. Season cavities with salt and pepper. Mash the potato centers in a bowl until smooth and mix with half (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) of prepared pimento cheese. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Use a small spoon, butter knife or small offset spatula to press/pack filling back into emptied potatoes, smoothing the tops. Nestle them in the pan tightly to discourage them from toppling and spilling their contents.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until melty and sizzling, then run under broiler until lightly browned on top. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving, garnishing with paprika and/or chives when you do.

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150 comments on pimento cheese potato bites

  1. Steph

    Oh god, I have no willpower whatsoever around pimento cheese. I will have to hurry up and get these in before Sunday, clearly.

    Also I’d like to toss in a contender if you’re still looking for the Perfect Buttermilk Pancake. You may have come across this one already (linked in the “Website” box) but if not, it’s definitely worth a try.

    1. Shelley Holt

      I’ve asked this a few times and I just may be really dumb but I cannot print a single recipe without getting 20 pages. Can anyone tell me how we can get a recipe without the pages of adds. Thanks so much.

      1. AJ

        Shelley: between where the recipe ends and where comments begin you’ll find “See More,” “Do More,” and “Rate This.” Click the printer icon under “Do More”; it’ll only print Deb’s post (more than just the recipe, but not 20 pages of ads).

  2. Charlotte in Toronto

    These look fantastic. I’ve so enjoyed your company this year. I know I can’t have a drink with you in person, but I made your homemade Bailey’s subbing in Canadian rye and drank it with people I love. I’m looking forward to spending more time with you in 2017. Have a happy and healthy New Year. You have been blessed with beautiful children who are lucky to have been born into the arms of such loving parents. xoxo

  3. mimi

    I made the chicken chili and my aunt made the pumpkin bread. Both were delicious and it’s clear that we both have good taste. Thanks for all your great work! Happy 2017!

  4. Of course you post this just as I’m boarding a plane to fly back home to Ohio from seeing family in Texas. I feel like this may well fill the space of missing the Lone Star State (though not missing the eighty degree days we just had here — yuck). Congrats on a great year — a great decade! — and here’s to many more.

  5. Liz

    Buttermilk pancakes – have you tried the America’s Test Kitchen one that is in their Best Recipes book (the big book with the white cover)? They are melt in your mouth divine! One of the steps in the recipe is mixing the egg yolk with the melted butter before adding it to the batter.
    My DH is a pancake snob and these are his favorite.

    1. deb

      Do you have a link to the book? It’s a sad thing when I don’t know *which* of their many, many books with “best recipes” in the title you mean. (I have a few, not all.) Thanks!

        1. deb

          Yeah, definitely don’t have that volume. I have a CI web subscription but what you describe doesn’t show up in their search. Would love to try it, thanks, deb at

    2. Hmmm I think I was able to find the CI recipe Liz is talking about online. If you have a CI web membership, I found it under two different names, but the content is the exact same, so I am assuming they have some weird naming duplication (which seems to happen with them from time to time): “Featherweight Pancakes” published Jan 1996 ( and “Light and Fluffy Pancakes” also published Jan 1996 (

    3. Kristin

      Oh yes–these are the best buttermilk pancakes! If it is the same CI recipe that I use (sounds like the same book), the genius of them is that you actually don’t have to use buttermilk! They give you the option of using whole milk with some lemon squeezed in. I make them all of the time.

      1. Jasmine

        This is the pancake recipe I use, BUT I double the amount of salt called for. It makes a big difference. The recipe as is tastes a little flat.

  6. Sandy Lentz

    Our excellent-cook son made homemade biscuits/ham/pimento cheese for Christmas dinner. Amazing! The only pimento cheese I’d ever encountered before was the stuff that came in little glass jars, which you were instructed to use as juice glasses after the contents were gone. I grew out of it in about third grade.
    Now comes this wondrous recipe, which I’m doing for New Years Eve (if not sooner!) Thanks, and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  7. Can I just say how appreciative I am that you post your dishes that are still in progress? It makes me remember that there still hope for my focaccia that rises 80%, half the time, or a beef stew that’s not overly greasy…
    Delving deep into Indian cuisine is my 2017 resolution, hopeful I’ll see some related recipes on here!

      1. Ellen N.

        I second the start here. I’ve had great success with many of your Indian recipes. I ate leftover red lentils with cabbage for breakfast. It’s a favorite in this household. I also love the black eyed pea/coconut curry, everyday yellow dal, cabbage with mustard seed dressing and red kidney bean curry.

  8. Byn

    I think I’ve made the Everyday Meatballs four times since you posted them, including once as part of a care package for friends that just had a baby (the granola from your book was in there too!). NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies are on deck for this weekend. Happy New Year!

  9. I’m so thrilled to finally see pimento cheese on my favorite food blog! Growing up in NC, my Mema always had a mushy, overly-mayo’d store-bought version in her fridge. It wasn’t until maybe 5 years ago that I discovered just how delicious pimento cheese can be… and now I want to eat it all the time, on just about anything.

  10. Kristin

    Have your tried sweet savory life buttermilk pancakes? They are a favorite with my boys and so easy (one bowl!) I think the cook is Alice Currah? And the website sweet savory life. Her gingerbread pancakes are good for kids (though probably not spicy enough for your tastes 😊)

  11. Peirogi, epic fail, for some reason I thought wonton wrappers could be substituted for the dough. No. Ribs, with too much dry rub, even the dog was not sure about eating them. Fudge, it needed something..

    Cooking is really a time intensive labor of love. I realized this when I spent three hours making perfect little wontons, only to see a bag of them frozen at Costco for less than the ingredients cost.

    1. Kathleen

      But the ones from Costco won’t taste the same… a great back up, but never as good as freshly made ones crimped with love :)

  12. Natalie

    The bit about cooking for 11 being far preferable to a restaurant with toddlers is exactly where I am in life. Especially when your friends have toddlers too and you work full time – 6 adults, 5 children does not equate to a lovely dinner out. The slow cooker and I are now friends for life and our Fridays are infinitely better for it. Also, the cocktails are cheaper and more rapidly refilled at home. :)

  13. elizabeth

    the chicken chili, meatballs and chicken tikka have become staples on my meal rotation! the whole family just loves everything i get from your website and i so enjoy reading your posts.

    1. deb

      Some ideas from the headnotes:

      This will make twice as much pimento cheese as you need. You can halve the cheese mixture so everything lines up, use double the potatoes (which you totally should for a crowd) or you can save the extra pimento cheese for everything that’s amazing with pimento cheese (grilled cheese and omelets are my top picks, my friends say we should put it on celery).

  14. Jennifer

    Okay, I gotta say…you’re not a fan of Marcella Hazan’s smothered cabbage; much as I love her, I detest her buttery tomato sauce. Ummm, maybe you think I’m ignorant of “real Italian food,” but I’ve wolfed down dinners on farms in Emilia-Romagna, the Italian Alps, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Sicily (where else, I forget over time). I just think that famous tomato sauce is a loser. Can’t figure out why everyone else is all over it.

    1. deb

      Butter. It’s the butter. But I know not everyone melts for butter and butter-enriched things; maybe you’re in that camp? For the cabbage, aside from the savory burning for me, I wanted a lot more onion and for it to be more caramelized and complex. I ended up tweaking it a lot.

    2. sparkgrrl658

      i have to say i love that tomato sauce, BUT with the huge caveat that it is not always (or even often) what i want when i think about pasta with red sauce. i think even though it is literally a tomato sauce, calling it that creates a certain expectation that it doesn’t meet.

      i also only like it after i’ve taken my immersion blender to it – i like a smooth sauce, and you can blend the whole soft onion in. i could eat it on its own instead of over pasta, with some bread or a grilled cheese.

      1. Molly

        You are so right! It is the expectation of a traditional tomato sauce – but hyped to be 1000x better – that ruins it for me. Maybe calling it “Tomato Butter Sauce” or similar would let it stand on it’s own; and I agree that the immersion blender is very necessary!

    3. Beth

      Jennifer I am with you! I have tried it and was not a fan. And I like butter…maybe just not in tomato sauce? I can’t figure out what everyone’s obsession is. If anyone has another great tomato sauce recipe, let me know so I can try it out!

  15. JP

    This question has haunted me for a long time. I even asked Cook’s Illustrated about it, but they never answered me. Can you make your own pimentos, and if so, what pepper do you buy to do that and how? I know you say you can use roasted red peppers (bell peppers), but they do not have the same flavor as real pimentos. All I ever see are those teeny bottles and they are pretty expensive.
    I just had a fail yesterday. I was making cottage cheese from some sour milk. I have done this before, and never had a problem with it, but this time, it tasted sour, not tangy. Nasty sour. I am not sure if my milk was too old or it was different because this milk was organic. It is always so disappointing when you are sure something should be great and it is a disaster! Happy new year to you, however, and thank you for sharing all with us!

    1. deb

      Thank you and yes, I know the frustration. (Mine today is about a book recipe I’ve made 5 times, now 7, and on the last 2 it’s fallen apart, whhhy.) I’m not sure everyone will agree, but I found the flavor of the jarred pimento to be no different from the flavor of jarred roasted peppers. I used Goya brand; even in Manhattan I was surprised the price was only $1.99 (maybe $2.99, which is less impressive). Regardless, I would absolutely use a homemade roasted red pepper skinned instead. Make a bunch and pickle the rest.

    2. Judy

      Although I live in Virginia, where the Civil War is alive and well in places, I am a Yankee and had no previous experience with pimento cheese in my life. I saw a short film called “Pimento Cheese Please!” in 2011 and learned what a source of familial pride each person’s recipe is. There are many different versions of the stuff, but EVERYONE agrees that the pimentos have to come from a jar to be authentic. You could make your own, but you’d be dishonoring the recipe. The film was highly entertaining and educational. I recommend it just for the fun of watching it.

    3. EL

      You can make your own pimientos. Essentially they are simply (as Deb says) roasted peppers. Recipes abound for roasting online so I won’t bore you with that. If you want to be authentic then you will use pimiento peppers to make your roast peppers. Otherwise just roast any red pepper (if you are poor like me, you’ll buy cheap green peppers and simply let them turn red by letting them sit out). if you like easily peeled and like to garden then the following are the type that I’ve found easiest to peel:

      I think you can get them through seed savers as well.

  16. EB


    This past week I have botched two things I cook often and usually well: roast chicken and (British) flapjacks. Very hard on my ego.

    1. deb

      I was cooking for someone who doesn’t eat beans so I basically hacked this sans beans and the liquid needed to cook them and created more of a body with two white onions, quartered, a few garlic cloves in their skin, 2 poblanos and 2 jalapenos, broiled them until charred, pulsed them in the food processor until finely chopped, sauteed it in olive oil to get the chili started and added the rest of the stuff, mostly water or beer and tomatoes and chicken, just cooking the chicken through and shredding it.

  17. Stephanie Ouellette

    You’re an inspiration, and I thank you for this space. I always know that when I need an idea, or have a specific dish in mind, your site always gives me a new perspective, method, or idea.

    Thank you for doing what you do.

  18. Happy New Year!! I know how you feel about 2016. I want to dig in my heels and scream stop pushing me to 2017, I’m not done with 2016, yet!!! I’ve made several of your recipes this year and I have to admit that I am always pleased, as well as hubby. Thank you for sharing your highs and lows in your family — I feel as if I’m a friend who dropped in. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

  19. Miriam Mc Nally

    Thanks for all the fun posts, I love the pics of your adorable kiddies.
    Have tried several recipes, and all were totally delicious. The summer squash pizza went down a treat here, unusually (my family are not into veggies!)
    Happy New Year from Ireland!

  20. Anna

    Thanks for the amazing round up and another year of being my favorite site on the internet! You make more amazing dishes than I ever will, but since my mom’s spanakopita recipe has been my standby “what to make if you need to impress people” recipe ever since I rented my first apartment 15 years ago (and also just my favorite food on the planet, maybe tied with your butternut squash and carmelized onion galette), I have a few tips about phyllo dough that I’m happy to share in case they are any value to you. I’ve used different brands and different kitchens but the consistency for me is: take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to warm up for half a day, then unroll it all the way, but cut it in half so you’re only dealing with 9×13 size sheets. Then hopefully the sheets are pretty much dry and separated (not damp and sticking to each other or too dry and cracking/breaking), but even if they aren’t being perfect, just find a half dozen sheets from the top or bottom that are in good shape and set them aside to be the last ones you use – the top will look pretty even if on the inside, some are torn. (I wouldn’t use any ones that are damp and really stuck together – any more than two layers and it won’t be flakey enough – but I don’t usually have that issue). Anyway, that’s pretty much it, nothing earth shattering. I hope you have better phyllo luck in 2017 and all around a great year!!! (PS – I’d be happy to share my spanakopita recipe if you’re interested! It would be an honor.)

    1. Judy

      not regarding this recipe, but wishes for a year full of many sloppy kisses, tremendous hugs from all you love and a year that leaves us all satisfied spiritually and emotionally. you help in doing the happy mouth and stomach part of life

  21. Oh man, I really hope you figure out that eggplant parm tian in 2017, that image is so beautiful and makes me miss summer so badly! Happy New Year! Thanks for another year of inspiration!

  22. Mel

    Something is clearly wrong with me because I have not made every recipe on your top ten lists. This will have to be fixed in the New Year. ;)
    Deb I want you to know (and I even commented on its page) that your chicken tikka is in CONSTANT rotation here (I’m talking virtually once per week). We are in love. It’s easy, tasty, and healthy. My SO loves it! And the ease! Did I mention the ease?! Sheet pan anything sounds great but yours is the only recipe I’ve had that I’ve actually loved. (Tried another from a “big name” website” and it was very lackluster). Also your avocado toast is amazing as well as the brownie cakelets :) Thank you SO much for all you do. I always smile when I see you’ve put up a new post – your writing and recipes are a bright light, a comfort, and a joy. Truly. Happy New Year to you and yours Deb! :)

  23. Garlic + Zest

    You’ve come a long way baby… 10 years is a huge milestone and you’ve been an inspiration to so many people — the fact that you still have to put dinner on the table like the rest of us makes you human — and endearing in an anti-Kim-Kardashian way. I love checking out the things that never made your blog… and I’ve got my own list of not quite up to pars… I might have to share them too! Happy New Year, Deb!

  24. J Woessner

    Pimento cheese? Pimento cheese! I grew up with a southern mama who made pimento cheese sandwiches for EVERY family trip we took by car. She would actually grind the cheese and pimentos through a hand cranked meat grinder. I like the visual appeal of these pimento-cheese potato apps MUCH better!

    This is my go-to fluffy buttermilk pancake recipe by Greg Patent:

    I have enjoyed your endeavors in the kitchen and watching your family grow, both, over the years. A happy, healthy 2017 to you, Deb!

  25. Kim

    Born-and-raised Louisianian here. My mother-in-law makes THE BEST pimento cheese. The secret- finely dice a few pickled jalapeno slices and throw in the mix. Life-changing.

    1. Kently

      AHHHHH I thought I was the only one who put pickled peppers in pimiento cheese! I’m from NC, and one of my chef friends I grew up with strongly implied that I was straying far beyond the experimental territory and had ended up in downright crazy land,!while my mother was simply confused. She asked, “well, if you wanted a little more zing, why didn’t you add a pinch of ground mustard like I told you?” Oh boy.

      Deb, I’m curious where you got your recipe! Will you share your source?

  26. sparkgrrl658

    so many of my favorite recipes are in this lineup. the sheet pan tikka, the everyday meatballs, the chicken gyro salad. made the pumpkin cheesecake recipe as a pie for thanksgiving this year and i think i’m going to have to make it every year now.

    also really excited for a pimento cheese recipe – something i’ve never made or even eaten but been wanting to try. and re: buttermilk pancakes, my favorite that i make every other weekend at least is this one from the kitchn altered just slightly. (a half recipe for just the two of us, and NO butter in the pancake mix. instead, cook the pancakes in melted butter [really who cooks pancakes in vegetable oil? sacrilege imo] as needed to grease the pan and serve with more on the side if you want, along with syrup of course.) they are good with or without fruit. stopped looking for pancake recipes after i made these. i still have a soft spot for those huge dinner plate sized floppy and evenly brown diner ones but…these are my go-to at home pancakes.

  27. JP

    My husband and I are very fond of Christopher Kimball’s Cloud Cakes.
    But I think, unlike many other recipes, pancakes are one of those things where everyone has their own nirvana. We love the absolute lightness and tang of these. Others might want something more substantial and hearty. I must admit, though, even though these are my favorite, there are very few pancakes I would turn down. Pass the maple syrup, please!

  28. Dania

    I must say your flops and reject are all very good looking…
    Re the filo pastry- what I do and it always works is I take 2 towels, wet them and ring them out very well until they are just a little damp. I then lay flat one towel on my working surface and lay on top- spread open, the entire filo package, I then cover the filo with the other damp towel and cover that one with a clean dry one. Every time I remove the towel to take out a filo sheet I try to do it as quick as possible and cover it again, the filo dries out in no time.
    If you don’t want to fuss so much with the layers and brushing an alternative way to work with it is to “wrinkle” the sheets in your hands and then just brush a little oil on top and in-between the crevices. you can arrange whatever filling in-between the wrinkled filo or layer them. This method makes the end result extre flaky-crunchy (and with extra crumbs everywhere…) .

  29. Woohoo!!! Congrats on 10 years blogging! I love seeing what recipes topped the lists. There are always some fun surprises on there I think:) Glad to see the homemade irish cream made the list. I made it and it was absolutely fabulous!!

  30. Toby

    Great post Deb. I also have come to peace with phyllo dough. I consider myself somewhat of a decent cook (others have told me so) but this one alludes me.

  31. Jenny

    I love, love, love that you have the guts to share your flops. Thank you so much for that, and for sharing a Southern recipe. Happy 2017!

  32. Kara

    The fact that you’re 10 now means that I’ve been reading you for 9 years, holy cow. Love you, Deb. Really, you’ve brought so much fun and deliciousness to our family, from everyday dinner recipes that I go back to again and again (nancy’s chopped salad, mango slaw with cashews and mint, baked tomato sauce, etc.) and festive holiday projects that my sister-in-law and I look forward to once a year (apple cider caramels, pumpkin cinnamon rolls) to try-it-once rabbit holes that I’ve followed you down (homemade goldfish crackers, homemade graham crackers, chocolate babka–good heavens, that was one of the best things I’ve ever made– homemade poptarts–okay, that one’s really easy, I’d make it once a week if our arteries could handle the buttery pastry). I just can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated you, for so many years now. . .and how much I appreciate that you’re still going, inspiring and sharing.

    Wow, I didn’t intend to go on and on, but I never comment! What I intended to share was my biggest flop of the year, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise. I suddenly thought of the tuna noodle casseroles that my mom used to make, and how much I loved that for dinner as a kid. So I decided to see if my girls would like it too. . .they like tuna, so I figured it wasn’t too much of a stretch. Of course I skipped the canned cream soups and made the homemade version, and it all looked so good coming together and going into the oven. On the dinner plate, though. . .even I really had to struggle to be an example of eating what’s in front if you even if it’s not your favorite. Ha! Tuna noodle casserole will not be coming out of the archives again.

  33. C

    Hi Deb, Happy almost-New Year! Discovered some new recipes that I didn’t notice before and rediscovered some inspirations; thanks! I’ve made the Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka and it was glorious! And the avocado toast and Root Vegetables Gratin were also both very delicious.

    1. Jen

      We love the Kitchn recipe too. I’ve been making it for years and now it’s the only pancake recipe my kids will eat! Following that method does indeed make a difference too. I’ve done it both ways (just mixing in whole egg vs separating and mixing in white separately) and seen a noticeable difference, and Slate tested it too and found the same ( I do find they can be a tad inconsistent though, so Deb if that wasn’t one of the recipes you tried and you wanted to give it the smitten kitchen touch, I certainly wouldn’t complain. :)

      1. deb

        Funny, this is the recipe that set me off. Made them a few times. Lovely out of pan, deflated a moment later. I made a bunch of others, found this was more common that I’d realized. I’ll get back to my hunt soon. :)

  34. Laceflower

    My big flop was macadamia brittle, for Cmas gifts. I didn’t make it to the hard crack stage so it was soft and sticky. Made another batch that was fine but DH and I are eating the failure, cause, hey, macadamia nuts, and it is better than the real brittle, although very sticky.
    Avocado toast yesterday at lunch, but your really big win for us is the summer squash pizza and DH is not a fan of zucs. Made a really bad face when I told him zuc pizza for dinner, how could I mix his worst food with one of his favourite foods!! He loves it, no more faces.
    I’ve been with you for 8 to 8.5 years and enjoy all the kiddo pictures. Happiest of 2017 to you all.

  35. Laceflower

    oh, forgot to say, my go to pancake recipe is Joy of Cooking’s buttermilk pancakes, which uses cake flour; just floats off the plate.

  36. Cy

    I have to say, love all your recipes! The pumpkin bread, amazing and practical. I switched the cinnamon for five spice on the top and wow! The meatballs and the squash pizza. I used some cheese straws ( your recipe) I had leftover from a party ( don’t know why there was any leftover, I think I didn’t bake them long enough)I used these for the croutons on top. Yes, that much better! I’m with you on the party snacks. We were thinking we would make nachos, but it might be these pimento pretties instead. You never fail me, Deb. Thank you and happy New Year!

  37. Other Judy

    Hi- I’m in the middle of making this and I have a tip. On boiling, I got a bunch of potatoes with cracked skins. I’m about to boil some more and I will prick a hole in each. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

    1. Thank you for this tip! I did try piercing the skins and still got some splitting– for the bigger potatoes, maybe a couple of holes would do the trick? Still, I only ended up with two or three that were too split to use—and I had no problem eating those few casualties!
      Overall, this recipe gets two thumbs up from me: I love that they could be completely pre-assembled and then just baked right before the party. Will definitely be making this one again!

  38. Elizabeth

    2016 was my Year of Smitten Kitchen. I started out with your no-knead pizza dough in February and have made it weekly since. I fell in love with the spices applesauce cake and can never make it again (to ensure my pants still fit). I made the browniest cookies for Christmas gifts for my family. And, I need to friends to offload baked goods on to, in order to keep trying your back catalogue. Not everything I tried was a hit for us, but they stuff that we loved knocked it out of the park. Thank you, Deb!

  39. edwinainductioncook

    As soon as I saw your picture I knew this recipe was for me. These look scrumptious. I can’t wait to try them. I hope I can scoop them out neatly, it looks a bit fiddly!

  40. AliBean

    I’ve been making my mother’s recipe for pimento cheese all holiday season–my last batch was for tonight’s NYE party. Peppadews are especially good in this.

  41. Carol C

    Happy New Year! I made a cheater version (pre-made pimento cheese) for our neighborhood New Year’s Eve party. They were a hit, the only appetizer with no leftovers.

  42. Jessie Walker

    Very Happy New Year To you and your family! Your cookbook continues to be my favorite (excluding my 7 that are exclusively pie cookbooks), and your presence was very much in evidence at our New Year’s Day Brunch. The mushroom tart, butternut squash galette, grapefruit tea cake, broccoli slaw, and apple cider caramels all had pride of place on the table. Thank you for your continued care of this site, and for pushing my own envelope in attempts to go beyond one-bowl cooking and new flavor combos. I’m spoiled living in NYC so can find pretty much everything you mention using. The latest- pimento cheese potato bites will surely make my son swoon, which for a teenager is no small feat. Thank you again for all you do and best wishes for the New Year of Deliciousness!

  43. kathryn

    Made these for a New Year’s Eve gathering, and they were a hit! I did take the easy route and use a premade pimento cheese (Price’s). They were so easy to assemble and were delicious. I have some pimento cheese leftover and I’m tempted to make a small batch just for myself :)

  44. I made these for NYE and was kind of disappointed. I thought the pimento spread was a little bland and had to tweak it a bit quite a bit. Are the pimentos supposed to be pickled ? Or they’re just roasted red peppers? Maybe I bought the wrong thing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Then after baking I though they were bland also, maybe a little extra salt on top would have helped but probably won’t be trying them again.

  45. Sue

    on the buttermilk pancakes- i have found over the years that the recipe i like best is from an old fanny farmer cookbook. I do have to make 2 changes to it to get the consistency i like for the pancakes tho- add a bit more buttermilk, and i whip the egg whites separately and fold them into the batter. dont know if you tried the recipe or not- it is the basic griddle cake recipe with the suggestion on how to make that a buttermilk pancake. :-)

    i am having a lot of fun making some of the things you post- and i want you to know that i am forever grateful for the taco torte :-)

  46. Megan

    Hi Deb, made the ‘cute baby potato skins’ (my girls called them that) and they were a big hit! easy, fun and the melon-baller was perfect for scooping. Happy 2007!

  47. woollythinker

    I just want to say thank you for your 10 years of this wonderful website! I’m a lazy cook – I love food, but not enough to want to spend a lot of time on it; plus I have two fussy kids and their lack of appreciation sucks a lot of the fun out of experimenting. So I am *deeply* grateful to have you here, serving up delightfully written posts with great, varied, tempting ideas and recipes that stretch me and my kids (in terms of our food habits) but have never yet failed me. Can’t wait for your next book.

  48. Have I told you lately that I love you, Deb? Seriously, I’ve been reading since almost the beginning (Nov 2006 I think?) and continue to rave over just about everything I make from your site and book (most recently the baked ranchero eggs and southwestern brisket). Once again I want to devour all of your “tops” from the past year that I haven’t already made. VERY much looking forward to your next book and wishing you all the best in the new year! Keep up the great work!

  49. Mr. Simmer

    Long time listener, first time caller. I made these for NYE, and the recipe is solid. I think I may have slightly under-cooked the potatoes (a skewer going in “easily” is a little vague). So the insides didn’t mash up particularly well and made for a slightly chunky filling. Fortunately, the time in the oven helped get them fully cooked. It does take a while to scoop out the insides, so I think the 2-hour time estimate is about right.

    Tried to garnish with chopped scallions as I was interested in a fresh crunch to balance the creamy potatoes, but they didn’t really stay on. Perhaps will add more to the filling next time. Served with sour cream; would have also served with salsa if we had had it.

    1. And my most recent flop – when making caramel for those salted caramel brownies, i didn’t have heavy cream, and thought to myself, “how badly could half and half work?”

      NOT THAT WELL. but when frozen, or, say, chopped into ice cream, the brownies did just fine regardless!

  50. Sara

    Oh, thank goodness I wasn’t the only one who struck out with Marcella’s smothered cabbage. Food52 made it sound like it would change my life and feed me for a week and it did neither. The soup was thick and sludgy and flavorless and the cabbage didn’t seem any tastier for having been cooked for so long. I have no doubt that others have succeeded, but glad I wasn’t alone in flopping.

    Also, I am having a birthday party for myself this weekend and have decided that the entire menu will be party snacks–who needs a real entree? This is going on the list!

    1. deb

      I ended up playing with it a lot for a future book recipe, using mostly caramelized onions, bulked with cabbage. Needless to say, it has a lot more flavor. (And I hope others will agree.)

  51. Happy anniversary Deb! I was first introduced to your website by a graduate student I was supervising approximately 8 years ago. I have been a fan ever since. Very recently my sister and I started a Greek cooking blog and refer to you, humbly, as “our hero” :) And these potato bites….delicious! Thanks :)

  52. Victoria Taylor

    Hi Deb,

    Looks like you had a nice and very busy 2016. Happy New Year! Loving this recipe. The spices really give the potatoes their kick. Also, I feel you on the site re-design. I know the challenges that comes up in any site launch. I myself have had to settle with 80% done and work the other 20% over the course of a year. Bravo on a beautiful site and even more beautiful recipes! All the best.

  53. Kate Stephenson

    Made these along with the homemade irish cream for New Years and was the hit of the party! You don’t necessarily want both in the same mouthfull, but both were delicious and the potatoes were still totally tasty at room temperature as the evening wore on.

  54. pjcamp

    Southerner here. Pimento cheese is Southern caviar. Classic use is plain on a cracker. Also good (but messy) on hamburgers.

    My secret weapon in pimento cheese: skip the scallions. Add finely chopped shallot. I tried for many years to get a garlic flavor in my pimento cheese and it just didn’t work. Garlic is too subtle to punch through the cheddar. But shallots are awesome.

  55. This looks like one of the most delicious things I’ve ever seen before. haha. Maybe not, but I definitely saw an (alternate?) universe where I ate the entire recipe of potato bites all by myself! I think I shall make them for the next youth group potluck!

  56. I have been asked to bring 3 different hot appetizer/finger foods for a meeting of 40 women in 2 weeks and I have the first 2 appetizers all figured out (bacon wrapped japeno stuffed dried apricots, and egg & cheese & chive ham cups) but I was stuck on a third, this is perfect, thank you!

  57. Mind blowingly delicious. Seriously, I can’t even decribe how crazy my family went for these. I quite often make smashed baby potatoes – so why on earth did I never add cheese to them? Next level amazing. 10/10, would make again. Thanks for always sharing awesome, foolproof recipes! Huge fan over here!

  58. Liz

    I made these using red and yellow peppers, and served the hot sauce on the side for those who wanted more of a kick. Really delicious! Also figured out a DF version using vegan Parmesan( nutritional year/blanched almond flour) and vegan cream cheese that was also very good.

  59. Whitney

    Have you tried Gwyneth Paltrow’s buttermilk pancakes from ‘my father’s daughter’? They sit overnight and are so tangy delicious! They are my families favorite!

  60. Jill

    I moved to Alabama a year and a half ago and have been wondering how I got along without pimento cheese for 35 years. My favorite is spreading it on a sandwich with bacon and tomato. How obscene would it be to add some crumbled bacon on top of this?

    I have yet to enjoy a buttermilk pancake, unless it’s enhanced with fruit. Why have that when you can have a dutch baby or buckwheat pancake?

  61. Thanh

    These taste amazing. I will say its alot of effort to place them in the potatoes so I just make it like a spread on sliced french bread which I then toast which saves so much time and tastes even better without the potatoes!

  62. Amy Hamilton

    I made these for my Superbowl Party and they were so good! Everyone loved them, and now my only problem is I’m obsessed with eating the leftover pimento cheese now.

  63. Jan H

    As a southerner raised on Pimento Cheese, I would add the onions or celery, but this looks wonderful. I love PC on baked potatoes, so this is a match made in cheese lovers heaven. Love the site and all the recipes.

  64. Victoria

    I made these for a gluten free party over the weekend and they were gone in minutes! Got rave reviews from all guests. I did the prep at home, the. Scooped in the cheese mix and baked at my friends, which worked well. The left over pimento cheese did not go to waste- we made big twice baked potatoes with it one night, and omelets the next.

    1. Leslie

      I know this is a very old question, but in case someone else wonders, I boiled the potatoes and made the pimento cheese the night before. Cut the potatoes and hollowed them out, then filled them the next morning. Refrigerated them for a few hours and baked them about and hour before I went to a 4th of July get together. I transported them, and zapped them in the broiler for about 3 minutes to reheat them, and they were PERFECT.

  65. Dawna Eastman-Gallo

    This was a hit at the annual holiday potluck! I did double the potatoes, but thought it didn’t look like enough pimento cheese so made another batch- had a little cheese leftover, so sad, lol! FYI I used the tip of my oxo veg peeler to hollow out the smaller potatoes. Also, I used quite a bit less salt. Thank you for another winner!

  66. Cindy

    I made these for New Year’s and they were a big hit. I made everything over the weekend since I had to work that day so all I had to do was fill the potatoes and bake. The pimento cheese is so good I could just eat that. I bought too much cheese, so I think I’ll have to buy more jars of pimentos or roasted red peppers and make some more to put on maybe everything. Another winner!

  67. Yolanda

    This was a hit on New Year’s Eve…I doubled the recipe and we had some left over to serve with eggs for breakfast the next morning!

  68. Samantha

    As a Southerner, may I suggest adding some spicy mustard and a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the pimento cheese? It gives it a little extra something.

    But I always come back to this recipe to get the right proportions of ingredients when I want pimento cheese. Thanks!

  69. Leslie

    We made these for the 4th of July and they were wonderful! Even room temp they were tasty. I used tiny potatoes, so used a grapefruit spoon to scoop them out, and left a good bit of potato to keep them from falling apart. The pimento cheese was flavorful enough that a little bit was plenty in each potato bite. Definitely making these again!

  70. Den M.

    Is a one inch melon ball scoop too large/unwieldy for this recipe. I can’t seem to find smaller sizer on Amazon. Please let me know if I should search out a smaller one for good results. Assuming about same sized potatoes as shown.

    1. deb

      It will be about the size of the potatoes — some small ones are smaller. But even if you can’t scoop it in full, you can use it shallower to take out what you need.