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The Famous Kentucky Benedictine Spread

The Benedictine spread is a creamy and savoury spread typically made from cream cheese, cucumber, and various seasonings. It is often used as a sandwich filling, a dip for vegetables or crackers, or a toast or bagel topping.

It was invented around the turn of the 20th century by Jennie Carter Benedict, a caterer and restaurateur in Louisville, Kentucky. Benedict, trained by Fannie Farmer, opened her restaurant in 1893. It was there that she invented and originally served benedictine.

The spread quickly became popular in Kentucky and other parts of the Southern United States, eventually spreading throughout the country. Today, there are many variations of the Benedictine spread, with different chefs and home cooks adding their personal touches to the recipe.

In addition to its culinary uses, the Benedictine spread has become a cultural icon in Kentucky, where it is often served at social gatherings and events. It is particularly associated with the Kentucky Derby, where it is a traditional part of the mint julep cocktail and is often served as a snack at Derby parties.

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The Orginal Benedictine Spread

This simple recipe is a Kentucky Derby tradition created by Miss Jennie Benedict at the turn of the century.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword kentucky derby
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Author Jennie Benedict


  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3 tbsp. cucumber juice
  • 1 tbsp. onion juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 drops green food coloring


  • To get the juice, peel and grate a cucumber, then wrap in a clean dish towel and squeeze juice into a dish. Discard pulp.
  • Do the same for the onion.
  • Mix all ingredients with a fork until well blended.


Food fashions come and go and the issue of  green food coloring that Benedict used in her recipe. The dye lets people know that it’s not just a plain cream cheese spread, but the practice is no longer popular with chefs these days.




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