This classic Southern, slightly spicy pimento cheese recipe is absolutely perfect! I love to have pimento cheese homemade with lots of storebought ingredients (crackers, cheese, pickles, etc) for an easy cheese board at a party or for a snack plate dinner! This is extra delicious paired with some homemade focaccia for dunking.
Let us discuss the glory that is pimento cheese, since even if it's not Master's Weekend, we live in the South and love this dip for any and all snacking occasions. Since I started this blog I've made a LOT of pimento cheese, and have tweaked the recipe over the years to a combination that I absolutely adore.
Other people adore it too, and that's not something I say about a lot of the food I make, because I'm insecure. Pimento cheese homemade, though, is something that people of all walks of life really enjoy when it is good. Back when we used to cater large parties this was one of our most-ordered recipes, hands down.
Pimento cheese is a southern dish of grated cheeses, spices, binders (mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, etc are all used), and jarred pimento peppers. This is a pimento cheese recipe without cream cheese and just enough mayo to hold everything together, which means the cheese and spices SHINE.
Here's what you need for this recipe: cheese, mayo, sour cream, jarred pimentos, hot sauce, and some spices. That's it!
Recipe Notes and Ingredient Notes
- I have a few parameters slash requirements for pimento cheese, a few winning must-haves that make this version so delicious. First, cheese is freshly grated. By hand, with a food processor, box grater, or whatever, but from a brick that you break down into shredded cheese.
- Next, I use a combination of mayo and sour cream, but not too much of each. I like my pimento cheese to be thick, not gloopy at all, and err on the side of an almost-dry mixture. You can always add more white stuff, but it's awfully hard to take it out once it's in the mixture.
- Next, seasonings. I use several spices in homemade pimento cheese, including seasoned salt (sub kosher salt if you don't keep seasoned salt around), which adds something that is hard to describe to the dip, but a certain saltiness and flavor that tastes like a snack, I realize that makes no sense at all.
- Also, Hot Sauce: I love cayenne hot sauce in pimento cheese – think Frank’s, Tabasco, etc. But, other hot sauces such as sriracha add a really nice depth of flavor. Play around with hot sauce, and use ½ tablespoons of two different types if you’d like. For additional spice, add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the mixture.
- I listed measurements below but I always taste and add a little more of whatever I want to taste more of based on the cheese, my mood, the crowd (extra spice if there are no kids around!), etc.
Step By Step Instructions
Making pimento cheese is seriously easy ... drain peppers, grate cheese, throw everything in a bowl.
I stir super gently to keep the cheese intact, then I taste and add more seasonings, then it's done! Serve this right away or let it hang in the fridge for dipping, sandwiches, topping BURGERS, you name it.
Feel free to add more hot sauce and/or cayenne pepper to make this an extra spicy pimento cheese! I do that often depending on who I'm serving.
Pro Tip: Right after the pimento cheese is made it will look a little creamy, like in the image above. As it sits, the mayo and sour cream will absorb a bit and the flavor will intensify as the dip thickens.
Serving and Storage
- This is PARTICULARLY good on crackers with green tomato jam. The combo of sweet + savory is one of my absolute favorites.
- I also love this on a cheese plate with crackers, veggies, cheese, etc.
- To make a very excellent pimento cheese sandwich, toast some grainy bread on one side with butter, then spread the soft side with pimento cheese. Lettuce and tomatoes are delicious on pimento cheese sandwiches, or you can eat it plain.
- Pimento cheese can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for about a week - it gets better as it sits.
Simple and delicious, I can't tell you enough to make this soon for football, keep it in your arsenal for holiday parties, summer potlucks, just everything fun needs some spicy pimento cheese.
Seriously Good Pimento Cheese Recipe
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6-8 1x
Slightly spicy Pimento Cheese with just a few easy ingredients! This is one of our favorite cold appetizers for holiday parties or tailgating!
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 4 ounces (one small jar) chopped jarred pimentos, drained
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha, Texas Pete, or other hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt or seasoned salt
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir gently to combine the seasonings without mushing the cheese too much.
- Taste, and adjust the seasonings or spice level to your preference. If the pimento cheese seems very dry, add a tiny bit more sour cream and mayo, in equal amounts, to achieve a texture you like.
- Serve with crackers, on sandwiches, or with veggies for dipping. Devour!
I love love love this on its own with crackers, but it is REALLY yummy with something sweet such as apple slices or green tomato jam. Balance your flavors, man!
Pimento cheese keeps well in the fridge for at least a week.
Grated Cheese: Bagged cheese is usually coated with an anti-caking agent to help the shreds stay separate in the bag. This isn’t a bad thing, but it takes away a bit from the cheddar flavor and also makes it harder for the cheese to melt. If at all possible, grate your own cheese for this (and most) recipe. Use any cheddar cheese you enjoy – for me, the sharper the better.
Sour Cream and Mayo: This recipe makes a moderately creamy pimento cheese – not too goopy, not too dry. If you prefer a more dry (mostly cheese, less binder) pimento cheese, reduce the sour cream and mayo quantities to ¼ cup each.
Hot Sauce: I love cayenne hot sauce in pimento cheese – think Frank’s, Tabasco, etc. But, other hot sauces such as sriracha add a really nice depth of flavor. Play around with hot sauce, and use ½ tablespoons of two different types if you’d like. For additional spice, add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the mixture.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Stir
- Cuisine: American
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