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Can you handle the heat? If so, you need to make this delicious Homemade Spicy Pimento Cheese (Dip or Spread). I’m going to show you how to whip up a spicy version of this classic Southern comfort food in just 15 minutes.  It’s going to become one of your favorite easy appetizer recipes.

I will walk you through making this homemade pimento cheese recipe with step-by-step instructions, from what ingredients you’ll need to tips and tricks for making the perfect southern classic pimento cheese spread. 

tray with cracker and celery sticks around a big bowl of spicy pimento cheese and a knife

We love pimento cheese sprad in our house, as you probably already know, since the famous Masers Pimento Cheese Sandwich is one of my top recipes.

However, we also enjoy some heat to our snack spreads so I created this spicy pimento cheese recipe. It’s a combination of sharp, creamy, and subtly spicy flavors.

This southern staple is known as the pâté of the South. It is incredibly versatile and can be used in everything from sandwiches to dips, spread over crackers, or melted into a quesadilla. The best part is that you only need a few simple ingredients. You can quickly create a unique spicy pimento cheese recipe that will impress your guests with its bold flavors at your next gathering.

gina cooking in the kitchen

Grocery Ingredients Needed

garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and peppe, sharp cheese, pepper jack, cream cheese, mayo and pimentos and pickled jalapenos

Cheese: For this spicy pimento cheese dip recipe, there are three types of cheese. Sharp cheddar is the traditional cheese used when making pimento chees. We will kick up the heat a bit by adding some pepper jack cheese too. I make my pimento cheese with cream cheese also. Blending in soft cream cheese makes the spread creamy and smooth. Remember, cheese is the key ingredient, so be sure to buy good quality cheese.

Paprika: I suggest you use smoked paprika. Adding a hint of smoky flavor is perfect with the sweet heat from the pickled jalapenos.

Pimento Peppers: Choose a 4-ounce jar of small diced pimentos. You want to avoid big chunks of pimento peppers in our spread. If your grocery store doesn’t carry the small diced peppers, you can get whole pimentos and dice them yourself. 

Best Mayo For Pimento Cheese

Mayonnaise: southerners are passionate about their mayonnaise. Southern home’s traditional pimento cheese is made with Duke’s Real Mayonnaise. Dukes is a Southern favorite.

🏆 If you think there is a better southern mayo, share your favorites with me in the comments below. 

What are the best sweet pickled jalapenos to make spicy pimento cheese?

If you like a little spice, your taste buds will crave this canned cowboy candy! My pickled jalapenos recipe adds just the right amount of sweet heat without the burn. You can also buy sweet and spicy pickled jalapenos in your grocery store’s pickle aisle. Just be sure they are sweet pickled, not just pickled jalapeño peppers.

cowboy candy in a jar with fresh jalapenos around it

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

How To Make Spicy Pimento Cheese

number one

Combine the shredded cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

cheddar cheeses and cream cheese being blended in a bowl.

💭Tip: Please note I suggest not using a food processor or hand mixer to shred your cheese. Having freshly grated cheese strips gives the spread a better consistency. You do not want one big glob of cheese emulsified together. Shred your own cheese on the large size of a cheese grater. 

number two
  • Add the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and black pepper to the mixing bowl. 
  • Stir until the spices are evenly distributed throughout the cheese mixture.
Add the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and black pepper to the mixing bowl. 
number three
  • Add the diced pimentos and small diced pieces of jalapeno pepper into the mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
  • Taste the pimento cheese and add salt as needed to achieve the desired saltiness.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
spicy pimento cheese spread that is mixed in a bowl with red pimentos on top

Tips For Making Great Pimento Cheese

  • Do not use pre-shredded cheese: I know it’s much easier to buy an already shredded bag of cheese; however, I suggest shredding your cheese from a block for the best flavor. Already shredded cheese is coated with an anticaking agent to inhibit the tendency of the shreds to stick to each other. The commonly used anticaking agent is usually a combination of microcrystalline cellulose, starch, or powdered starches.
  • Drain your pimentos: Draining your small jar of pimentos helps keep your pimento cheese spread from becoming watery. A classic Southern spread is thick and creamy, not watery. The best way is to use a screen colander. 
  • Check your heat: This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of sweet pickled jalapenos. However, some brands are hotter than others. 
  • Serve this homemade pimento cheese at room temperature. This makes it easy to spread, and if you dip crackers in the cheese spread, they will not be as apt to break off in the dip bowl. 

Storage Tips

If you have leftover pimento cheese dip or want to make it the day before a party, here are some tips for keeping it fresh.

Storage: You can make your spicy pimento cheese the day before a party or relaxed gathering. 

  • Make the pimento cheese according to the recipe. 
  • Place the pimento cheese in an airtight container. Write the date you put it into the refrigerator on a piece of washi tape. 
  •  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. 
  • Note: After a few days, the cheese spread may become a bit dry or stiff on top. You can freshen it up by mixing in a small amount of mayonnaise to restore the creamy texture.

How To Freeze Pimento Cheese

Freezing: If you have leftover unused pimento cheese, it can be frozen for longer-term storage. 

Spicy pimento cheese and a plastic container ready for the freezer labeled with washi tape and a spoon for scooping the cheese out
  • Pimento cheese freezes best in an airtight plastic container or freezer bag. 
  • Be sure to label frozen pimento cheese on the container. I use a piece of washi tape to write the name of what is in your container and the date it is going in the freezer.
  •  For best results, only freeze the cheese spread for up to three months. 
  • When you’re ready to eat the pimento cheese, thaw the container in the refrigerator overnight before serving. 
  • Be aware the freezing process does change the texture of cheese slightly when thawed. Just give it a stir after it thaws. It will be delicious. 

Scoop Ideas For Dipping Spicy Pimento Cheese

pimento cheese ina bowl with 14 scoop ideas around it
  1. Crackers: Classic saltine crackers, buttery Ritz crackers, or whole grain crackers all pair well with pimento cheese.
  2. Vegetables: Crisp raw vegetables such as carrot sticks, red peppers, yellow pepper strips, or cucumber slices are a great option to pair with pimento cheese. My favorite way to serve the spread is to stuff celery sticks.
  3. Pretzels: Salty pretzels are a tasty and crunchy choice to pair with pimento cheese.
  4. Chips: Tortilla chips, potato chips, or even pita chips are all great options to dip in pimento cheese.
  5. Pork rinds: For a gluten-free option, pork rinds make perfect hearty scoops for this spicy pimento cheese spread!

These are just a few ideas to get you started but feel free to get creative and try different dipper combinations to find your favorite pairing.

Recipe Idea Using Spicy Pimento Cheese

This spicy pimento cheese is perfect for making Pimento Cheese Crackers. The homemade crackers are great for serving as an appetizer or savory snack.

Pimento cheese cracker in a jars

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

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spicy pimento cheese in a bowl with cracker and celery stickls
5 from 2 ratings

Homemade Spicy Pimento Cheese (Dip or Spread)

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 8 1/4 cup
Get ready for some serious heat with this spicy pimento cheese dip, which also doubles as a spread! Whipped up in less than 15 minutes, it features a blend of cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese and cream cheese with pimentos, mayonnaise, and pickled jalapeños for an extra kick of zesty flavor. Serve chilled or at room temperature with a side of crackers, veggies, or chips for dipping.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Combine the shredded cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
    1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, 4 ounces cream cheese
  • Add the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and black pepper to the mixing bowl.
    1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Stir until the spices are evenly distributed throughout the cheese mixture.
  • Add the diced pimentos and small diced pieces of jalapeno pepper into the mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
    4 ounce pimentos, 3 tablespoons pickled jalapenos
  • Taste the pimento cheese and add salt as needed to achieve the desired saltiness.
    Salt
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Notes

Tips For Making the Best Pimento Cheese
  • Do not use pre-shredded cheese: I know it’s much easier to buy an already shredded bag of cheese; however, I suggest shredding your cheese from a block for the best flavor. Already shredded cheese is coated with an anticaking agent to inhibit the tendency of the shreds to stick to each other. The commonly used anticaking agent is usually a combination of microcrystalline cellulose, starch, or powdered starches.
  • Drain your pimentos: Draining your small jar of pimentos helps keep your pimento cheese spread from becoming watery. A classic southern spread is thick and creamy, not watery. The best way is to use a screen colander. 
  • Check your heat: This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of sweet pickled jalapenos. However, some brands are hotter than others. 
  • Serve this homemade pimento cheese at room temperature. This makes it easy to spread, and if you dip crackers in the cheese spread, they will not be as apt to break off in the dip bowl. 
Serving: 11/4 cup, Calories: 158kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 243mg, Potassium: 71mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 817IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 120mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Cuisine: American Classic
Course: Appetizer
Author: Gina Dickson

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