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❤️ Why you'll love it
- A perfect dip, sandwich spread, and burger topping
- Creamy, rich Southern staple with a little kick from fresh jalapenos
- The easiest of easy recipes (absolutely anyone can make it)
This jalapeno pimento cheese recipe is made with simple, budget-friendly ingredients and comes together in a handful of minutes.
The tangy, rich flavors are my favorite way to get the kids (okay, and myself) to eat more veggies—it's so good, you'll want to scoop it up with everything!
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
Traditional pimento cheese has almost as many variations as there are Southern cooks in Texas. Here are some ways you can switch it up:
- For a sweeter flavor, add chopped candied jalapeno peppers.
- Jarred or canned jalapenos will work in place of fresh. Or, leave them out completely.
- Toss in some diced celery for extra crunch.
- Chopped pickles are also delicious in this recipe. Choose whichever flavor you like—dill, bread and butter, they're all good!
- Instead of the onion and garlic powder, feel free to add some freshly diced onions or garlic.
- You can also experiment with adding green onions or chives.
- Crumble in some extra crispy bacon!
- Prefer pimento cheese a little creamier? Add more mayo to taste.
- Gouda makes a great alternative to the extra sharp cheddar cheese. It's even better if you use smoked gouda!
- Want another spicy kick? Swap the mild cheddar with Pepper Jack.
- Stir in some Dijon or yellow mustard for extra tang.
- Stir in mashed chipotle in adobo for another Southern twist.
- Add your favorite hot sauces to make it extra, extra spicy.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Soften the cream cheese.
- Stir in cheese and mayonnaise.
- Chop pimentos if they are not diced. Add with the remaining ingredients.
- Stir to blend and refrigerate pimento cheese for at least one hour (but ideally eight.)
Properly refrigerated, homemade pimento cheese will keep for up to two weeks. Odds are you'll gobble it up much faster than that, though!
Just be sure to cover the spicy pimento cheese tightly with plastic (or reusable) wrap, or seal it in an airtight container. That way, it won't pick up any different flavors or scents from other things in the fridge.
This jalapeno pimento cheese recipe is not a good candidate for freezing. Cheesy mixtures like this one don't thaw well.
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: Pimento cheese spread tastes best at room temperature. So, I like to pull some out and let it sit for a couple of minutes before digging in.
- I used shredded cheese to save time but grated cheese from a block does have a slightly better texture.
- Soften cream cheese quickly using the half-power or defrost setting on your microwave. However, watch it closely to prevent melting—and, be sure to remove it from the foil wrapper, first!
- Wear food-safe gloves while cutting jalapeños if your skin is sensitive to the oils from peppers.
- Wash your hands extra well after cutting jalapeños, especially before touching your face, kids, or pets!
- Use pre-shredded cheese to cut down on prep time.
- Make yummy pimento cheeseburgers by slathering the pimento cheese on the bun instead of using boring sliced cheese.
- Serve your jalapeno pimento cheese dip in cheese ball form by stirring in a little less mayo. Keep the dip chilled to hold its shape. This makes a tasty, easy appetizer!
- Pimento cheese is great with crispy pork rinds, tortilla chips, crackers, and baguette slices. It also makes any veggie tray taste about 10 times better—not an exaggeration!
Pimento peppers are little, heart-shaped peppers with mild flavor. They're a little sweeter than regular roasted red peppers. You can find them in most grocery stores in small jars near the olives, pickles, and other condiments.
It's not too spicy, but the jalapeños do add a little kick. Pimentos, by themselves, don't have too much heat. Of course, the creaminess of the cheese and mayo helps mute the zing from the jalapeños a little.
Nope and nope! This is a super easy recipe. As long as you let the cream cheese get soft, everything will mix together easily with a spatula or spoon. It's how the traditional recipes do it—and, you can't fix what isn't broken!
Feel free to use your favorite! We like Duke's mayonnaise, but you can even make homemade mayonnaise. I do prefer the kind with egg yolks rather than egg-free substitutes (as long as you don't have an egg allergy!)
📚 Related recipes
- With mouthwatering, tangy flavors of ranch and cheddar, this Pumpkin-Shaped Cheese Ball tastes great all year (but especially at Halloween!)
- Based on the addicting jalapeno poppers, Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip is a rich, hot appetizer that just flies off the table.
- Creamy Jalapeno Cheese Grits take Southern dining to a whole new level—this classic recipe is so satisfying, flavorful, and hearty.
- Caramelized and full of cheesy goodness, Homemade Onion Dip is fabulous on toasted bread slices or with crackers. Two thumbs up!
🍽️ Serve with...
- Slather pimento cheese between two thick slices of honey buttermilk bread for the best lunch ever—coworkers will be jealous.
- Thick and juicy, retro Lipton onion soup burgers taste as good as they did growing up and take just about twenty minutes to make—so quick! Add a scoop of the pimento cheese on top before serving.
- Swap the cream cheese for jalapeno pimento cheese in this delicious, quick, and easy chicken crescent roll recipe.
📞 The last word
Everyone needs a homemade pimento cheese recipe! Sharp cheddar, tangy cream cheese, rich mayonnaise, and plenty of mild pimentos make this southern favorite perfect for everything from lunch box sandwiches to weekend burgers on the grill.
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Homemade Pimento Cheese RecipePrint Pin Recipe Save Recipe
- 8 ounces Sharp Cheddar, shredded
- 8 ounces Mild Cheddar, or one of the variations - shredded
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 ounces pimentos, drained. You may want to use just 4 ounces - I like a lot of pimentos.
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- ½ cup mayonnaise, your favorite brand, or homemade
- ¼ teaspoon Smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
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- Put everything into a bowl and stir together until well mixed.
- Cover and refrigerate 8 hours before using to allow the flavors to blend, if possible.
- Sprinkle with more smoked paprika before serving.
- I used shredded cheese to save time - grating from a block is always the better choice.
- Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature.
- Add more mayonnaise if you want a creamier spread.
- You should let pimento cheese sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so to let the flavors blend.
- Use it for sandwiches, on top of burgers, on crackers, or as a dip.
- Add chopped jalapeno
- Add chopped candied jalapeno
- Add chopped celery
- Chopped pickles are delicious in this
- Finely chopped onion can be added
- Use smoked Gouda instead of Cheddar
- Or try Pepper Jack
- Use it instead of sliced cheese on burgers
- Add a little mustard
- Stir in mashed chipotle in adobo
- Stir in crisp, crumbled bacon
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
✍🏻 A note from Marye...
I know y'all don't always like the stories bloggers tell so when I have one I try to put it at the very bottom so you can read or skip as you like.
You've come upon pimento cheese in one form or another if you've lived in the South for any length of time.
It might be on sandwiches, mounded on a cracker, or slathered across a piece of celery but it will show up at parties nearly as often as deviled eggs.
There are as many homemade pimento cheese recipes as there are Southern cooks. Each has her own recipe passed down through the generations, and probably tweaked each time.
This is my favorite. The cream cheese adds a weight and richness to the spread that I love. I've had it made with just mayo before but it just seems bland to me -- and of course, the more jalapeños the better.
First published June 16, 2015, last updated June 8, 2023 for improved images and readability plus updated information.