Spicy Pimento Cheese is a delicious variation of the much-loved (traditional) Southern pimento cheese spread. Adding chilies and jalapeno gives it a spicy kick. Serve this easy-to-make spread on crackers or with raw veggies. Celery and baby carrots are the perfect pairing with spicy pimento cheese.
Pimento cheese has an interesting background that I wanted to share.
This spread is an icon of the South even though it had its beginnings in New York, as reported by Robert F. Moss, author of an article on pimento cheese in Serious Eats.
According to Moss, Pimento cheese results from the invention of cream cheese and the start of importing canned Spanish peppers. In 1909, Eva Green Fuller's published Up-to-Date Sandwich Book, which included a recipe for a pimento cheese sandwich. Her recipe combined two small cans of pimentos with two "cakes" of cream cheese.
Pimento cheese migrated to the south when Georgia began growing red sweet peppers. Over time, homemade mayonnaise replaced the cream cheese, and shredded cheese was added.
Today, southerners are split on whether or not "traditional" pimento cheese is made with cream cheese. The camp you are in depends on the pimento recipe you ate as a child. If it was made with cream cheese, you believe pimento cheese must include cream cheese, and if the spread you ate did not, you prefer pimento cheese without cream cheese.
In the Southern part of the United States, pimento cheese is a staple at church gatherings, weddings, baby showers, and children's lunches because it is delicious and comes together in 10 minutes or less. However, you do not need to live in the south to enjoy this easy and delicious spread.
Why Spicy Pimento Cheese?
I love plain pimento cheese; however, my childhood friend Sarah, a true Southerner, introduced me to spicy pimento cheese, and I have never returned to the traditional version.
She says that "real" pimento cheese does not have cream cheese. In addition, she adds fresh jalapeno and chilies, which gives the spread a bit of a kick. If you like a little spice, you will love this recipe!
Easy Grocery List of Ingredients
There are three main ingredients in pimento cheese; sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and diced pimento. Adding fresh jalapeno and canned chilies to the main ingredients turns it up a notch and adds a hint of heat and spice to the spread.
- Sharp cheddar cheese-Use a block of high-quality cheese. The cheese is the main ingredient and provides the flavor of the spread. Plain cheddar cheese will also work if you do not like the taste of sharp cheddar.
- Mayonnaise-It is critical that you use high-quality mayonnaise because it acts as a binder that keeps the ingredients together. I recommend using one of the following brands:
- Best Foods (found in the Western part of the United States),
- Hellman's (found in the Eastern part of the United States),
- Duke's Real Mayonaise.
- Diced pimento-purchase this at your local grocery store. If you are ambitious, you can roast sweet red pepper. It would add a nice flavor to the pimento cheese.
- Jalapeno- adds a bit of heat to the pimento cheese. For less heat, don't use the seeds.
- Diced green chilies-I would recommend using mild chilies; otherwise, the spread will be too spicy.
Let's make Spicy Pimento Cheese
- Finely grate the cheese.
- Drain the pimento and green chilies.
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Stir until combined.
Don't miss these tips.
- Grate cheese from a block of cheese.
- Finely grate the cheese to easily combine all the ingredients into a smooth spread.
- I would not recommend using pre-shredded cheese because it has a coating on it to prevent it from clumping, which impacts the texture of the pimento cheese. It will not be as smooth and creamy.
You can use a food processor to grate your cheese; however, be sure to use a blade that finely shreds the cheese. If your food processor only has a blade with a larger shred, you can combine all the ingredients with the mixing blade, which will cream the ingredients together.
I would NOT recommend using a dressing because it is too sweet.
You can also use mild cheddar cheese if you do not like sharp cheddar cheese.
This is the perfect make-ahead appetizer! Store it in the refrigerator. Before serving, let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to spread easier.
Yes, a mixer is a great way to combine the pimento cheese, especially if the cheese is not finely grated.
They are a type of pepper that is slightly sweet with no heat.
Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
I would not recommend freezing pimento cheese because the texture and consistency of the spread will change and not look appetizing.
How to Serve Pimento Cheese
This spread is versatile. There are so many options!
- Pimento cheese is a great low-carb dip. Serve it with raw veggies like carrots, celery, or broccoli.
- It is delicious with crackers.
- Dip tortilla chips or bagel chips into the spread.
- Serve it on a sandwich. If you are ambitious, use it to make grilled pimento cheese.
- Go all out and spread the pimento cheese on whole-grain bread, and top it with tomato and avocado slices. Yum!
- Instead of sliced cheese, top a hamburger with pimento cheese.
I hope you try this recipe! Please rate it and comment below. I love hearing from you! ❤️Print
Spicy Pimento Cheese is adapted from the Southern classic made with sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. Adding minced jalapeno and diced chili peppers gives it a nice kick. Serve this easy crowd-pleasing spread at your next gathering!
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 4-ounce jar pimentos
- 4-ounce can diced chilies (mild)
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced (remove seeds for less heat)
- 4 tablespoons high-quality mayonnaise (see notes)
- Finely grate the sharp cheddar cheese on a box grater or a food processor. Do not purchase pre-grated cheese). Place the cheese in a medium-size mixing bowl.
- Drain the pimentos and the chilies. Add them to the grated cheese.
- Add the diced jalapeno to the cheese mixture.
- Add the mayonnaise.
- Mix the pimento cheese with a spoon or spatula until smooth and spreadable.
- You can mix it with a mixer or food processor if you prefer.
- Place the pimento cheese in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Pimento cheese will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Remove 20 minutes before serving, so it is easier to spread and/or dip into it.
- Use high-quality mayonnaise such as Best Foods, Hellmans, or Dukes.
- Use high-quality cheese.
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 86
- Sugar: 0.7 g
- Sodium: 139.2 mg
- Fat: 7.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.7 g
- Protein: 3.4 g
- Cholesterol: 15.5 mg
Keywords: cheese, pimento cheese, spicy pimento cheese, southern pimento cheese, easy, simple
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