Pimento cheese is a tangy, creamy, and cheesy southern staple. There are chunky versions and ones that are more spreadable. It can be stuffed in celery sticks or spread between two slices of traditional white bread for the best-grilled cheese you’ve ever had. There are as many recipes for pimento cheese as there are ways to eat it, and our recipe for jalapeño pimento cheese is a spicy twist on the southern classic.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Homemade pimento cheese is easy to make and tastes so much better than store-bought.
The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.
- Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese is the traditional cheese used for pimento cheese. It is usually aged from 18-24 months producing an assertive flavor. You can substitute a medium cheddar or even a mild cheddar but you won’t get that cheddar flavor that you’d expect from pimento cheese.
- Pimento and Jalapeño Peppers are a required ingredient…without them, it wouldn’t be jalapeño pimento cheese. The jarred diced pimentos work great but you can substitute roasted red peppers for additional smoky flavor. We used a combo of raw and pickled diced jalapeños.
- Whipped Cream Cheese is our cream cheese of choice for this recipe since it has a lighter, airier texture and less fat. You can substitute with a softened block of cream cheese.
- Mayonnaise adds flavor and creaminess. Most recipes recommend Dukes but I say use whatever brand you like.
How to Make Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.
Pro-tip: Let jalapeño pimento cheese chill for at least 2 hours so the flavors have time to meld together.
1. Shred the Cheese: Use the large holes on a box grater or a food processor with a grating plate for shredding cheddar cheese.
2. Combine the Ingredients: Using a rubber spatula combine mayonnaise, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Add the whipped cream cheese, diced pimentos, and jalapeños to the mayonnaise, and stir well. Finally, add the shredded cheese and mix everything together. A rubber spatula works best or you can use a hand mixer to combine.
4. Serving: Chill then serve the jalapeño pimento cheese with crackers or as a sandwich using your favorite bread.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Don’t use pre-shredded cheese. Store-bought shredded cheese contains additives such as potato starch to keep the cheese from clumping and just doesn’t taste as good.
- In addition to jalapeños, you can add bacon, finely chopped chipotle in adobo, pickle relish, diced olives, or a couple of dashes of hot sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pimento cheese will last up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Pimento cheese is great with crackers, a dip for fresh veggies, or tea sandwiches. It also makes an amazing grilled cheese sandwich or as a topping on a burger.
They are small sweet peppers also called cherry peppers and are typically pickled.
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Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this recipe, we recommend checking out some of these:
Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
- 1 Box Grater or Food Processor
- 1 Medium-Sized Bowl
- 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces whipped cream cheese
- 2 ounces pimentos, diced (or diced red peppers)
- ½ cup raw jalapeños, diced and seeds removed
- ½ cup pickled jalapeños, diced
- Using a box grater (or food processor) grate the cheddar cheese.
- In a medium bowl combine mayonnaise, garlic powder, and kosher salt.
- To the mayonnaise add the whipped cream cheese, pimentos, and jalapeños and mix well.
- Add the shredded cheese and stir well until fully combined.
- Chill before serving.