Dip into an irresistible bowl of Jalapeno Pimento Cheese. This spin on a southern staple is creamy, spicy, and easy to prepare. Just don’t tell your friends, because this does not last long.
It’s no secret that pimento cheese spread is the ultimate side dish. There are so many ways to consume it too – crackers, pork rinds, fresh vegetables, sandwiches… I think you get it. The list goes on, and over time I’ll be sharing plenty of those creative ideas to make you hungry.
Is pimento cheese healthy? Well, it’s certainly carb-free on its own, so choose your dipping utensil wisely if you’re on a diet plan. There are vegetables in it, so it’s practically a salad.
What makes this recipe special? It’s an older recipe with a cheddar-heavy focus, so this is much thicker on cheese and slightly less mayo than you might find. The real secret though is the Smoked Pickled Jalapenos. The combination of spice, smoke, and sweet heat from the pimentos creates a mouthful of vibrant flavors.
Why You’ll Love Jalapeno Pimento Cheese
- Quick and simple to mix together. One of the lowest effort dishes, with very high rewards.
- It’s an ingredient. You’ll come to learn that it goes in and on everything. Trust me.
- Affordable recipe. The ingredients are easy to come by, and not expensive.
- Packed with flavor. Smoked pickled jalapenos take this over the edge, adding heat to an already delicious dish.
Tips for Success
I want to cover this right away, as there are some very important points to share. Even if this recipe is all about mixing a few things in a bowl, having the right steps and high-quality ingredients will make all of the difference.
- DO NOT use pre-shredded cheese. I know this might be inconvenient, but trust me on this one. That bagged cheese has added ingredients to prevent the cheese from sticking, creating an unpleasant texture when mixed into a jalapeno pimento cheese. Shred your cheese using a box grater.
- Drain the pimentos. Especially for this recipe, as it has the pickled jalapenos too. The last thing you want is watery pimento cheese.
- Taste the jalapenos first. I’ve recommended the serving size in the final recipe, but that doesn’t mean all peppers are equal heat. The last thing you want is to serve an overwhelmingly spicy pimento cheese dip.
- Serve at room temperature. Being about 95% cheese, this is not an easy dip to scoop with crackers unless it’s soft. Don’t worry, it won’t go bad resting on your counter. People will eat it so fast!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Cream Cheese: One of the foundational ingredients for pimento cheese recipes. Leave it out on the counter until it’s room temperature, making it absolutely easy to mix.
- Mayonnaise: My favorite, which is also a southern staple, is Duke’s mayo. Use any full-fat mayo you enjoy. I have not tested this with mayo alternatives.
- Diced Pimentos: These are available in most grocery stores, typically found in small jars. They are diced and pickled in a liquid. Make sure you drain the liquid before use.
- Cheddar Cheese: Sharp cheddar is best, providing that strong flavor punch to counter the sweet, pickled flavors otherwise. Read the tip above that you shouldn’t use pre-shredded.
- Pickled Jalapenos: This is a recipe in itself, but totally worth it. Canned pickled jalapenos will work too if you don’t make your own.
- Smoked Paprika: Adding a pinch of smoke really compliments the jalapenos and cheddar. If you don’t have this, swap it out for traditional paprika.
- Ground Mustard: The flavor is tangy, and aromatic which pairs well with everything else going on.
- Black Pepper: Personally we love the subtle heat that fresh ground black pepper adds. This isn’t traditional, but it works with the flavors.
- Salt and Sugar: Just a pinch of each is enough to bring out the natural flavors of the other ingredients.
Mixing the Jalapeno Pimento Cheese
You can see that this recipe shows the pimento cheese being mixed by hand, which is pretty simple to do. However, if you want a creamy version you can mix with a stand mixer and paddle attachment. Follow these same steps for both hand mixing or a stand mixer:
- STEP 1: Make sure your cream cheese is room temp. This is super key, otherwise, you’ll have lumps throughout the mix that will be near impossible to get out. Mix the cream cheese in a bowl to smooth everything out.
- STEP 2: Add the mayo, and mix. Stir to completely blend the two. No lumps!
- STEP 3: Add in the spices, salt, and sugar. Fold everything together. You’re almost done!
- STEP 4: Stir in the shredded cheddar. This should also be room temperature if possible, it will mix much easier. You might need to stir a little cheddar in at a time, making sure it’s completely incorporated with the mix.
- STEP 5: Gently fold in the diced jalapenos and pimentos. If you’re using a stand mixer, I would do this on the lowest setting. You don’t want to break up the peppers. Now it’s time to taste and adjust with salt if needed!
It’s Time to Dig In! Grab a…
Cracker, celery stick, bell pepper, pork rind, a slice of cheddar (yup), or your hands. Get in there and start eating while it’s still room temperature. Hopefully, no one is around, you’ll be able to shovel a few bites in before it all disappears.
What Should I Serve This With?
- Juicy Smoked Burgers – Definitely my top choice on this list. Perfect pairing!
- Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Little Smokies – These might be the perfect dipping utensil.
- Bacon-Wrapped Pickles – Or are these? Might need a side-by-side comparison.
- Smoked Franks and Beans – Deep flavors pair really well with the vibrant cheese.
- The BEST Buffalo Wings – Buffalo and cheese dips are meant to be partners.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup mayonnaise, Duke’s preferred
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated on large holes
- 4 ounces jarred pimentos, drained
- ¼ cup chopped Smoked pickled jalapenos
- Put the room temp cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until softened.
- Add the mayo and mix well into the cream cheese. Add in the paprika, mustard, salt, sugar, and pepper and stir to blend.
- Stir in the shredded cheddar until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the pimentos and pickled jalapenos. If using a stand mixer, do this last step on the lowest speed.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. The jalapeno pimento cheese spread will stay fresh for about 3 days, properly covered in the fridge.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Side Dish
Keywords: pimento cheese, smoked pickled jalapenos, pickled jalapenos, spicy pimento cheese, side dish, cheese dip