Homemade Pimiento Cheese

by Karyl Henry of Karyl’s Kulinary Krusade 

Football season is right around the corner, and I am super excited about it! There’s nothing quite like home game weekends in the fall, and Stillwater practically bursts at the seams as thousands of fans come to town. With tailgating, hanging out with friends, and watching the game, every Saturday is full of fun.

I love all things cheese, but somehow I had never heard of Pimiento Cheese until a couple of years ago. One bite and I realized I had been seriously missing out.

For our tailgate, we like to do easy food. Regardless of the theme for the main course, we always have simple snacks to munch on. Chips and dip are one of our standards, and this year I will definitely be bringing my Homemade Pimiento Cheese.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  • It comes together in minutes.
  • It’s delicious immediately, but even better the next day.
  • You can easily adjust the heat and the creaminess to your taste.

I really like store-bought Pimiento Cheese, but homemade takes it to another level! It’s creamy, bold, and so incredibly flavorful. I literally have to stop myself from eating the entire bowl at once.

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR HOMEMADE PIMIENTO CHEESE

Yes, this is an indulgent dip. No, there’s really no way around it. So, if you’re wanting healthy, pimento cheese isn’t it!

Make sure the cream cheese is soft, otherwise it won’t cream properly. It only takes about 15 minutes on the counter to soften enough.

I use a stand mixer, but you could use a hand mixer.

Shred your own cheese! Pre-Shredded cheese in the bag has preservatives and doesn’t taste nearly as good as shredding it from a chunk. I use a box grater, but you could also use a mini food processor

Use extra sharp cheddar cheese. You want that bite to contrast with the mild cream cheese.

It’s fine to use pimiento peppers in a jar, and you can find them in the canned vegetable section of the grocery store. I buy them diced, but you could also buy them whole and dice them yourself.

Drain the oil from the can or jar. The pimiento cheese is indulgent enough as it is; you don’t need all that excess oil.

Use a good quality mayonnaise, and you can use regular or light. DO NOT use imitation mayo, as it will change the entire flavor profile.

Onion powder, pepper, and fresh garlic are crucial for flavor because the cheeses and mayonnaise don’t have enough flavor on their own. I like to use ground white pepper, but black pepper is fine too.

Make sure to mince the garlic very finely, so that it incorporates well throughout the pimiento cheese. The last thing you want is chunks of raw garlic.

Fresh jalapeno and Red Pepper Flakes add all the heat. Remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno to reduce some of the powerful kick.

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOMEMADE PIMIENTO CHEESE

Cut the cream cheese into cube-sized pieces. Shred all of the cheddar cheese.

Drain the oil from the pimientos. Even though they are diced, some pieces may still be kind of large so I give them another rough chop.

Remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos, and dice the jalapenos small.

Add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, onion powder, pepper, and garlic into a stand mixer and beat with the Paddle Attachment until smooth.

Add pimiento peppers, jalapeno peppers, and red pepper flakes into the bowl. Using a Spatula fold all of the ingredients together.

BEST WAYS TO ENJOY HOMEMADE PIMIENTO CHEESE

I prefer to make Homemade Pimiento Cheese at least 1 hour before serving.

Homemade Pimiento Cheese is fabulous cold, served with Ritz Crackers, raw veggies, on a burger or as a sandwich.

When the weather gets cold, make your pimiento cheese hot!

  • Add the prepared Pimiento Cheese to an oven-safe dish
  • Bake in a 350° oven for 12-15 minutes
  • Top with crushed Ritz crackers after 10 minutes

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What if I don’t want so much heat? If this is your first time making the recipe, I recommend tasting the Pimiento Cheese before adding any heat, and then add jalapenos and red pepper flakes little by little until you are satisfied.

Can I use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic? I don’t recommend it. Fresh garlic has so much wonderful flavor, and the cheese mellows the bite of the garlic

Do I have to use full-fat mayonnaise? You can substitute low fat or light. I have not tested this recipe with Avocado Oil Mayo, but I think it would change the flavor of the Pimiento Cheese.

How do I make the Pimiento Cheese creamier? Add more mayonnaise. I recommend that you add about one Tablespoon at a time, mix and taste.

Homemade Pimiento Cheese from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 ½ cups extra-sharp Cheddar cheese1

½ cups extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

2 large cloves garlic, finely minced

4 ounces diced pimiento peppers, drained 

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and ribs removed, diced small

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Cut the cream cheese into cube-sized pieces.  
  2. Shred the cheddar cheese. 
  3. Drain the oil from the pimiento peppers. Give them a rough chop, in case some of the pieces are still kind of big. 
  4. Remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos and dice the jalapenos small. 
  5. Add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, onion powder, pepper, and garlic into a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until smooth. 
  6. Add pimiento peppers, jalapeno peppers, and red pepper flakes into the bowl.  
  7. Using a spatula, fold the ingredients together. 
  8. Taste and adjust for seasonings. 
  9. Serve immediately, or you can let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

FOR HOT PIMIENTO CHEESE DIP: 

  1. Transfer pimiento cheese into an oven-safe bowl.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. 
  3. At 10 minutes, sprinkle the top with crumbled crackers. 
  4. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.