Spicy Pimento Cheese

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This old-fashioned spicy pimento cheese recipe is a delectable Southern dip or sandwich spread. But with hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and pimentos mixed with cheese and creamy mayo, it brings the heat!

Celery stick dipping into spicy pimento cheese.

Pimento cheese (pronounced puh-men-uh) is a staple in the Southeastern United States and also in the Philippines. Clearly, this speaks to the wonderful taste of those folks (love y’all!). It’s one of those things we had often growing up and sometimes you just get a hankering that nothing else will satisfy except a good old pimento cheese sandwich.

2 ways with pimento cheese

There are a couple of ways to make pimento cheese, but the main two involve sharp cheddar cheese (like this recipe) and Velveeta (click here for the Velveeta version). Both are delicious in my book.

However, at a photo shoot for Taste of the South last weekend, we had wheat crackers and a big old tub of spicy pimento cheese. It was so heavenly that I decided to come home and whip some up to show folks how to make it, just in case you didn’t know. Because not having a little spicy pimento cheese from time to time would be a crying shame. 

Now, I’m warning y’all, see that spicy in the title? Yeah, this isn’t a recipe for the faint of heart. The 6 ingredients you need are sharp cheddar cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, salt, and hot sauce. But if you don’t mind a little heat, you’re going to love this hot pimento cheese recipe. Fortunately, it’s also super quick and easy to make. We basically just have to mix the ingredients together and then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours to let all those flavors mingle together.

You can serve this by storing into mac and cheese or melt it over Oven Fries. But if you keep scrolling there are lots of other serving suggestions. Whether you serve it as a homemade pimento cheese dip or sandwich spread, you’re in for a treat!

Labeled ingredients for spicy pimento cheese.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Mayonnaise
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pimentos
  • Hot sauce
  • Salt

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How to Make Spicy Pimento Cheese

Grate your sharp cheddar cheese.

Grate all of your sharp cheddar cheese.

Place cheese, pimentos, and mayo in mixing bowl.

Place that in a large mixing bowl alongside the drained pimentos and mayo.

Stir ingredients together.

Stir that up really well.

Add hot sauce to mixing bowl.

Add hot sauce to mixing bowl…

Add cayenne pepper and salt to mixing bowl.

And the cayenne pepper and hot sauce.

Stir ingredients together.

Stir again until well blended.

Place this in an airtight container or cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap.

Then refrigerate the pimento cheese dip for several hours, or overnight, to allow flavors to marry.

Spicy pimento cheese in jars.

Here’s our hot pimento cheese ready to serve.

Spicy pimento cheese on a cracker.

There are serving suggestions below. But pimento cheese dip with raw veggie sticks or crackers is absolutely delicious!


  • Store leftover homemade pimento cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.
  • The mayonnaise and cheese don’t freeze well so I don’t recommend freezing pimento cheese.

Recipe Notes

  • I always like to point out to the folks who don’t love mayo that I don’t either, so don’t fret over it in this recipe. You really won’t taste it because the cheddar cheese, sauces, and pimentos really overshadow it. We mainly have it in there to hold it all together.
  • Use your favorite hot sauce, whether that’s Sriracha or Tabasco.
  • If you don’t want to use sharp cheddar cheese, regular cheddar cheese works just as well.
  • For extra creaminess and cheesiness, use 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and 8 ounces of softened cream cheese instead.
  • For extra flavor, add 1/4 cup of drained, diced, and chopped jalapenos.
  • Another way to add flavor is to add 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and/or black pepper.
  • If this pimento cheese is too spicy, you can reduce the amount of cayenne pepper and hot sauce or omit them completely. You can even swap them for chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or chives.

Recipe FAQs

Pimento cheese is traditionally made with shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos.

Pimento cheese tastes like a spicy and creamy spreadable cheese mixture.

Pimento cheese gets its name from the pimentos it contains. Pimiento is the Spanish word for pepper, although most spell the word without the additional “i” nowadays.

What is the difference between Palmetto Cheese and pimento cheese?

Palmetto Cheese is a brand of pimento cheese you’ll find in grocery stores.

Can you eat pimento cheese hot?

You can eat pimento cheese cold, at room temperature, or hot.

What can I substitute for pimentos in pimento cheese?

The easiest substitute for pimentos is bell peppers.

How are you supposed to eat pimento cheese?

  • Enjoy a pimento cheese sandwich on plain bread or toasted bread. I recommend serving it with sliced cucumber or dill pickles, tomato, lettuce, and even a fried egg.
  • Serve it as a grilled cheese sandwich or spread it on a burger.
  • Serve it as pimento cheese dip with crackers, raw veggie sticks, tortilla chips, pretzels, bagel chips, or pita chips.
  • Stir it into mac and cheese, melt it over fries or nachos, or whisk it into scrambled eggs.

How many days does homemade pimento cheese last?

Up to 10 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Don’t miss these recipes:

Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Cream Cheese Salsa Dip

Chicken Broccoli Skillet with Pimento Cheese Sauce

Cheesy Baked Onion Dip

Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Cheese Ball

A bowl of spicy pimento cheese dip.

Spicy Pimento Cheese

This old-fashioned spicy pimento cheese recipe is a delectable Southern dip or sandwich spread made with hot sauce, cayenne pepper, pimentos, cheese, and mayo.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese, dip, pimento, spread
Servings: 4
Calories: 375kcal


  • 1 1-pound block sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 7-ounce jar drained pimentos


  • Grate your sharp cheddar cheese.
    1 1-pound block sharp cheddar cheese
  • Place it in a large mixing bowl with the mayo and pimentos. Stir well to mix.
    1 cup mayonnaise, 1 7-ounce jar drained pimentos
  • Add in the hot sauce, salt, and cayenne pepper and stir again until well combined.
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight.
  • Serve on toasted bread, plain bread, or your favorite crackers.


Calories: 375kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

“You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Submitted by Jackie

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  1. Came across your site in Alabama Living magazine. Made the pimento cheese recipe first and it was delicious! Have found more recipes to try! Keep ’em coming.

  2. Thanks for posting this recipe. There is nothing like homemade Pimento Cheese! My mom always made it and I make it too. It is funny how people just gobble it up and have no idea you can make “Homemade Pimento Cheese”! It tastes a lot better than store-bought and it is better to grate your own cheese. I tried the pre-grated and it wasn’t as good.

  3. Lovely recipe, great story. Reminds me of my own maternal grandmother whom I miss dearly. She has been gone many years, but hardly a day goes by that she doesn’t come into my kitchen through one of her cherished recipes. I have shared yours to my FB page and thank you for the memories and a delicious recipe!

  4. Christy, I have been making homemade pimento cheese most of my married life (37 yrs) but my husband won’t touch it so I can do whatever I want too. In season I add a little chopped peppers from the garden. I also add a little cream cheese for smoothness. lately I’ve discovered minced garlic and if not that then garlic powder. just kicks it up a little, I get bored easily with the same-o, same o. PS, I live in Meridianville- we’re neighbors !!!

  5. Love spicy Pimento Cheese. I have to confess, however, I make mine with Cheeze-Whiz: Sorry. I just made this for my in-laws 2 weeks ago when we visited them in the FL Keys. I made one version that was spicy and topped with thin slices of Vidalia onions. Second version: If you want to kick it up a notch, cut back a bit on the hot sauce; depending on your heat tolerance. Then top it off with a few rings of Texas “The Original Sweet & Hot Jalapenos.” That’s outstanding! You can put the cheese on a cracker of your choice, top it with a jalapeno ring, and it makes a great hors d’oeuvre; or as mom used to call them, “horses doovers.” 😉

  6. We have a running joke in our family Pimento Cheese- our family recipe for Pimento Cheese, put me off of it for years and years until I had some at a function that was made correctly-now I cannot get enough of it. By the way, I am from Alabama, I do not like Mayonnaise, seafood, chicken, or Sweet Tea. My tea has to be unsweet! I am in hiding now– I think they are looking for me 🙂

    1. I am from Georgia, and I don’t eat the following Southern foods: Cooked cabbage, fried okra, fried squash, or fried okra. Also don’t eat turnips in any shape form or fashion. No wild game for me either. But, I do love pimento cheese.

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