Spicy Pimento Cheese

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.

Keep scrolling for lots of serving suggestions. But 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

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. No wonder the last 2 recipes I tried weren’t right, they had cream cheese. That was the main flavor and just not right. A friends mom use to make it when I was a teen in NC and I loved hers. We now live in MN and no one knows what this is. I had deep fried deviled eggs with the deviled part being pimento cheese (no egg yolk) this past fall on vacation in Destin Fl. Yum. Off to the store for more cheese…

  2. This is the best pimento cheese EVER!!!! I made a grilled pimento cheese sandwich, and it was incredible! Thank you for the recipe!

  3. Your recipe is extremely close to mine. Looks very good. And I applaud you for the sharp cheddar and NO cream cheese! 😉

  4. I’m not from the south, but I seriously love me some pimento cheese! My grandparents (from the Midwest) always had it on hand, and we’d sit and eat it on crackers, bread, or veggies until we just about exploded 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe. I have everything but the pimentos. Looks like it’s time to go to the store.

  5. I love pimento cheese sandwiches and I too, had to have a coke with it and a bowl of tomater soup with my Grandaddy growing up, do not care for tomater soup (do not think I really ever did) but it is what my Grandaddy made, so I ate it. Thank you for the lovely recipe as well as the memories. I also am really curious as to how you could possible have 13 grandparents……I was grateful to just have the 1.

  6. I would “LOVE” to see Christy Jordan, and other more conservative, average, NORMAL folks, who actually cook FOOD that is appealing on a PUBLIC COOKING NETWORK… something completely different, from Food network, I’m such a foodie, and am soooo tired of all the glam and gliz that particular network now offers!!! Honestly there is not ONE, not one single “chef,” nor cook personality that I can “remotely,” relate to… I happen to live in a normal neighborhood… not in the Hamptons, and I’m not associated with all the politicians either!!! PLEASE some media outlet, take a clue and get us some normal, conservative “regular COOKS, ” I promise your viewers will LOVE your programing… the others offer OUTRAGEOUS foods that most folks would NEVER consider making for “regular families!!” Christy Jordan is surreal, I’d honestly LOVE to see MANY more real COOKS similar to us REGULAR families who work, and cook for “our FAMILIES!!”

  7. My northern friend said she loved pimento cheese when I mentioned it, but said she hadn’t had it since she was a kid as she never saw the jars at the store anymore (I guess it came in glass jars in Oregon). She was amazed when I told her she could make it at home! Bless her heart 🙂

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