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5 Tasty Pimento Cheese Recipes for Your Tailgating Spread

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Having a delicious and simple pimento cheese recipe at the ready has long been one of my game-day secrets for success. In just minutes, I can whip up a quick batch of tasty pimento cheese, and have it packed and ready for the tailgate or party. Best of all, pimento cheese is a crowd-pleasing recipe that’s sure to please a range of palates. (No need to tote home leftovers? Awesome.)

Although I am extremely partial to my go-to pimento cheese recipe, there are actually tons of regional variations. Which is great news — because all these delicious takes on pimento cheese mean there are a host of fun flavor combinations to be coaxed out of a classic recipe, not to mention the fact that you can tailor your pimento cheese to fit your hometown flavors.

So if you’re ready to dip in and experiment a little, head below for our classic recipe plus five unique spins on pimento cheese, all of which are perfect for game-day eats. Then head out to Target, where you’ll find everything you need for game day, and every day!

  • Perfect for Your Tailgating Spread! 1 of 6
    5 Tasty Pimento Cheese Recipes

    Pimento cheese has countless variations! Click through for 5 ways to whip it up.

  • Pimento Cheese with Hot Sauce 2 of 6
    spicy-pimento-cheese-

    It won't surprise you to learn that hot sauce pimento cheese is popular in Louisiana. In the world of hot sauce, there are Tabasco people and Crystal people. I don't have a dog in this fight, so just go with your favorite.



    Make up a batch of basic pimento cheese and add 2 - 4 tablespoons hot sauce and ground cayenne pepper to taste.

    Spread on open-faced toasts and top with a sliver of red pepper and a drizzle of hot sauce.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Garlic Pimento Cheese 3 of 6
    garlic-pimento-cheese

    Fresh garlic adds a spicy kick to pimento cheese that deepens the flavor for a bit of je ne sais quoi.

    To make, simply add a clove or two of finely minced garlic to the basic recipe.

    Serve as a dip with crackers.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Bread and Butter Pickle Pimento Cheese 4 of 6
    pickle-pimento-cheese-bites

    You know what makes pimento cheese awesome? Pickles, that's what. They add a distinct, sweet briny-ness and a little bit of crunch. Just the thing to round out the flavor.

    To make bread and butter pickle pimento cheese, add 3 tablespoons drained and minced bread and butter pickles, to the basic recipe.

    Serve on tiny toast squares with a dollop of pickle pimento cheese and a pickle slice.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Jalapeno Pimento Cheese 5 of 6
    jalapeño-pimento-cheese-babble

    Jalapeño brings more than spice to this Texas classic, and they add big flavor too. No matter where your team hails from, this spicy, briny take is a sure winner.

    To the basic pimento cheese recipe, add a tablespoon each of minced pickled jalapeño and fresh garlic.

    Serve as a sandwich with toasted bread, greens, and paper-thin radishes.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Pimento Cheese with Onions 6 of 6
    onion-pimento-cheese

    Onions, as well as spring onions, are a staple of many pimento cheese recipes. Minced yellow onions add complexity and texture to the basic recipe, while green onions add color and crunch. 



    Once you've made the basic recipe, stir in 2 tablespoons of minced yellow or green onion.

    To serve, place a dollop on a buttery cracker, and top with a tiny round of onion and a sprinkle of black pepper.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

Basic Pimento Cheese Recipe (adapted from this recipe, by way of the Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook)
makes several cups

Before we dive into this recipe, I should admit that my go-to version isn’t classic per se — that’s because traditional pimento cheese consists of just mayonnaise, pimentos, and cheddar. Cream cheese is a popular variation, and I keep it in my recipe since it adds creamy body and cleaner flavor to the cheese dip. Cream cheese also means the dip holds up pretty well, (even in steamy parking lots).

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1 red pepper, roasted with core, skin, and seeds removed, or 1/2 cup prepared roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise (go for the real stuff here, you can taste the difference)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (optional)

Shred the cheese, and then combine all of the ingredients in a food processor bowl. Pulse until combined. ”¨”¨Pimento cheese texture is another hotly-debated subject; I go just until the texture has smoothed a bit. Be careful not to over-blend, as the mixture could get watery. If you’re a purist and want things more textured, process the mayo, cream cheese, and red pepper together just until combined, and then fold in the grated cheddar.

Chill for at least a half hour before serving. Pimento cheese will keep well covered in the fridge for up to four days.

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