The Barefoot Contessa's Spicy Pimento Cheese Recipe Has Attitude by Donna John

The Barefoot Contessa's Spicy Pimento Cheese Recipe Has Attitude

I grew up eating pimento cheese sandwiches. But my pimento cheese came in a tub from the grocery store. I didn't experience homemade pimento cheese until I made it myself as an adult. The different between store-bought pimento cheese and homemade cannot even be put into words. When I saw Ina Garten's (aka The Barefoot Contessa) pimento cheese recipe I knew I had to try it ASAP. The celebrity chef makes her pimento cheese spicy and it is super creamy. Count me in.

The pimento cheese cheese recipe is made with cream cheese (hello, creaminess), mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder, pickled jalapenos, piquillo pepper or regular pimentos, shredded cheddar cheese and sriracha. Ina also uses celery seed in her recipe, which I'm not a big fan of, so I omitted it. The ingredients are mixed together and chilled until to be devoured.

Piquillo peppers are a sweet pepper that has almost no heat. They are traditionally grown in Northern Spain near the town of Lodosa. Piquillo peppers can be found in many grocery stores in jars and in cans. If you can't find them, buy a jar of regular pimentos which are readily available at most stores. If you want to add sweetness instead of heat, use candied jalapenos and omit the sriracha. This recipe could be cut in half (it makes a lot). 

Pimento cheese can be eaten in so many ways. You can serve it as a spread for crackers, as a dip for raw vegetables like carrots and celery, as a sandwich filling (aka the icon pimento cheese sandwich), stuffed in celery sticks, mixed into deviled eggs, as a filling for quesadillas, stirred into macaroni and cheese, as the filling for tortilla pinwheels or stirred into grits. I've made pimento cheese-stuffed fried chicken breasts, crispy fried pimento cheese balls and creamy pimento cheese rice.

How do you like to eat pimento cheese?

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: Makes about 1 quart 


  • 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed (I omit this)
  • 1 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 6 ounces piquillo pepper, chopped (regular pimentos can be substituted)
  • 5 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/4 pounds)  
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons sriracha (you can also use Tabasco sauce)

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Beat together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder and celery seed (if using). 
  2. Stir in the pickled jalapenos, piquillo peppers, cheddar cheese and sriracha. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill until ready to serve. 

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Pimentos $2 & Up
Mayonnaise $3 & Up
Garlic Powder $3 & Up
Onion Powder $3 & Up
Sriracha $3 & Up
Tabasco Sauce $2 & Up
Celery Seed $4 & Up

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This is some seriously spicy cheese. Love it.
I’m a pimento cheese fan and also a Barefoot Contessa fan! Excited about this recipe.

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