Barbecue Pimento Cheese

This barbecue pimento cheese may just be the best thing that could happen to you today. One taste of this slightly spicy Southern spread with a cult following and you’ll understand.

A white bowl filled with pimento cheese and some saltine crackers topped with the cheese next to the bowl

This easy barbecue pimento cheese recipe is going to take you places—both literally and figuratively. Literally as in you’re going to be invited to all manner of soirées and Super Bowl parties once word gets out that you know how to make this Cheddar cheese ball. Figuratively as in you’re going to want to explore the creative reaches of your mind to come up with things to dip into or slather with this cheese spread besides crackers and celery—for the record, we haven’t tried anything that we didn’t like, including burgers. Oh, the places you’ll go!  Originally published January 27, 2015.Renee Schettler Rossi

Barbecue Pimento Cheese

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Makes about 3 cups
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook cookbook

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  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces sharp orange Cheddar cheese (not grated or shredded)
  • 8 ounces smoked orange Cheddar cheese (not grated or shredded)
  • 4 scallions, white and some green parts, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • One (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, rinsed and drained


  • 1. Toss all the spices in a small bowl and stir together.
  • 2. Grate the cheeses into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the scallions, if using, and toss again. (We found clean, dry hands to be a perfectly good tool for doing this.)
  • 3. Dump the mayonnaise into a small bowl and stir in 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons spice mixture until completely incorporated. (You’ll have a teensy amount of spice mixture left over, which you can keep at room temperature for up to a couple months. Sprinkle it on chicken breasts, hamburgers, pork chops, shrimp, steak, or just about anything else you’re going to toss on the grill.)
  • 4. Stir the spiced mayo into the cheese mixture until everything is well blended. You want the cheese to be completely coated with the spiced mayo. Stir in the pimentos. Cover and refrigerate the pimento cheese for at least 2 hours and up to several days to let the flavors meld. (The longer you let the flavors meld, the more mellow the spices and the more pervasive the smokiness. You may want to let the barbecue pimento cheese at room temperature for 30 minutes or so to take the edge off the chill before serving.) For serving inspiration, well, just use it as a dip or spread for anything.

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