RECIPES:
Aug 29, 2016

Pimento Cheese Ball Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
This pimento cheese ball recipe is made with pimentos, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, bacon and more rolled in pecans for an added crunch.

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This pimento cheese ball recipe is a southern favorite and a great easy appetizer. Often referred to as “the caviar of the South” this recipe makes the perfect alternative to offering a selection of cheeses. Pair it with crackers, vegetables, toasts, and charcuterie. The pimento cheese ball is great for dinner parties because it can be made so far in advance.

A pimento cheese ball is much like pub cheese’s cousin in that it is spreadable and loaded with additional fillings such as dill pickles and bacon. While classic pimento cheese contains little more than pimento peppers, cheese and mayonnaise, this is meant to resemble more of a dip with additional ingredients to amp up the flavor. In this cheese ball recipe, I combine the cheese and peppers with cream cheese for a thicker texture. This way it holds together well so its easily rolled in the coating of chopped pecans for the perfect party appetizer.

Pimento Cheese Ball Recipe

how to make a pimento cheese ball recipe

What is Pimento Cheese

There’s a reason it’s referred to as “the caviar of the South”! Pimento cheese isn’t actually a type of cheese – it’s a cheese spread. While spread or dip versions are made with mayo in addition to the Cheddar cheese and cream cheese I omit the mayonnaise for a thicker texture in this recipe.

The pimento cheese can be made up to two days in advance, however, I recommend waiting to roll the cheese ball in the pecans until just before serving. Store, covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve the appetizer.

blended pimento cheese ball mixture in food processor

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Pimento peppers – The key ingredient in making pimento cheese spread is pimento peppers. The small, red, heart shape peppers are mild and sweet in flavor. They can typically be found in jars or cans in most grocery stores.
  • Cheese – I use a combination of Cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese in this recipe. The slightly sweet, mild flavor complements the sharp flavors of the Cheddar.
  • Pecans – The cheese ball is rolled in chopped pecans for a nutty, crunchy addition. Pecan is a species of hickory quite popular in the South. The pecans can easily be swapped with another nut like walnuts.

How to Make a Pimento Cheese Ball

blended cream cheese cheddar cheese and monterey jack cheese
Step 1: Blend the base. 

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment process the cream cheese, butter, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and shredded Cheddar cheese until smooth.

ingredients in food processor with bacon pickles and pimento peppers
Step 2: Add the remaining ingredients. 

Add the hot sauce, mustard, pimentos, bacon, pickle and cayenne, continuing to pulse until just combined.

pimento cheese ball wrapped in plastic wrap
Step 3: Chill cheese ball. 

Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and scrape the cream cheese mixture into the bowl using a rubber spatula. Gather the plastic wrap around the cream cheese then use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.

pimento cheese ball rolled in pecans
Step 4: Roll in pecans and serve. 

When ready to serve, add the pecans to a shallow bowl. Roll the cheese ball in the pecans to coat. Serve with an assortment of crackers and vegetables.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Swaps and Substitutions
  • Omit the bacon to make this recipe vegetarian.
  • Swap the Monterey Jack cheese with all Cheddar cheese or another cheese like Colby Jack or Pepper Jack cheese.
  • Rather than using pecans try chopping up other nuts like walnuts to roll the cheese ball in.
  • For extra flavor try adding a bit of onion or garlic powders.
Variations on This Cheese Ball Recipe
  • Herb cheese ball. Instead of rolling the cheese ball in chopped pecans, try chopping up fresh herbs like chives and parsley. Roll the refrigerated cheese ball in the herbs as you would the pecans.
  • Bacon Ranch cheese ball. Instead of pimento peppers and pickles, try adding 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning and 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions.
  • Smoked gouda cheese ball. Use smoked gouda as the cheese and omit the pimento peppers. Roll the cheese ball in chopped bacon bits.
How far in advance can the cheeseball be made?

The ball can be assembled up to 4 days in advance then rolled in the pecans just before serving.

What to serve with a cheese ball
  • Crackers. Serve with saltines or buttery Ritz crackers.
  • Crostini. Make crostini by dipping sliced baguette slices into olive oil and bake at 350ºF (180ºC) until crispy, about 15 minutes.
  • Vegetables. If you want to give a healthier alternative serve with celery sticks, baby carrots or cauliflower florets.
pimento cheese ball recipe with pecans and saltine crackers

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this pimento cheese ball recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Pimento Cheese Ball

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco® or hot sauce of choice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar pimento peppers, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cooked crumbled bacon
  • 1 medium dill pickle minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

Instructions:

  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment process the cream cheese, butter, Monterey jack cheese and cheddar cheese until smooth.
  • Add the hot sauce, mustard, pimentos, bacon, pickle and cayenne, continuing to pulse until just combined.
  • Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and scrape the cream cheese mixture into the bowl using a rubber spatula. Gather the plastic wrap around the cream cheese then use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
  • When ready to serve, add the pecans to a shallow bowl. Roll the cheese ball in the pecans to coat. Serve with an assortment of crackers and vegetables.

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