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Smoky Pimento Cheese

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 1/2 cups


  • 12 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar, coarsely grated at room temperature
  • Two 4-ounce jars diced pimentos, well-drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, or more to taste (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crystal hot sauce, or your favorite Louisiana red hot sauce, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 pinches sugar


  • Combine the cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise, onion, salt, pimenton, hot sauce, cayenne, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl, and stir until the cheese is still in distinct pieces but has begun to meld with the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until slightly firm, at least 1 hour or up to several days.


    Serve at cool room temperature.

Recipe Details