This classic Southern Pimento Cheese Ball is a delicious and easy party appetizer!
Down South, there are one thing you see at every church function, gathering or holiday…a cheese ball!
The quintessential classic appetizer, this pimento cheese ball is a go-to for a lot of reasons. First of all, it’s SO easy to make, looks pretty displayed on a platter with your grandma’s silver cheese knife, and it tastes absolutely divine!
I love this pimento cheese ball for occasions like a Masters Viewing Party, the Kentucky Derby, New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl or any occasion or celebration that calls for a delicious party appetizer! A good and delicious cheese ball is ALWAYS a crowd favorite!
In my family, we take pimento cheese very seriously! My Mom served pimento cheese toast cups at every single party growing up (and I now carry on this tradition – you can find that recipe in my book, The Southern Entertainer’s Cookbook). We also love it served in this cheese ball, we basically love every variation of pimento cheese!
What is a Cheese Ball?
Let’s talk about cheese balls! You can buy them pre-made in the grocery store, but trust me, they’re so simple to make and taste even better homemade.
Cheese balls are quite simply, a ball of cheese – but not just plain ol’ cheese. It’s traditionally made with cream cheese, a variety of freshly grated or shredded cheeses, flavorings and seasonings that are mixed together and formed into a ball that is rolled in chopped nuts, dried fruit, bacon, bread crumb or left plain.
Pimento Cheese Ball Ingredients
What exactly goes into a pimento cheese ball? Well, cheese and pimentos are the most important!
Speaking of pimento, it’s actually another word for capsicum pepper, a sweet heart-shaped red pepper that has very little heat. They’re also commonly used to stuff green olives and even harvested to make paprika! Cool, huh?
- extra-sharp cheddar cheese (grate your own, trust me!)
- cream cheese (be sure to pull it out to soften prior to making)
- pimento peppers (tip: buy them already diced, buy the olives or in the international food aisle)
- mayonnaise (I love Duke’s brand)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chopped pecans (toasted for even more flavor)
This recipe is also very keto and low carb friendly!
Pimento Cheese Ball Variations
SPICY PIMENTO CHEESE BALL: You can give your pimento cheese ball a spicier kick with the addition of diced jalapeños! You can also increase the amount of cayenne pepper to your liking.
BACON PIMENTO CHEESE BALL: Who doesn’t love bacon? You can either add it to the mixture itself or add it to the nuts when rolling your pimento cheese ball.
Tips for Making a Pimento Cheese Ball:
- Be sure to pull out your cream cheese and allow it to come to room temperature. This will ensure it’s soft enough to blend well with the other ingredients and not lumpy.
- I recommend using a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment for easy blending together.
- Avoid buying pre-shredded cheese, you really want to grate your own cheese for this recipe. Trust me, it’s worth the effort!
- For an even better flavor, toast your chopped pecans!
How to Shape a Cheese Ball
Now, this part might seem a little messy, but it’s simple with one tip! After you mix your ingredients, you don’t have to chill them, but I find it helpful, for at least 30 minutes. I just pop the bowl in the refrigerator while I clean up. Then, I spritz my hands with baking spray and begin to mold the cheese mixture into a ball shape with my hands.
Once you get a nice round ball shape, you can either put it back into the refrigerator if serving later or immediately roll into crushed pecans to serve.
NOTE: You can also shape the mixture into smaller balls or a log-shape that’s also great for serving at parties!
Making in Advance
If I’m hosting later in the day, I suggest keeping it chilled until about 20 minutes before serving. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator and roll in nuts and serve. You may have to gently press the nuts into the side of the cheese ball to help them stick.
You can roll in nuts and refrigerator, but sometimes the nuts will get soft in the refrigerator so I like to roll in nuts right before serving.
Pimento cheese balls will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
What to Serve with a Pimento Cheese Ball
Pimento Cheese Balls (like typical cheese balls) are ideal for serving with an assortment of crackers, pretzels or even veggies like celery or carrots. You could also serve it with homemade crostini or small toasts. Basically, anything you’d love to eat with cheese is perfect!
Pimento Cheese Ball
- Mixing Bowl
- 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 6 ounces diced pimento peppers drained, around 1/3 cup
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- pepper to taste
- salt to taste
- 1 cup chopped pecans toasted
- In a mixing bowl, combine Cheddar cheese, diced pimentos, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt and mix until combined.
- Cover mixture and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Form into a ball and roll in chopped pecans.