Inside: This classic Southern Pimento Cheese Ball is perfect for Masters viewing and golf parties, Kentucky Derby parties, or any gathering when you need an easy appetizer that’s always a crowd pleaser! ➡
What do you get when you mix the classic cheese ball and a quintessential southern sandwich spread?
An easy and crowd-pleasing appetizer that when served up on a silver platter (literally), elevates a regular old cheese ball into an aahh-mazing munchie for a Masters watch party.
Yes, it’s delicious for any occasion, so why single out a golf gathering? Because it’s the perfect fun twist on the Masters golf tournament’s iconic pimento cheese sandwich!
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Pimento Cheese Ball Ingredients.
The ingredients in this tasty appetizer are also low carb and keto friendly!
Be sure to print the recipe card or pin the recipe at the end of this post to keep in your file of easy appetizer recipes!
How to make a pimento cheese ball.
This appetizer assembles in a snap, so it’s a great appetizer when you’re busy prepping for a party!
Step 1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise and mix until there are no more lumps in the cream cheese.
I like to mix these before adding the other cheese so I can see the lumps. Make sure you’ve allowed the cream cheese to soften first. If you can’t press out those lumps by hand, use a hand mixer on low or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to quickly smooth out any remaining lumps.
Step 2. Mix in the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
(This pinch of cayenne pepper won’t make it spicy – you can add more if you want some heat.)
Step 3. Add the cheddar and parmesan cheese to the mixture and stir to combine cheeses.
Step 4. Add the diced pimentos and mix well with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until all is well combined.
Step 5. Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Step 6. Remove from fridge 20 minutes before serving and roll in or press on pecan pieces.
How to shape a cheese ball.
I like to chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before shaping it – firming up the cheese a bit first helps it stay how you want it.
There are a couple of ways I use to shape a cheese ball:
- One way I use chill the cheese mixture first in a large piece of plastic wrap. When I’m ready to shape, I dampen my hands with water and form it into a ball, or whatever shape works best for the occasion.
See the cute acorn I made with a cheddar ranch cheese ball for fall!
- For this pimento cheese ball, I let a cereal bowl do most of the shaping work for me. I pressed the cheese mixture into the bowl and set it in the fridge. After it chilled, I ran a knife around the edges to help release it from the bowl. Then I turned it out onto the serving platter and did final shaping with my hands.
I finished it off by covering the cheese ball in toasted chopped pecans. I gave my pecans a rough chop so I could see some pecan pieces, but you can also crush the pecans to make it easier to get some nuts when you scoop it with the spreader.
Tips for the best pimento cheese ball.
Options and variations for Masters pimento cheese spread.
- Make a sandwich. My cheese ball version of this Masters pimento cheese recipe is adjusted so that it can be made into a solid ball. But typical pimento cheese is looser in consistency. Use 1/2 cup of mayonnaise instead of 3 tablespoons (or until desired consistency is reached). And the classic pimento cheese sandwich is always served on soft slices of white bread.
- For faster prep, use pre shredded cheese – this homemade pimento cheese will still be delicious! And buy the pimentos in a jar that are already diced.
- Make this recipe even easier by using already prepared pimento cheese from the grocery store to form into a ball and cover it with pecan pieces.
- Form the cheese mixture into smaller balls or a log for different serving options.
- Play with the flavors. Substitute different types of cheeses. Replace the parmesan with Monterey jack cheese. Add jalepenos to make it spicy. And bacon is always a hit in a cheese ball!
- Make it a smoother consistency by blending it with a mixer or food processor.
Pimento cheese FAQ’s.
What exactly is pimento cheese?
This “southern pate” can be found next to the deviled eggs at almost any southern gathering, but if you’ve never had it, pimento cheese (also spelled pimiento cheese) is basically a spread made from cheese, mayonnaise, and red pimiento peppers and served as a sandwich or on crackers.
If you didn’t grow up with pimento cheese, it may sound a little
gross odd. But if you love cheese, you’ve been missing out on this southern staple your whole life!
Fun fact: Have you ever really thought about what a pimento is? They’re cute little heart-shaped mild red peppers that are also dried and ground to make paprika!
Can you make this pimento cheese ball ahead of time?
Absolutely! Keep it in plastic wrap in the fridge, but don’t add the nuts until ready to serve because they’ll get soft.
How long will the pimento cheese ball save?
Store the cheese ball in an airtight container or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freezing is not recommended because it will change the consistency.
What to serve with a pimento cheese ball.
Cheese balls are delicious served up with any of these dippers:
Make sure to wash it down with a refreshing John Daly, Arnold Palmer, sweet tea, or the signature cocktail of the Masters tournament, the Azalea:
See the easy recipe in the post “The Masters Azalea Cocktail“.
Why is the Masters tournament pimento cheese sandwich famous?
Along with the green jacket and the prettiest display of azaleas you’ve ever seen, the Masters golf tournament is also known for its food and drink traditions. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to attend this major at Augusta National Golf Club, you’ve most likely noshed on a peach ice cream sandwich after one of these long-standing offerings in the green wrapper – the chicken salad, egg salad sandwiches, and this iconic sandwich, the pimento cheese. Nothing fancy here – these sandwiches still only cost two dollars.
Why pimento cheese?
The Masters pimento cheese sandwich stands out above the rest because generations of golf fans have been ordering this more than any other sandwich at the tournament for over half a century.
In the late 1940s, it was cheap to make and popular in the region, so a couple made pimento cheese sandwiches in their kitchen and sold them at the course for a quarter.
Demand grew and in the 1950s a local caterer named Nick Rangos took over to meet the demand. For over forty years his $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches were a Masters must-have. The tournament switched to the restaurant chain Wife Saver and then to other vendors down the line. Nick Rangos secret recipe was never known so the original recipe was changed again and again – and attendees were not happy with the tweaks to the perfect pimento cheese.
But today, all is right in the golf tournament’s world again because somehow they’ve gotten close enough to the original beloved recipe.
For tons of fun golf party ideas including decorations and cocktails, see the post “PAR-TEE Time: Ideas for a Golf Themed Party“.
And for the ideal size dessert, make a “birdie shot” with one of the scrumptious pudding shots in “30 Best Boozy Pudding Shot Dessert Recipe Ideas“.
Event ideas for a pimento cheese ball appetizer.
This pimento cheese ball really shines when served on a silver platter with a sterling silver spreader! It gives this appetizer that southern flair so special that your grandmother would have been proud to serve it.
This pretty presentation is also perfect for a:
- Kentucky Derby party
- Southern tailgate or game day party
- Bridal shower
- Baby shower
- Ladies luncheon
- Church function
Take this taste of the Masters and make it the perfect appetizer for your next gathering!
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Pimento cheese ball printable recipe.
Pimento Cheese Ball Appetizer
This classic Southern Pimento Cheese Ball is perfect for Masters viewing and golf parties, Kentucky Derby parties, or any gathering when you need a delicious appetizer that’s always a crowd pleaser!
- 2 cups yellow sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 4 oz. cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 4 oz. sour cream
- 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 4 oz. jar of diced pimento peppers drained
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup chopped pecans toasted for extra flavor
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise and mix until there are no more lumps in the cream cheese. You can use a hand mixer on low or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to quickly smooth out any remaining lumps.
Mix in the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Add the cheddar and parmesan cheese to the mixture and stir to combine cheeses.
Add the drained pimentos and mix well with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until all is well combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Remove from fridge 20 minutes before serving and roll in or press on pecan pieces.
To use as a sandwich spread, up the mayonnaise to 1/2 cup.
Use extra sharp cheddar and toast pecans for even more flavor.