Pimento Cheese Poppers with Jalapeño Ranch.
These pimento cheese poppers are crispy, cheesy bites that melt in your mouth! Dip in a jalapeño ranch or throw on top of a salad. Like goat cheese poppers, but better?! They are incredibly delish!
Let’s make these pimento cheese poppers a THING!!!
Okay guys. You are going to have to forgive me. Because I’m frying dip and serving it with more dip.
It sounds terrible. But it’s actually wonderful!
I swear on the moon and the stars and the sky.
Last week I told you I had one more recipe utilizing pimento cheese up my sleeve, and here we are! Since the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow, these have arrived just in time. You should definitely make them for the one minute race!
I have a little disclaimer for you. This recipe uses my pimento cheese recipe that I shared last week. While I’m rarely particular in what exactly you use in recipes, I highly suggest using my recipe because I know EXACTLY how it will work. Some store bought pimento cheese is delicious, but without knowing the exact consistency, I can’t promise you that these poppers will work. If the pimento cheese is creamier and more mayo-based, these will fall apart as they fry and never work.
If you use my pimento cheese recipe, it is guaranteed to work!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
So, I had fried goat cheese on my mind. You know? The wonderful, golden disk of fried cheese that tastes amazing with honey or on a salad? Yes, it was all I could think about.
Except I didn’t have goat cheese. I did have a batch of my pimento cheese in the fridge and figured it HAD to work.
I love crispy goat cheese so much and could only imagine how good crispy pimento cheese would be.
Thankfully, I was right. YESSSSSS.
This recipe is simple, but there are some moving parts. Of course, you need to make the pimento cheese. You also need to roll it into balls and freeze it for a half hour or so. And yes, I do fry it in a bit of oil. You can most likely use the air fryer too. I didn’t test it out, but I have tried goat cheese in the air fryer before and include some instructions below based on that. Winning all around!
Now what to do with the pimento poppers? Well, you could serve with them a simple honey drizzle. We put the leftovers on a salad and they were INCREDIBLE. I’m talking, so so good.
Or, you could make this jalapeño ranch!
This ranch is my favorite ranch recipe that I make all the time – it just has fresh jalapeños blended it for a bit of heat. I leave out the seeds, but if you like things spicy, leave ‘em in before blending.
So that’s why I said we have dip on dip. When I dip you dip we dip. This recipe is basically two dips in one which is equal parts terrifying and fantastic.
Because it tastes so darn good!
Pimento Cheese Poppers
Pimento Cheese Poppers
- 1 batch pimento cheese, preferably cold from the fridge
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 ½ cups seasoned panko breadcrumbs
- vegetable or canola oil for frying, you will need a few inches in a saucepan
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup milk
- 3 tablespoons fresh chives or 1 tablespoon dried chives
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Note: I highly suggest making my pimento cheese recipe for these. There are so many store-bought brands of pimento cheese out there, and I can’t guarantee how well they will fry (without falling apart). If you can find a version that seems “sturdy” and not as mayo-based and runny, it will probably work best, but I can’t say for sure!
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Scoop out 2 tablespoons of pimento cheese and roll it into a ball. It helps to roll the ball if the pimento cheese is cold from the fridge. Place the ball on the parchment paper. Repeat with remaining pimento cheese. These can truly be any size you want them to be! I just suggest that they are all uniform in size.
- Once all the pimento balls are on the parchment paper, place the sheet in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes.
- At this time, I suggest making the jalapeño ranch! You can also make it a day or so ahead of time and store it in the fridge.
- When ready to fry, heat a few inches (about 2 to 3) of oil in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. You want the oil to be about 325 degrees F.
- Place three bowls or plates in an assembly line. Fill the first with the flour, the second with the eggs and the third with the breadcrumbs. Line another plate with a paper towel.
- Once the oil is hot, remove the pimento cheese balls from the freezer. Immediately dip a ball in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. You can fry 2 to 3 balls at a time without the oil temp dropping too much, but I wouldn't do more than 3.
- Add the pimento balls to the oil and fry for about 2 minutes - watch them the entire time and use a slotted spoon to flip them and move them around so the entire round crisps up. Remove them with the slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining pimento balls!
- Serve immediately with the jalapeño ranch. I have found that any leftovers of these reheat well in a low temp over for 10 minutes.
- I have not tried these in the air fryer, but if your pimento balls are still frozen and once dipped in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs, I think they would probably work. I would most likely start at 375 or 400 degrees F, spray the balls with olive oil spray and air fry for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed and combined. Store in the fridge in a sealed container. This lasts for about a week!
Off to the races!