5 Ingredients or Fewer

Pimento Cheese Potato Salad

May 22, 2020
7 Ratings
Photo by Amanda Widis
Author Notes

Pimento cheese can be as simple as grated cheddar cheese, jarred pimento peppers, and store-bought mayonnaise. But lots of other ingredients often get thrown into the mix—like cream cheese, grated yellow onion, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, ground cayenne, and toasted pecans. Even the pimentos themselves often get swapped out for other peppers.

Not using pimentos seems to defeat the whole purpose, I realize, but there’s more precedent for this than you’d think. Roasted bell peppers (either from scratch or store-bought) are a common substitute. One of my favorite pimento cheese versions, from Beasley’s Chicken and Honey in Raleigh, N.C., uses green poblanos. Whatever pepper you love is fair game—for me, that’s Peppadews. If you can’t get ahold of them, pickled cherry peppers make a good substitute. Either way, pickled peppers add lots of crunch and vibrance.

This Big Little pimento cheese introduces one more unexpected ingredient—boiled potatoes—and, in the process, turns into a newfangled potato salad that’s more than the sum of its parts.

This is one of our Big Little Recipes, our weekly column all about dishes with big flavor and little ingredient lists. Do you know (and love) a recipe that’s low in ask, high in reward? Let us know in the comments.Emma Laperruque

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 6 as a side
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 pounds red or Yukon potatoes, cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 (14-oz) jar hot Peppadew peppers, drained and vinegar reserved
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
In This Recipe
  1. Combine 3 quarts of water and the 3 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Carefully add the potatoes and cook—adjusting the heat to maintain a confident simmer or timid boil—for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they’re knife-tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes, then spread into a single layer on a plate or sheet pan, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of peppadew vinegar.
  3. While the potatoes cool to warm, finely chop the peppadews. Add to a big bowl, along with the mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of peppadew vinegar. Stir to combine, then stir in the cheese.
  4. When the potatoes are just barely warm, gently fold them into the pimento cheese mixture. Taste and adjust the vinegar, mayo, and salt as needed. Eat right away or refrigerate for later.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

5 Reviews

Lara Y. June 1, 2020
I just made this last night and my husband and I loved it! I used a one pound bag of fingerling potatoes, 8 ounce package of peppadews, and all of the cheese. Which was too much cheese for only one pound of potatoes but my husband said "You can never have too much cheese, I love it, please make it again." Thank you, Emma, I really love these Big Little Recipes and I'm learning a lot from your videos. 1 Tbsp of salt to 1 Quart of water for properly seasoned boiling water.
Author Comment
Emma L. June 1, 2020
Thanks so much for the kind words, Lara! I agree with your husband that you can never have too much cheese :)
isabel H. May 26, 2020
Why is the cheese listed twice?
Author Comment
Emma L. May 26, 2020
Thanks so much for that catch! Just fixed.
isabel H. May 26, 2020
Great, thanks for the clarification. I figured it was a duplicate. I just whipped this up, happy that my covid pantry had the ingredients. Excellent, and so easy!