Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip with Pickled Jalapeños

by Carol Sacks on March 30, 2015

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Last month, The Honor Bar, featuring American classics, cocktails and wines, opened in Montecito. We braved the early-evening crowd last Friday and gave the cozy restaurant a spin.

Thumbs up all around for the restaurant’s perfectly-cooked, crispy fish sandwich on a house-made tender, giant brioche bun. We loved the colorful and crunchy Macho Salad, which featured an impossibly tender cooked chicken breast and buttery cornbread croutons.

We also dove right into the creamy smoked trout dip served with old-school Saltine crackers, and the spicy, cheesy Queso dip, featuring pickled jalapeños.

While I enjoyed all of the dishes we ordered, after the first bite, I didn’t want to share the Queso with Matthew and The Bug. I was still thinking about it when I woke up the next morning and wanted to make a version of it as soon as possible. With guidance from The Honor Bar’s friendly wait staff, I pieced together a pretty similar recipe, which you’ll find below. Feeling generous, I shared the bowl with my crew.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip with Pickled Jalapeños
Recipe type: appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
Spicy, cheesy and a little old school. Creamy dip to share with your family -- or not.
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 cup very sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 large scallions, chopped (just under ½ cup)
  • 1 very large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons pickled jalapeños, minced (Two Tablespoons will give you heat; 3 Tablespoons or more will make it fiery.)
  • 1 teaspoon pickled jalapeno juice
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted red pepper, chopped (drained or wipe it dry with a paper towel; I used jarred peppers.)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (I used Chrystal, but Tabasco or something similar would be fine)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • Tortilla chips for serving
  1. Put the cream cheese in a medium bowl and let it soften for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped scallions, minced garlic, minced pickled jalapeños, pickled jalapeño juice, chopped roasted red pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper or hot sauce, if you wish. Serve immediately (or chill before serving) with your favorite tortilla chips.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lily Lau March 30, 2015 at 11:02 am

Cheddar and spice, you just hit my two goals! Thanks for sharing your recipe with us 🙂


Carol Sacks March 30, 2015 at 11:36 am

Hi Lily, thanks so much for checking in. I hope you like it — it’s super-easy to make, too!


Lizthechef March 31, 2015 at 8:35 am

So glad I didn’t miss this – a little too good, Carol!


Carol Sacks March 31, 2015 at 8:36 am

Thank you so much, Liz!


Deb|EastofEdenCooking March 31, 2015 at 10:42 am

I am also inspired by fabulous restaurant food. It’s always fun to try something new in the kitchen! My family would love the Spicy Cheese Dip too. I imagine doubling the recipe might help with all those chips diving into the bowl of goodness!


Carol Sacks March 31, 2015 at 11:16 am

I hope you enjoy it, Deb! Thanks so much for checking in.


Winifred Lloyds Lender March 31, 2015 at 11:34 am

This looks like it will be a big family favorite! We will give it a try soon. Thank you Carol.


Carol Sacks March 31, 2015 at 11:47 am

I hope you and your crew like it, Winifred! Thank you for checking in!


Gail April 3, 2015 at 10:06 am

Oh, Carol. OH CAROL!!!!! This sounds divine!!!! What a fabulous dip! MMMmmmmmm….


Carol Sacks April 3, 2015 at 10:27 am

Hi Gail! Thank you so much. Who doesn’t love a spicy, cheesey dip, right?! Always appreciate your kind words, too:)


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