Cheddar Rillettes

Unlike traditional rillettes — such as pork or duck — which rely on fat to preserve and flavor the meat, this pimento cheese–inspired version made with cheddar incorporates rendered bacon fat to create the perfect texture and lend a pleasant, smoky flavor. Sprinkle the crisp bacon on top for crunchy contrast.

Cheddar Rillettes
Photo: Greg DuPree
Total Time:
20 mins
about 1 1/2 cup


  • 4 center-cut bacon slices (about 5 ounces), finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated shallot or white onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • Kosher salt, to taste


  1. Cook bacon in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until rendered and crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Transfer 2 tablespoons rendered bacon drippings to a small bowl; discard remaining drippings.

  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, shallot, and hot sauce in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in reserved bacon drippings, whisking constantly, until blended. Combine mayonnaise mixture and cheese in a food processor, and pulse until cheese is very finely chopped, about 4 times. Scrape into a serving bowl, and season with salt. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve with crudités, toasted bread, or crackers.

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