Easy Pinwheel Recipe

This pinwheel recipe is the ultimate finger food! These tortilla roll ups are perfect for entertaining and endlessly customizable.

Pinwheel recipe

One of the best finger food recipes there is? A good pinwheels recipe! For years we’ve been looking for just the right version of this party classic. It wasn’t until now that we found what we were looking for: these tortilla roll ups! They’re full of Italian-style flavors: mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and a blend of spices. They look totally stunning on a platter. And better yet: we’ve figured out all the tricks to making a beautiful roll up: ours used to turn out misshapen and sad looking. Here’s how to make the most perfect pinwheels for your appetizer trays!

Pinwheel recipe ingredients

Most pinwheel recipes have similar ingredients, but they’re endlessly customizable! You can make this pinwheel recipe with lots of different fillings! Here’s what we did for our version, but you can see below with some customization ideas! Here are the basic pinwheel recipe ingredients:

  • Large burrito-style tortillas (see below)
  • Cream cheese (or goat cheese, to class it up!)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Filling ingredients: spinach and fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Spices: basil, oregano, and garlic powder
Tortilla roll up

Tip 1: Buy at least 10-inch tortillas

The first tip to the perfect pinwheel recipe: buy large tortillas! And that means: very large. Here’s what to know:

  • Buy tortillas marked burrito size or at least 10-inch tortillas. Don’t buy the large tortillas that work for quesadillas or tacos: they’re too small and they make a roll-up that doesn’t have enough spirals.
  • What if I can’t find them? We recommend holding out for large tortillas if you’re serving these for entertaining. Of course if you don’t mind the look for less spirals, you can use any size you like.

Tip 2: Roll the tortillas very tightly

The other tip for a great looking pinwheel recipe? Roll the tortillas very tightly. Many roll up recipes don’t provide any specifics on how to roll the pinwheels. But if you don’t pay attention to the rolling, you’ll get haphazard looking tortilla roll ups (like ours normally look). Here’s what to know:

  • Spread on a thin layer of filling — about 1/3 cup. It’s important to have just enough filling to taste great but not so much that it’s overly strong and cheesy. We’ve found that this is 1/3 cup, then sprinkle any chunks of meat, cheese or veggies on top.
  • Roll the tortillas as tightly as possible, especially at the beginning of the roll. If you’re not scrupulous about a tight roll at the beginning, you’ll have a hole in the roll. Then roll as tight as possible and they’ll look beautiful…promise.
Easy pinwheel recipe

Tip 3: Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Here’s the thing: in a pinwheel recipe, the refrigeration time is important. Why? It gives the filling time to set. This is important for getting just the right texture on the pinwheel. Many pinwheel recipes say to refrigerate for 1 hour, but we found it wasn’t long enough to get the right texture.

Another thing that a 2-hour refrigeration does is the tortillas soak up a bit of the moisture from the cheese filling. This causes them to puff out just a bit, which looks lovely when you cut into the pinwheel.

How to customize this pinwheels recipe

OK, so you’ve got our 3 best tips for the perfect pinwheels. But there are lots of ingredients to customize if you want to get creative! Here are lots of ideas on how to make new flavors of pinwheels following this basic recipe:

  • Mexican-style: Spread on salsa, add black olives or thinly sliced green onions, use cheddar cheese or Mexican blend instead of mozzarella. Or go to this Mexican Pinwheels recipe.
  • Classic: Use cheddar cheese, add ranch seasoning to taste, use chopped red pepper, green onion and black olives as filling
  • Pizza pinwheels: Spread pizza sauce over the cream cheese, add pizza toppings like chopped green pepper, red onion, black olives, prosciutto, etc
  • Spinach artichoke pinwheels: Make the recipe below, but substitute sundried tomatoes with

The sky’s the limit, as you can tell! You can also customize this specific pinwheel recipe (below). Use goat cheese instead of cream cheese for an upscale spin, or roasted red pepper instead of sun-dried tomato. Add thinly sliced green onion, or any other fillings you like!

Pinwheels recipe

Storage info for tortilla roll ups

Last thing before we release you to go roll! Here’s what to know about the storage for this pinwheel recipe:

  • Store up to 3 days refrigerated. But keep in mind…
  • The tortillas will soften over time. They’re best day of. The tortillas continue to soak up moisture from the filling, so they’ll get softer. They still taste good, but serve them as fresh as possible to guests.

This pinwheel recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, find burrito-sized tortillas that are gluten-free.

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Pinwheel recipe

Easy Pinwheel Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 40 pinwheels 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This pinwheel recipe is the ultimate finger food! These tortilla roll ups are perfect for entertaining and endlessly customizable. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 cups (5 ounces) fresh baby spinach leaves or 1/2 cup defrosted frozen spinach
  • 4 burrito size 10-inch* flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces cream cheese or soft goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil or jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the spinach: Place the spinach leaves in a skillet with 1/4 cup water. Heat over medium heat for a few minutes until the spinach completely wilts down, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the spinach to a bowl. Add cold water to instantly cool it, then squeeze out as much water as possible. Finely chop the spinach. (If using frozen spinach, defrost it, squeeze out the liquid and finely chop it.) 
  2. Chop the filling ingredients: Chop the sundried tomatoes or bell peppers. 
  3. Make the filling: To a medium bowl, add the spinach, sundried tomatoes, cream cheese or goat cheese, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Mix it until it comes together into a smooth filling (we found it’s easiest to use clean hands to help break up clumps). Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired.
  4. Roll the pinwheels: Place a tortilla on a cutting board, and spread it with 1/3 cup of the filling. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Roll up the tortilla very tightly, making sure to keep the roll very tight at the beginning (to avoid a hole in the middle!). Repeat for all tortillas. Refrigerate in a sealed container for at least 2 hours to allow the filling to set. Slice off the ends of the rolls and discard, then slice into 3/4-inch slices to make pinwheels. They last up to 3 days refrigerated, but they taste best day of because the tortillas become softer over time. 

Notes

*The 10-inch size is best for getting the best look to your pinwheels. We recommend getting this size if at all possible!

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pinwheel recipe, Tortilla roll ups

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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