Going to a potluck and need to make quick and easy appetizers for your upcoming party? You won’t believe how EASY these pinwheels are to make – make a few different flavors, pair with your favorite beer, wine, cocktail, or beverage and you’ve got an appetizer to please everyone ready in minutes! They’re so easy to make AND it’s a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen!
I grew up on pinwheels. Growing up, my mom always made some for each dinner party and potluck we hosted. She always made different flavors – veggie pinwheels, jalapeño and cheese, hummus… so tasty! My favorite memory of these pinwheels was that she always let me make them. It was quite the badge of honor as a kid! I loved helping her in the kitchen and the best part was that the ends were always for the chef… 😉
Pinwheels, rollups, wraps, call them what you want – but they all have the same basic structure. It’s some kind of filling wrapped up in a tortilla and cut into slices so the result is a pretty, swirled, bite size appetizer. You can make any kind of filling you want, in fact you can go as simple or elaborate as you want! Pinwheels are a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen. You can have them get creative with the flavors, whip up the filling, spread it on the tortilla, and roll it up. For the little ones, you’ll want to help cut out the rolls but the older ones can run with them on their own!
Be careful not to overfill the rolls – otherwise you won’t get the beautiful swirled effect. It also helps to refrigerate the rolls before cutting so the filling has a chance to bind together. Cut with a sharp, serrated knife in a sawing motion to avoid sticking and squishing the rolls.
To make this appetizer appeal to the most people, I always like to make a few different flavors. I typically make one with a gluten – free tortilla and one vegetarian version. I also adjust the flavors so they fit the needs of your guests. For example – my stepmother in law is gluten and dairy free. When I make these for a party she will be at, I like to make my bbq chicken pinwheels on a gluten free tortilla and omit the cheese so she can enjoy them too.
The best part about this appetizer is you can vary it any way you want. Got 30 seconds before you have to fly out the door? Use a flavored cream cheese, spread on the tortilla before rolling up and cutting, and you’re good to go! My favorite flavor to use in this situation is garden vegetable or a sun dried tomato cream cheese. Have a little more time and want to make this recipe more fancy? Swap out the tortilla for puff pastry and try a filling with sautéed spinach and feta cheese or a sweet filling with brie and fig jam…. the possibilities really are endless!
Below, you’ll find the recipes for my BBQ Chicken Pinwheels, Jalapeño Popper Pinwheels, and Mascarpone and Fig Jam Pinwheels. A little something for everybody! I also paired each of these with a wine or beer pairing. Try them out and let me know what you think in the comments below!
BBQ Chicken Pinwheels
This is my favorite pinwheel flavor by far! Succulent pulled chicken smothered in a tasty bbq sauce, with a little crunch from sautéed onions and peppers… these are sure to be a crowd favorite. Serve cold or hot and pair with your favorite beer, lemonade, or a bold Syrrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Barbera.
BBQ Chicken Pinwheels
Succulent pulled chicken smothered in a tasty bbq sauce, with a little crunch from sautéed onions and peppers… these are sure to be a crowd favorite. Serve cold or hot and pair with your favorite beer, lemonade, or a bold Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Barbera.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 small onion (diced)
- 1 large green bell pepper (diced)
- 2 large tortillas (gluten free optional)
- 2 cups pulled, smoked chicken
- 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce
- 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese ((optional))
Sautée onion and bell pepper with 1 tsp oil until soft.
Heat up the pulled chicken.
Stir in BBQ sauce, cheese, onions, and peppers. This should create a thick sticky filling.
Spread hot chicken mixture into an even layer on each tortilla.
Roll up each tortilla into a tight wrap. Secure with toothpicks if desired.
Cut the roll into even slices and serve hot! Or chill the pinwheels and serve cold.
Jalapeño Popper Pinwheels
A twist on the classic deep fried, cream cheese stuffed jalapeño popper, this pinwheel combines creamy and spicy jalapeño cream cheese, salsa, Mexican cheese, and some fresh chopped jalapeños. I love to pair this roll with a Rioja red wine. The bold flavor of the wine complements and tempers the spice from the jalapeños well.
Jalapeño Popper Pinwheel
- 1/2 cup jalapeño cream cheese ((or plain works too))
- 2 tbsp salsa, drained
- 1 jalapeño (diced, seeds removed)
- 1/4 cup Mexican Cheese
- 2 tortillas
Whip cream cheese, drained salsa, jalapeño, and cheese in a small bowl.
Spread in an even layer on the tortillas.
Roll up the tortillas into a tight wrap. Secure with toothpicks if desired but the tortillas should stay rolled on it’s own.
Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Cut the chilled tortilla wrap into bite size rolls and serve cold.
Mascarpone and Fig Jam Pinwheels
Yes, you CAN make dessert pinwheels!! The buttery mascarpone melds with the fig jam perfectly for this “dessert appetizer”. To vary it up a bit, you can make this recipe with orange marmalade and mascarpone, fig jam and brie, or even add chopped walnuts to the recipe below for a little crunch! Serve with a fruity sauvignon blanc and you can’t go wrong!
Mascarpone and Fig Jam Pinwheels
- 2 tbsp fig jam
- 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
- 1 tortilla
Evenly spread a layer of mascarpone onto the tortilla.
Evenly spread a layer of fig jam on top of the mascarpone.
Roll the tortilla into a tight wrap. Refrigerate and cut into bit size rolls.