Pinwheels | Cream Cheese Pinwheels Appetizer

Published Date: November 17, 2022
Last Updated: November 17, 2022

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Cream Cheese Pinwheels are a delicious chilled bite filled with a combination of sweet and salty favorites. With only a few ingredients and some time to chill, you can have an appetizer that will please any crowd!

What Makes These Irresistible?

  • Fast. Excluding the time to chill, these Cream Cheese Pinwheels only take 20 minutes to prepare.
  • Easy. Mix together the filling, spread it on a tortilla and roll. It’s so simple the whole family can help make these@!
  • Customizable. There are thousands of different varieties of pinwheels out there, why not create your own? Use my ingredients as a template to add in your favorite flavors.
  • Store Well. You can make these ahead of time so you can truly enjoy the next event you’re hosting instead of cooking and prepping food up until the time your guests arrive.

Let’s Talk Ingredients

  • Tortilla Shells– You’ll want to grab the full-sized “burrito” tortillas for these. Sure, you could use the smaller ones, but that’s just more work to roll more pinwheels. Who has time for that?
  • Cream Cheese– Do yourself a favor and grab the store brand. I know the expensive stuff is a little creamier and can be way better in some recipes, but after you mix in all of the other ingredients, you won’t be able to tell a difference.
  • Sour Cream– Regular or Light sour cream will both work. So if you’re watching calories, you can cut a few here.
  • Ham– You can use cooked ham cubes or sliced ham lunch meat. Both are delicious.
  • Bacon– No time to cook your bacon ahead of time? Buy the microwavable variety at the grocery store. It should be located right next to the lunch meat.
  • Worchestershire Sauce– The acidity of this sauce helps cut some of the richness from the fat in the filling.
  • Garlic Powder– Just to season the filling up a little more.
  • Cheddar Cheese– The sharpness of the cheddar comes through nicely with the bold flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Dried Cranberries– A tart bite cuts through the rich, salty flavors of the cream cheese, ham, and bacon.

How To Make Pinwheels

Step 1: Mix together the soft ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together softened cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.

Step 2: Add the hearty ingredients. Pour chopped bacon, cubed ham, and cranberries into the cream cheese mixture. Stir until it is thoroughly combined. Doing this in two steps makes it easier to evenly distribute all of the ingredients for a consistent pinwheel.

Step 3: Spread the filling. Lay a tortilla on a clean, flat surface. Use a spoon to evenly spread a thin layer of the filling over the entire tortilla shell.

Step 4: Roll it up. Starting from one end, roll the tortilla up to make a cylinder. It will create a pinwheel pattern on the inside of the rolled tortilla.

Step 5: Cover and chill. Place the rolled-up tortilla inside some plastic wrap. Make sure there is no tortilla shell uncovered, and refrigerate. Repeat this step until all of the pinwheels are created.

Step 6: Unwrap and slice. After they are chilled, remove the tortilla rolls from the refrigerator. Place them on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut 1/2″ slices. This will create the small pinwheel appetizers you know and love.

Variations

  • Make them spicy. Stir in a can of diced green chilis before spreading the filling onto your tortilla shells.
  • Skip the fruit. Some people aren’t a fan of the mixture of tart and salty in one bite. If you prefer to keep these cream cheese pinwheels savory, skip the dried cranberries.
  • Add a little zing. Feel like this pinwheel recipe needs just a little more zing? Mix in half a package of dry ranch dressing seasoning to the softened cream cheese before adding the rest of the filling ingredients.
  • Mix in some texture. If you aren’t a fan of soft foods, you can mix in some chopped pecans for a nice blend of holiday flavors and some crunch.

What To Serve With Them

Generally, these Pinwheels are served as an appetizer, so the natural thing to serve with them would be even more appetizers! Check the list of some of my favorite appetizers at the bottom of this post for more ideas.

Not only are these great appetizers, but they can also double as a make-ahead lunch idea. You can pack a few of these in your lunch box with a bag of chips and your favorite fruit for an easy lunch that doesn’t need to be heated.

Can You Make Cream Cheese Pinwheels The Night Before?

Not only CAN you make these cream cheese pinwheels the night before, but I also suggest doing so. The longer you let them chill, the longer they can stay at room temperature for serving without becoming soggy.

How Long Do You Chill Pinwheels Before Cutting?

For the firmest bite and to keep them from becoming soggy when served, I would suggest chilling them overnight–but I’m a realist. The holidays can be crazy, sometimes you forget ingredients or the grocery store doesn’t have what you need, or you can be asked to bring a last-minute appetizer to a party.

If you don’t have a full 8 hours to let these cream cheese pinwheels chill, they will still be firm enough to serve after about an hour in the refrigerator.

How Do You Make Pinwheels Not Soggy?

The key to keeping pinwheels from becoming soggy is to make sure your cream cheese pinwheel filling is not too thin. This can be helped by ensuring they are refrigerated immediately after assembling and kept there up until the time they are being served.

If the filling is too thin or too warm, the tortilla shells will absorb the moisture from the filling and become soggy. Just remember to keep your filling thick (you won’t have any problem doing that with this recipe) and keep them chilled.

How Long Do They Last?

Since these pinwheel appetizers can become soggy if they sit for too long, it is best to enjoy them relatively quickly after you prepare them. For the best flavor and texture, I would suggest serving them within a day or two of preparing them.

More Appetizer Recipes

If you’re loving these Cream Cheese Pinwheel Appetizers as much as us, make sure you share the recipe at your next party and on social media with your friends!

Yield: 60 pinwheels

Pinwheels | Cream Cheese Pinwheels Appetizer

Pinwheels | Cream Cheese Pinwheels Appetizer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 Tortilla Shells
  • 1 cup cubed ham
  • 8 oz cooked bacon
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together softened cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.
  2. Pour chopped bacon, cubed ham, and cranberries into the cream cheese mixture. Stir until it is thoroughly combined.
  3. Lay a tortilla on a clean, flat surface. Use a spoon to evenly spread a thin layer of the filling over the entire tortilla shell.
  4. Starting from one end, roll the tortilla up to make a cylinder. It will create a pinwheel pattern on the inside of the rolled tortilla.
  5. Place the rolled-up tortilla inside some plastic wrap. Make sure there is no tortilla shell uncovered, and refrigerate. Repeat this step until all of the pinwheels are created.
  6. After they are chilled, remove the tortilla rolls from the refrigerator. Place them on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut 1/2" slices. This will create the small pinwheel appetizers you know and love.
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Hi! I'm Ashley.

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I'm married to my high school sweetheart and we have three amazing sons.

I love carbs, cheese, and all things spicy and deep fried. There's nothing that makes me happier than a full kitchen table and a family with a full belly!


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