Maureen Martin


I've made these for so long I can't even remember who told me how to make them (sorry, whoever you are!). The variations for it number in the thousands, I'm sure. I've designed this recipe to be quick and simple with minimal chopping. But if you prefer to cut up fresh onions, by all means, do so!


☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes

Makes 50-ish pinwheels
35 Min
No-Cook or Other


  • 1
    6 oz. pkg extra thin sliced deli meat (i use ham)
  • 8
    10" flour tortillas
  • 2
    8 oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp
    dried onion flakes, reconstituted (soak in 3 tbs water until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes).
  • 1
    4.5 oz. can black olive pieces, well drained (or chop your own of equal amount)
  • 50+
    toothpicks (optional)

How to Make Pinwheels


  1. In small bowl, combine onion and olives. (You can use fresh onion if you prefer, but this recipe was designed to have minimal chopping involved, hence the reconstituted dried onion bits.)
  2. Spread thin layer (about 2 oz. or 1/4 of an 8 oz brick) of cream cheese over a tortilla, being careful not to tear it. Spread as close to the edges as possible.
  3. Sprinkle a few onion and olive bits over top of cream cheese (you need to make this stretch over 8 tortillas).
  4. Arrange 4 slices of meat to cover cream cheese on tortilla.
  5. Roll tortilla very tightly (the tighter you roll now, the easier they will be to cut later), wrap in plastic or stack in covered container and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes (you can cheat by putting in freezer for about 10 minutes if you're in a hurry).
  6. Unwrap one tortilla at a time from the plastic. If you're going to use toothpicks, insert them along the seam every 3/4" or so to hold roll closed. Slice between the toothpicks. (I always eat the irregular ends while I'm slicing. Quality control is important, after all!)
  7. Arrange on serving tray. Serve chilled.
  8. NOTES:
    You'll get from 5 to 7 pinwheels from each tortilla roll, and there are enough ingredients to make about 8 rolls (package sizes change often these days, so be sure to check the ounces given in the recipe and buy at least that much).
    Instead of the olives and thin-sliced meat, use a 6 oz. can of crab meat, thoroughly drained. Spread a light coating of cocktail sauce over the cream cheese before sprinkling the crab meat (if you wish, you can also sprinkle on some shredded cheddar cheese, but it's excellent without it), then roll, chill, and slice. Due to the cocktail sauce this can be slightly more messy than the main recipe, but the flavor is divine!

Printable Recipe Card

About Pinwheels

Main Ingredient: Dairy
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Soy Free
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

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