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Add a south-of-the-border kick to your next party with these easy Mexican Pinwheels. With a creamy blend of cream cheese, sour cream, and chicken, and the bold flavors of salsa, cilantro, and spices these Mexican-inspired chicken pinwheels are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Mexican pinwheels, or roll-ups as they’re sometimes called, are easy appetizers that take minutes to make. You can customize the recipe to your heart’s desire with different fillings, spices, and seasonings.
You can make them hot too, with crescent roll dough or pizza dough instead of tortillas. Just lay flat on a baking sheet and bake at 375℉ for about 10 minutes.
Whether you make them hot or cold, these Mexican Pinwheels are delicious and worthy of earning a spot on your appetizer table.
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Mexican Pinwheels
- Cream cheese – You need full fat brick style cream cheese, and about a brick and a half.
- Sour cream – Softens up the mixture and add a little tang.
- Cheese – I used a mixture of sharp cheddar cheese and Jack cheese. Play around with your favorites. I think pepper jack would add a nice kick.
- Salsa – Any brand is fine, or try making your own fresh Restaurant Style Salsa.
- Chicken – I always have some leftover shredded chicken stashed away from soups and snacks. But if you need to make some try it in the slow cooker. A rotisserie chicken from the store would also come in quite handy.
- Taco seasoning – Use my fantastic blend of spices or buy some in a jar.
- Green onions, black olives and cilantro – All optional ingredients that really heighten the flavor of the filling.
- 10-inch flour tortillas – If you can’t find a great place that makes fresh homemade tortillas, choose a brand that has thick, soft flour tortillas. The size of your tortillas is important, so you’ll have enough to roll a few times.
How To Make Mexican Tortilla Pinwheels
- Mix up the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, chicken and sour cream. You can use a hand mixer to get this done really quick. Stir in salsa, cheese, taco seasoning, green onions, olives and fresh cilantro.
- How to make Pinwheels: Lay one flour tortilla on a flat surface. Spread some of the chicken mixture evenly on the tortilla, leaving about ⅓ of an inch around the edges of the tortillas because the filling will spread a bit when you roll. Roll the tortilla up into a log shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Finish with the remaining tortillas – I can usually fill at least 3-4 of them.
- Slice into pinwheels. Once you are ready to serve, remove the logs from the fridge, unwrap, then use a serrated knife to cut them into 1 ½ inch pinwheels. Secure each pinwheel with a toothpick if needed. Arrange on a platter and serve chilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! These can be made up to 24 hours in advance, although 8-12 hours seems to be the sweet spot to get them just soft enough. Just refrain from slicing until you are ready to serve.
If the filling is warm, or if the pinwheels sit in the plastic wrap for more than a day, they will start to become soggy.
You always want to use flour tortillas, because they are soft, and will soften even more with the filling. Corn tortillas are too brittle. Look for a generous size, at least 10-12 inches.
- Feel free to put your own spin on these little snacks. Mix up the veggies with some fresh bell pepper, tomatoes or cucumbers.
- Cheese is customizable, too. Try your favorite Mexican cheese blend, cotija cheese or maybe just add in some Pepper Jack.
- Or swap out the protein to make these a meatless snack. Add some black beans and corn, pinto beans, or even chickpeas.
- For more heat, try adding pepper jack cheese, diced jalapeño or green chilies. A pinch of cayenne pepper would also spice things up.
- Want to make healthy taco pinwheels? Try using hummus instead of cream cheese (doubles as the protein too), and add veggies like baby spinach or green bell peppers.
How to Serve
These cute little rolled up snacks aren’t just for grown-up parties. Kids love them too! Try serving them a variety of ways:
- As a lunch – enjoy a quick and easy bite at home or pop into lunch boxes for a special treat.
- After school snack – They are so easy, kids can make these themselves!
- Of course they are great as a party appetizer or to bring to potlucks. It’s super easy to make a double batch, too.
Storage and Make Ahead
Store leftover sliced pinwheels in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. They will get softer the longer they are stored. I don’t recommend freezing as the texture will change drastically.
You can make them ahead up to 1 day in advance.
More Easy Appetizers to Try
- 12 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Jack cheese
- ½ cup salsa
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 4 ounces sliced olives drained
- 1 tablespoons cilantro
- 4 flour tortillas 12-inch
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, chicken and sour cream. Use a hand mixer if you have one to make sure it’s really well combined.
- Stir in salsa, shredded cheese and taco seasoning, then gently fold in green onions, olives and cilantro.
- Lay one tortilla on a flat surface and spread ¼ of the chicken mixture evenly on the tortilla, leaving about ⅓ of an inch around the edges.
- Roll tortilla into a log shape. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerate logs for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove logs from the refrigerator. Unwrap and slice into even pieces using a sharp, serrated knife. Secure pinwheels with toothpicks if desired.
- Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.