These Italian pinwheels are an absolute family favorite recipe! Packed with flavorful meats and cheese, these pinwheels work just as well as a prep-ahead school lunch as they do as a dish to bring to a potluck—everyone loves pinwheels! Our Italian pinwheels are fun to look at and have tons of Italian flavor that kids and grown-ups alike love to eat. Let’s get rolling!
What are Italian pinwheels made of?
These pinwheels have all the flavors you love in an Italian sandwich but in a cute, portable form. Plus, they are easy-peasy—that’s what makes them a great party appetizer OR quick lunch! To make these cream cheese roll-ups, you’ll need:
- Flour tortillas. Large tortillas are best—you may see them labeled as “burrito sized.”
- Slices of salami
- Slices of pepperoni
- Slices of ham
- Slices of provolone cheese
- Green leaf lettuce
For the cream cheese spread that helps hold the Italian pinwheels all together, you’ll need:
- Softened cream cheese
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic salt
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Pepperoncini peppers
- Roasted red peppers
If you are making these pinwheels for school lunch boxes and your kids are picky, the peperoncini and roasted red peppers are optional!
How do you make pinwheel sandwiches?
- Make the cream cheese spread by combining the ingredients in a mixing bowl until blended.
- Lay out one tortilla and spread 1/3 of the cream cheese over the entire surface.
- Leaving a 2″ gap on one side of the tortilla, layer 1/3 of each filling in this order: salami, pepperoni, ham, and provolone. Lay a few pieces of lettuce in the middle of the tortilla.
- Tightly roll up the tortilla, gently squeezing to help everything stick together.
- Repeat three times with the rest of the ingredients.
- Place all the roll-ups on a sheet pan and chill for an hour before slicing.
How do you get Italian pinwheels to stay together?
The cream cheese spread acts as the “glue” for these pinwheels, helping the whole thing stick together.
Do you refrigerate pinwheels before cutting?
Yes—a little bit of time in the fridge gives the cream cheese time to firm back up a bit. This helps the pinwheels stay together when you slice them!
How long do you chill pinwheels before cutting?
The tortilla roll-up should be refrigerated for at least an hour before you slice it into pinwheels. Then use a serrated knife to remove the end of the roll-up (this piece doesn’t look great or hold together as well, but it is a tasty snack while you are doing your prep!). Cut the rest of the roll into 1″ wide pieces—you’ll get about six pinwheels out of a typical large tortilla.
How do you make pinwheels not soggy?
The layering order is key! Wet ingredients or thin condiment sauces can make the tortilla soggy, so you want to put a buffer between any wet ingredients and the tortilla.
The ham is the most likely culprit in these easy Italian pinwheels, so we keep it as the middle layer. If you follow the recipe, the hard salami, provolone cheese, and lettuce will be the ingredients most likely to come into contact with the tortilla, and they shouldn’t make it soggy at all (assuming you dry your lettuce!).
How far in advance can I make pinwheels?
Pinwheels can be refrigerated for two to three days. We doubt you’ll have any trouble eating them up by then!
Can Italian pinwheels be frozen?
Most of the ingredients will be fine in the freezer, with one exception: the lettuce. If you’d like to freeze these Italian pinwheels, skip the green leaf lettuce in the middle of the roll.