Why is this the BEST Pinwheel Appetizer? Because it’s made with a creamy ricotta cheese spread, red pepper jelly, and a crispy puff pastry.
This post is all about how to make Cripsy Pinwheel Appetizers.
These easy-to-make, bite-sized pinwheel appetizers are perfect for game days, holidays, birthday parties, and really all year round! Unlike most pinwheels, these are made with puff pastry dough (tortilla-free) and a homemade cheese filling with semi-sweet red pepper jelly.
I’m confident when I say, “You’ve never tried a pinwheel appetizer like this before.” And, another reason this recipe stands apart from any other is that you get (if you choose) two different appetizers out of one batch.
How? Because the pinwheel cheese spread filling makes one heck of a dip for crackers, vegetables and even works as an excellent pizza topper.
Should we start taking bets now on how long these pinwheel appetizers will last at your next party or gathering? Of course, all in the name of fun, but you get my point! Let’s look at how easy this pinwheel recipe is and why Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas just got a lot tastier.
Crispy Pinwheel Appetizers
The Best Pinwheel Appetizer Recipe For A Crowd
This easy pinwheel appetizer made with flaky puff pastry dough comes with a recipe option that involves your time. Homemade ricotta cheese is the base used for the pinwheel filling.
It’s actually easy (and fun) to make, plus several recipes call for this versatile cheese. Another perk, using the leftover whey for homemade bread and pizza dough, is next-level delicious.
But, if you don’t have time or any interest in making your own cheese, no problem! You can purchase a tub of ricotta at almost any grocery store. And yes, even then, it will still be the best pinwheel appetizer you’ve ever tasted!
Ingredients Needed For Pinwheel Appetizers And Filling
As you can see from the photo, these pinwheel ingredients are pretty straightforward. Buying puff pastry sheets and the (to-die-for!) red pepper jelly just takes a quick trip to the store.
If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, they sell the best puff pastry dough (because it comes from a French supplier) and red pepper jelly. Unfortunately, the day I went, Trader Joe’s was out of the dough, so I compromised with another brand that was still good.
The homemade ricotta cheese spread is the only thing that involves a bit of time, but even then, how hard is it to add and blend six ingredients in a food processor?! Don’t worry, if you don’t own a food processor, you can still make this spread. If you’re interested in making the homemade ricotta cheese, you can follow the recipe here.
FYI, one box of puff pastry dough usually includes two sheets of dough. Each sheet of dough makes 20 pinwheels. The other sheet of dough can be stored in the freezer if you don’t need 40 pinwheels, and in that case, you’ll have enough cheese spread leftover to use as an extra appetizer dip for crackers or vegetables.
Ingredients For Making 40 Pinwheel Appetizers:
- 1 Box of Puff Pastry Sheets, preferably from Trader Joe’s. Again, two sheets of dough yields 40 appetizers.
- 1 jar of Red Pepper Jelly, preferably from Trader Joe’s.
- 2 cups of Ricotta cheese, you have the option here to make it from scratch or purchase from the store.
- 2 cloves of minced garlic, or 2 teaspoons of minced garlic.
- 2 tablespoons of fresh chives, chopped.
- 2 tablespoons of red onions, finely chopped.
- 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper.
- Sharp knife (for slicing the pinwheels)
- Food Processor, stand mixer, ninja blender, or put some muscle into it to mix the cheese spread into a creamy consistency.
How To Make Pinwheel Appetizers, Step-By-Step
Step 1: First, decide if you’re going to make ricotta cheese from scratch or buy it from the store. If you’re making the homemade ricotta cheese, this would be the first step, and you can make it ahead of time.
Step 2: The puff pastry sheets are usually sold frozen. The night before I make this recipe, I remove the dough box from the freezer and defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. The dough must be thawed before assembling the pinwheels.
Step 3: Add ricotta cheese, garlic, chives, red onions, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a food processor or some blender. Blend until you get a creamy consistency. This will yield about two cups of cheese filling. You can make this a couple of days before, but be sure to store the cheese spread in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Step 5: Unfold one sheet of dough onto a lightly floured surface and spread approximately 3/4 cup of the cheese mixture on top.
Step 6: Roll the sheet up like a burrito and cut 1/2 inch slices with a sharp knife. You should get 20 pinwheels.
Step 7: Place each pinwheel onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Step 8: After they’ve finished baking, add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper jelly and 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese spread on top. Serve warm or at room temperature. Repeat these steps for the second sheet of dough if you’re making 40 pinwheel appetizers.
Party Pinwheel Appetizer Tips
Can Pinwheels Be Made The Night Before?
Yes! You can make these appetizers the day or night before, and here’s how. Roll out the pastry dough and spread the cheese on top. Roll the dough up like a burrito and cover it in plastic wrap, placing it in the fridge.
On the serving day (as in the next day), cut up the burrito roll into 1/2 inch slices and bake. Don’t forget the red pepper jelly and cheese for the top of each pinwheel.
Why Are They The Most Popular Appetizers?
Pinwheels are a classic American appetizer loved by many. While some pinwheels are made with tortillas, this particular recipe calls for a crispy, buttery puff pastry combined with a spicy ricotta cheese filling and red pepper jelly. The unique filling and hot jelly make this pinwheel appetizer the most popular. 😀
How Do You Keep These Pastry Puff Roll Ups From Getting Soggy?
Bake them the same day you serve them. Most importantly, please DO NOT add the red pepper jelly and cheese toppings until right before serving them to guests. This will ensure the puff pastry stays crispy and will help to avoid soggy pinwheel appetizers.
What Can You Eat With Pinwheels?
You can eat pinwheels as an appetizer before a starter course like a salad, but there are certainly no rules when serving these crispy apps. And, making pinwheels for a crowd doesn’t necessarily need to be served with anything else. But, I will say these semi-spicy snacks taste great with a chilled glass of champagne or white wine.
Crispy Pinwheel Appetizers
- Food processor or blender
- Sharp knife
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment paper
Ingredients For Cheese Filling
- 2 cups Ricotta cheese
- 2 cloves minced garlic, or 2 teaspoons minced garlic.
- 2 tbsp chives, chopped.
- 2 tbsp Red onions, finely chopped.
- 1 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Cracked black pepper
Ingredients for Pinwheels
- 1 Box Puff pastry dough
- 1 Jar Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly
Instructions For Cheese Filling
- Add all ingredients for cheese filling to a food processor or blender.
- Blend ingredients until you get a creamy consistency.
Instructions For Pinwheels
- Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.
- Unfold one sheet of puff pastry dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Spread about 3/4 cup of cheese filling on top of the puff pastry sheet.
- Roll the sheet up like a burrito.
- With a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch slices. One sheet will yield 20 pinwheels.
- Place pinwheels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the pinwheels for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of cheese spread and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper jelly on top of each pinwheel. Serve them warm or at room temperature.
Final Thoughts on Crispy Pinwheel Appetizers
I hope you find these Crispy Pinwheels to be a hit at your next party! If you like this pinwheel appetizer recipe, you might also enjoy this Easy Bruschetta snack and this Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball.