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Mexican Pinwheels have all your favorite south-of-the-border flavors in one bite. They take minutes to make and are always a crowd-pleaser. Filled with creamy chicken and the bold flavors of salsa, cilantro and spices, these tortilla roll-ups appetizers are as easy as 1-2-3!

stacks of mexican flavored tortilla pinwheels
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About The Recipe

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.

Here are a few notes about what makes them special:

  • Easy as 1-2-3: Just mix up the filling, fill and roll the tortillas, then slice into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces.
  • They’re always versatile and customizable: Swap in your favorite fillings for a custom snack, or roll them in crescent roll dough and bake at 375℉ for something warm.
  • Easy to please, and feed, a crowd: Everyone loves a good tortilla roll-up, especially one with Mexican inspired flavors. So it’s helpful to know how easy it is to double or triple the recipe so no one has to go hungry!

What you need

Ingredients

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 slow cooker shredded chicken. 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

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Mix up the filling: Combine cream cheese, chicken, and sour cream with a hand mixer then stir in salsa, taco seasoning, green onions, olives, and fresh cilantro.

chicken and cheese mixture spead on a flour tortilla, images showing how to roll up tortilla pinwheels

How to make Pinwheels: Lay a tortilla on a flat surface and spread with chicken mixture. Roll tightly into a log shape then wrap with plastic wrap to hold in place. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Two pieces of mexican tortilla roll up.

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.

I can usually fill 3-4 tortillas with this process, which will yield about 24-40 pieces depending on how thick you cut them. You can cut the recipe in half if that’s all you need, or double it if you need more. It’s very forgiving.

Test Kitchen Notes

  • These pinwheels 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 you find that the tortilla flap just isn’t staying put, add a toothpick. It will double as a handle for easy grabbing and eating.
  • Feel free to put your own spin on these little snacks. Mix up the veggies with some fresh bell pepper, tomatoes, or cucumbers.

Flavor Variations

These cute little snacks are anything but difficult. Easily customize the flavor profile or the filling ingredients to suit your tastes or the tastes of those around you.

  • Cheese: Try your favorite Mexican cheese blend, cotija cheese, or maybe just add in some Pepper Jack.
  • Protein: Or swap out the protein to make these a meatless snack. Add some black beans and corn, pinto beans, or even chickpeas.
  • Make it spicy: For more heat, try adding pepper jack cheese, diced jalapeño, or green chilies. A pinch of cayenne pepper would also spice things up.
  • Different flavor profiles: 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!
  • As an appetizer – 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, just hold off on slicing until you’re about ready to serve.

stack of mexican pinwheels

More Pinwheel Recipes

Recipe

Mexican Pinwheels

5
Mexican Pinwheels are an easy appetizer with creamy chicken and bold Mexican flavors rolled into a tortilla and sliced for a fun finger food.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 (3 pieces each)

Ingredients
  

  • 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
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Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 13gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 552mgPotassium: 162mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 737IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 196mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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