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These easy baked Italian Pinwheels are the perfect bite-size Italian appetizers or party snacks to pair with a cold beverage, a glass of wine, or your favorite cocktail. Top the store-bought Pillsbury pie crust with Dijon mustard, prosciutto ham, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and plenty of Italian seasoning. Then just roll-up, chill, slice and bake! The simple recipe looks and tastes elegant enough for entertaining, but only requires about 10 minutes of hands-on prep.

Close up side shot of a plate of baked Italian Pinwheels with a bowl of nuts in the background

Italian Appetizers

Italian appetizers are always a hit at any party! I first tasted these Italian Pinwheels when my mom served them on a charcuterie board during cocktail hour before Easter dinner. The recipe originally comes from her friend Carol, who brought the appetizers to a happy hour at my folks’ house last year. This is just one of those great recipes friends love to share! The baked pinwheels are perfect for parties because:

  • They look and taste fancy, but they’re actually incredibly easy and only require about 10 minutes of effort;
  • They include just 6 simple ingredients;
  • They can be prepared in advance to eliminate any last-minute stress;
  • They can be served warm or at room temperature;
  • The salty, savory bite-size treats are not messy, can be enjoyed with one hand (while holding a drink in the other), and are a nice complement to a glass of wine, a cocktail, or even a glass of seltzer water.

What are Italian Pinwheels?

So, with that lengthy introduction, you might be wondering what exactly is a pinwheel food?! The term “pinwheel” can refer to any dish that involves topping a crust, bread, tortilla, or other vehicle with cheese, meats, or vegetables, then rolling it up and slicing it crosswise into rounds. The snacks get their “pinwheel” name from the resulting spiral design in the middle of each round.

Instead of the more common tortilla and cream cheese combination that you often find in this type of rolled snack, these easy Italian appetizers use a store-bought refrigerated pie crust dough as the base. They’re topped with Dijon mustard (instead of cream cheese), as well as prosciutto ham, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and Italian seasoning. Once baked, the cheese melts and the pastry crust becomes flaky, crisp, and golden brown. Forget cold, soggy tortilla wraps — these are the new-and-improved grown-up version of a classic retro snack!

Side shot of Italian Pinwheels on small plates with other drinks and appetizers

Ingredients for Easy Italian Appetizers

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the easy Italian pinwheels. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Store-bought refrigerated pie crust: I prefer the Pillsbury brand that you find in a box in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make your own pie crust from scratch.
  • Dijon mustard: for a zesty, tangy spread that’s so much zippier than cream cheese!
  • Prosciutto: a thinly-sliced Italian dry-cured ham. You can find this in the deli section of most grocery stores.
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses: because every good pinwheel recipe needs plenty of cheese to hold it all together!
  • Italian seasoning: a blend of ground herbs that commonly includes basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, sage, or coriander.

How to Make Italian Pinwheels

This is the ultimate prep-ahead party appetizer, so remember to allow at least 1 hour for the roll to chill before slicing and baking. The best Italian appetizers could not be easier!

  1. Unroll pie crust.
  2. Spread with Dijon mustard.
  3. Top with a layer of prosciutto.
  4. Sprinkle with cheeses and Italian seasoning.
  5. Roll up, wrap in foil, and chill for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  6. Slice the roll crosswise into rounds.
  7. Arrange the pinwheel rounds on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 425°F for 10-11 minutes, or until the pastry browns and the cheese melts.
Spreading Dijon mustard on pie crust dough
Process shot showing how to assemble Italian pinwheels with prosciutto ham
Cheese and seasoning on Italian pinwheels
Process shot showing how to roll an Italian pinwheel
Tray of Italian pinwheels before baking
Horizontal shot of a party table full of drinks and appetizers like Italian pinwheels

How to Roll an Italian Pinwheel

Roll the pie crust back up in the same direction that it was originally rolled in the package. Make sure to keep it as tight as possible, and use your fingers to tuck in the cheese and ham as you go.

Make Ahead Italian Appetizers

You can assemble the roll, wrap it tightly, and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before slicing and baking.

I recommend baking the pinwheels on the same day that you plan to serve them. You can bake them up to 6 hours in advance, and then keep them covered at room temperature until ready to serve. If you want to serve them warm, wait to bake them until 10-15 minutes before serving (or reheat according to the instructions below).

Storage

The pinwheels are best enjoyed on the same day that you bake them. If necessary, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The crust tends to get a bit soggy as they sit, though.

How to Reheat

Place the pinwheels on a baking sheet and reheat in a 350°F oven just until warmed through, about 5-10 minutes.

Plates of Italian Pinwheels served with glasses of wine

What to Serve with the Best Italian Appetizers

These little cheesy baked Italian pinwheels pair perfectly with a cold beverage, a glass of wine, or your favorite cocktail for snack time perfection! They’re a nice addition to a charcuterie board or antipasto platter when served with nuts, fresh or dried fruit (such as grapes, figs, or dried apricots), deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, stuffed mushrooms, or crackers. The little Italian appetizers are also great starters or a side dish with a pizza, ravioli, Italian meatballs, or pasta dinner. Try a classic spaghetti with marinara sauce supper, or your other favorite Italian food!

Recipe Variations

  • If you’re serving a crowd, you will likely need to double, triple or even quadruple the ingredients. This recipe yields approximately 13-14 pinwheels, or enough for about 4-6 people as appetizers. You might need more or less pinwheels per person depending on how many other snacks you set out.
  • Finely chopped olives would be a great addition to these snacks.
  • Layer fresh spinach leaves for a touch of green.
  • Instead of prosciutto, try other Italian deli meats such as pepperoni, salami or capicola.
  • Thinly sliced fresh mozzarella would work fine instead of the shredded mozzarella.
  • Swap out the Italian seasoning and use fresh herbs, when available. Good options include fresh basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Other spices like crushed red pepper for some heat would work well, too.
  • Instead of Dijon mustard, spread pesto on the dough.
  • Spicy Italian Pinwheels: add crushed red pepper flakes at the same time that you sprinkle on the Italian seasoning.
Square image of plates of Italian pinwheels on a rustic wooden table with drinks in the background

Tips for the Best Italian Pinwheel Recipe

  • Adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. I tried to include exact measurements here, but it’s really not necessary. Just eyeball it as you go — you may need a little less ham, a little more seasoning, or a little more cheese. Since the ham is salty, I try to go easy on the Parmesan. Otherwise, you can’t mess these up!
  • After slicing, use a spatula to transfer the rounds onto the baking sheet. This provides a flat surface beneath each round to catch any cheese or seasoning that might otherwise fall out.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs to highlight the Italian flavors in the pinwheels and to add a bright touch of color.
Side shot of hot Italian pinwheels on a brown and white vintage plate with cocktails in the background

More Italian Appetizer Recipes

Close up side shot of a plate of baked Italian Pinwheels with a bowl of nuts in the background

Italian Pinwheels

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 21 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people (about 13-14 total pinwheels)
Calories 120 kcal
These easy baked Italian Pinwheels are the perfect bite-size appetizer or party snack to pair with a cold beverage, a glass of wine, or your favorite cocktail. A prep-ahead option with just 10 minutes of effort!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of a 14.1-ounce Pillsbury package)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 ounces prosciutto (about 6 very thin slices)
  • ¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning (or more to taste)
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or basil

Instructions

  • Allow the refrigerated pie crust to sit on the counter for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Unroll the crust into a flat circle.
  • Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on top of the pie crust, reaching all of the way to the edges.
  • Top with a single layer of prosciutto; overlapping in some places is fine.
  • Add mozzarella and Parmesan; sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  • Tightly roll up the pie crust, pressing gently to seal the seam. Wrap in foil; refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil that has been sprayed lightly with nonstick spray.
  • Remove the foil wrap and slice the roll crosswise into ½-inch thick rounds. You should have about 13-14 rounds. I typically discard the tapered ends. Arrange pinwheels on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pastry is golden brown. Cool slightly, then serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

Notes

  • Adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. I tried to include exact measurements here, but it’s really not necessary. Just eyeball it as you go — you may need a little less ham, a little more seasoning, or a little more cheese. Since the ham is salty, I try to go easy on the Parmesan. Otherwise, you can’t mess these up!
  • After slicing, use a spatula to transfer the rounds onto the baking sheet. This provides a flat surface beneath each round to catch any cheese or seasoning that might otherwise fall out.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs to highlight the Italian flavors in the pinwheels and to add a bright touch of color.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pinwheelCalories: 120kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 180mgPotassium: 39mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 49IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: baked, easy, italian pinwheels
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Would love to make this recipe. Is there anything other than Dijon mustard or pesto to put on the pie crust? Not a fan of either. Thanks for your help.