Pesto Pinwheels are a fun and easy vegetarian appetizer! With minimal ingredients and simple instructions they are fool proof. Take your finger food to the next level with pesto puff pastry pinwheels!
Here are the things that I think you will love the most about this recipe:
- Recipe uses simple, every day ingredients.
- Suitable for all cooking levels.
- Economical, budget friendly recipe.
- Can make the pinwheels in advance.
- Freezer Friendly.
- Toddler and Kid Friendly.
- Meat free appetizer idea.
- Fuss free and effortless, once you get the hang of them.
- Easily adapt the recipe to increase quantity or add additional ingredients.
Sometimes you need a recipe or 2 up your sleeve that you can whip out in a time of need. It needs to use ingredients that you have or can easily get and be able to bring together without fan fair. This recipe is that!
I compiled all of the ingredients you will need to make the recipe in the photo below. For specific amounts and detailed instructions, scroll to the recipe card below.
As you can see, the recipe calls for:
- Frozen puff pastry: we use this as the basis for the recipe. It is a great ingredient with many possible uses, both sweet and savory. It needs to be thawed for us to use.
- Basil Pesto: I use the dip variety of this from my local supermarket. It is economical and tastes delicious. Whilst I am a huge fan of homemade pesto, there are some great store bought pesto's that you can use.
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto: I also use the dip version of this. Whilst I do have a recipe you can try (Sundried Tomato Pesto). I find when I am making a recipe like this if I don't already have homemade pesto in the fridge, I prefer to use store bought (easy, convenient and life/time friendly).
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese: this is bold in flavour and has a bit of bite to it. I like using this to top the pinwheels during the baking process. It goes golden brown and a little chewy, perfectly complimenting the flaky pastry.
Top Tip 1: These are ingredients which have a longer shelf life than some. They each also have multiple options. They are perfect to have on hand so you can deliver as needed!
The following photos are for you to see exactly what you need to do to make the recipe. Start by grabbing the pastry out of the freezer and letting it defrost. You can do this the night before if you place it in the fridge.
- Spread pesto onto the pastry using a butter knife (Photo 1)
- Roll the pastry into a tight log and wrap in cling wrap (Photo 2)
- Place the pastry into the freezer for 30 mins, remove chop (Photo 3)
- Place the individual pinwheels onto the baking tray (Photo 4)
Be somewhat gentle when you are spread the pesto as the pastry will be very soft and flexible. It is easy to be too firm and put a hole in it.
Wrap the roll as tight as you can and then in cling wrap.
Placing it in the freezer for 30 mins up firm up the shape of the pinwheels. It also makes cutting them less messy.
If you are in a huge rush, you can skip this step, however, be prepared for some of the pesto to seep out of the pastry when cutting.
Top Tip 2: If any of the pinwheels unravel a little during the cutting process, simply squeeze them back into shape when putting on the baking tray.
- Bake for 15 min, remove and place on heatproof surface (Photo 5)
- Sprinkle over parmesan cheese (Photo 6)
- Bake for a further 5 to 10 mins until the cheese melts (Photo 7)
- Turn the oven off, allow to cool, transfer to cooling rack (Photo 8)
The reason I don't include the cheese in the actual pinwheel themselves is for dual purposes.
I like to keep the pinwheels tight and small - 1 to 2 bite sizes. The pesto already has cheese in it and I find the rolls easy to roll firmly without an additional layer of cheese.
This also allows us to get the crispy texture of the cheese that we sprinkle over the top as it tends to be crunchy and cheesy delicious (so yum!).
Top Tip 3: Some brands of puff pastry will have a 1 cm overhang on one side. Start rolling from this point.
If you want to stick to the one type of pesto be it basil or sun-dried tomato, you could choose to do that.
However, it is very simple to make both at the same time and it will offer your guests (or eaters) variety in both taste and appearance.
As you can see from the photos above we have crispy, flaky pastry, rich and thick pesto and a sprinkle of cheese, it's heaven on a plate!
Golden brown and cooked to perfection, you won't find another appetizer that is literally too easy.
How to Guide
How to Store
Allow the pinwheels to cool after baking, then store them in a sealed, air tight container.
They will last up to 5 days.
How to Freeze
To freeze the pinwheels, remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
When they are no longer warm to the touch, place them into a sealed, air tight container and freeze for up to 1 month.
How to Reheat
To reheat the pinwheels, it is best to use the Air Fryer or oven. These will both ensure that the pastry stays crispy and fresh.
Whilst the microwave will warm the scrolls, it won't have the same effect on the pastry. So the contents would be hot, but the pastry would be soggy. Avoid using the microwave to reheat them if you can.
I have mentioned that a sprinkle of grated parmesan and some freshly chopped herbs (parsley) with a small bowl of Greek Yogurt is my favourite way to serve these pinwheels.
You might also like to serve them alongside other savory appetizers be they pastry based or not.
If you would like a combination of ideas for both hot and cold appetizers, explore the following recipes:
- Cold Stuffed Tomatoes
- Pinwheel Sandwiches (Rolled Sandwiches)
- Air Fryer Frozen Samosa
- Mini Sausage Rolls
- Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls
- Ham Cream Cheese Roll Ups
- Air Fryer Frozen Mozzarella Sticks
- Easy Air Fryer Pita Chips
- Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
To explore making your own pesto, have a browse through my pesto recipes. It adds so much flavour, texture and pizzazz to recipes that you will be delighted to cook with it more often.
Substitutions and Variations
There are so many variations and ways that you can switch this recipe up a little. Try some of the following ideas:
- Making your own pesto
- Adding in some roughly chopped prosciutto
- Do a smooth ricotta cheese layer under the pesto
- Use cream cheese for a layer under the pesto
- Add a sprinkling of cooked chopped bacon to the pesto layer
- Drizzle Greek Yogurt over the pinwheels prior to serving
- Add some chopped artichokes to the pesto layer
- Finely chopped roasted red peppers over the sun-dried tomato pesto
You will find that once you make these a few times you will start to work out combinations that switch them up a little or stick to the reliable, tried and true method!
Top Tips and Tricks
Here are my pearls of wisdom to help you perfect this recipe from the start and each further time:
- Don't go all the way to the edges, image a 1 cm ish border.
- If adding additional ingredients, don't bulk them up too much.
- Ensure the oven is pre heated, so that the pinwheels start cooking as soon as you place the baking tray into the oven.
- Start at one end and cut similar size portions the length of the pastry roll.
- If using a baking mat, spray it with olive oil.
- If using baking paper or parchment paper, there is no need to spray with oil.
- When rolling the pinwheels, keep the tail (end) of pastry on the outside.
- Once the pinwheels look done, turn the oven off and let them start to cool. Then remove and transfer to cooling rack. This helps keep the pastry crispy.
I find that they feel a little soft to the finger poke touch when ready, however, they cool and firm up at the same time. If in doubt, remove one (it will be hot) take a nibble and do a taste test.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use sun dried tomato pesto instead of paste?
Sun-dried tomato is a good alternative to tomato paste and it also has a number of alternative uses.
You can use sun-dried tomato in some recipes where you would have used tomato paste, however for some recipes, tomato paste is the better choice of the two.
How long will pinwheels keep in fridge?
Pinwheels will last for up 5 to days in the fridge. They are best stored in a sealed, air tight container to maintain freshness.
When should you freeze pinwheels?
Allow the pinwheels to cool down prior to freezing. Ensure that they are in a sealed, air tight container.
Defrost, then reheat in oven or air fryer to serve.
Does sun dried tomato pesto contain nuts?
Many versions of sun dried tomato pesto do contain nuts. Read the packet to see if they are included in the version you use prior to use.
Alternatively, you can follow my Sundried Tomato Pesto recipe and omit the cashews.
Can I make pinwheels the night before?
Yes you can make pinwheels the night before. They keep well in the fridge which makes party planning organised and stress free.
You can serve them at room temperature or reheat prior to serving.
Appetizers, finger food, snacks, lunch box fillers, whichever your need these types of food have great variety and many alternative options.
For further inspiration and deliciousness you might like to try:
- Roast Beef Roll Ups
- Mini Quiches
- Jalapeno Pinwheels
- Candy Pinwheels
- Pecan Pinwheels
- Air Fryer Mini Hot Dogs
- Cream Cheese Jalapeno Poppers
- Baked Bean Toastie
- Spinach Cob Loaf (Cob Loaf Dip)
Your party planning is sorted my friends!
- 1 Chopping board
- 1 Butter Knife
- 1 Glad Wrap (Cling Wrap)
- 1 Sharp Knife
- 1 Baking Mat
- 1 Baking tray
- 1 Parchment Paper (Baking Paper)
- 1 Spray Olive Oil
- 1 Cooling rack
- 1 Flexible Silicon Turner
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry Note 1
- ½ cup basil pesto Note 2
- sun-dried tomato pesto Note 2
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese Note 3
- Greek Yogurt optional, to serve Note 4
- ½ tablespoon grated parmesan cheese optional, to serve Note 4
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley optional, to serve Note 4
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Remove frozen puff pastry from the freezer and set on the bench to thaw.
- Working one sheet at a time, place thawed puff pastry sheet onto a chopping board and use a butter knife to spread a layer of the pesto onto the pastry. Note 5
- Start at one end and roll the pastry to form a tight long log. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the freezer for 30 mins Optional Note 6
- Remove pastry from the freezer, place on chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut into portions.
- Transfer the cut pinwheels to the silicon baking mat (or parchment paper). Place the tray into the oven and allow the scrolls to bake for 15 mins.
- Use an oven mit to remove baking tray, place on heat proof surface and sprinkle parmesan cheese over each pinwheel.
- Return pinwheels to the oven for 5 - 10 mins till cheese is melted.
- When the timer is up, check that the pinwheels are done, then turn the oven off, leave the tray in so that the scrolls can start to cool.
- After about 5 mins, use a flexible turner and lift the cooked pinwheels off the baking mat and transfer them to the cooling rack.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley. Optional
- Note 1: The pastry needs to be thawed so that it is flexible to allow us to roll it. Simply take out of the freezer and let thaw on bench or in the fridge.
- Note 2: I am using and recommend you do also store bought pesto from the fridge section. It is a basil pesto dip and sun-dried tomato pesto shown in the photos throughout the post. This makes the recipe easy and convenient without including the washing up of your food processor. Find a good brand and stick to it. I find the dip pesto's better to use as the jar version in the pasta aisle tends to be a little more salty and less 'fresh'.
- Note 3: This is the shredded version of parmesan cheese that you see in the process shots, where I am sprinkling it over the pinwheels and then baking them to have this melt.
- Note 4: These are optional extras that you might like to use to garnish your cooked pinwheels as you plate them. A sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley with a small bowl of Greek Yoghurt is my favourite serving combination.
- Note 5: Be a little be gentle when spreading the pesto layer. The pastry is very soft and flexible. If you are too heavy handed, you will accidently put a hole it it.
- Note 6: This step is not essential but it really does help. It makes the pastry scroll firm and easier to cut with less mess. If you are in a hurry, you can skip this step, however, if you have time, I recommend it.