While I’d be flattered if you assumed that my go-to appetizer is a beautifully styled combination of bespoke produce, a homemade fancy sauce, and some kind of European cured meat, let me tell you a little secret: it’s actually these four-ingredient Ham and Cheese Pinwheels.
Yes, that is correct. This full-time food blogger’s #1 party appetizer is a combination of deli meat, cheese, mustard, and puff pastry that I buy in the freezer section of the grocery store.
Wait! Don’t go!
As borderline embarrassingly simple as this puff pastry ham and cheese pinwheels recipe is to make, the reason I keep coming back to it again and again (and again and again) is the way my guests react every time I pull a pan of these fun appetizer roll ups out of the oven. (I even added these Pesto Pinwheels to my list of easy pinwheels recipes.)
Maybe it’s the melty, gooey cheddar cheese or the way the outside edges of the ham crisp just so. Maybe it’s the zip of the Dijon mustard.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s that mindbogglingly buttery yet light and flaky puff pastry that enriches every bite. People will go CRAZY for them!
How To Make Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
I like to think of these ham and cheese pinwheels as the elevated version of the ham and cheese pinwheels crescent rolls appetizers (the ham and cheese pinwheels with Pillsbury pizza dough) and the illustrious ham and cream cheese tortilla roll ups that were paramount fixtures at our family reunions growing up.
Making the ham and cheese pinwheels with puff pastry instead, however, elevates the roll ups a new level. I’d be as comfortable serving these ham and cheese puff pastry appetizers for a game day party as I would a holiday brunch or dinner. Also, kids love them for an after-school snack!
- Puff Pastry. If you’ve never tasted or cooked with puff pastry, it’s a marvelous dough that you can purchase as sheets in the freezer section of just about any grocery store. Puff pastry tastes like a croissant, a crescent roll, and pie crust all got together to create a golden, flaky pastry baby. While you can make puff pastry dough from scratch, I’ve honestly never felt the need. Puff pastry is extremely challenging to all but the most accomplished pastry chefs and, unlike premade pie crust, the frozen version is outstanding.
- Dijon Mustard. I love adding the mustard flavor with the ham and cheese.
- Ham. A little bit salty, savory, and delicious with the cheesy, mustardy filling. Use thin slices of good-quality ham for this recipe.
- Cheese. Any melty cheese you love! Cheddar, gruyere, Swiss, or fontina are all fabulous.
- Parsley. For freshness and color.
- Let the puff pastry thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then unfold one sheet on a work surface. Roll it into a rectangle.
- Smear the dough with a light layer of the mustard. Add the ham and cheese.
- Roll the puff pastry dough into a log, and trim the ends so that they are even. Cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.
- Remove the logs and cut it into slices. Place slices on a lined baking sheet spiral-side up. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 18 minutes. Serve warm with fresh parsley. That’s it!
In the oven, these four little ingredients transform into pinwheel appetizers magic. The puff pastry becomes golden and flaky, the ham savory and crispy, and the cheese bubbly and ooey-gooey.
The mustard provides zip and is the little somethin’ somethin’ that will keep you reaching back to the plate.
How do You Store Pinwheels?
- To Store. Store your pinwheels in the refrigerator. These pinwheels taste great both warm and at room temperature, so they’re ideal for entertaining.
- How Long will Pinwheels Keep in the Refrigerator? You can store pinwheels in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make sure to reheat them in the oven before serving so the pastry can crisp back up.
- To Reheat. Reheat on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F until warmed through.
Can You Freeze Pinwheels?
Yes, you can freeze pinwheels! I recommend freezing AFTER baking the pinwheels.
- To Freeze. Bake the ham pinwheels as directed, and let cool. Arrange them in a flat layer on the baking sheet, then place in the freezer until completely frozen. Store pinwheels in an airtight freezer-safe storage container and store for up to 1 month.
- To Reheat. Reheat directly from frozen on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F until warmed through.
- You could also try freezing the pinwheels unbaked, but be careful of the grated cheese coming loose. Baking the pinwheels first, then freezing, is the easiest route.
Can You Make Pinwheels the Day Before?
Yes, you can make pinwheels the day or night before you plan to serve them.
- If Serving within 1 Day. Store the pinwheels at room temperature, then reheat in the oven.
- If Serving Later On. Freeze pinwheels, then reheat in the oven.
More Pinwheel Flavor Variations
Here are som other ideas for creating puff pastry pinwheel fun!
- Pizza Pinwheels. Use sun dried tomato, provolone, and pepperoni instead.
- Italian Pinwheels. Use salami and spinach (for some veggies). Take it further with diced black olives and cilantro. You could even offer ranch dressing for dipping.
- Protein Swaps. Other than ham, you could try chicken (with this Crock Pot Shredded Chicken recipe), bacon, turkey, or even roast beef. So many pinwheel sandwich options!
Other Delicious Puff Pastry Recipes
- Brie Bites
- Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls
- Cranberry Baked Brie Puff Pastry Bites
- Cheesy Mushroom Puff Pastry Bites
- Easy Asparagus Tart with Puff Pastry
If you haven’t tried these scrumptious little ham and cheese pinwheels, I suggest whipping up a batch for you and your friends or family ASAP! I promise they won’t last long.
Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed overnight in the refrigerator
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard divided
- 12 slices thinly-sliced, good-quality deli ham about 10 ounces
- 2 cups freshly grated gruyere Swiss, fontina, sharp cheddar, or similar melty cheese (about 5 ounces)
- Chopped fresh parsley thyme, or chives (optional, for serving)
- Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter (I pressed two long sheets together at the edges to create a single larger sheet). Unfold the first sheet of puff pastry in the center of the plastic, then roll it into a 10×12-inch rectangle. Spread with 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Lay 6 ham slices on top, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.
- Starting at the long (12-inch) edge, roll the puff pastry into a log. Trim the ends so that they are even, then tightly wrap the log with the plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining mustard, ham, and cheese. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Once the log has chilled, using a sharp, serrated knife, carefully cut each log into 1/2-inch-wide slices. (If each log is 12 inches, you will get 24 rolls from each one). Arrange the rolls 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the puff pastry is light golden brown and the cheese is hot and bubbly, about 18 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with chopped thyme, parsley, or chives as desired. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- To make this recipe ahead: Fully bake the pinwheels, then let cool. Arrange in a flat layer on the baking sheet and freeze completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to 1 month. Reheat directly from frozen on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F until warmed through. You could also try freezing the pinwheels unbaked, but be careful of the grated cheese coming loose. Baking the pinwheels first, then freezing, is the easiest route.
- Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a 375 degree F oven.
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