Italian Pinwheel Sandwiches
These easy Italian Pinwheel Sandwiches are big on flavor, with three kinds of meat, fresh veggies, and a tasty cream cheese spread. Serve these light-yet-hearty little sandwiches as an appetizer or a fun meal, or pack them up for lunches or picnics!
Easy Italian Pinwheels
These easy Italian Pinwheel Sandwiches are big on flavor, with three kinds of meat, fresh veggies, and a tasty cream cheese spread. Serve these little sandwiches as an appetizer, as finger sandwiches at baby and bridal showers, or simply as a fun meal!
My Italian pinwheels recipe is inspired by our favorite Jimmy John’s sandwich, the Italian Night Club. It has many of the same flavors as this Italian chopped salad, which is also a family favorite.
With these pinwheels, a large tortilla is rolled up with salami, capocollo, and ham, plus fresh lettuce, onion, and tomato. And a creamy, flavorful herby cream cheese spread brings it all together.
These pinwheel sandwiches are ideal for picnics, hiking, and toting along to sporting events. They make a light-yet-hearty little appetizer or meal. And they’re great for entertaining, because you can make them ahead of time and it’s easy to make a lot of them!
Why You’ll Love These Italian Pinwheel Sandwiches
These Italian Pinwheels are fun to make and they’re versatile for serving. Here are a few reasons why we love these sandwiches:
- Packed with flavor. There’s a lot of flavors going on in these pinwheels, and they all go together so well. I especially like how the herby cream cheese spread and the trio of smoky, salty meats contrasts with the fresh veggies.
- The perfect party app. This recipe is nice to have on hand when you want a hearty party appetizer. You can also easily double or triple this recipe if you’re entertaining a large group.
- Great for making in advance. And whether you’re serving these sandwiches as a party appetizer or toting them along to the soccer game, they’re great for making ahead of time.
- Fun for school lunches. Do your kids get bored with their school lunches? Change it up with some pinwheel sandwiches!
- Easy to alter. You can play around with the filling ingredients, while following the basic method outlined in this post.
What Are Pinwheel Sandwiches?
Pinwheel sandwiches feature tortillas rolled up with fillings like meat, lettuce, and cheese, along with a creamy component like mayonnaise or cream cheese. The rolled-up tortilla is then cut into smaller individual sandwiches, with the cut edges revealing a swirly pinwheel look.
My Italian pinwheel sandwiches are inspired by a Jimmy John’s sandwich called the Italian Night Club. They consist of salami, capocollo, ham, onion, lettuce, tomato, and an herby cream cheese spread, all rolled up in a large flour tortilla.
Here’s an overview of what you need to make pinwheel sandwiches.
Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
FOR THE ITALIAN CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
- Cream cheese – Cream cheese helps hold the pinwheels together and adds a rich flavor and creamy texture to the sandwich.
- Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise adds richness, creaminess, and a bit of tang – plus it’s what Jimmy Johns uses.
- Olive oil – Jimmy John’s sandwiches are often topped with oil and vinegar so I added a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar to the cream cheese spread for that classic sandwich flavor.
- Red wine vinegar – This adds delicious tangy flavor.
- Dried herbs – Dried oregano and basil add a subtle herbaceousness that pairs well with the cured meats in the pinwheels.
FOR THE PINWHEELS
- Tortillas – Use large burrito-sized flour tortillas for this recipe.
- Italian Cream Cheese Spread (above)
- Fresh Veggies – You’ll find romaine, onion, and Roma tomatoes in these little sandwiches. It’s important that you slice everything thinly so everything rolls up nicely in the pinwheel.
- Meats – Salami, capocollo, and ham are the stars of the Italian Night Club.
How To make Italian Pinwheel Sandwiches
Follow along with the technique and photos below to help you make these Italian pinwheels. Be sure to let the cream cheese soften – this will make the prep much easier.
For the Italian Cream Cheese Spread
- Combine all the ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, and dried basil until smooth. Set aside at room temperature.
For the Pinwheels
- Lay out the tortillas and add the cream cheese spread. Lay out the flour tortillas on a work surface. Add Italian cream cheese spread to each one, in an even layer, nearly to the edge of the tortilla.
- Add the shredded lettuce. Next sprinkle the shredded lettuce over the cream cheese spread, dividing it evenly between the four tortillas.
- Add the onion and tomato. Then layer the sliced onion and tomato over the lettuce, dividing it evenly between the four tortillas.
- Layer on the meat. Finally, layer the salami, capocollo, and ham evenly over each of the four tortillas.
- Roll up the tortillas and cut them. Tightly roll each tortilla into a log. Secure the pinwheels with a toothpick and use a sharp serrated knife to cut the log into 1-inch pinwheels.
Tips for Success + Variations
Here are a few tips for making great Italian pinwheels!
- Use large tortillas. It’s easiest and quickest to use large burrito-sized tortillas.
- Use a serrated knife. A sharp, serrated knife will give you neat, clean cuts and won’t squish the pinwheels when cutting.
- Avoid sogginess. To keep pinwheel sandwiches from getting soggy, don’t add liquid ingredients, like thin sauces. Stick to thicker spreads like the cream cheese one in my recipe. If your tomatoes are especially juicy, lay the tomato slices on a paper towel to absorb some of the juices.
- Refrigerate before serving. To help the pinwheel sandwiches hold together, refrigerate them for at least 1 hour before you plan to serve them. This will allow the cream cheese to firm up a bit.
- Variations. This could be a never-ending conversation! You could use different meats (pepperoni would be great in this Italian version). Add some thinly sliced cheese (Provolone would be yummy) or grated Parmesan. Add chopped roasted or sweet red peppers. Throw in some chopped banana peppers. If you like heat, sprinkle in some dried red pepper flakes. For a tangy, pickled bite, add pickled red onions. You get the picture!
What To Serve With Italian Pinwheels
Here are a few suggestions on what to serve with Italian pinwheel sandwiches:
- Pickles. I love pickles with Italian pinwheels! Try one of my quick pickled recipes like dill pickles or bread and butter pickles – or some kicky sweet and spicy pickles. Or think outside the cucumber and make pickled asparagus or pickled beets. Pickled squash would also be great!
- Dips. Serve an assortment of simple homemade dips and chips with Italian pinwheels. Choose from spinach artichoke dip, guacamole, or million dollar dip for everyone’s dipping pleasure.
- Salad. You can serve pinwheel sandwiches with a creamy cold salad, like my mom’s macaroni salad with ham and cheese, Hawaiian macaroni salad, or coleslaw for classic bbq sides. Or for non-creamy options, try my grilled vegetable salad, Greek tortellini salad, arugula beet salad, or this super simple cucumber salad.
- Drinks. Our family loves blueberry lemonade – try my classic blueberry lemonade or this delightful blueberry basil lemonade. A bootleg cocktail (or mocktail) is always a favorite, as well as a bubbly prosecco margarita!
Can These Be Prepared In Advance?
Yes, you can prepare Italian pinwheels up to 24 hours in advance – although they’ll have the best overall texture if made just 4-6 hours before serving. The tortillas will gradually absorb moisture from the ingredients and can become soggy as time goes on.
Store them in a container with a tight-fitting lid, with layers separated by parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap.
Serve the pinwheels cold and straight from the fridge.
How To Store Leftover Pinwheel Sandwiches
Store any leftover Italian pinwheels in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
For the Italian Cream Cheese Spread
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup good quality mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
For the Pinwheels
- 4 large burrito-size flour tortillas
- Italian Cream Cheese Spread (above)
- 4 cups finely shredded romaine lettuce
- ¼ sweet onion, very thinly sliced
- 4 roma tomatoes, very thinly sliced
- 8 ounces thinly sliced salami
- 8 ounces thinly sliced capocollo
- 8 ounces thinly sliced ham (a smoked ham is nice!)
- For the Italian Cream Cheese Spread: In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, and dried basil until smooth. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.
- For the Pinwheels: Lay out the flour tortillas on a work surface and divide the Italian Cream Cheese Spread between the four tortillas, spreading it evenly.
- Next sprinkle the shredded lettuce over the cream cheese spread, dividing it evenly between the four tortillas.
- Layer the sliced onion and tomato over the lettuce, dividing it evenly between the four tortillas.
- Finally, layer the salami, capocollo, and ham evenly over each of the four tortillas.
- Tightly roll each tortilla into a log. Secure the pinwheels with a toothpick and use a sharp serrated knife to cut the log into 1-inch pinwheels.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 695Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 2099mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 9gSugar: 7gProtein: 32g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.