Holiday Pinwheels and Ham Rolls

Holiday Pinwheels and Ham Rolls

By Brenda Hyde

Ham rolls, or pinwheels as most people call them, are a steadfast tradition in our family. Every family reunion, holiday gathering or special occasion has some form of this addictive appetizer! The first recipe I've included is the basic roll that is hands down a favorite with adults and kids alike. Simple and easy, but still a winner. However, there are hundreds of variations! I've included a few that are also easy. You can use any guality thinly sliced ham, but mesquite smoked turkey is great too. Roll them one at a time or overlap on a large piece of foil and roll all at once. Everyone has their favorite method. We just grab a piece of ham and start rolling-usually there are at least three of us helping out, so it goes quickly. Older kids can help out too!

Basic Ham and Onion Pinwheels


Rectangle shaped deli-sliced ham

Softened cream cheese-room temperature

Green onions with long stalks

Spread the softened cream cheese on one side of a ham slice. Place one of the onions vertically at one end of the ham slice. Roll the ham slice and the onion together lengthwise. Chill the rolls in the refrigerator until the cream cheese becomes firm again. Before serving, slice the rolls into one inch pieces. Place on a platter with extra green onions for garnish.

Ranch Ham and Tortilla Pinwheels


2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

1 package (.4 oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix

2 green onions, minced

4 (12 inch) flour tortillas

1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles or 2 fresh jalapenos, minced

1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives (optional)

Mix cream cheese, dressing mix and green onions. Spread on tortillas. Drain chiles and olives thoroughly. Sprinkle equal amounts of either or both on top of cream cheese. Roll tortillas tightly. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Cut rolls into 1-inch pieces. Makes 3 dozen rolls.

Oriental Smoked-Turkey Pinwheels


4 10-inch flour tortillas

1/2 cup hoisin sauce, plum sauce or other oriental style sauce

1/3 cup finely chopped green onions

2 cups thinly sliced smoked turkey; 8 ounces

4 large leaves leaf lettuce to cover tortillas

Spread each tortilla with the sauce; sprinkle with green onions. Arrange turkey in single layer on each tortilla, leaving a 1-inch border around edge. Cover the turkey with a lettuce leaf. Roll up tightly like a jelly-roll and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 6 hours. Cut each on the diagonal into 12 slices.

Boursin Pinwheels


3 7-8-inch tortillas

1 5.2-ounce carton Boursin cheese (garlic/herb cheese)

12 large fresh basil leaves

1/2 of a 7-ounce jar roasted sweet red peppers

4 ounces shaved deli roast beef, ham, or turkey

1 tablespoon mayonnaise (light or regular)

Spread each tortilla with one-third of the cheese. Add a layer of the large fresh basil leaves to cover. Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch wide strips and divide among the tortillas. Arrange over the basil leaves 1 to 2 inches apart. Top with meat slices. Spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise over the meat on each tortilla. Roll up the tortillas tightly, jelly-roll style. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator 2 to 4 hours to blend flavors.

To serve, remove the plastic wrap and cut each of the rolls into 1-inch slices (make diagonal slices, if desired). Makes about 24 pinwheels.

Mexican Style Pinwheels


8 oz. sour cream

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 can (4 oz.) diced green- chilies, well drained

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped green onion

Garlic powder and seasoned salt to taste

5 (10 ") flour tortillas

Mix all of the filling ingredients together. Divide the filling and spread evenly over the tortillas. Roll up tortillas tightly and cover with plastic wrap, twisting ends. Refrigerate for several hours. Unwrap; cut in slices about an inch thick. NOTE: You can use light ingredients and no salt seasoning if you wish.

Spicy Ham Pinwheels


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. onion, grated

1 tsp. prepared horseradish

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

15 thin ham, slices

Blend cream cheese, onion, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce until they are a spreading consistency. Spread each ham slice with cheese mixture. Chill. Just before serving, slice into one inch slices. This is also great with roast beef from the deli.

Pineapple Ham Pinwheels


1 package of flat bread or large tortillas

1 container cream cheese with pineapple

1 pound shaved ham

1 can roasted red peppers

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on bread. Place a layer of ham over this. Pat dry peppers on paper towel. Place them on the ham, scattered, don't cover the entire piece of ham. Roll up bread and wrap in plastic wrap over night. Just before serving, slice into 1 inch slices.

Mustard Ham Pinwheels


4 cups cooked ham

2/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. Dijon Mustard or hearty mustard

1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

2 Loaves Unsliced Sandwich Bread

1/2 cup-1 stick of butter

Trim the crust off of the loaf of unsliced sandwich bread. Cut into 5 to 7 half inch horizontal slices. Set aside. Grind cooked ham in food processor or food grinder. Combine ham, cheese, mayonnaise and mustard. Mix well. Butter each horizontal slice of bread and spread filling onto each slice. Roll up tightly each horizontal slice like a jelly-roll.

Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove wrap the next day and cut each roll into 8 to 12 crosswise slices. Use a very sharp knife. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. This makes about 80 pinwheels.

About the author

Brenda Hyde is a wife and mom to three who lives in the winter wonderland of Michigan. She is a freelance writer and editor of


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