Fried Sandwich Pinwheels: A Crispy Twist on An Old Classic

Total time: 10 min prep/8 min fry
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6-8
By Cookist

If you need a quick and easy appetizer, middle-of-the-day snack, or a yummy addition to your lunchbox, look no further than these Fried Pinwheels! Made with plain flour tortilla, mayonnaise, ham, and cheese, these bite-sized treats are not only delicious but also incredibly easy to make. It’s super versatile too, so you can change up the recipe according to the ingredients you have on hand. These fried pinwheels are great for events, as you can make many at a time. And they will have your guests coming back for more!

What Are Fried Pinwheels?

These fried pinwheels are a tasty twist to traditional sandwich pinwheels. It’s said that the classic pinwheel sandwich is of British origin and was first created in the 10th century. The mini sandwiches consist of flattened bread filled with a variety of ingredients. The bread is rolled and then cut into slices, or ‘pinwheels’. It’s a perfect treat for teatime, parties, or picnics.

The base is traditionally made from sandwich bread, but these days flatbreads or flour tortillas are also used.

Fillings always consist of a creamy element to help the other ingredients to ‘stick’. This can be cream cheese or mayonnaise. Fillings can be anything you like, but deli ham, cheese, and fresh veggies are the most popular!

Why are They Called Pinwheels Sandwich?

Pinwheel sandwiches are named for their distinctive appearance, which closely resembles the swirling pattern of a pinwheel. This visual effect is achieved by spreading fillings on a flatbread or tortilla, rolling it tightly, and then slicing it into individual rounds. When viewed from the side, each round displays a spiral pattern that mimics the blades of a pinwheel spinning in the wind. Originating as a fun, decorative way to present sandwiches, especially at parties or gatherings, pinwheel sandwiches have become popular for their versatility in fillings and their eye-catching design, making them a favorite among both adults and children for their whimsical shape and delicious taste.


  • Instead of flour tortillas, you can use pita bread or white bread slices. If using bread, flatten the slices slightly with a rolling pin.
  • Mayonnaise can be substituted with cream cheese, hummus, or any other flavored savory spread.
  • Don’t feel like ham? You can also use salami or smoked chicken.
  • Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut the slices, and clean the blade between each slice.
  • If you have difficulty cutting the rolls into slices, refrigerate the rolls for about half an hour before trying again.

How to Store Fried Pinwheels

The Pinwheels can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make sure that they are wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and keep them in an airtight container.

You can also prepare the pinwheels ahead of time. After rolling up the tortilla with ham and cheese, cover it with plastic wrap and add a layer of aluminum foil. Place the rolls in the fridge. Take them out half an hour before serving, then slice, coat with beaten egg fry, and serve.

flatbread for tortillas
150 g (⅔ cup)
6 slices
ham slices
Vegetable oil for frying

How To Make Fried Pinwheels

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise evenly onto each flour tortilla.

Place cheese slices on top of the tortilla.

Add the ham slices.

Starting from the short side, roll each tortilla tightly.

Cut the tortilla roll into slices.

Dip each individual roll into beaten eggs.

Place in a pan with preheated oil.

Fry on both sides until golden (around 6-8 minutes).


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