Recipe: Cheesy Pizza Pinwheels

updated May 1, 2019
Cheesy Pizza Pinwheels
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

What’s not to love about a pizza pinwheel? It’s the cheesy, pepperoni-topped pizza we all know and love, but in a form that allows it to be stacked on a plate and passed around the room. Late-night study session? Movie night? Saturday board games with friends? Pizza pinwheels are here for you.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Another thing I like about these pizza pinwheels: they can be baked right away. No need to wait for the rolls to rise. I find that baking the rolls right away like this gives them a slightly chewier, more pizza-like texture, which makes me happy. You can let them rise, of course; if you like a little more puff to your rolls, then allow about 45 minutes for the rising and puffing to happen.

I made these particular pizza pinwheels with some store-bought dough I picked up while I was out running errands. You can make your own dough, of course, but store-bought dough means less need to plan ahead. And while I stuck to the basic cheese-and-pepperoni combo with my rolls, you can — and should — swap in your favorite pizza toppings. You can’t go wrong

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

These pinwheels are best right after baking, while still piping hot and cheesy — not a tall order if you have a crowd of people waiting in the living room. If you have any leftovers, they make very good afternoon snacks, either eaten straight from the fridge (cold-pizza style) or warmed up in the microwave.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Cheesy Pizza Pinwheels

Makes 12 pinwheels

Nutritional Info


  • 1 ball

    pizza dough (14 to 16 ounces), store-bought or homemade

  • 1/4 cup

    tomato sauce, store-bought or homemade

  • 1 cup

    shredded mozzarella cheese, low-moisture and part-skim

  • 1/4 cup

    chopped pepperoni slices

  • 1/4 cup

    diced red onion

  • 2 tablespoons

    basil chiffonade, plus extra to top after baking


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or nonstick baking mat.

  2. Dust the counter lightly with flour. Place the ball of pizza dough on top and firmly pat it into a rectangular shape, longer than it is tall. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough as thin as possible, roughly 9 to 10 inches tall by 15 to 16 inches wide. If the dough starts to spring back as you roll, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again.

  3. Spread the tomato sauce evenly all over the dough, leaving an inch of clean border at the top. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce, then scatter the chopped pepperoni, onion, and basil.

  4. Starting at the long end nearest you, begin rolling up the dough. When you get to the top, pinch the dough closed along the seam. Use a sharp chef's knife to slice the long tube into 12 rolls. Use the flat of your knife or a pastry scraper to help transfer the rolls to the baking sheet, spacing the rolls a few inches apart. Tighten up the rolls as needed after transferring and tuck any toppings that fell out back between the folds.

  5. If you're eager for pinwheels right away, bake them immediately. If you have a little time and like puffier, more bready rolls, let them rise at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes, then bake (wait to start heating the oven until halfway through the rising time). Bake the pinwheels until the cheese is bubbly and the rolls are turning golden on top, 12 to 15 minutes.

  6. Cool the rolls for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with fresh basil before serving, if you'd like. Leftover rolls can be refrigerated in an airtight container and reheated for 30 to 60 seconds in the microwave.

Recipe Notes

Other pizza pinwheel fillings: Instead of the pepperoni and red onion, substitute 1/2 cup of your favorite pizza ingredients.