Here’s How to Make Pinwheels with Your Kids

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Learn how to make pinwheels with your kids! It's a great way to get them started in the kitchen (and have a tasty snack to customize).

Looking for a way to get your kids involved in meal prep? I found that a simple recipe like pinwheels was a fun way to get my daughter into the kitchen while allowing her to choose the ingredients she loves.

To make pinwheels with your kiddos, start by finding a recipe. Then, change up the ingredients together. You can make this no-cook dish while you sneakily teach them new skills—and you’ll be making a snack the kids are guaranteed to love.

How to Make Pinwheels

When we were doing our research on how to make pinwheels, I let my five-year-old, Brooklyn, decide what sort of pinwheels she would like to make. She loved the idea of these Veggie Ranch Pinwheels, but of course, she had to put her own stamp on it by tweaking the ingredients. (Olives? No way. Bacon? Absolutely.)

Here’s what you need to make Brooklyn’s pinwheels:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper (we chopped three small ones.)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon bits
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6-8 flour tortillas

Tools You’ll Need

  • If you’re going to let your child cut the pinwheels, a butter knife or kid-friendly knife like this is safest. But first, take a deep breath, because they won’t turn out shaped like the pictures you see on Pinterest!
  • The recipe calls for a cutting board—we like this Boos board in maple, our Test Kitchen’s recommended material.
  • You’ll also need a sturdy mixing bowl. If you’re planning to continue to cook or bake with your child, invest in a kid’s mixing bowl like this one.

Step 1: Mix It Up

First, mix together the cream cheese and the ranch dressing. (Remember, this can be hard for smaller ones to mix, even if it’s softened. I popped the mixing bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to make this a little easier.)

Then stir in other ingredients. You want everything evenly blended together.

Step 2: Spread the Filling

Spread mixture evenly on a flour tortilla. Roll up the tortilla. This part will get messy!

Step 3: Cut

To make the pinwheels, cut off about one inch at a time. This is a good time to teach basic knife skills, like how to cut properly and keep fingers safe.

After cutting, it’s time to serve! Whatever you don’t eat, refrigerate in an airtight container. It will make a perfect snack or lunch for tomorrow, paired with a piece of deli turkey and apple slices or baby carrots.

Child holding a plate of pinwheelsJulia K. Porter for Taste of Home

Other Pinwheel Recipes to Try

I found that pinwheels were fun and easy for my daughter to make, so I’m sure this will become a regular dish that the two of us prepare. (Though she did most of the work!) I’ve always been a fan of peanut butter pinwheels for traveling or trips to the zoo or park, too.

If you’re on the hunt for other pinwheel meals that your kids might like, fiesta pinwheels would be a great prequel to your next barbecue, and make-ahead sausage pinwheels are hearty enough to serve as a kids meal with some fruits and vegetables.

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Julia K. Porter
Dr. Julia Porter began her career as a high school English teacher in Brooklyn, NY and has taught college courses since 2008. Her personal interests include reading, writing, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter and a rambunctious Australian Shepherd.