These Pesto Pinwheels appetizers are made by spreading pesto and cheese inside buttery, crisp crescent roll dough. They are the perfect bite-sized snack that takes just minutes to prepare and is always a crowd-pleaser.
Easy Pesto Pinwheels Appetizer
This recipe for Pesto Pinwheels is one of our go-to appetizers when we have gameday get togethers, holiday parties or even just family movie nights. All you really need is a can of crescent roll dough, your favorite pesto and some cheese. Add a little marinara for dipping and voila - a complete snack.
While you can make this at any time of year, I find we make it most often during the summer when there is a surplus of basil in the garden. Make a huge batch of basil pesto and you can use it for Pesto Pinwheels, add it to pasta, spread it onto sandwiches and so much more!
If pinwheels are your thing, check out our Pizza Pinwheels, or try any of the variations listed below.
Ingredients in Pesto Pinwheels
- Refrigerated Crescent Roll Dough - you can find this in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. You could also try using homemade pizza dough or even frozen puff pastry sheets for these Pesto Pinwheels.
- Pesto Sauce - you can either buy prepared pesto or make your own.
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese - you could also substitute any Italian cheese blend.
- Parmesan Cheese - use grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.
- Parsley - freshly chopped parsley is a nice garnish, but completely optional.
- Marinara Sauce - use your favorite kind of pizza or marinara sauce for serving.
How to Make Pesto Pinwheels
- Prep dough. Unroll the crescent rolls onto a lightly floured surface and gently press the perforations together to create one large sheet of dough.
- Spread pesto sauce and roll. Spread the pesto sauce evenly over the entire sheet of dough, then sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Starting at the long edge, roll the dough up into a long tube. Using a sharp knife, cut each roll into ¾" slices (you should get between 6-8). Place the pinwheels cut-side down onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 12-17 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with warm marinara dipping sauce. Enjoy!
- Different doughs. If you want the dough to be a bit softer and more doughy, you can substitute store bought or homemade pizza dough for the crescent rolls in this recipe. Or, try using frozen puff pastry sheets for an extra flakey pesto appetizer.
- Additional filling ingredients. Try adding chopped roasted sweet peppers, bacon bits, thinly sliced prosciutto, shredded chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped olives, fresh basil and so much more!
- Different cheeses. You can use just about any type of cheese that you can imagine in Pesto Pinwheels. Other hard cheeses, such as Asiago or Gruyere, would taste amazing. Or even a thinly spread layer of goat cheese in addition to the mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Larger size. If you want to make these pinwheel appetizers larger, just roll from the short side instead! Note you will need to adjust the bake time slightly.
Making Pesto Pinwheels in Advance
While Pesto Pinwheels are best eaten shortly after they are baked, you can easily prep them ahead of time and store.
- Refrigerator: these are the perfect appetizer to make the night before, store in the fridge and then bake the day of.
- Freezer: If you want to make them even further in advance, you can easily prep them, freeze on baking sheets, transfer to freezer bags and then pull and bake once you are ready to eat them.
If you do have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you choose to store them in the fridge, we recommend tossing them into a 350 degree oven for a few minutes first to recrisp.
Pesto Pinwheels Recipe
- 1 8 oz can Refrigerated Crescent Rolls
- ⅓ cup Pesto Sauce any brand or homemade
- ¼ cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese shredded
- 2 Tablespoons Parsley fresh, chopped for garnish
- 1 cup Marinara Sauce warmed for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Unroll the crescent rolls onto a lightly floured surface and gently press the perforations together to create one large sheet of dough.
- Spread the pesto sauce evenly over the entire sheet of dough, then sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Starting at the long edge, roll the dough up into a long tube, then slice into ¾" slices (you should get between 6-8). Place the pinwheels cut-side down onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 12-17 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with warm marinara dipping sauce. Enjoy!
More of our favorite appetizer recipes:
- 25 Easy Appetizer Recipes
- Honey Soy Drumsticks
- Toasted Raviolis
- Pork Carnitas Nachos
- Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites
- Best Appetizer Recipes
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These Pesto Pinwheels are easy peasy, so yummy and always a crowd favorite. All you need is a tube of crescent roll dough, your favorite pesto and cheese and about 20 minutes.