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Ham and Cheese Pinwheels

What school child could resist a couple of these in their lunch bag?
Make up a batch and pop them into a freezer bag and - good bye lunch making blues.
Right now I'm making them for a birthday open house.
I know from experience that they will be the first to go on the buffet.

The Refrigerator Rolls dough is also great for crescent or cloverleaf rolls. 
Mix it before you go to bed and bake them fresh in the morning.
Credit for this recipe goes to 2 places - a neighbour of ours when I was a child 
and an old Pillsbury cookbook.

For the Refrigerator Rolls:
  • 2 cups warm milk or water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • about 6 cups flour - can include 1 or 2 cups whole wheat flour
  1. Place 4 cups flour into bowl of stand mixer. Add sugar, salt, yeast and margarine.
  2. Beat eggs and add to bowl.
  3. Add milk or water (I often use half milk and half water) and let mix until dough is sticky. 
  4. Add remaining flour until dough forms a medium soft ball and then and leave mixer run or knead for about 5 minutes.
  5. Place in greased bowl. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
For the Ham Cheese Pinwheels:
  • about 12 ounces of sliced ham (not too thinly sliced)
  • Cheddar cheese 
  • milk to brush on pinwheels
  • poppy seed or sesame seed
Before taking dough out of the refrigerator in the morning, prepare ham and cheese.
I ask the deli for old fashioned ham sliced slightly thicker than usual. 
I cut the ham into 1 1/2 - 2 inch squares .
I also use old cheddar cheese sliced and cut into 1/2 - 1 inch squares.
You will need one square of sliced ham and 2 squares of cheese for each pinwheel.
  1. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into a square about 12-14 inches.
  2. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 12  3 inch squares. 
  3. From the corner of each square, make a 1 inch diagonal cut towards the centre. Do not cut right through the centre. See photos below.
  4. Place a square of cheddar cheese in the centre uncut portion of each square.
  5. Top each with a square of ham and then top the ham with another square of cheese.
  6. Pull the left point of each triangular cut section toward the middle forming a pinwheeel (like those the children carry in the wind). The trick is to use the same corner on each side of the square. 
  7. Secure the points in the centre with a toothpick.
  8. Place on parchment covered baking sheets and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
  9. Just before baking, brush each pinwheel with milk and sprinkle with either sesame seed or poppy seed.
  10. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until nicely browned.
  11. Remove to racks, take the toothpicks out and let cool. Some of the cheese will have oozed out and you can remove the cheese "puddles" before serving if you like.


  1. Those are incredibly beautiful! I can only imagine how wonderful they will taste.

  2. These pinwheels look scrumptious!!

  3. Hello,

    Mmmmmmmm, delicious!

    ~ Gabriela ~

  4. They look wonderful and I'm sure they will be delicious! Love all the recipes!

  5. Oh how fun those pinwheels are!! Thanks Bev...

  6. My favorite part was removing them from the pans so that I could break off the cheese puddles and snark them off. mmmmmm.

  7. I first had these at our mutual friend Betti's place. She gave me the recipe and I have made them often. For those of you who are wondering if they are really me, they are yummy. Kathy

  8. Wow Bev....these are really quite incredible. Beautiful and I KNOW they will taste good. I have never seen anything like this....what a GREAT post! Pretty enough to serve at a buffet for sure...not just lunches!

  9. Those are beautiful and look delicious! My little girls would adore them!

  10. Bev these are beautiful! You went to so much work and I just love your pictures which explain the process so well! I wouldn't even attempt this recipe without the pictures!

  11. These look great...good picture. I bet they were just as good as they look. Like your pictures of the process of making them...good job

  12. Now that looks like a fun recipe to try! I think the refrigerator dough recipe is the same as the one I use.

  13. Bev, these not only look wonderful, I bet they taste awesome too. . .what a great lunch idea.

  14. bev these look so wonderful. they look so pretty and i bet you can't stop with just one! you sure put alot of effort making these.

  15. Those look so good. Yummy.They would be great fo my up-coming ski holiday.

  16. My son is going to be SOOOOOO Happy! Thanks again for the great inspiration. Jodi B.

  17. How lovely! They look almost like Christmas ornaments, I bet kids would love these more than a plain ol' grilled cheese with ham, I know I would :).

  18. I made these for dinner tonight (wonderful!) but I didn't use all the dough. Can you please email me with instructions for using it for rolls and specifically, how long it can stay in the fridge before using? Thanks in advance!

  19. I adapted this dough from a recipe meant to be made into crescent rolls or cloverleaf rolls. (Cloverleaf rolls are made by placing 3 1-inch balls in each greased muffin cup.)
    The dough will keep in the fridge for 2 or 3 days for sure although I wouldn't leave it longer than that before baking.

  20. These look so good and will save me from a trip to the grocery store! They are rising as we speak.

    Just a small edit -- I noticed in the written instructions you don't mention when to put in the yeast. I would hate for someone to overlook putting it in!

    Looking forward to tasting these! :)

  21. Thanks for letting me know about the ommission Denise, I've corrected it now. Glad to hear it didn't stop you from making these.

  22. I made them today, thanks for the delicious recipe

  23. I made these today and my kids LOVE them! Now I am ahead of the game for school lunches...I also did some of them as pizza pinwheels...with a little pizza sauce, a pepperoni slice and a bit of shredded mozza..HIT! Thanks so much!

  24. I made a double recipe of these today for a ladies birthday party. The dough is so easy to work with when you refrigerate it overnight! It made 103 pinwheels!