Most people would make these appetizers for a party and I’m no different. I make them up, stick them in the freezer and pull them out to bake whenever I’m having a party for one. ;) They’re also great for the holidays.

Pinwheel Appetizers with Olives & Cheese

Skip right to the recipe.

It is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year.  No matter what your race, religion or creed, over the next month we will be enveloped in a blanket of the one thing that brings us all together.  The one thing we can all agree on, admire, cherish and worship.

Finger foods.

Calorie laden, diet busting appetizers made with a mixture of ingredients that would normally raise equal parts eyebrow and bile.  But during this, the most wonderful time of the year?   Bacon and sweetened condensed milk rolled into a ball with a shot of Worcestershire sauce makes perfect sense.  You betcha.  For real. It’s delicious.

Christmas Eve is my holiday at The Art of Doing Stuff homestead. I’ve hosted it for my family for the past 17 years or so and almost all of those have been a festival of appetizers.  The only one who doesn’t quite understand the whole appetizers as a meal thing is my sister Pink Tool Belt.  It confounds her.  I believe it has to do with an unnatural fear of eating without cutlery which would also explain her history of being suspicious of pizza, corn on the cob and gum.

I actually come from a long line of appetizer lovers, as most of us do.  Our families’ most recent encounter with appetizers dates all the way back to 4 months ago when we celebrated Aunt Jean’s 103 rd birthday with a party.  (you can read my Q&A with her on her 100th birthday here) Birthday parties become less important from the ages of 22-99.  Those are the in between years.  Once you hit 100 though, you look forward to every event that warrants the possibility of a surprise stripper showing up.  Plus, cake.

It was at that event, Aunt Jean’s birthday, that I was introduced to these Pinwheel appetizers with olives and cheese.  Oh!  And curry.  And mayonnaise.  Again with the slightly incongruent ingredients.

There are only 5 ingredients.  Black olives, onions, cheese, mayo and curry powder.

You mix everything together and spread it on a whole wheat tortilla and roll them up.  Apparently the original recipe called for you to spread this mixture on english muffins.  It also called for salt.  There is no need for salt. The mixture is filled with cheese and olives.  That’s enough salt for anyone’s tastebuds.

After refrigerating the rolls to firm them up a bit you slice ’em, bake ’em and then eat ’em.  With your fingers.  No cutlery.


You may eat them with a wood stick if you insist.

They’re warm and gooey with just a hint of curry.  And the best part, the best part is …




Also they’re Chanukah compatible!

That’s right. I didn’t forget my Jewish friends getting ready to start their holiday celebrations.  To make the Star of David pinwheels just squish the sliced circles into a triangle shape before you bake them.  They’ll expand a bit in the oven so as soon as you take them out, squish them back into shape.

Round or triangular, either way, they’ll spice up any holiday party.  Just like a stripper.

Pinwheel Appetizers with olives and cheese

This 5 ingredient easy appetizer can be made ahead and frozen, or store the spread in the fridge and make them on demand!
3.34 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 50 pieces
Author: Karen


  • 1 cup black olives chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions Videla work well too
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 7 large whole wheat tortillas


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Mix ingredients together  and spread in a thin layer on tortilla.
  • Roll tortilla up tightly and refrigerate to firm up.
  • Remove from fridge after approximately 1 hour and slice into bite sized pieces.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until warmed through and cheese is melted.


To make ahead, after rolling up tortillas, wrap in plastic and freeze.
The spread can be made ahead alone, and refrigerated for up to a week.


  1. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I am all for appetizers as a the Star of David one’s!

  2. Benjamin says:

    I wonder if medical marijuana brownies are Chanukah approved… I’ll take a surprise stripper any day. Thanks, Karen, you’re a dream.

  3. Melody says:

    I can never get a tortilla roll tight enough. Always has gaps. What do you think about subbing puff pastry sheets?

  4. Elen G says:

    You had me at olives and cheese, then added ‘melt’. I’m in. All in.

  5. Heather says:

    Looks great! Love the photographs!

  6. My love for appetizers/finger foods reminds me of the 1990 movie Mermaids (Cher, Winona Ryder) in which the mother styled food at every meal as appetizers. The older daughter hates it–but I LOVED that.

  7. Mary W says:

    Thank you – on my shopping list. I did make cookie dough and freeze it just before thanksgiving. With so many people here for an extended time (one of the fun parts of living in Florida), I have now used it all up in small batches and think of you every time. Thanks. I made ginger molasses cookies and this last batch, put vanilla ice cream between two of the cookies and served wonderful ice cream sandwiches. Big Hit!

  8. shoshana leeder says:

    This is perfect. Something that is not shaped like a christmas tree! and sounds yummy. And isn’t a latka or a doughnut! I’m in!

  9. Marilyn says:

    I am so making these. I LOVE eating with my hands. O thinks it’s my Neanderthal husband on the other hand will use cutlery for everything! Wings , ribs ,pizza. Honestly takes the joy right out of it. And he has passed this phobia onto our oldest daughter. My youngest and I relish every finger licking moment while they sit daintily picking apart their wings with a freaking knife and fork. Oh well to each their own

  10. Alexis says:

    Ho hum, appetizers, schmappetizers. But the stripper?? Male, I trust. We can always rely on you to shake things up. And that’s why we love you. And oh yes. Pics, please.

  11. Kate says:

    Karen, we’re appetizer lovers and these would be delicious! I so enjoyed your Q&A with your Aunt – what an attitude she has – she’s a remarkable woman and a role model for all of us. Methinks you’re following in her footsteps – go girl!! :)

  12. Jody says:

    This is very similar to a recipe my mom has been making for decades. Her recipe has green olives, the rest of the filling/topping ingredients are the same but it is put on slices of party rye and broiled. She found it in one of those fundraiser cookbooks. I love those things. I found my favorite carrot cake recipe in one.

  13. Lisa G. says:

    That mixture is 99.9% similar to something my mother makes for the holidays (no curry, she uses something else I can’t figure out, file under “ancient chinese secret”). It’s delightful stuffed into mushroom caps and broiled. When she runs out of mushroom caps, she hollows out a baguette fills it with the leftover mixture and broils it. Viola.

  14. Ev Wilcox says:

    Ummmm, would HAVE to sub olives with just about anything else…shudder. Finely shredded chicken maybe, of just about anything else. Have finally made peace with cooked mushrooms (just not till they turn into rubber), but olives? Most likely never.
    We are hosting the Christmas Gathering this year, and my children are adamant on serving soups. Sigh. I said I was not cooking for a crowd. But appetizers would be so much fun. Maybe another get together, soon. Thanks for re-affirming the place appetizers hold!

    • Karen says:

      Appetizers are fun, but let me tell you it’s a lot of work to make a lot of appetizers. Way more work than making a pot of soup, unless you happen to be making Teradactyl soup or something like that. ~ karen!

  15. Sabina says:

    Karen you make my day!

  16. TucsonPatty says:

    I think these sound heavenly! Here in Tucson we make a variation on these with cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese and black olives. Chill and slice and serve with salsa. I ate some olive tapenade at a party the other night and I think that sounds like a great shortcut for the chopped olives. I love green olives, so there might have to be some put into this recipe! This may be the appetizer to take to another holiday party, along with the Bacon Pinwheels from 2013! : )

  17. TucsonPatty says:

    I think these sound heavenly! Here in Tucson we make a variation on these with cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese and black olives. Chill, slice, and serve with salsa. I ate some olive tapenade at a party the other night and I think that sounds like a great shortcut for the chopped olives. I love green olives, so there might have to be some put into this recipe! This may be the appetizer to take to another holiday party, along with the Bacon Pinwheels from 2013! : )

  18. Lisa says:

    Initially attracted by the food , I soon got distracted by Aunt jean….did she get her get iPad? Could we get another Q&A session with her please?? I cant imagine what the world will look like in 2070 when I’m 100….

  19. Peg says:

    sounds yummy, nice change up with olives, I’ll add more green or kalamatas 🙂

  20. Therese says:

    Love the thought of these and look forward to trying them.

  21. Tina says:

    They look fabulous! I love the idea of chicken or salami in them and dunked in salsa. And one of my favorites is a salad dinner with tapas. This would do the trick!

  22. Lynn says:

    I was all in till I saw Olives :( just can not handle them :( .

  23. Nicole Sparks says:

    Um… I’m guessing that we don’t really preheat the oven before putting them in the fridge for an hour. Right? Unless some part of the filling is prebaked somehow?

    My mom used to make smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers pinwheels (same method, minus the baking).

    • whitequeen96 says:

      Ooooh, now THAT sounds good! Not crazy about olives, but love everything in your mom’s recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  24. Kathleen Aberley says:

    I love finger food… and these look and sound lovely. Olives, cheese… what more do you need.

    And if they freeze – bonus. I can pre-prepare and pop in the oven when people pop in unexpectedly. At dinner time. Expecting a plate of food.

  25. Elisabeth says:

    Yuck! …. but hmmm.

  26. Marjorie Kramer says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for a delicious finger food recipe that does not include cream cheese. As lactose is just one of the many things I don’t tolerate, I’m always on the look out for appetizers that don’t feature it. Neat! I’m with you, Karen, on appetizers as a meal – it’s absolutely perfect.

  27. DeAnna Anderson says:

    Oh, I should have mentioned we do not cook them. Spread the filling, roll, cool in fridge for a couple of hours, then slice and eat with salsa. Sometimes we add finely grated carrot, or leftover chicken; you could put anything in them really. You can also use cream cheese instead of the mayo.

  28. DeAnna Anderson says:

    We have been making these for years. Slice them and serve with salsa. Yummy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *