These simple-to-make Mexican Pinwheels are rolled up with chicken, cream cheese, salsa, fresh herbs, and spices for a kid-friendly lunch with southwestern flair.
If you are looking for more lunch inspiration, you will love our non-sandwich lunchbox ideas!
My kids get tired of sandwiches about half way through the school year. These Mexican Pinwheels are an easy and tasty way to bring some variety into your kids’ lunches and they keep really well in a lunchbox!
We like pinwheels because…
- They stick together! They’re easy for kids to pick up without ingredients falling out.
- They’re cute and fun to eat.
- Picky eaters can see what they’re taking a bite out of.
- They’re versatile. You can add any ingredients you love to a pinwheel.
These Mexican Pinwheels are easy, delicious, and perfect for using up leftover cooked chicken. (We always like an alternative to lunch meat!) And they fit oh-so-nicely in a lunchbox…
Tips for Making Great Mexican Pinwheels
- Use your favorite pliable wrap. We like whole wheat for extra nutrition. If your wrap feels stiff, warm it in the microwave for ten seconds to soften it.
- Adjust your spices. Some taco seasonings are quite spicy, and others are mild. Be flexible with the amount of seasoning you add to match your kids’ tastes.
- Mix the filling well. The key to getting pinwheels that stick together well is to have a filling that’s uniformly mixed (no dry bits floating around to fall out when you slice.)
- Make it ahead! The filling will stay fresh for a day or two in the fridge, so go ahead and make a big batch so you can make the pinwheels a couple days in a row.
Ingredients You Will Need for Mexican Pinwheels
- Cream Cheese – You can use full fat or reduced fat for this recipe. I like to set mine out about an hour before I’m going to make this recipe to let it soften just a bit.
- Salsa – The type of salsa you use is totally up to your taste preferences. You can use a more chunky salsa or smooth, spicy or mild, whatever your kids love.
- Chicken – this is the perfect recipe to use leftover chicken. Rotisserie chicken gives it a great flavor and is one of our favorites, but you can use shredded chicken breast, diced chicken, or whatever you have on hand.
- Cheddar Cheese – we like shredded cheddar for this recipe, but you can also you a blended cheese variety.
- Tortillas – pinwheels work best with a bit heartier tortilla. We normally buy raw tortillas, but for this recipe I buy precooked and I like whole wheat.
Commonly Asked Questions About Mexican Pinwheels
Question: Do you have a gluten free wrap brand that you like? Yes – we like the Food for Life Rice Wraps or the Sami’s Bakery Millet wraps.
Question: Can we leave the green onion out? If raw green onion is too much for your kids, feel free to leave it out. You can always sprinkle it on the pinwheels that you will be eating 😉
Question: Can I make this into a wrap? Yes! That is another great way we love to eat these – we add cilantro, sliced tomatoes, avocado and lettuce. So yummy!
Question: How do these turn out if I make them ahead? They store really well in the fridge. If you use a tortilla that has more substance, they shouldn’t get soggy at all!
Question: How many pinwheels does this recipe make? About 24 pinwheels.
Question: What is the best way to cut these pinwheels? If you use a serrated knife, you should get a clean easy cut no problem.
More of Our Favorite Lunch Recipes
Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Cakes – Crispy on the outside quinoa cakes have it all: fresh veggies, whole grains and the melty allure of savory cheddar cheese make these an yummy portable lunch.
Quick Lunch Taquitos – Crunchy taquitos that take just a few minutes to whip up!
Homemade Hot Pockets – Soft, fresh, whole wheat rolls stuffed with melty cheese, ham, and vegetables.
- Put the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cheddar cheese, green onion, garlic, and taco seasoning in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and stir to combine.
- Spread some of the mixture onto the entire surface of one of the tortillas, and roll it up tightly. Continue with the rest of the tortillas the same way.
- Chill for 20 minutes. Cut the rolled up tortillas into 1-inch sections. Or, just serve them as a wrap!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie