Pinwheel Christmas Tree Appetizer: Tortilla pinwheels filled with a festive savory cream cheese filling are shaped like a Christmas tree in this no-bake appetizer that is perfect for holiday parties and Christmas Eve nibbling!
It’s time to ring in the holiday season with parties, entertaining, and time with family and friends! That means you’ll need “go to” Christmas appetizer recipes like the one I’m sharing with you today, and this BEST bruschetta, pigs in a blanket, and bacon-wrapped dates.
Or, if you’re wanting another Christmas tree idea, even this Christmas Tree Charcuterie Board!
P.S. If you haven’t made these Spicy Ranch Party Crackers, you are definitely going to want to! It’s one of my favorite appetizers.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This red and green appetizer has Christmas written all over it! Green tortillas, red peppers, green olives, bright red cherry tomatoes and vibrant green herbs definitely bring in the festive colors of Christmas!
The Christmas tree shape is easy to create and really adds a ton of Christmas charm to any appetizer spread.
It’s a no bake appetizer recipe! No oven and no cooking time means this appetizer can be whipped up in no time before that holiday party.
Can I make pinwheels the day before? The answer is yes! Pinwheels are the perfect appetizers to be prepped ahead of time. I actually think the cream cheese filling tastes even more flavorful with a little time to sit.
With simple ingredients and no baking or cooking required, I think this is the perfect Christmas appetizer for every holiday party.
- 2 blocks (16 oz.) cream cheese, softened and brought to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup green olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
- 1/4 red peppers, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
- 4 large tortillas – 2 plain and 2 green tortillas (spinach)
- Fresh rosemary for garnish
- Cherry tomatoes for garnish
- Decorative holiday picks for serving (optional)
See the printable recipe card below for detailed instructions, nutrition information and detailed notes.
Here are step by step instructions -with pictures! – so you can easily make this holiday appetizer at home!
- First, chop the red pepper into small pieces and slice the olives, if necessary.
- Now, in a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder and lemon juice. Blend with hand mixer until the cream cheese mixture is smooth with no lumps.
- Once combined, use a spatula or spoon to fold in the fresh dill, olives and chopped peppers.
- Next, place a tortilla on a flat working surface (like your countertop or a large baking sheet) and using an offset spatula, spread about 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture onto the tortilla. Spread the mixture just to the edge of the tortilla.
- Roll up the tortilla and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Repeat for all 4 tortillas. Chill them in the freezer for 30 minutes, then cut each rolled tortilla into eight 3/4-inch slices.
- Arrange the pinwheel slices into the shape of a tree on your favorite festive serving platter, plate or wooden board. Garnish the tree with sprigs of fresh rosemary, cherry tomato “ornaments” and decorative holiday picks for serving.
What are pinwheel snacks made of? Typically, pinwheels are made by spreading a soft cheese based filling on a tortilla, rolling it up and cutting it into the classic pinwheel slices. It’s like your favorite cheese ball spread on a soft tortilla!
Here are a few ways to adjust this basic recipe to your personal preferences:
- We love the creaminess and richness of full fat cream cheese, but you can use light cream cheese or fat free cream cheese if you prefer.
- You can easily make this festive appetizer gluten-free by using gluten free tortillas.
- Instead of the red bell peppers, you can use diced green peppers or drained pimentos to keep the festive red and green colors in the cream cheese mixture.
We love it when you make the easy recipes here at Fantabulosity! If you want to get creative, we’re sharing a few of our favorite ways to do just that:
- Add your favorite savory flavors to the cream cheese mixture. Crispy chopped bacon, green onions, shredded sharp cheddar or Parmesan cheese, chopped and drained artichoke hearts and toasted chopped pecans are great ways to add different flavors to this pinwheel appetizer.
- Use all green tortillas. We used a mix of regular flour tortillas and green spinach tortillas, but this Christmas tree appetizer would look great using all green pinwheels.
- Make festive garnishes. Use a small cookie cutter (either a star or a small ornament) to cut decorative shapes out of thick sliced cheese. Place a large star shaped garnish at the top of the tree. Fresh herbs like springs of dill, thyme and rosemary add a pop of color to your serving platter.
Store any leftover pinwheels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This holiday appetizer idea is the perfect start to a Christmas charcuterie board! Surround this pinwheel tree with bowls of nuts, dried fruit, honey and fruit spread, cranberry sauce, marinated olives, crackers, sliced salami, hummus and veggies.
Did you make this? I’d be so grateful if you left a review below to let me know what you thought! Then, the next time you need a quick and easy recipe, come back to Fantabulosity to browse all of my easy recipes!
Pinwheel Christmas Tree Appetizer
- 16 oz cream cheese (2 blocks) room temperature
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup green olives sliced
- ¼ cup black olives sliced
- ¼ cup red peppers finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill minced
- 4 large tortillas 2 plain and 2 green (spinach)
- fresh rosemary for garnish
- cherry tomatoes for garnish
- Decorative holiday picks optional for serving
- First, chop the peppers and slice the olives if necessary.
- Now, in a large bowl, add the cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder and lemon juice. Blend with a hand mixer until the cream cheese mixture is smooth with no lumps.
- Once combined, use a spatular or spoon to fold in the fresh dill, green and black olives and the red peppers.
- Next, place a tortilla on a flat surface and using an offset spatula, spread about 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture onto the tortilla. Spread the mixture just to the edge of the tortilla.
- Roll up the tortilla and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Repeat for all 4 tortillas. Chill them in the freezer for 30 minutes and cut each rolled tortilla into 3/4-inch slices.
- Arrange the pinwheel slices into the shape of a Christmas tree on your favorite festive platter or wooden serving board. Garnish the tree with springs of fresh rosemary, cherry tomato "ornaments" and decorative holiday picks for serving.
- You can make the Christmas Tree Pinwheels ahead of time! Placed the finished rolled tortillas in the refrigerator and slice them just before plating and serving.
- To make these pinwheels gluten free, chose gluten-free tortillas from your local grocery store.
- You can use your favorite kind of olives (kalamata, garlic or blue cheese stuffed olives, marinated olives) in place of the traditional green and black olives.
- Similarly, you can use drained jarred pimientos to replace the red peppers we used.
- Store any leftover pinwheels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.