Ham and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Ham and Cream Cheese Pinwheels are the perfect party appetizer! You can make these irresistible savory roll-ups ahead of time for easy serving.

ham pinwheel stuffed with cream cheese on a wooden board, secured with a toothpick.

I love a good make-ahead appetizer. Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs and an old fashioned Cheese Log recipe come to mind when I’m looking to prep ahead of time.

And now these Ham and Cream Cheese Pinwheels are another—you can make them at least one day ahead (or more), and they store beautifully.

Now there are plenty of variations of a ham pinwheel or roll-up. Many versions have tortillas, some include wrapping a pickle, but this one is just a basic, old fashioned ham pinwheel.

The filling is made with softened cream cheese, chopped pecans, grated onion, chopped parsley, and a little milk to thin it all out.

The mixture is spread onto deli ham slices, rolled, then sliced into pinwheels.

These ham appetizers are a great late afternoon nibble before dinner. They won’t fill you up too much, and they’re delicious with a glass of wine!

ham pinwheels with cream cheese lined up on a white platter.

If you have some extra ham when you’re done with this recipe, you have to try this Hawaiian Roll Sliders recipe—guests go crazy for them!

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links support Gift of Hospitality at no additional cost to you. I receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase through these link.

Jump to:

Tips for making Ham and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

  • Be sure to use softened cream cheese for this recipe. Leave it at room temperature for about two hours to achieve the perfect consistency. If you need a shortcut, check out this guide to softening cream cheese.
  • Use regular sliced deli ham. Thinly sliced ham will be too thin and the meat will break.
  • Chop the pecans very finely—as small as you can get them without them turning to pecan dust. Large pieces of pecans will tear the ham.
  • You can either finely chop the onion or use a box grater to grate the onion.
  • Use a sharp knife for slicing the pinwheels. Don’t use a serrated knife, as that will tear the ham slices and the edges will look raggedy.


ham, cream cheese, pecans, and other ingredients on a white table.
  • Regular sliced deli ham works perfectly for this recipe. Don’t use thin sliced ham, which will be too thin to hold the filling.
  • Cream cheese is the base of the filling. You can use either original or low fat.
  • A little bit of grated yellow onion perfectly flavors the cream cheese. You could also use chopped chives or green onions if you want a milder taste.
  • Finely chopped pecans add crunch and a rich, nutty flavor to the pinwheels.
  • Milk thins out the cream cheese mixture so it’s more spreadable.
  • Fresh parsley adds a pop of color and freshness.

How to make Ham and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Place the softened cream cheese in a large bowl with the onion, parsley, pecans, and milk. Mix by hand or with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.

cream cheese mixture in a glass bowl with a pink spatula.

Lay slices of deli ham on a clean work surface. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture onto each slice of ham, leaving some room around the edges.

cream cheese spread onto slices of ham.

Roll each slice firmly into a log.

hand rolling a slice of ham covered with cream cheese into a log.

Stack the rolls in a storage container. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to 24 hours.

ham rolls stacked in a plastic storage container.

About an hour before you’re ready to serve the ham and cream cheese pinwheels, use a sharp knife to cut the ham logs into one-inch pieces (this creates the pinwheels).

You can either keep them flat on the platter, or stand them up and place a toothpick into the top of each one.

Let the ham roll-ups rest on a serving platter for one hour to come to room temperature.

ham roll-ups lined up on a white rectangular platter.

These little ham appetizers are delicious on their own or you could add them to a cheese platter (see how to make a cheese board for more inspiration).


  • The original recipe (from a 1970s South Carolina church cookbook) called for one teaspoon of prepared horseradish in the cream cheese mixture. Try it if you’d like a little kick to these!
  • Replace the pecans with walnuts.
  • Add one-quarter cup very finely chopped pickles OR 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped olives to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Replace the yellow onion with 2 tablespoons of finely chopped chives OR green onions.
  • Use one-half teaspoon of onion powder in place of the yellow onion.

Make-ahead instructions

Ham and Cream Cheese Pinwheels are perfect for making ahead of time. You can make the roll-ups (before slicing into pinwheels) up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate them until you’re ready to slice into pinwheels.

You can also slice the pinwheels, cover them tightly, and refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.

Don’t forget to let them come to room temperature (about one hour) before your guests dig in!

ham and cream cheese pinwheels secured with toothpicks on a wooden board.

Are ham and cream cheese pinwheels low carb or keto?

Each pinwheel has less than 1 gram of net carbs per serving.

More ham appetizers

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!

📖 Recipe

ham rollups with cream cheese secured with toothpicks on a wooden serving board.

Ham and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Published by Kate
These bite-size party appetizers are perfect for a party, and they're not so filling that they ruin dinner!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Refrigeration time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Servings 24 servings
Calories 65 kcal


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • ¼ cup very finely chopped pecans
  • ½ lb sliced deli ham (not thinly sliced)


  • Place the softened cream cheese, milk, parsley, onion, and pecans in a medium bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or stir until combined.
  • Lay slices of deli ham on a work surface. Top each slice with approximately 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Spread it in a thin layer, leaving ¼ inch space around the edges.
  • Roll the ham slices up. Place in a dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  • When you’re ready to serve them, cut the ham slices into 1-inch pieces and secure with a toothpick. Serve.


I use a box grater to grate the onion. You can also just chop it very finely.
The pecans should be very finely chopped (without becoming pecan dust). This ensures that the ham won’t tear when you’re rolling them up.
Use a sharp knife (not a serrated one) to slice the ham into pinwheels. A serrated knife will create ragged edges on the ham. 
Variations and substitutions:
  • Sub walnuts for pecans
  • Sub one-half teaspoon onion powder OR 2 tablespoons chopped chives OR 2 tablespoons chopped green onions in place of the yellow onion.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of prepared horseradish to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Add one-quarter cup very finely chopped pickles OR 2 tablespoons of finely chopped olives to the cream cheese mixture.


Calories: 65kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 3gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 143mgPotassium: 48mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 158IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword ham and cream cheese pinwheels
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a star rating and comment below!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating