Jalapeño Popper Pinwheels

The spicy-creamy flavors of jalapeño poppers, rolled up into fun and easy Jalapeño Popper Pinwheels!  Easy to make and even easier to eat, plus fully customizable based on your personal preference for heat.  Add crumbled bacon for a delicious smokey flavor!  Perfect for parties, tailgates, and the Super Bowl!

puff pastry pinwheels on a parchment-lined baking sheet

Super Bowl Party Week Day 3!  We started off the week with some spicy buffalo quinoa bites and then forged ahead straight into dessert with this peanut butter cup cheesecake dip.

Today, we’re heading back into bite-sized appetizer territory with some jalapeño popper pinwheels!

What’s so nice about these is that they’re fully customizable.

Love things hot hot hot?  Leave in the jalapeño seeds and membranes.  Want to dial down the heat a little?  De-seed two of the four jalapeños.  Prefer things totally mild?  Remove all the seeds!

Ooooor… go half and half, and roll up one sheet of puff pastry as a spicy version, and one as a mild.  Everybody wins!

side view of a pile of jalapeno popper pinwheels highlighting the flaky puff pastry crust

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Puff Pastry: Use premade frozen puff pastry dough – just be sure to leave enough time to thaw the dough!
  • Jalapeno Peppers: Keep the seeds and membranes for spicier popper pinwheels, or remove the membranes to keep them on the mild side.
  • Cream Cheese: Full fat cream cheese provides a better texture and flavor.
  • Garlic Powder
  • Shredded Cheese: I like to use cheddar here, but feel free to substitute in your favorite cheese – colby jack, pepper jack, even mozzarella would all work.
  • Bacon: This is totally optional, but if you’re making these for spice-loving meat-eaters, leave in all the seeds and add crumbled bacon!
close up view of a jalapeno cream cheese pinwheel on a baking sheet.

Easiest Party Appetizer

Why I love these so much for a Super Bowl party, besides the obvious spicy/cream cheesy/sometimes bacony filling: so. easy.  I often hear people say that they want to host parties, but they feel like they can’t because they can’t cook.  This is the recipe for you!

Buy a box of puff pastry sheets.  Thaw them.  Unroll them into a flat sheet.  Spread on some cream cheese, diced jalapeño peppers, shredded cheddar, and roll up into a log.  Slice.  Bake.  Serve.  See?  Easy peasy.

Jalapeño popper pinwheels are way easier than making real jalapeño peppers and much easier to eat, too. (No cream cheese squeezing out everywhere when you take a bite).  Quick appetizers and one-handed snacks are the name of the game when it comes to parties.

puff pastry spiraled with a jalapeno cream cheese filling.

Working with Puff Pastry

Making these pinwheels is so simple because we’re starting with frozen puff pastry. Puff pastry plays a crucial role in achieving an irresistible flaky texture!

Puff pastry is composed of numerous thin layers of dough separated by butter. The magic happens during baking when water in the dough turns into steam due to the high heat. The steam rises, pushing the dough upwards and creating pockets of air between the layers. The layers separate and expand, resulting in a flaky texture.

Make sure to properly thaw the puff pastry before making these jalapeno popper pinwheels. Thawing overnight in the refrigerator is the best way, although you can thaw at room temperature as well – just keep an eye on the dough. You need the dough to thaw fully before unfolding it; if you try to unfold frozen puff pastry, it will crack!

Once your puff pastry is thawed, filled, and rolled back up, one final tip for perfectly flaky popper pinwheels: chill them in the refrigerator again before slicing and baking! Why is this important? It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry.

Kitchen Chemistry

It’s essential to keep puff pastry as cold as possible. If the dough becomes too warm, the butter will start to melt and mix with the dough, ruining all the separate layers. Refrigerating the dough before baking allows the butter to re-solidify, maintaining the layers which are essential for the flaky texture.

hand holding a puff pastry appetizer with one bite removed.
  • Sheet Pans: Use two light-colored sheet pans to prevent the bottoms of the pinwheels from burning.
  • Rolling Pin: This is my favorite rolling pin to ensure the dough is always rolled out to an even consistency.
  • Food Processor: I love using this food processor to blend together the jalapenos and cream cheese.
  • Serrated Knife: A serrated knife is the best way to cut the rolled puff pastry logs into individual pinwheels.
  • Parchment Paper: Line the sheet pans with parchment paper to ensure nothing sticks and for easy cleanup.
12 puff pastry pinwheels spaced out on a baking sheet.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Jalapeno Cream Cheese Pinwheels

  1. Thaw Puff Pastry Properly: Follow the package instructions to properly thaw the puff pastry. The pastry will crack if you try to unfold it while it is still frozen.
  2. Adjust Jalapeno Heat: Customize the spiciness by adding more or fewer jalapenos, or by removing the seeds and membranes.
  3. Add Crispy Bacon: If you’re adding bacon, make sure the bacon is well-cooked and crispy before crumbling it over the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Chill Before Slicing: For cleaner slices and to maintain the layers necessary for flaky pastry, chill the rolled puff pastry in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before cutting into pinwheels.
  5. Sharp Serrated Knife for Slicing: Use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the rolled-up pinwheels. This prevents the filling from squeezing out.
  6. Spacing on Baking Sheet: Leave some space between the pinwheels on the baking sheet. This allows them to puff up without touching, which could cause them to stick together.

More Party Appetizers

a pile of puff pastry pinwheels stuffed with jalapenos and cream cheese

Jalapeño Popper Pinwheels

Yield: 30 pinwheels
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

The spicy-creamy flavors of jalapeño poppers, rolled up into fun and easy jalapeño popper pinwheels!


  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 4 jalapeño peppers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if adding bacon)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Unfold sheets of thawed puff pastry.  Using a rolling pin or fingers, gently push the dough together over the seams to form two smooth rectangles of dough.
  3. Remove membranes and seeds of all or half of the jalapeños, if desired.  Finely dice by hand, or alternatively, chop using a food processor.  Mix the cream cheese with the diced jalapeños by hand, or add cream cheese to the food processor and pulse until full combined.  Add in the garlic powder and salt, mixing until evenly distributed.
  4. Using a spoon, spread a thick layer of the cream cheese over both sheets of the puff pastry dough.  Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar and bacon, if using.
  5. Starting with the long edge, roll the puff pastry up into a log.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. Place the puff pastry log on a cutting board and use a serrated knife to cut into 3/4-inch slices (approximately 15 pinwheels per log).  Arrange the rolls 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Bake until puff pastry starts to brown and cheese is bubbling, about 15-18 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Jalapeño Popper Pinwheels: the delicious spicy-creamy flavor of jalapeño poppers, rolled up in puff pastry dough.  The perfect easy party appetizer baked in your oven!