Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels are addictively delicious and ridiculously easy to make with cream cheese, sour cream, lemon, garlic, chicken, buffalo sauce, celery, green onions, feta, and blue cheese rolled in flour tortillas. Fun party food, game day snack, and holiday finger food.
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Pinwheel appetizers. Tortilla roll ups are the quintessential party food — and for a good reason. They are creamy and delicious, especially when they’re filled with all the flavors of buffalo chicken.
Easy appetizers. It doesn’t get much easier than this: Mix cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Stir in chicken, hot sauce, celery, green onions, blue cheese, and feta. Roll up in tortillas. Chill. Slice. Eat. Repeat.
Big bold flavors. Everything you love about buffalo chicken is in these pinwheels: hot sauce, celery, blue cheese — everything!
Make ahead. You can make these buffalo chicken pinwheels up to a day ahead if you store the unsliced rolls wrapped in plastic wrap. They will soften a bit overnight, but they will still be very delicious.
Make them your own. Buffalo chicken pinwheels are just one of approximately 3.8 million versions of pinwheel appetizers. Once you get the basic formula down, you can make up your own creations.
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
Cream cheese. Cream cheese is the glue, if you will, that holds the whole buffalo chicken pinwheel together. I used block cream cheese because whipped cream cheese in a tub isn’t quite as thick. If the tub is all you have, I would cut down the sour cream a bit. You can also use Neufchatel or low fat cream cheese.
Sour cream. Sour cream adds even more creaminess to the cream cheese, and even more tang. Low fat sour cream would work fine, just watch the texture — sometimes lower fat sour cream has a thinner consistency than full-fat. Too much moisture in a tortilla pinwheel can make it difficult to roll up and hold its shape.
Lemon juice. A hit of lemon is always nice to brighten everything up. I wouldn’t substitute with bottled lemon juice, but another citrus would be great if you don't have lemon.
Garlic powder. You can use fresh minced garlic. I just like how well the powder mixes in with the cream cheese and sour cream.
Shredded chicken. Whether you’re using leftover rotisserie chicken or poached chicken, shred it pretty finely, so you can easily roll the tortillas into tight rolls.
Hot sauce. These buffalo chicken pinwheels are pretty spicy, but you can control the heat with the amount, and type, of hot sauce you use. I used Cholula — the one with the wooden cap. But you can use whatever you love.
Celery. Celery is a classic combo with buffalo chicken, so it’s no surprise it goes perfectly in these pinwheel appetizers. It brings a nice crunch and adds a cooling element.
Green onions. I feel like green onions add a burst of freshness to everything they touch. But you can use shallots, red onion, or chives.
Blue cheese AND feta. Okay, here’s the deal with the two types of crumbly cheese. I thought all blue cheese would be too much blue cheese. And all feta just wouldn’t provide that classic buffalo chicken experience. So I split the difference. You can do what I did, use all of one or the other, or whatever kind of cheese you love. A combo of blue cheese and cheddar or co-Jack would be nice.
Flour tortillas. I used 10-inch tortillas and had enough filling to make 4 rolls, or 32 buffalo chicken pinwheels.
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Use room temperature cream cheese. Let your cream cheese come to room temperature before mixing it with the sour cream. This ensures a smooth and creamy mixture without lumps of cream cheese.
Roll your tortillas tightly. To create pinwheels that won’t fall open when you pick them up, roll your tortillas up as tightly as possible.
Wrap the rolled tortillas in plastic wrap. Wrapping the tortillas in plastic wrap will help the rolled tortillas hold their shape.
Chill the roll ups for a few hours. Chilling the rolled up tortillas for a few hours before slicing them gives the cream cheese a chance to firm up again. This will make it much easier to slice your pinwheels into even slices and keep them from falling apart.
Slice with a serrated knife. Slice the pinwheels with a serrated knife to keep from flattening the tortillas rolls while you cut them.
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels [VIDEO]
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels
With a hand or stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, and garlic powder until smooth and creamy.
Stir in the chicken, hot sauce, celery, green onions, blue cheese, and feta. Mix until completely combined.
Spread the mixture evenly over four 10-inch tortillas.
Roll up the tortillas as tightly as possible.
Wrap the tortillas in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for several hours, up to overnight. This will allow the cream cheese mixture to firm up so you can easily cut even slices. It will also help the pinwheels stay together into nice tight little rolls.
Remove the plastic wrap from the rolls and cut the ends off. Slice each tortilla into 8 pinwheels.
Looking for more easy appetizers?
Try these tortilla pinwheel recipes next.
Mexican Street Corn Pinwheel Appetizers are a great party appetizer with tons of flavor.
Cranberry Chicken Pinwheel Sandwiches are the perfect finger food for game days and holiday parties.
Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- ⅓ cup hot sauce
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 2 sliced green onions
- ¼ cup blue cheese
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- 4 10-inch flour tortillas
- With a hand or stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, and garlic powder until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the chicken, hot sauce, celery, green onions, blue cheese, and feta.
- Spread the mixture evenly over four 10-inch tortillas.
- Roll up the tortillas as tightly as possible.
- Wrap the tortillas in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for several hours, up to overnight. The tortillas will soften up a bit overnight, but the plastic wrap keeps them from becoming overly soft. Refrigerating the tortilla rolls allows the cream cheese mixture to firm up so you can easily cut even slices and the pinwheels will stay together.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the rolls and cut the ends off. Slice each tortilla into 8 pinwheels.
You can make these pinwheel sandwiches up to a day in advance. Do note, however, that the tortillas will absorb some moisture overnight, and they will be softer than the day you made them. So it is best to serve them the day of.
To keep your pinwheels from getting soggy, limit the moisture in the filling ingredients. For example, too much sour cream can make the cream cheese mixture too wet. Or if you add fresh fruit or vegetables, it can also add moisture to the filling.