Kidlet Lunch Idea: Cream Cheese and Ham Pinwheels

cream cheese pinwheels with chives and ham

The kidlets and I have been experimenting with lunch options lately, in anticipation of the Little Lady starting preschool.  This Bento Lunch (packed in a simple sandwich box) is full of the Little Lady’s favorites: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, a few cheese butterflies . . . and her NEW love — Cream Cheese and Ham Pinwheels.

This is one of those recipes that probably everyone has in their back pockets. . . and the possibilities for ingredients are endless, as shown by this spicy tortilla roll up.  My mother used to make a variation of them for every Church potluck, shower and gathering when we were kids.  They are incredibly simple and, I’ll say it again, the ways you can go with this idea are limitless (heck … cream cheese and blueberries for breakfast pinwheels?).

The Little Lady has had these pinwheels in a few lunches now, and, each time, she devours them first . . . before anything else.  Even before the tomatoes.  THAT, my friends, is proof-positive that we have a hit on our hands.


Cream Cheese and Ham Pinwheels


  1. 1 Burrito Sized Tortilla (flour, whole wheat, spinach, etc.)
  2. 2-3 TB of Cream Cheese
  3. 1 TB fresh Chives, chopped
  4. 1 slice of deli Black Forest Ham


  1. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and chives together until the chives are evenly distributed in the cheese.
  2. Using a knife, spread the mixture over one side of the tortilla.
  3. Place the ham slice in the center of cheese/tortilla. If your deli cut the ham thickly, you can get by with half a slice of ham for easier rolling.
  4. Starting from an end that has cream cheese on it (but no ham), begin rolling the tortilla toward the other side. Roll gently but tightly.
  5. Place the rolled tortilla on a cutting board or large plate and cut off the ends so that you are left with an even tortilla “log-roll”. (I save the ends for my lunches)
  6. Next, cut the roll into even slices (around 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick).
  7. The slices can be placed, flat or on their sides, in a sandwich box — or, they can be skewered on appetizer picks.


My mom’s version of these used green onions, finely chopped black olives, and dried ham — which were all mixed into the cream cheese.  You could also try different meat, freshly cracked black pepper, etc.

Preparation time: 5-7 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 2



  1. April says

    Does anyone know if you could make the pinwheels, freeze them and just pop them into the lunch box in the morning? Would they be unfroze or even taste okay? I know you can buy frozen pinwheels at the store, soooo……

  2. says

    I love pinwheels. When I was a kid, we only got them at baby showers! I craved them all of the time and the Little Lady is so lucky to have them as a school lunch. :)

  3. says

    Wow! I want to have that bento lunch too! Your little lady really eats vegetables. And the Cream Cheese and Ham Pinwheels looks absolutely delicious! Yummy!

  4. says

    What a great mix of food. The pinwheels sounds super good right now. I usually make them with olives, shredded cheese and chilies. I am going to have to try them with ham one of these days.