Pesto Pinwheels

This post is less about a recipe, and more about an idea. If you love pesto, you’ve probably had many ideas about how to use it – beyond adding it to pasta, soup, or dip. The other day I saw a recipe for cinnamon rolls, but I typically don’t make sweet baked goods unless it’s a holiday. But that made me think – rolls filled with pesto. So that’s exactly what I did.

Creative? Nah, but a good way to use pesto. Delicious, and were perfect served with tomato soup.

I’m not going to do a tutorial on bread, because I’ve done one quite detailed on making Chili Pecan Buns and Bread for Cheese. There are many different, and especially technical ways to bake bread, but this is how I’ve done it for years. It works. No recipe required.

In this pinwheel recipe, I used sour cream, but you can use milk or cream or even a nut milk.

For the pinwheels, I’m using my home-made pesto that I make every summer and freeze. It does not contain cheese, just the basil, nuts/seeds, garlic, and olive oil. Of course, any prepared pesto would work instead of what I did here. Approximately 16 ounces of prepared pesto with Parmesan would be required for these pinwheels.

Pesto Pinwheels

1/4 cup warm/hot water
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups white flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
12 pesto without cheese
6 ounces grated Parmesan

Heat the water in a large bowl until you can hold your finger in it. Add the yeast and sprinkle it with the sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Give the mixture a stir, then place the bowl in a warm place for another five minutes. The mixture will have doubled in volume and gotten foamy.

Meanwhile, place the sour cream in a small bowl and add the water. Gently whisk the mixture together. Then microwave it slowly just until it’s warm. A basic rule of thumb is to never add cold or hot ingredients to a yeast mixture because that can stop the yeast from behaving properly. When the yeast mixture has doubled, add the sour cream mixture, the olive oil, and salt.

Then whisk in 1 cup of white flour. It will be like thick pancake batter. Make sure it’s smooth.

Place the bowl in a warm place, and cover it with a damp towel. I use a warming oven that actually has a “proof” setting. After about one hour it will look like this:

Add one cup of whole wheat flour, and using a spoon, mix as well as possible. The mixture will be thicker than before. Place the bowl in the same warm place for at least one more hour.

It will look like this after the second rising.

Using the a cup of flour, turn out the dough onto your work space, and knead away until the dough is nice and smooth. Form the dough into a ball and let it sit for at least five minutes. This will insure that you can roll it out.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. And also grease jelly-roll pan.

Using a rolling pin, first flatten the ball of dough, then gently work it into a rectangle just like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls. Mine was approximately 18″ by 12″. Slather the dough with pesto. Then sprinkle on the finely grated Parmesan. (Alternatively, if using prepared pesto, no extra cheese is required.)

Roll up the dough lengthwise.

Remove the ends, about an inch on each side, because they never look good. Then make approximately 1 1/2″ crosswise slices and place them cut side down on the cookie sheet.

Let them rise for at least 30 minutes before placing them in the oven and baking for about 20 minutes.

They should be golden brown and smell really good!

Of course this isn’t a unique recipe, but it is good, especially if you’re a huge fan of pesto!

By Published On: October 21st, 202256 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

56 Comments

  1. Travel Gourmet October 21, 2022 at 6:21 AM - Reply

    Fantastic idea! They must be delicious.

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 7:16 AM - Reply

      Thank you Kay!

  2. David @ Spiced October 21, 2022 at 6:38 AM - Reply

    I love recipes that are more of a concept than an actual recipe. This one sounds fantastic, Mimi! I enjoy baking breads, and this savory version would indeed be perfect next to a bowl of tomato soup. I did something similar at some point (a couple of years? time flies!) with shredded cheese rolled up in bread dough. Now I want to try the pesto version. Delicious!

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 7:16 AM - Reply

      Well, there’s nothing much better than cheese buns!!!

  3. Lori Hawkins October 21, 2022 at 7:39 AM - Reply

    I LOVE this idea and have a freezer filled with pesto to use. I will be making these soon. Thank you for sharing.

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 7:55 AM - Reply

      Sounds like you make it a lot as well! This is a great use.

  4. angiesrecipes October 21, 2022 at 7:51 AM - Reply

    I always have a jar of homemade pesto in the fridge :-) This is a GREAT idea, Mimi.

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 7:55 AM - Reply

      They’re fun to make, and even more fun to eat!

  5. ajeanneinthekitchen October 21, 2022 at 8:28 AM - Reply

    I make those quite often too. I love them. :)

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 12:51 PM - Reply

      My husband could eat pesto on ice cream! So I keep making it!

  6. Charlie DeSando October 21, 2022 at 10:31 AM - Reply

    Well executed, looks delicious

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 12:51 PM - Reply

      Thank you!

  7. Ron October 21, 2022 at 11:16 AM - Reply

    It’s like a savory Swedish kanelbulle (cinnamon bun). Brilliant idea, I think this is the perfect side to a good pumpkin soup.

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 12:50 PM - Reply

      oh yes! That would be a really nice combo!

  8. Bernadette October 21, 2022 at 1:09 PM - Reply

    I have a huge cache of pesto in the freezer. Thanks for the yummy pinwheel recipe.

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 6:56 PM - Reply

      You are so welcome. Nothing too creative, but very good!

  9. Mary October 21, 2022 at 3:07 PM - Reply

    Your dough recipe sounds interesting- will have to give that a try.
    Always mean to make lots of Pesto every year but never achieve it. Must make a concerted effort this Summer!
    Thanks Mimi :))

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 6:56 PM - Reply

      I only make pesto by the jar loads, which is tedious, because my husband loves it so much!

  10. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen October 21, 2022 at 3:15 PM - Reply

    Oh yes! I’ve made other savory roll-ups like this, but not pesto. Must give it a try. These look really delicious/

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 6:55 PM - Reply

      Thank you! They’re pretty, and tasty!

  11. terrie gura October 21, 2022 at 4:15 PM - Reply

    I wish I had more success with my basil this year. Homemade pesto is the best! I love your idea for these, Mimi, and it’s a nice way to get the maximum pesto flavor in there.

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 6:55 PM - Reply

      Yes, definitely. My basil always does well. A bad zucchini year!

  12. David Scott Allen October 21, 2022 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    I do think it’s quite creative, actually — and we have so much basil in the garden now, I think these would be great on an appetizer plate!

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 6:54 PM - Reply

      Oh, nice idea! Pinwheels are not just for sweet cinnamon rolls!

  13. Liz Berg October 21, 2022 at 7:25 PM - Reply

    I’ve made pesto pinwheels with puff pastry, but I’m loving your version with yeast bread! De-lish!!

    • Chef Mimi October 21, 2022 at 8:31 PM - Reply

      Nothing quite beats puff pastry, really!

  14. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons October 21, 2022 at 8:51 PM - Reply

    These look wonderful, great recipe for a light dinner or appetizers. And I have a big batch of pesto in the fridge.

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 9:02 AM - Reply

      They’re very tasty! And of course it would work with any bread dough recipe.

  15. Jean October 21, 2022 at 10:29 PM - Reply

    I’ve never thought to freeze pesto but now I will. My husband would be happy to have it whenever the craving hits. Love it in this bread.

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 9:02 AM - Reply

      I freeze it without the cheese, so it’s about half of the volume, so fewer jars. Then you can add as much cheese as you want when you use it.

  16. Tandy I Lavender and Lime October 21, 2022 at 11:28 PM - Reply

    These are so good. I like the savoury option for weekday lunches.

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      Definitely! Especially soups!

  17. Gerlinde de Broekert October 22, 2022 at 12:20 AM - Reply

    Wow, that looks fantastic. I love pesto but never had it in pinwheels.

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      It works really well, and boy they were good with the soup!

  18. sherry m October 22, 2022 at 3:15 AM - Reply

    these look so delicious mimi. i can smell ’em baking from here.

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 9:00 AM - Reply

      Love that pesto smell!

  19. neil@neilshealthymeals.com October 22, 2022 at 9:24 AM - Reply

    I’ve always got a jar of home made pesto in the fridge so this is a great idea of how to use up any pesto that might be coming to the end of it’s best!

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 9:53 AM - Reply

      Pesto is so good! I’m not surprised you always have some on hand.

  20. Hannah Kaminsky October 22, 2022 at 12:15 PM - Reply

    Mmm, you had me at pesto! I could eat pesto on everything, everyday. It only gets better when you factor in soft, fresh, homemade bread!

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 7:43 PM - Reply

      Definitely! Plus, add vegan cheese !!!

  21. Debra October 22, 2022 at 7:42 PM - Reply

    Oh boy! This is delicious! I love pesto in any form, but combined with these gorgeous pinwheels, there just isn’t any part of this recipe that doesn’t excite me. I can’t wait to make them!

    • Chef Mimi October 22, 2022 at 7:43 PM - Reply

      Thank you Debra. That’s very nice!

  22. Jeff the Chef October 23, 2022 at 11:30 AM - Reply

    What a fantastic idea! This would be so wonderful at a Thanksgiving table.

    • Chef Mimi October 23, 2022 at 11:31 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Jeff!

  23. Ronit Penso Tasty Eatsr October 23, 2022 at 7:33 PM - Reply

    The pinwheels look so delicious and aromatic! I think they could also work well for brunch.
    I agree about freezing freezing pesto without the cheese. I find it keeps so much better this way.

    • Chef Mimi October 24, 2022 at 10:32 AM - Reply

      I’d always heard that about omitting the cheese for that reason, but also it saves so much room!

  24. pauline October 23, 2022 at 7:58 PM - Reply

    Your pinwheels look amazing Mimi. I would also love to try this bread recipe, I don’t think in our climate I need a warming oven, :), it’s warm enough in my laundry. I need to take a plate of finger food to a function shortly, so these would be perfect. thanks for a great idea and the recipe.

    • Chef Mimi October 24, 2022 at 10:31 AM - Reply

      You are so welcome! We don’t have a warm house, so the proof setting in my warming oven is a godsend!

  25. Valentina October 26, 2022 at 9:44 PM - Reply

    What an excellent Idea, Mimi. Perfect alongside soup — and so pretty to boot! :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi October 27, 2022 at 6:45 AM - Reply

      Thank you! Very tasty, if you enjoy pesto!

  26. Thao @ In Good Flavor October 30, 2022 at 3:27 PM - Reply

    The pinwheels look amazing, Mimi! Pairing them with tomato soup is perfect!!

    • Chef Mimi November 1, 2022 at 7:56 AM - Reply

      Thanks so much Thao!

  27. Healthy World Cuisine November 1, 2022 at 6:33 PM - Reply

    What a huge hit especially with the tomato soup. Thanks for those helpful step by step photos – its always nice to see the consistency of the dough you are striving for. Wishing you a super week ahead.

    • Chef Mimi November 2, 2022 at 9:05 AM - Reply

      Thanks! It was a nice pairing.

  28. Raymund November 1, 2022 at 8:45 PM - Reply

    Looks so savoury delicious! Perfection

    • Chef Mimi November 2, 2022 at 9:05 AM - Reply

      Thank you Raymund!

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