These easy sausage pinwheels are a favorite holiday appetizer! With irresistible crescent roll dough and a creamy, cheesy, sausage filling, they’re impossible to resist.
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I don’t know about you, but this time of year I feel like I’m always entertaining, heading to get-togethers with friends and family, or both! As a result, I find myself reaching for a few easy, go-to, crowd-pleasing appetizer recipes like the Sausage Pinwheels!
Sausage pinwheels are a type of sausage roll that is made by rolling up sausage meat in crescent roll dough. They bake in the oven until the dough turns golden brown, and the filling becomes soft and melty. They’re versatile enough to go from brunch to dinner party with ease, too. Yes!
If you love creamy, cheesy dips like Creamy Corn Dip or Crab Rangoon Dip, and you also have a soft spot for crescent roll appetizers like Cranberry Brie Bites or Antipasto Squares, these Sausage Pinwheels will be your new favorite!
Easy Sausage Pinwheels Recipe
With their savory flavor and tender, buttery crescent roll dough, sausage pinwheels make the perfect party appetizer. They’re easy to eat (maybe a little too easy to eat—as in I-just-can’t-stop-eating-them). You can also make them ahead of time, which is always a bonus when entertaining.
And because they’re bite-sized, they’re perfect for snacking on while mingling! Which is what holiday gatherings are all about, right?
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Crescent roll dough – You’ll need a seamless sheet, not precut.
- Vegetable oil – Or another neutral-flavored oil for cooking like canola.
- Ground breakfast sausage – I use pork sausage, but any kind you like best will work.
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Cream cheese – Use full-fat cream cheese that comes in a block, not a tub.
- Cheddar cheese
- Green onion – Use the white parts and the green for a stronger flavor, or just use the green parts if you want a milder taste.
- Swap the ground breakfast sausage for crumbled Italian sausage.
- Switch out the cheddar cheese for another variety, like gouda, Parmesan, or Swiss.
- Serve your sausage pinwheels with some hot sauce on the side for guests who want a little kick!
How to Make Sausage Pinwheels
- Cook the garlic: Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it starts to brown lightly.
- Brown the sausage: Add the sausage, and cook until it’s browned and cooked through about 8 minutes. Drain the excess fat and add the sausage to a mixing bowl.
- Make the filling: Stir the cream cheese into the sausage. Then, season with the salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator until it’s room temperature, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Assemble the pinwheels: Set a large rectangle of plastic wrap on the counter or a large cutting board. Unroll the dough onto the middle of the plastic, and spread the sausage mixture evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese and green onions over the filling.
- Roll the dough: Roll the dough into a log starting from the long side that doesn’t have the border. Use water to lightly moisten the edge of the dough that was left bare. Then, finish rolling into a log, pinching along the seam to seal.
- Chill: Wrap the log tightly in the plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes.
- Prepare: While the dough is chilling in the freezer, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Slice the sausage pinwheels: Once the dough is firm, cut the log into 8 equal slices, and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving plenty of space in between for them to expand.
- Bake: Place the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the sausage pinwheels are golden brown.
Sausage has a tendency to be salty. So, you may not need to add salt to the filling mixture. Taste it first, and add salt a little at a time, if needed.
How to Store Leftover Sausage Pinwheels
Leftover sausage pinwheels can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw sausage pinwheels overnight in the refrigerator and bake at 350ºF for about 10 minutes, or until warmed through. You can also reheat them from frozen, adding a few minutes to the baking time as needed.
Yes, sausage pinwheels can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to bake them. Simply slice, and bake as directed when you’re ready to serve. Note that if you’ve stored the log of dough in the freezer, you may need to let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours before you can slice through it.
You can keep pinwheels warm in the oven after you’ve baked them by keeping them on the sheet pan and reducing the oven temperature to 200ºF. Or, if you’re heating them up after they’ve cooled, they can be warmed at 350ºF for about 10 minutes.
Yes, sausage pinwheels will get soggy when they’re stored, but if you reheat them in the oven, the crescent roll dough will crisp up again on the outside.
To get pinwheels to stay together, be sure to roll them up tightly and seal the edges well. And don’t skip the freezing step!
- large saucepan
- Sheet pan
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound ground breakfast sausage
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can crescent roll dough seamless sheet, not precut
- ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 3 Tablespoons green onion minced
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until hot and it starts to shimmer. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it starts to develop color.2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 cloves garlic
- Add in the sausage and continue sauteing until browned and cooked throughout, about 8 minutes. Drain away the excess oil and add the sausage to a mixing bowl. Mix the cream cheese into the sausage. Season with the salt and pepper, as needed. You may not need the full amount if your sausage is already heavily spiced. Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator until it is room temperature, about 15 to 20 minutes.1 pound ground breakfast sausage, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 4 ounces cream cheese, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Lay out a large rectangle of plastic wrap on the counter or a large cutting board, then unroll the dough onto the middle of the plastic.1 can crescent roll dough
- Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a ½ inch strip along one long side, which will be used to seal at the end.
- Sprinkle the cheddar cheese and green onion evenly over the surface.½ cup cheddar cheese, 3 Tablespoons green onion
- Begin rolling the dough up along the long edge into a log, using the plastic wrap to help guide it along the way. Moisten the edge of the dough that was left bare with a little water, then finish rolling into an even log, pinching along the seam to seal completely.
- Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and put in the freezer until it has firmed up enough to slice cleanly, about 20 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling in the freezer, preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Once the dough has firmed up, cut into 8 equal slices and arrange on a parchment lined sheet pan, leaving plenty of space in between for them to expand.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until they are golden brown.