Taco pinwheels are the perfect party starter, but they’re just as delicious for a weeknight dinner! Seasoned ground beef and cheese are rolled up into fluffy crescent roll dough, and finished with all your favorite taco toppings.
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We’re always looking for new ways to enjoy tacos, whether it’s taco salad, walking tacos, or even a big pot of taco soup. These taco pinwheels are a new favorite and best of all, they do double duty—you can serve them as an appetizer or as a main dish!
Taco pinwheels combine the flavors of tacos with the convenience of a handheld snack. They’re a guaranteed hit with kids, adults will eat ‘em up too, and they can be customized in so many different ways. (We’ve got some ideas below, or come up with your own!)
Taco Pinwheels Recipe
There’s a lot of debate about soft flour tortillas versus hard shell tacos, but these taco pinwheels introduce a third option: crescent roll dough! It’s a multitasker when it comes to easy weeknight dinners and appetizers, and it’s the perfect pairing with zesty taco-seasoned ground beef and melty cheese.
Taco pinwheels are ideal for game nights, parties, or as a tasty after-school snack. They’re also a great way to switch up your next taco night dinner. Give everyone in the family a few taco pinwheels on a plate, and set out a variety of toppings for easy customization. (Have you noticed how kids are way more likely to eat dinner when they can assemble it themselves?!)
Let’s get ready to make some easy cheesy taco pinwheels!
Ingredients For Taco Pinwheels
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Vegetable oil – Or another neutral-flavored cooking oil.
- Lean ground beef
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Garlic – Fresh, whole cloves are best.
- Onion – Yellow, red, or white will all work in this recipe.
- Tomato paste – Freeze the leftover tomato paste in 1-tablespoon-size portions and next time you need just a little bit, you won’t have to buy a whole can!
- Rotel tomatoes – Or another brand of diced tomatoes with chiles.
- Taco seasoning – Use store-bought or homemade taco seasoning made with chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc.
- Onion powder
- Shredded Mexican blend cheese – Cheddar cheese or Monterey jack work, too!
- Crescent roll dough – You’ll need a sheet of crescent roll dough for these taco pinwheels.
- Shredded lettuce
- Jalapeño peppers
- Sour cream
- Replace the ground beef with refried beans for a Meatless Monday version of taco pinwheels.
- Or, swap in ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef.
- Use half ground beef and half black beans for the filling. Smash the beans a bit with a wooden spoon to keep them from rolling out of the filling.
- Go all in with toppings! Try cilantro, green onions, black olives, taco sauce, dried oregano, and more.
How to Make Taco Pinwheels
- Cook the beef: Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the ground beef, salt, and pepper. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until it’s no longer pink. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a bowl.
- Cook the aromatics: Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the grease from the pan. Then, add the garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Finish the filling: Stir in the tomato paste, Rotel tomatoes, taco seasoning, and onion powder. Cook for another 6 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced. Stir this mixture into the bowl of ground beef. Then, refrigerate the filling for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Prepare: Preheat an oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Top the crescent roll dough: Unroll the crescent roll dough into a rectangle on a clean work surface. Spread the cooled taco meat mixture evenly over the top. Then, sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the meat.
- Form the taco pinwheels: Roll the dough along the long edge, forming a log. Pinch along the seam to seal. Then, use a serrated knife to slice the log into 8 even rounds.
- Bake: Place the pinwheels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through. Serve with your desired toppings.
If the dough starts to get too soft to cut cleanly, you can wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.
How to Store Leftover Taco Pinwheels
Wrap leftover taco pinwheels in plastic wrap. Or, store them in an airtight container, and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the microwave or a 350ºF oven until they’re warmed through.
You can also freeze taco pinwheels for up to 2 months. Let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to enjoy, just let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave.
These taco pinwheels are great served with a side of your favorite hot sauce, guacamole, and other optional garnishes. Pair the pinwheels with a side of Mexican corn or corn, avocado & cilantro salad to make them a meal!
Yes, you can assemble the pinwheels ahead of time, and store them in the refrigerator for up to a day before baking.
No, there is no need to refrigerate before cutting. Just make sure the taco meat has cooled completely before rolling it up in the dough. If you find that the dough is difficult to cut through without making a mess, you can pop the roll in the freezer until it firms up.
Be sure to let the taco meat mixture cool. If there’s a lot of liquid at the bottom of the bowl, drain it off before spreading the filling over the crescent roll dough.
Don’t overstuff your taco pinwheels! Keeping the filling on the light side will help from your taco pinwheels falling apart. Too much stuff will make it hard to roll, causing everything to fall out.
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 package crescent roll dough sheet
- 1 ½ cups shredded Mexican cheese
- Shredded lettuce
- Jalapeno peppers sliced
- Sour cream
- Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot and the oil begins to shimmer, add the ground beef and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Saute until browned throughout, about 7 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, ½ pound lean ground beef, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil, then add the garlic and onions over medium heat. Cook until they start to brown slightly, about 5 minutes.2 cloves garlic, ½ onion
- Add the tomato paste, Rotel tomatoes, taco seasoning and onion powder. Continue to cook for another 6 minutes until most of the liquid has reduced. Remove from the heat, add the ground beef and stir together. Remove to a bowl and let cool in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.1 Tablespoon tomato paste, 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning, 2 teaspoons onion powder
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a countertop or large cutting board, unroll the crescent roll dough. Spread the cooled taco meat mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the meat.1 ½ cups shredded Mexican cheese, 1 package crescent roll dough
- Roll up along the long edge, forming a log. Pinch along the seam to seal.
- Using a bread knife or other serrated blade, slice into 8 even slices. If the dough starts to get too soft, you can wrap it in parchment or plastic wrap and place in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.
- Place the slices onto a parchment lined sheet pan.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown and cooked throughout. Serve with your desired toppings.Shredded lettuce, Jalapeno peppers, Sour cream, Salsa