Easy Pizza Pinwheels are loaded with your favorite meat lovers toppings for the perfect grab-and-go game day snack! Best of all, you can make this pizza pinwheel recipe in advance and freeze them for a simple meal anytime.
Pizza is such a popular game day food, but these meat pinwheels are sure to kick up the fun factor!
The dough is slightly crisp on the outside and tender inside. It’s like unrolling a little piece of heaven wrapped in marinara, your favorite meat toppings, and ooey gooey cheese.
The best part is that you can make them ahead and warm them to serve when you are ready, which makes them party-perfect! Easy party + fun food = happy mama!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Pizza Dough – Whip up the easy homemade dough from the recipe card or use your favorite recipe instead.
- Marinara – I use this homemade sauce, but store bought is perfect too.
- Cheese – Mozzarella is the best choice for this pizza pinwheels recipe — and pizza in general!
It has a mild flavor that doesn’t compete with the other ingredients, and it melts so well to give you the perfect cheese pull with every bite.
- Toppings – The more meat, the better, for our meat lover pizza wheels! Be sure to cook the ground beef and bacon ahead of time, or use leftovers from another meal.
We love Jones Dairy Farm chicken sausage, which comes fully cooked, so all you need to do is cut it into coins.
And if you can’t find mini pepperoni, cut regular-sized pepperoni into quarters instead.
Tips for Making Pizza Wheels from Scratch
- Use a simple pizza dough recipe.
My version has a mere 5 minute rise time. The trick is to make it a little sticky so it can rise in the oven.
But honestly, if you are short on time, you can even substitute store-bought pizza dough!
- Avoid dry pizza wheels.
We (should) all know at this point that freshly grated cheese is best.
Bagged shreds have an anti-caking agent to prevent the cheese from clumping together — but it also prevents it from melting down nice and smooth.
But did you know that those anti-caking agents also suck the moisture out of your food? It’s true!
With only a thin layer of sauce, that means the moisture is going to come out of your dough. Stick to the fresh stuff, trust me!
- Customize the filling.
Sure, this is a meat lovers pizza pinwheel recipe, but you aren’t limited to that!
Make a combination-inspired filling with green bell peppers and olives, or toss some mushrooms in there. You can even make these fully vegetarian.
Pizza Pinwheel Recipe FAQ
There are a few things that could have gone wrong, so be sure you follow each step of this pizza pinwheels recipe carefully.
Leave a border. On the top edge of the dough, leave a 1-inch section free from sauce or toppings. This is what seals your pizza wheels and keeps everything from leaking out.
Roll tightly. This is a careful balance. Take your time, moving from left to right, and tuck in any toppings that try to escape. Don’t tuck too tightly, though, or the dough won’t have space to puff up.
Use a serrated knife. It will slice easier through both the dough and toppings without sticking and pulling.
Let cool. Once these come out of the oven, let the meat pinwheels rest for at least 5 minutes. This helps all the gooey parts to firm up a bit, making them easier to eat!
Meat in the filling will be the source of all of your grease. Drain cooked ground beef in a colander or spoon it over a paper towel to absorb as much as possible.
Same goes with the bacon! Mini pepperoni doesn’t tend to be as greasy, but you can microwave it for a few seconds and pat dry before adding to the pizza wheels.
Storing and Reheating Meat Pinwheels
Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. You can warm them back up in the microwave, but the oven or air fryer will get you a better texture on the dough.
To freeze, allow baked pinwheels to cool to room temperature. Store in a gallon-size zip-top bag for up to
When you are ready to eat, just thaw them in the refrigerator and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until warmed through.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Game Day Recipes
Meat Lovers Pizza Pinwheels
For the Dough
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 packet
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, 110°–115°F
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Filling
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup your favorite pizza sauce
- 2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 package thawed Jones Dairy Farm Antibiotic free chicken sausage, cut into coins
- 1/2 cup mini pepperoni
- 1/2 cup cooked ground beef
- 5 slices cooked bacon, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar and warm water. Swirl with a spoon to dissolve the yeast. Let the mixture rest until the yeast becomes foamy and aromatic, about 3 minutes.
- Pour the olive oil, 3 cups of the flour, Italian seasoning, salt and garlic into the bowl.
- Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together in one ball, and then knead for 3 minutes on medium to medium-high speed. The dough should be just a little bit sticky. When you touch your finger to the dough and pull away, you should have just a little dough on your fingertip.
- Add the remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed. The sticky dough is important to help the pizza pinwheels get a little lift as it cooks.
- Lightly flour your counter top. Form the dough into a ball and cover with a dish towel. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- On a lightly floured counter top, roll the dough into a 12 x 18-inch rectangle.
- Spread about 1/2 to 1 cup of marinara over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on the top edge (this is where you will pinch the dough together, if there is sauce here it will make it hard for the dough to stick together).
- Sprinkle sausage, pepperoni, beef and bacon over the top of the sauce. Then sprinkle the cheese over the meat.
- Starting at the long edge nearest you, fold the edge of the dough on top of itself and begin tightly rolling the dough away from you, pinching the pepperoni slices into the roll if they try to escape as you go. Use the last 1 inch of clean dough to seal the roll, pressing gently to keep it closed.
- Cut the roll in half and then cut those halves in half, giving you 4 logs. Cut each of those logs into 3 pinwheels, giving you 12 pinwheels total.
- Arrange the pinwheels cut side up on the baking sheet and spread them out so they are not touching. Bake for 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining butter, parsley and salt in a small bowl. Stir together with a pastry brush or spoon. Brush the top and sides of the baked pinwheels with the butter mixture. Serve with the remaining marinara.
Adding sugar to tomato-based recipes helps balance the tartness and coax the sweet side out of the tomatoes.
Pre-shredded cheeses generally have anti-caking ingredients that will absorb moisture from your food. Shredding your own cheese makes for more predictable cooking results.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published January 2019, updated and republished December 2023
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