An easy appetizer for a crowd or a simple after-school snack, these gluten free pizza pinwheels can be made with your favorite fillings.
These pizza pinwheels are so versatile and easy, especially since we have so many gluten free pizza dough recipes to choose from. I think of them like the after-school version of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts like our pumpkin breakfast muffins, since they freeze so well and reheat in the microwave in seconds.
You can change the flavor by changing the spices in the tomato sauce, the types of shredded cheeses, or by adding or subtracting additional fillings. You can even make them into a tomato-free garlic knot type of appetizer.
What gluten free pizza dough to use in these pinwheels
Lately, I’ve been using my Weight Watchers-style gluten free pizza dough more often than anything else—especially for shaped pizza dough like in this recipe and in our gluten free pizza rolls. I really love how easy and flavorful it is and how it’s yeast-free so there’s absolutely no rising time. You can make it ahead, if you like, and store it in the refrigerator for a few days, and then make pizza rolls, these pinwheels, or just a pizza.
There are so many other recipes for gluten free pizza here on the blog, though, that we even have a separate recipe category for GF pizza. I haven’t tried using each and every one of them in this recipe, but I feel confident that this recipe is versatile enough that they’d all work.
The two other gluten free pizza dough recipes that I’m most interested in trying as a base for these pizza pinwheels are our Paleo pizza dough and our low carb keto pizza dough. For the Paleo pizza, you’ll need to follow the instructions below for making this recipe dairy-free. For the keto recipe, you won’t need to change a thing.
The gluten free pizza dough recipe I used here
In the recipe below, I’ve incorporated by reference the Weight Watchers-style so-called “2-ingredient” gluten free pizza dough. I want you to feel free to use whichever gluten free pizza dough you prefer, so I haven’t included the whole pizza dough recipe ingredient by ingredient.
Here’s that recipe (doubled, as per the instructions below), though, for ease of reference:
- 2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour, plus more for sprinkling
- 1teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (340 g) nonfat Greek-style plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup ± 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the yogurt and 1/4 cup of water, and mix until the dough holds together well.
If necessary for the dough to clump and hold together easily, without feeling stiff to the touch, add another tablespoon or two of water and mix to combine. The dough can also be made in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, but it’s not essential. I do tend to use the stand mixer when doubling the recipe, like we are here.
Which fillings are best
When I first started making these simple pinwheels, I made them as dead simple as possible: tomato sauce + shredded mozzarella cheese. I found that they worked well, but the second round was even better when I added grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Adding Parm helps to add lots of flavor without adding a lot of extra ingredients. Plus, since it’s a hard cheese, it helps keep all of the fillings from leaking out of the dough during baking by absorbing some of the moisture in the sauce.
Don’t faint, but I really love using pre-shredded cheeses here, too. They have some anti-caking agents that help keep everything in place really well. Of course, you can use whatever you like. Maybe try using a thicker tomato sauce, or just adding some tomato paste to the sauce so it has less moisture.
I started to add little extras like adorable little miniature pepperoni (Hormel mini turkey pepperoni) for some more flavor and texture. They don’t change the moisture balance at all, but resist the urge to add too many fillings or you won’t be able to press the dough and fillings into a tight coil.
Other fillings to try
I’m so pleased with the ease and convenience of these gluten free pizza pinwheels that I’m already dreaming of other fillings to add. I’m definitely going to try a tomato-free white pizza-style garlic pinwheel, maybe with roasted garlic paste.
If you’d like to add other meat (like ground beef or pancetta) or vegetables, be sure to cook them first. The meats won’t be in the oven long enough to cook through if you add them raw, and the vegetables need to be cooked down to remove as much moisture as possible—and to concentrate their flavors.
My next round is probably going to be a mushroom and onions variety in place of the pepperoni. I plan to cook down diced onions and sliced white button mushrooms ? until they’re soft and caramelized. Then, I’ll mix them in with the tomato sauce before adding the cheeses. I can smell it cooking now!
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: There is quite a lot of dairy in this recipe, but I’m optimistic that it can all be replaced with good results.
To replace the Greek yogurt in the pizza dough, please see the Weight Watchers-style gluten free pizza dough recipe itself. You’ll need to use nondairy plain yogurt, and change the balance of other ingredients a bit, but it’s not difficult. Alternatively, use my basic gluten free pizza dough recipe which doesn’t contain dairy in the original recipe.
You can replace the shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese in the rolls with vegan varieties (my favorite brand is called Violife, but Daiya is also really good). They don’t melt quite as well, but they still taste great.
Egg-free: The only egg in this recipe is in the egg wash that’s brushed on the rolls in the muffin tin right before baking. It helps the rolls brown, but it’s entirely optional. You can also use cream (even a nondairy cream, like coconut cream), or try brushing with melted butter (Earth Balance buttery sticks would work if you’re baking dairy-free, too).
Pepperoni: I used miniature turkey pepperoni, since my youngest doesn’t eat any sort of pork ? products (long story). You can use any sort of miniature or chopped, smoked meat, nothing beyond the sauce and cheeses at all, or your choice of fillings. Please see the full discussion of fillings above, though, before making your choice!
Gluten Free Pizza Pinwheels
Double recipe Weight Watchers-style Pizza Dough (i.e., x 2)
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) Simple Tomato Sauce (or your favorite tomato sauce), plus more for serving
2 to 3 ounces miniature pepperoni pieces (optional)
6 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten), for brushing
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.
Prepare the double batch of pizza dough as directed without shaping it. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Work with one at a time, and cover the other with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Sprinkle a flat work surface lightly with gluten free flour, place the first piece of dough on top of it, and sprinkle it again lightly with more flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that’s about 1/4-inch thick, then fold it over on itself at least once then roll it again, to ensure you’re working with a smooth dough. Roll out the dough again into a rectangle that’s about 10-inches long x 8-inches wide, sprinkling lightly with extra flour as necessary if it becomes sticky in spots.
Spread about half of the tomato sauce on top of the rolled-out dough, leaving about 1-inch clean all around the perimeter. Sprinkle with half of the pepperoni slices, then half of the shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and finally the shredded mozzarella cheese, still leaving that edge clean. Press the fillings down with your palm to help them adhere to the dough. Working from one short end, roll the dough tightly into a coil, pinching the ends and seams as you go. With the seam on the bottom and using a sharp knife, slice the roll by cross-section into 6 equal portions. Lift each of the pinwheels carefully and place in its own well in the prepared muffin tin, cut side up. Press each of the pinwheels carefully but firmly into its well to help it fill the space. Repeat with the second half of the dough, and the remaining filling ingredients. Brush the tops and sides of each pinwheel in its well with the egg wash.
Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until pinwheels are firm and beginning to brown on the top and sides, and the cheese is bubbling (about 22 minutes). Remove the pan from the oven and allow the pinwheels to cool slightly before serving warm.
Leftovers can be cooled to room temperature, then refrigerated for up to 3 days. Refresh in the microwave before serving, or sprinkle lightly with water and refresh in a 350°F toaster oven until the bread is soft and warm, and the cheese is melted.