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Ree Drummond knows the “secret” to pinwheels. The host of The Pioneer Woman says the coin-shaped sandwiches with their signature swirl get better with time making them the ideal make-ahead summer appetizer. No cooking involved, Drummond’s recipe for pinwheels is all about assembling the sandwiches and letting the fridge do the rest of the work.

Ree Drummond makes pinwheels 3 different ways

'The Pioneer Woman' star Ree Drummond in 2017
Ree Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

The Food Network star knows how to quickly make three different types of pinwheels. On The Pioneer Woman Drummond demonstrated her Food Network recipe for Pinwheels 3 Ways. She begins with a cream cheese mixture which she spreads evenly over three tortillas of various flavors. Then she adds the fillings, rolls them up, and wraps them in plastic. 

After they’ve set up for a minimum of two hours Drummond takes the filled tortillas out of the fridge. Then she slices them to reveal the classic pinwheel design. All in all, it takes her about two-and-a-half hours before she has three different pinwheels to serve: Meaty Pinwheels, Spicy Pinwheels, and Veggie Pinwheels. 

The Pioneer Woman’s ‘secret’ to pinwheels is ‘making them ahead of time’

Drummond’s “secret” to pinwheels isn’t using a specific ingredient. It’s not even a certain technique for rolling them up although she does suggest the tucking-while-rolling method for a better swirl. The key, according to the cookbook author and blogger, is to make the pinwheels in advance. 

“The secret to these is making them ahead of time and then popping them in the fridge,” Drummond said while making three different types of pinwheels on The Pioneer Woman. Later in the same episode, she explained why making them in advance yields a better pinwheel overall.

“I actually made these yesterday so the tortillas are just kind of soft and at one with all of the ingredients,” she said. 

That’s it. That’s Drummond’s “secret” to pinwheels. After some time in the fridge, the filling will have melded with the tortilla. Simply make them ahead of time and pull them out of the fridge when it’s time to eat. 

Drummond’s Pinwheels 3 Ways is a 5-star recipe on Food Network

The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond smiles as she signs a cookbook at a 2012 book signing
Ree Drummond | Bobby Bank/Getty Images

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The Pioneer Woman’s pinwheels may be tiny but they’re popular with those who have tried the recipe at home. At the time of publication, Drummond’s recipe for Pinwheels 3 Ways has five stars on Food Network’s website. Although the recipe’s only been reviewed twice, both reviewers loved how the pinwheels turned out. 

“I made the meaty ones for Memorial Day, using salami, mozzarella and spinach, and they were a hit!” one person wrote. They added that “the pesto was flavorful but not overpowering,” before describing the recipe as “so easy!!”

Another reviewer called them “delicious” and “easy to make ahead of time” before going on to call them a “beautiful eye appealing appetizer!” that “tastes great!”

Whether one or all three of the Pioneer Woman’s pinwheels are on the menu, remember Drummond’s “secret” to making them. Give them time in the fridge before serving.