Delicate. Thin. Crispy. Wafer like. This is how I would describe this classic, authentic Italian cookie: Pizzelle della Nonna. This easy, simple, no butter recipe can be flavored with vanilla, anise, or even chocolate. Your search for the perfect pizzelle recipe is over! Includes vegan option.
According to history, the first pizzelle cookies were made in the region of Abruzzo (geographically located in Central Italy) back in the 8th century.
These highly recognizable Italian cookies get their shape by flattening the batter between two hot iron plates (just like waffles). These plates (rectangular or round) often had the pattern of the family crest engraved on them.
Nowadays, the pizzelle maker’s imprint is a geometric/waffle design, a flower, or even a snowflake pattern.
- Eggs. An essential ingredient.
- Sugar. Just the right amount.
- Flour. Regular all-purpose flour.
- Oil. That’s right! A pizzelle recipe with oil.
- Essence. A traditional recipe includes anise, but there really are so many options!
The quantities and the type of fat used will determine the texture and thickness of these cookies. As for the flavoring, it really is a question of taste. My personal preference is the flavor of my childhood, vanilla and anise.
Let me show you how you can easily make this Italian cookie recipe with a pizzelle maker.
Begin by whisking 3 eggs until they begin to thicken. Next, add the sugar (½ cup) and whisk for a few minutes. As you can see, I like to use my whisk. If it is easier for you to use your stand mixer, make sure to use the whisk attachment.
Next, add in the oil (¼ cup ), vanilla extract (1 teaspoon) and anise extract (1 teaspoon).
Moving right along, whisk in the dry ingredients, which consist of flour (1¼ cups), baking powder (¾ teaspoon) and salt (just a pinch).
That’s it! You now have the perfect batter.
Now for the fun part!
Heat the iron and drop about one tablespoon of dough in the middle of each of the plates. Drop the upper heated element and in approximately 45 seconds, your cookies are done.
As individual makers have different heating elements, consult your owners’ manual for specific times.
What to make with pizzelle cookies
When they are removed from the iron plate, they are extremely malleable. You literally have a few seconds to obtain any desired shape that you can then use to create wonderful pizzelle desserts. Transform the shape from flat to curvy.
Here are a few dessert ideas:
Make a bowl or cup by simply pressing the freshly made pizzelle inside a bowl. In just a few seconds, you have a crisp bowl shape that can be filled with whipped ricotta (recipe found in this strawberry parfait post) and topped with macerated strawberries. Add some blueberries and it becomes the perfect dessert for the 4th of July!
Pizzelle waffle cones
Use a cone-shaped mold to shape the hot pizzelles. Notice how within seconds, the pizzelle harden. Fill with ice cream or any other filling to make the perfect summer treat.
- This recipe comes together easily in a mixing bowl. Although there is no need to use a stand or hand-held mixer, feel free to use one if it is easier for you.
Can I make chocolate pizzelle recipe?
Yes. Use 1 cup all-purpose flour sifted with 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (eliminate the anise flavor-only use vanilla).
Can I make this pizzelle recipe with anise oil?
Yes. Replace the amount of anise extract with ¼ teaspoon of anise oil.
Can I make them vegan?
Yes. These are the changes you need to make. Replace the 3 eggs with 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and 9 tablespoons of room temperature water. You need ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of oil. Also, verify to make sure you are using sugar that is not processed with bone char.
What is the secret to obtaining the perfect pizzelle that stay crispy?
- as soon as they are removed from the pizzelle maker, lay them flat (you can use a cooling rack);
- do not stack them as the steam will cause them to lose their crispiness;
- once you are done, allow them to air dry for a few hours.
How do I store pizzelles so that they stay nice and crisp?
- wrap in aluminum foil;
- place in cookie or coffee tins;
- place in paper bags.
Pizzelle stored in this manner will keep well for a few weeks. Whatever you do, do not place them in plastic or airtight containers (like Tupperware) as they will get soft.
Have you ever noticed that with time, the anise flavor intensifies in pizzelle? That’s why they are such a great cookie to start your holiday baking with.
If you are looking for additional authentic and traditional Italian cookie recipes, you have come to the right place. Take a look at these amaretti, struffoli, or even these fig cookies. Have fun baking!
In my nonna’s Italian dialect, she would refer to these simple cookies as “ferratelle.”
My dad’s mother was born in Ripabottoni, in Campobasso, in the Italian region of Molise. I have so many fond memories of my mom and my grandmother making these special treats, especially at Christmas.
I can remember eating pizzelle faster than they could make them. Back then, my mom and grandmother would make the “ferratelle” one at a time, with a stovetop press with long handles. In fact, I still have it and it is pictured above.
Imagine the afternoons spent making this authentic Italian pizzelle recipe when the basic recipe called for one dozen eggs…a dozen!!!
Would you like to know my nonna’s secret to perfect pizzelles?
She stored the pizzelle in a bread box that she placed in the pantry. There was no bread in that box – only pizzelle. Always crispy and delicious. I thought they were the best after-school snack!
When my grandmother passed away, we found a small notebook that had some recipes written in it. It is remarkable that a woman, born in 1908, in a small village, in the middle of nowhere, learned to read and write. This little booklet symbolizes so much more than recipes.
This is truly priceless.
I have scaled down the original recipe, but if required, it can easily be doubled…or quadrupled and stored in your bread box 🙂
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★★★★★ If you have made this Italian waffle cookie, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Pizzelle della Nonna
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour 177 grams
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 3 eggs room temperature
- ½ cup sugar 100 grams
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon anise extract optional
- Preheat pizzelle iron.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs until frothy and beginning to thicken (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add sugar. Continue to whisk until well thickened.
- Add the oil and extracts. Mix well together.
- Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined, dough will be soft and sticky.
- Drop 1 tablespoon of batter on hot pizzelle press.
- Close lid and cook 30 - 45 seconds or until slightly golden.
- Remove from the press with the help of a fork.
- Transfer to flat surface or mold into the desired shape.
This post was originally published on November 24, 2014, republished on July 2, 2019 and again on March 6, 2021 with updated content and photos.