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.
Pizzelle are a tasty way to celebrate any holiday, although they are traditionally made at Christmas. They are also the perfect addition to a Christmas cookie box. It’s time to dust off the old pizzelle maker and make some Italian cookies!
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 snowflake pattern.
This recipe for homemade pizzelle is considered an Italian classic just like these amaretti cookies or these almond biscotti. As such, it requires basic ingredients.
- Eggs. An essential ingredient.
- Sugar. Just the right amount.
- Flour. Regular AP 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 the best pizzelle recipe with a pizzelle maker.
Begin by whisking the three 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, 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 pizzelle batter.
Now for the fun part!
Preheat the pizzelle iron. Depending on your model, this usually takes just a few minutes.
Your model will also dictate whether or not you need to use cooking spray. As you can see, my pizzelle iron has a non-stick coating, so I usually do not use it.
Once your pizzelle iron is hot, drop about one tablespoon of dough in the middle of each plate. Lower the upper heated element and press. You may notice some steam escaping from the sides of your pizzelle maker, this is normal. It’s also normal to hear a sizzling sound. When both subside, your cookies are done.
As individual makers have different heating elements, consult your owners’ manual for guidelines on specific times. It usually takes approximately 45 seconds to obtain light golden brown cookies.
In order to avoid scratching the non-stick plates, use a non-metal utensil to remove the pizzelle. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool down. Repeat this procedure with the rest of the dough.
What to make with pizzelle cookies
When they are removed from the iron plate, and still warm, 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, still warm pizzelle inside a bowl. In just a few seconds, you have a crisp bowl shape that can be filled with ice cream or 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!
To make a cannoli shell, wrap the “hot off the press” still warm pizzelle around a wooden dowel or cannoli tube. Once they harden, you can fill them with sweet ricotta cheese and sprinkle them with icing sugar.
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 bowl. Although there is no need to use a stand or hand-held mixer, please use one if it is easier for you.
- As an option, dust pizzelle with powdered sugar just before serving.
Can I make chocolate pizzelle recipe?
Yes. Use 1 cup of 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 1 teaspoon of anise extract with ¼ teaspoon of anise oil.
Can I make them vegan?
Yes. These are the changes you need to make. Replace all the 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.
For both the extracts, I increased the amounts by ½ teaspoon. As always, adjust for personnel preferences.
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 and allow them to cool completely (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 a plastic or airtight container (like Tupperware) as they will get soft.
How to freeze
You can easily freeze pizzelle for up to 3 months. When they are at room temperature, wrap them in groups of 4-5 first in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Then, place them in a freezer container to avoid being crushed in the freezer. Label and freeze.
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.
Italian Christmas cookies
You can’t beat the taste of traditional Italian cookies, and we have all your favorite recipes right here. Whether it’s S cookies, thin biscotti or ricotta cookies, there is a delicious cookie recipe waiting for you to bake and serve any time of the year. Or perhaps you’re looking to make something with chocolate instead? Try these cakelike Italian chocolate cookies.
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 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, 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 🙂
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
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Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made these Italian wafer cookies, 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 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 2-3 minutes).
- Add sugar. Continue to whisk until well thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the oil and extracts. Mix well together.
- Slowly add the flour mixture at low speed until well combined -the dough will be soft and sticky.
- Drop 1 tablespoon of batter on hot pizzelle press. You can also use a small cookie scooper.
- 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.
I am so glad I found your website and recipe for pizzelle. I tried it tonight and it was so easy to follow! I had made them once a few years ago and swore I wouldn’t make them again because the batter stuck to the iron after the first couple. But I found now that the trick is, as you said, to preheat the iron and they don’t stick at all! I finally got to use the iron that mom got me one Christmas. Thank you very much for sharing this precious recipe with us! I am really looking forward to making more batches and creative desserts with them!
Thank you so much!
Welcome Lena! I am so happy to read this! Thank you.
Hi Maria, Thank you for posting the recipe for Pizzells. My recipe from my Grandmother is the same except she doesn’t add baking powder. What is the benefit to adding the baking powder. Would love to try your recipe!
Thanks for your interest Shelly. It probably makes the pizzelle less dense and a little lighter.
I just made this recipe last night and it was a hit. They tasted just like I remember my mom’s tasted. Thank you!
I am so thrilled to read this! Thanks Erin!
Hadn’t made Pizzelle in years so I pulled out the iron and tried your recipe. You always mention that you add these to your Christmas baking so I am doing the same this year and ongoing. They are nice and crispy. Thanks!
I am so thrilled to read this! Thanks so much for sharing Fran!
My husbands nonna who has passed away always made these for our children. They loved whenever their bez nonna would bring them.
She made hers in a diamond shape and they were soft and fluffy do you have a way to modify your recipe so I could make the soft ones for my grandson and my children. They are not fans of the crunchy type
She brought her pizelle maker with her from Italy when she came here.
I am sorry for your loss Jay. I am sure you have so many wonderful memories.
I would suggest shortening the amount of time in the pizzelle maker. Also, if you store them in an airtight container, they really do soften but they will not keep as long.
Debra L. Camastro
I haven’t tried this recipe, because I have my Abruzzesi grandmother’s recipe, that has been passed down now to my grandchildren. I will compare the two recipes. But I did enjoy reading your story and learning some good tips about cooling and storing the pizzelle. We just bought a home in Umbria, Italy, and I was thinking of bringing some pizzelle to our friends there. I wasn’t sure how to transport them safely, but you gave me some good suggestions. I haven’t noticed pizzelle or the irons in Umbria, except pre-packaged bags in the supermarket. I decided to look on Amazon.it, and found out they are called Ferratelle irons, like you said. In any case, I can’t wait to make them in Umbria, and thank you for the great tips.
My pleasure Debra. Congratulations on your new home. Umbria is truly a spectacular region! Enjoy!
I make pizzelle every week . I but sour cherry jam (amarene) between 2 so good.My grandson who is 2 loves them. I cut the sugar when I make them for him.
That sounds absolutely delicious Mary! Thank you for sharing!
Followed the recipe as is. Delicious!
So thrilled to read this Wendy! Thanks for sharing!
I have just made pizzelles. When I took them off the cooker they were crisp. I let them cool and placed them in a metal air tight container. A few hours later I opened the container and they were soft. This has never happened before. I live in Seattle, WA and it was a rainy day. I made 18 dozen in December and they stayed crisp for several days. Could the moisture in the air from the rain cause the cookies to get soft?
Thanks for reaching Susan. Yes, this is possible. Just wondering how long did they cool off before placing them in the container? Is this the same container you used to store them in December? When they were cooling off, were they stacked or placed individually on a cooling rack?
I will usually leave mine out to air dry for a longer period when there is humidity in the air. You can try getting them crispy again by leaving them in the oven… low temperature for a few minutes. Hope this helps.
Store them? LOL I tried but kept eating them until they were gone. Today I’m making cotton candy Pizzelle’s in pink
lol… thanks Randy. Oh, that sounds like so much fun!
My son requested some today so we dished out the Pizzelle maker and got some done.
Fun, delicious and easy to make. Our go-to recipe.
My pleasure Nella! I am so thrilled to read you enjoyed this pizzelle recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!
Hi! I am So curious as to using oil? I have not found one recipe with oil replacing the butter.. Just curious. Thanks!!! 🤗
Thanks for your interest Denise. This is a family recipe. My guess is that since my family has origins in Southern Italy, oil was commonly used in baked goods.