Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies)


Learn how to make Pizzelles, which are thin Italian wafer cookies that have been a Christmas tradition in my family for years.

Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies) for Christmas

Making Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies) has always been a Christmas tradition. Every December, usually Christmas Eve or the day before, Mom and I will bring out the pizzelle maker and make stacks and stacks of these delicate, “fancy” cookies. Half vanilla, half chocolate. Traditionally, anise extract is used, but the smell of anise alone makes me sick. Although the ingredient list seems a little plain, there is something about a warm, crunchy pizzelle that gives it a wonderful vanilla (or chocolate) taste.

Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies)
One of my first signs of recipe developing. The company didn’t do a good job with instructions.

Pizzelles are very thin Italian wafer cookies that take about 45-60 seconds to make in a machine similar to a waffle maker. You can find pizzelle makers in Italian grocery stores, especially around Christmas time in different shapes. Ours is a round circle with a fancy design in the middle. Although our pizzelles don’t come out as perfect circles, they still get devoured within minutes of making.

Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies)

Just like with making waffles, I can never figure out how much batter to put each time. I can’t help but giggle when we put too much because it sounds like a train whistle when you close the lid (I never knew cookie making could be so noisy. Or that batter spreading actually made a noise).

Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies)

The fun part about pizzelles is immediately after removing from the maker, they are flexible for about 30 seconds. You can bend them into serving vessels, such as cannoli shells or waffle bowls, or leave them flat as regular cookies. One year, I made cannolis with the cookies as shells and filled them with a ricotta mixture and chocolate chips (which I can’t seem to find a picture?)

Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies)

The pizzelles do keep their fragile crunch a few days after making them. I took a whole bunch into work and educated the guys on a new type of cookie. They were impressed and ate them quickly. The cookies are quite addicting!

Update 12/19/14 – The Salton pizzelle maker that I have is no longer manufactured, so I can’t link to it. However, you can buy one of the following from Amazon (affiliate links):

Yields 30-40

Pizzelles (Italian Wafer Cookies)
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1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder (only if making chocolate pizzelles)
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat pizzelle iron. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and cocoa (if using). set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Beat in melted butter. Whisk in flour mixture.
  3. Make pizzelles according to your manufacturer’s instructions. For mine, put about 1 1/2 teaspoons of batter into the center of each circle and cook for 30-45 seconds. Remove from the iron and lay flat to cool (or roll into desired shape).


More Christmas Cookie Recipes

Double Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies

Chocolate Gingersnap Cookies

Peppermint Mocha Brownie Cookies

Cherry Coconut Snowball Cookies

Cherry Cordial Blossom Cookies

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  1. Love love love me some pizzelles! I have always wanted a press and have yet to find one. Going to have to try looking again after seeing these – they look incredible!

    • Try your local Italian specialty store. All the ones I’ve been in sell pizzelle makers. Maybe your nearby city has a Little Italy part of town.

  2. Wonderful with a bowl of ice cream! Have a great Christmas Carla!

  3. I love the pattern on your Pizzelle Maker! I can’t thank you for everything you have done this past year to make #SundaySupper so special. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you! Merry Christmas Carla!

  4. I love anise pizelles….you make it look easy!

  5. Great, now I want to be Italian.

  6. I can imagine these being made into cannolis, yum! I don’t know that I have ever had a pizzelle but I like the simplicity.

  7. Oh I love these! So pretty!!

  8. Gorgeous holiday cookies! And what a fun tradition for you and your mom! I hate to admit I’ve never ever seen a pizzelle in person, nor tasted one. But I’d love to buy a pizzelle maker and give these beauties a shot. Merry Christmas, Carla!

  9. The pizzelles look and sound amazing! A labor of love :)

  10. Hi Carla,
    My family has been making Pizzelle for decades before I was born. I have my Grandmother’s iron which is rectangular and it’s used over an open flame. The cookies are cooked one side at a time – probably a little slower going than yours. My recipe is different than most too but we love it. We only use vanilla flavoring too. Check out my recipe at http://bakewelljunction.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/12-weeks-of-christmas-treats-week-2-pizzelle/
    Merry Christmas.

  11. Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) says:

    Back when I was working in a real office in the big bad city, a co-worker/friend of mine always brought a batch of pizzelles during the Christmas season. Not too sweet and touched with a hint of anise, it was perfect. I miss them!

    Your chocolate and vanilla versions sound awesome!

  12. so jealous you have a pizelle iron! always wanted to try making them

  13. This would be a fabulous Christmas tradition. I love pizzelles! It doesn’t matter that they’re not perfectly round or that the ingredient list seems “plain”. I bet they’re absolutely delicious!

  14. Thanks Carla…now I have yet another kitchen appliance gadget to get. These cookies are so pretty! I have to make them. If only to bite into such a thin and crispy cookie. I must find a pizzelle maker that has a fancy design in it like yours.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  15. I can smell the pizzelles through the computer! YUMMY

  16. I love your recipe with all the little notes on it. And I love the cannoli idea!

  17. I love your fancy pizzelle maker! You will find it weird but we put dried kelp in our pizzelles in Korea. I know it’s weird but it tastes pretty good. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  18. I love pizzelles but have never made them. I have fond memories of my BFF’s mom making these for us every Christmas, YUM!

  19. Nice pizzelles! I love the idea of chocolate ones – I’m not fond of the usual anise flavored ones, but I’d be all over the chocolate.

  20. Mmmmm I ADORE pizzelles! Those are my grandpa’s thing-he makes them every year at Christmas :)

  21. What brand iron made the pizzelles in your photo? It is exactly the same as my grandmother used to make :)

  22. Hi, i know this post is a couple of years old but I just got this exact pizzelle maker from Freecycle today and because it is not being made anymore I can’t find the manual anywhere on line. Would you mind letting me know how you clean yours and do you use Pam or veg. oil to grease it before using?

    Thank you,


    • I use soap and water to wipe it down by hand and use cooking spray (like Pam) before using. You only need to spray once as it should stay non stick throughout the whole cooking. Have fun!

  23. i’m probably going to sound stupid but could i make it without a pizzelle maker?

    • Honestly I’ve never tried cooking the batter another way. You might be able to do it in a regular waffle maker, but then they wouldn’t be thin, crispy pizzelles. You might be able to use a waffle cone maker? That might be the closest to make pizzelles without a pizzelle maker.


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