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Easy Classic Pizzelle Recipe for Italian Waffle Cookies

This easy classic pizzelle recipe produces light and crispy vanilla Italian waffle cookies using a pizzelle iron! Includes tips for how to make pizzelles + variations for making traditional anise, almond, lemon, and chocolate pizzelle cookies.

pizzelle recipe three pizzelle cookies on a wooden cutting board

Pizzelle Recipe For Italian Waffle Cookies

So here’s the thing — pizzelle cookies were never really on my radar until I got married. Oh, I’m sure I’d eaten them before, but I’d never made them.

As a newlywed, my husband begged me for weeks to make pizzelles for Christmas. I kind of smiled and nodded and said I’d look into making them — you know, brushed him off, basically… I mean, I had no idea how to make them!

Then one day he mentioned how his grandmother made them every single year for Christmas. How an Italian waffle cookie became a Polish family tradition is beyond me… But at that point, I knew I couldn’t keep putting him off.

So I scoured the Internet for a pizzelle recipe (because, of course, he didn’t have his grandmother’s recipe), and using several different sites, created one that sounded like what he’d described. Only problem? We didn’t own a pizzelle iron.

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pizzelle recipe for electric pizzelle iron

Electric Pizzelle Iron

Traditionally, pizzelles were baked with a cast iron pizzelle iron over an open fire, a hot and tedious undertaking. Thank goodness for modern conveniences — we can now purchase electric pizzelle irons that make baking pizzelles simple and easy.

After a little research, I settled on this nonstick pizzelle maker. The price was slightly more than I was hoping to spend, but I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth from it over the years… We only pull it out a couple times a year, but it’s still as shiny and pretty as ever!

classic pizzelle recipe batter on an electric pizzelle iron

Vanilla Pizzelle Recipe

If you’re not a fan of the flavor of anise, a common spice in pizzelles that has a flavor akin to licorice (I am decidedly NOT), don’t worry. Pizzelles are wonderfully flexible when it comes to both flavoring and shaping them.

Vanilla, chocolate, almond, citrus — these are all fabulous flavors to add. And warm pizzelles can be shaped into cones, bowls, cannoli, tacos, and more. I really need to start using my pizzelle iron more throughout the year!

I opted to keep my pizzelle cookies very simple, just flavoring them with pure vanilla extract. Sometimes, I’ll change it up and use a vanilla bean paste — the flecks of vanilla bean are SO pretty. This recipe is also easily adapted into a chocolate pizzelle recipe, and my kids are always thrilled when I make chocolate pizzelles.

Whatever flavor you fancy, when you’re making a recipe as simple as this, high-quality ingredients make all the difference — so choose the best you can afford!

pizzelle cookies in a vertical stack

Tips For Making Perfect Pizzelle Cookies:

1| Even if you’re using a nonstick pizzelle maker, you may still need to mist it lightly with oil before the first use.

2| Place your batter slightly behind the center of the mold because it will spread forward as you close the lid. I highly recommend this medium cookie scoop for measuring perfect portions and releasing the batter easily.

3| Speaking of closing the lid, do it slowly to allow steam to escape easily and not burn the heck out of your fingers. Don’t ask…

4| Have a cooling rack easily accessible next to the pizzelle maker. I’ve found that the best workflow for me is to use a wooden spatula to remove the cooked pizzelles from the maker to the cooling rack, start another batch of pizzelles cooking, and then move the cooled pizzelles to a stack to make room for the next round of fresh and hot ones.

5| The pizzelles will be very flexible when you remove them from the pizzelle iron, and then they will crisp up as they cool. I actually prefer them after they sit for about a day, but they don’t often last that long! If you want to mold your pizzelles into a different shape, do it while they’re still warm and flexible.

pizzelle cookie recipe Italian waffle cookies stacked up

Over the years, making this classic pizzelle cookie recipe has become one of our family Christmas Eve traditions. My kids love to help by pulling the cooked pizzelles off the pizzelle iron, while I get another batch cooking. Then they stack the cooled pizzelles up before the next batch is ready. I’m hoping they continue it with their own kids someday!

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pizzelle recipe for Italian waffle cookies

Classic Pizzelle Recipe for Italian Waffle Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This easy classic pizzelle recipe produces light and crispy vanilla Italian waffle cookies using a pizzelle iron! Includes tips for how to make pizzelles + variations for making traditional anise, almond, lemon, and chocolate pizzelle cookies.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl approximately 2 to 3 minutes, until they're fluffy and a light yellow color.
  2. While still beating, slowly drizzle in the melted and cooled butter. Then add the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the baking powder into the flour. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated.
  4. Bake one medium cookie scoop of batter (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) per mold in a pizzelle maker until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove with a wooden spatula to a cooling rack.

Notes

VARIATIONS:

  • chocolate pizzelle recipe
  • almond pizzelle recipe -- substitute 1 tablespoon pure almond extract for the vanilla extract in recipe above.
  • lemon pizzelle recipe -- reduce the pure vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon, and add 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest.
  • traditional anise pizzelle recipe -- add 1/2 teaspoon anise seed to recipe above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 pizzelle cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95.8Total Fat: 4.4gSaturated Fat: 2.6gCholesterol: 37.2mgSodium: 49.3mgCarbohydrates: 12.8gFiber: 0.3gSugar: 6.2gProtein: 1.7g

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

chocolate pizzelle cookies stacked up on a gold trivet

Variations On Classic Pizzelle Cookies

Want to try a new take on this pizzelle cookie recipe? In addition to the chocolate pizzelle pictured above, you can easily modify the vanilla pizzelle recipe above to make the variations below:

almond pizzelle recipe

— substitute 1 tablespoon of pure almond extract for the vanilla extract in the recipe above.

lemon pizzelle recipe

— reduce the pure vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon, and add 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest.

traditional anise pizzelle recipe

— add 1/2 teaspoon anise seed to recipe above.

I’d love to see how your pizzelle cookies turn out… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check it out. Enjoy!

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Toni

Friday 20th of December 2019

This is really amazing! Had no idea it is so easy to make. Thank you!

carol a bidinotto

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

how can i keep my pizzelle's crisp. it's very humid here . is there someway to recrisp them

Pat

Saturday 26th of September 2020

@Tara Kuczykowski, I store mine in a popcorn tin ( like the ones you get at Christmas time ). They stay crisp until all are eaten and I don’t freeze mine.

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Great question, Carol! There's a few things you can do. First of all, let them cool on a wire rack so the air circulates around them. If you stack them too soon, they will basically steam each other. If they're still not as crispy as you'd like, place them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for about 2 minutes. Finally, after you have them at your desired texture, store them in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Thaw on a wire rack, and they should be as crisp as when they're made.

Karen @ Seasonal Cravings

Monday 10th of December 2018

My kids love this type of cookie but I always buy them. You make them look so easy and I like how versatile they are! I'm sure they are great with fruit and whipped cream!

Heidy L. McCallum

Monday 10th of December 2018

I wish I saw this recipe the other day to try. I have my grandmother's Pizzelle Iron and made a ton of them...it would have been the perfect time to try your recipe.

Luci

Monday 10th of December 2018

I love pizzelle, they are such a light cookie and lightly sweeten. I need to get me one of those waffle makers.

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