Pizzelles Recipe ~ Italian Waffle Cookies are Easy to Make

Pizzelles are simple, sweet and delectable. Sprinkle powdered sugar on them, and they look like you spent hours making them. These Italian waffle cookies are sure to impress.

This pizzelle recipe is easy to make. I use a mini pizzelle maker which makes pizzelles which are 4 inches in diameter. You can also use it for making other sizes. Use this recipe for any size pizzelle iron you have. The hardest part will be to not eat them as you are making them!

You can add vanilla extract or anise extract for different tastes. I like to separate the dough and make half with vanilla and half with anise. For a greater variety, add a drop of lemon oil or almond extract for more pizzelle flavors. 

Pizzelles

Pizzelles originated in Italy. Pizze in Italian means flat and round. (Just like pizza!) Elle means small. Pizzelle waffle cookies are easy to make with flour, eggs, and real butter. They can be soft and chewy or crisp.

They are delightful to serve with coffee. Traditional Italian waffle cookies stand out on dessert tables and are ideal to bring to parties. You can make Italian pizzelles and easy shape them to use for cannolis. 

Kids will love them on their own. You can also serve them with ice cream and even make ice cream sandwiches with them. You can roll them into ice cream cones. Use them for s’mores in place of graham crackers. Get creative!

These delicious cookies can be soft and chewy or firm and crisp. Keep pizzelles crisp by storing them when they are cool. Follow my step-by-step guide down below to make your own homemade pizzelles. 

ingredients for pizzelles
ingredients for pizzelles

What You Need to Make Pizzelles

  • Flour – All-purpose flour works just fine. I make them with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour.
  • Granulated Sugar – Granulated sugar is also called pure cane sugar. 
  • Baking Power
  • Salt
  • Eggs – Choose organic or free-range when possible.
  • Butter – Use real butter. It doesn’t matter if it’s salted or unsalted. “Real bakers” may disagree but I say use what you have, and they’ll taste great!
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – Choose Pure and not imitation extract.
  • Oil – I use avocado oil or vegetable oil to grease the pizzelle maker. You can also use butter or a spray.

Optional Ingredients

  • Anise Extract – This is black licorice. Use just a drop or two at the most. It is potent.
  • Almond Extract – Use 1/2 teaspoon if combining with vanilla. Use 1 teaspoon if replacing vanilla.
  • Lemon Oil – You can use vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon of lemon oil.
  • Cocoa Powder – Make chocolate pizzelles by adding 2 tablespoons when you add the dry ingredients.
  • Powdered Sugar – It is also called confectioners sugar. Dust with powdered sugar before serving for more pizzazz.

This is a versatile recipe. Remember to use less extract if you are separating the dough to make different flavors.

mini pizzelle maker
Mini Pizzelle Maker by Dash

Pizzelle Maker

If you want to make pizzelles, you’ll need a pizzelle maker or pizzelle iron. It’s similar to a waffle iron, however, the indentions and grooves are not as deep. Classic Italian pizzelles are flat cookies.

It makes sense to wonder if you’ll use it often enough to justify buying and storing it. My recommendation is to start with a mini pizzelle maker. It’s less expensive but perhaps more importantly, it’s much smaller. This makes it easy to store.

I bought the Dash Mini Pizzelle Maker for $9.99 from Target. I love it. It makes one, 4 inch pizzelle at a time.

Like double pizzelle makers, it has a different pattern on each side. This means one side of the pizzelle will have one imprint and the other side will have a different design. They are lovely patterns, adding pizzazz to your pizzelles.

The downside is it makes just one pizzelle at a time. For me it’s not an issue because I multitask and do other things in the kitchen while I’m using the pizzelle press.

Some smaller pizzelle makers make two, 5 inch pizzelles at a time. There is one model which makes four, 3.25 inch pizelles at a time. If you want a traditional pizzelle size, buy a larger pizzelle press. 

I love this mini pizzelle iron is so tiny it fits so easily in a cabinet or kitchen drawer.

mix dry ingredients first
When making pizzelles, mix dry ingredients first

How to Make Pizzelles

  1. Position the pizzelle maker where you want it. Plug it it to preheat. Only touch the cover handle. The entire rest of the maker will be hot.  
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter for 25 – 30 seconds. 
  3. In a medium bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  4. Crack the eggs into the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour in the melted butter, and add in the vanilla extract or other extract.
  6. Whisk together until the batter is combined. Make sure to scrap all the flour from the bottom.
  7. When the light comes on the pizzelle iron, open it and grease the griddles. I use a pastry brush dabbed in vegetable oil to do this.
  8. Dollop a heaping tablespoon of batter in the center of the iron plate.
  9. Close the lid and wait for 60 – 90+ seconds. My mini maker takes 2 minutes each.
  10. Lift it to see doneness. Pizzelle should be golden brown.
  11. Remove with tongs, place on cooling rack, and repeat until the batter is gone.
  12. Unplug pizzelle maker and leave to cool completely before touching or cleaning it.
  13. Dust pizzelles with powdered sugar (optional). Use a duster to do this. 
making pizzelle recipe
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients

The pizzelle cookie will be pliable once you take it off the iron. If you want to shape for cannolis or cones, do it immediately after removing from the griddle. 

  • For cannolis – Use a cannoli tube, 3/4 inch wooden dowel, or small rolling pin to shape them
  • For cones for ice cream or other filling such as ganache, use a pastry cone roller. 

Enjoy these Italian waffle cookies while they are still warm or when they are cool. They store well in an airtight container though they will become softer.

Tips for Making Pizzelle Recipe

  • Be sure to thoroughly mix the dough, incorporating all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Pizzelle dough will be thick. Use two spoons to place it on the maker.
  • When closing the lid, press down all the way to spread the dough.
  • Baking times vary. You can check the cookie anytime after 30 – 40 seconds baking on the iron. It will have baked long enough so it won’t be ruined.
  • Spoon the batter in the center of the pizzelle pattern. If batter goes over the edges (and it likely will!) use less. You’ll be able to adjust to add more batter or less. 
  • Cool cookies on a cooling rack. If you put them on a plate, don’t pile them on top of each other. There will be condensation so leave airflow around them.
  • If using anise extract, use sparingly. They will taste strongly of black licorice if you use too much. You can also use anise seed.
  • Gluten free pizzelles are easy to make and taste the same when you use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour.

The biggest thing is to remember these are really pretty and tasty no matter how perfectly round or symmetrical they are (or not!). After awhile, you’ll get the hang of it, and figure out how much batter to use. Sprinkling powdered sugar on them will make them look especially delightful!

You can store pizzeles in an airtight container for up to a month in the refrigerator. Store them in freezer bags, making sure to get excess air out, for up to three months. 

pizzelle batter on mini pizzelle maker
pizzelle batter on pizzelle maker
greasing pizzelle maker irons
greasing pizzelle maker irons

Ideas for Using Pizzelles 

Sometimes I have a friend or two over for coffee and it’s nice to have something light to serve them. Classic pizzelles pair nicely with coffee. Make some vanilla pizzelles and some with extra flavors such as anise, almond, or lemon.

Serve them with a side of ice cream. Kids will enjoy making ice cream sandwiches out of them. You can also make these into cones. 

Use them for cannolis by filling them with ricotta cheese or chocolate ganache filling. You can also add homemade frosting to them. If you’re feeling especially creative, you can melt chocolate and dip them for chocolate covered pizzelles.

I always make gluten free pizzelles using GF flour.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does pizzelle mean in Italian?

It means small, flat and round. These cookies date back to ancient Rome and are considered to be the oldest known cookie. 

How do you keep pizzelles crisp?

Be sure to cool them on a cooling rack. Do not set them on a plate or stack them on top of one another. Moisture will form, making them soft and chewy (but still delicious). To keep them crispy, store them in an airtight container or plastic bag. Be sure they are completely cool before storing them.

What are other names for pizzelles?

Some refer to them as ferratelle, waffle cookies, Italian cookies, or traditional Italian waffle cookies. They are popular year round and traditional dessert popular during the Christmas season in Italy.

gluten free pizzelles
gluten free pizzelle recipe

How do you make gluten free pizzelles?

Gluten free pizzelles are easy to make by simply replacing the amount of flour with one-to-one gluten free flour. 

Making Pizzelle Cookies

Pizzelle cookies are a big hit in my house. There are so many ways to enjoy them though we mostly eat them plain or with confectioners sugar. They’re easy to curl when still warm so you can fill them to make cannolis or fill them with strawberry compote.

I have learned to make all of our desserts and cookies from scratch because my son has a palm oil allergy. It’s in most cookies you’ll find at the store except for biscotti and pizzelles. However, I have such a hard time finding pizzelles in the store, I make them myself. 

This Italian cookie is easy to make. The batter consists of ingredients I usually have at home. I make them when I have other kitchen tasks to do (which is pretty much all the time), so I’m not just standing there.

I’m really glad I bought the Dash Mini Pizzelle Maker. I hesitated before buying it because I don’t want to keep storing appliances. However, this one is so small, it’s easy to put away. I forgot I had a confectioners sugar duster but using one will make them look better.

If you’ve tried this pizzelles recipe, please leave a rating and let me know how you did in the comments below. I love encouraging people to bake and cook at home instead of buying premade. I was a novice baker and learned so much in a short time. You can too!

pizzelle recipe
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Pizzelles

Make pizzelles with this traditional waffle cookie recipe. They are easy and quick to make with simple ingredients. You'll need a pizzelle maker.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword best pizzelles recipe, Italian cookies, Italian waffle cookies, pizelles, pizzelle cookies, pizzelle recipe
Prep Time 6 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or one-to-one gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Turn on pizzelle maker
  • Melt butter in microwave (about 30 seconds)
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl
  • Add in eggs, melted butter and extract to the dry ingredients
  • Mix together well
  • Lightly grease griddle with pastry brush
  • Ladle heaping tablespoon of batter in center of the pizzelle iron. Close maker.
  • Bake 60 - 120 seconds depending on the pizzelle maker. Pizzelles should be light brown and fully baked.
  • Be careful opening the pizzelle maker as it will be hot. Only touch the cover handle.
  • Remove with tongs when golden brown
  • Set pizzelle cookies on cooling rack; do not stack when warm
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled if desired

Notes

This recipe makes 24, 4 inch pizzelles. It's easy to double this pizzelle recipe.
Optional: Add a few drops of anise extract for black licorice flavor. You can also use almond extract or drops of lemon oil instead of anise.
You may want to separate the batter and make half with vanilla extract and the other half with a few drops of anise extract for different flavors in one batch.
You can open the pizzelle maker anytime after 50 - 60 seconds to check on doneness.
Remove them when they are the consistency you like, about 2 - 2.5 minutes.
When cooling pizzelles, set them apart or put them on a cooling rack. Do not stack them. You don't want condensation.

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