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Hi Bold Bakers!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: My Vanilla Wafers recipe yields crispy and airy wafer cookies. Though a simple cookie, these Nilla Wafers taste absolutely delicious on their own or paired with other desserts. The sky’s the limit!
Vanilla Wafers are underappreciated. They are often seen as very simple cookies, but it’s their simplicity that brings out classic flavors and textures. My Nilla Wafers recipe breaks down how to bake these rich, buttery wafer cookies bursting with yummy vanilla flavor.
These Vanilla Wafer cookies are pretty addicting – you’ll probably end up finishing them in one sitting. However, I recommend saving some to go with other amazing desserts! You can’t have my Nilla Wafers Banana Pudding recipe or my 15 Minute Banana Cream Pie (No Bake) recipe without crisp Nilla Wafers. You can even use Vanilla Wafers in my Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Bars!
Homemade Vanilla Wafers are super easy to make, and they’re so much more flavorful than the kind you can pick up at the store. This Vanilla Wafers recipe also earns bonus points because the cookies can be stored for a while, so you can make them in advance for any of your cookie needs or whip up this showstopper dessert instantly: 10-Minute Microwave Banana Pudding !
Table Of Contents
- What Are Nilla Wafers? History of Vanilla Wafers
- Tools You Need To Make Nilla Wafers
- Ingredients For Homemade Nilla Wafers
- How To Make Nilla Wafers
- Gluten-Free Nilla Wafers
- Can I Make Vanilla Wafers In Advance?
- How To Store Vanilla Wafers
- Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- More Simple Cookie Recipes
Nilla Wafers, or Vanilla Wafers, are crispy, light, vanilla-flavored cookies that melt in your mouth. They are made with flour, sugar, shortening, eggs, and vanilla.
These wafer cookies were invented in the late 19th century by German-American confectioner Gustav A. Mayer on Staten Island. Mayer sold his recipe to Nabisco (National Biscuit Company), a company you may know as the popular brand behind Nilla. Nabisco shortened the name Vanilla Wafers to Nilla, which has become a popular alternative name to vanilla wafers. Find recipes here for Chips Ahoy! Cookies and OREO cookies marketed by the same company!
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 3 baking trays
- Parchment paper
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- Piping bag fitted with a medium pastry tip (alternatively, Ziplock bag with the tip snipped off)
- Butter: Make sure to soften your butter before use, so it’s easier to cream and incorporate it into your other ingredients.
- Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar is white sugar ground into a fine powder. Try making your own Powdered Sugar!
- Eggs: Use good quality, large, room temperature eggs. Be sure to use one whole egg alongside the whites of 3 eggs.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances the rest of your ingredients. Make Homemade Vanilla Extract for a challenge!
- All-purpose flour: The flour holds the cookie together and creates the foundation for your other dry and wet ingredients.
- Salt: Just a touch will bring out the flavor of your cookie.
- Preheat the oven and line 3 baking trays with parchment paper.
- Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, cream the softened butter on high speed.
- Add powdered sugar and continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Slowly add in egg whites and the whole egg. Mix until smooth. Lastly, add vanilla extract.
- Once well combined, add flour and salt. Mix until it comes together.
- Place batter in a piping bag fitted with a medium pastry tip. Pipe it, in even mounds, onto baking trays.
- Place trays in the oven and bake until golden. Rotate trays as needed.
- Once cooled, store in an airtight container.
Bigger Bolder Baking is all about making recipes that anyone and everyone can enjoy. If you want to bake some gluten-free Nilla Wafers, substitute your all-purpose flour with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, oat flour, or almond flour.
Whether you need easy cookies for a potluck or just a fun snack, you can make my Vanilla Wafers recipe in advance. After making your batter, you can refrigerate it for up to two days. When you’re ready to bake it off, pipe the batter and pop it in the oven as usual.
Once your wafer cookies have cooled, you can keep them stored in an airtight container for up to 7 days. You can also freeze the cookie batter for up to 4 weeks.
Should I sift my dry ingredients for cookie batter?
For crispy or chewy cookies, you are not required to sift your dry ingredients. However, if you find that your flour or powdered sugar is extra clumpy, I recommend you sift it beforehand for a more even consistency in your cookies.
Why are my Nilla Wafers spreading?
If your wafer cookies are spreading, your flour may require fewer liquids. Add your wet ingredients gradually until you reach a batter-like consistency.
Also, be sure to pipe your Nilla Wafers in small mounds of approximately 2 teaspoons, as this cookie is expected to spread since there is no chilling process.
Why are my wafer cookies stale?
Since wafer cookies are crispy and aerated, they are more likely to become stale when exposed to air. This is because the starches absorb moisture in the cookie, which softens it. It’s best to keep your cookies in an airtight container if you aren’t going to eat them immediately.
To keep your cookies crispy for longer, place a piece of bread in with the cookies to absorb the extra moisture.
Should I use salted or unsalted butter for baking Vanilla Wafers?
Both salted and unsalted butter will yield good results, but I prefer using salted butter because it enhances the flavor better than one made with unsalted butter. It’s a matter of preference, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand!
What should I do if I don’t have a stand mixer or electric hand mixer?
Though using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer will make your job a lot easier, there’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t fix. You can use a whisk to combine all wet and dry ingredients. Make sure to thoroughly combine.
- Ensure your eggs are at room temperature before adding them to your mix! If your eggs are too cold, your batter will look curdled. To fix it, use a hairdryer to warm the batter up.
- If your kitchen is a bit warmer, pop your cookie batter in the fridge for an hour or two to prevent your cookies from spreading in the oven.
- Use softened butter. It will be easier to fold into your batter.
- Want chocolate versions of these wafers? Mix 2-3 tablespoons of cooled melted chocolate with the whole egg, then follow the rest of the recipe as usual.
- Vanilla is what makes these cookies so irresistible, so try making your own homemade vanilla extract.
And don’t miss more everyday baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!
Watch The Recipe Video!
How to Make Vanilla Wafers Recipe (Homemade Nilla Wafers)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line 3 baking trays with parchment paper. For this recipe, I did fan assist* as there will be multiple trays in the oven, and you will want them to bake evenly.
- Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, cream the softened butter on high speed for 2 - 3 minutes, until really light and fluffy.
- Add in the powdered sugar and continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy and there are no lumps, about 3 minutes.
- Slowly add in the egg whites and whole egg and mix until smooth. Lastly, add the vanilla. (If the mix curdles don't worry, just give it a good whisk to bring it back together.)
- Once combined, add the flour and salt and mix until it just comes together. Do not overmix. The batter will be somewhat soft.
- Scrape sides of the bowl in order to place batter in a piping bag fitted with a medium pastry tip. Pipe it in even mounds onto baking trays (roughly 2 teaspoons.) Keep cookies about 1 ½-inches apart as the batter will spread when baked.
- Place the trays in oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden. Rotate the trays as needed.
- Once cooled, store in an airtight for up to 7 days. Use for a cookie crust or for a classic banana pudding.