Only 2 minutes to make THIS recipe!
Cookies

How to Make Vanilla Wafers (Homemade Nilla Wafers)

4.74 from 260 votes
Crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness, my Homemade Nilla Wafers are perfect on their own or in other desserts!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPEMy 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!

Table Of Contents

 

What Are Nilla Wafers?

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, 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. 

Tools You Need

Nilla Wafer Ingredients

  • 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.

How To Make Vanilla Wafers

  1. Preheat the oven and line 3 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, cream the softened butter on high speed.
  3. Add powdered sugar and continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Slowly add in egg whites and the whole egg. Mix until smooth. Lastly, add vanilla extract.
  5. Once well combined, add flour and salt. Mix until it comes together.
  6. Place batter in a piping bag fitted with a medium pastry tip. Pipe it, in even mounds, onto baking trays.
  7. Place trays in the oven and bake until golden. Rotate trays as needed.
  8. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Gluten-Free Nilla Wafers

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.

For more information on gluten-free flours, check out my ‘Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Flours.’ If you want an added baking challenge, try making homemade Gluten Free Flour!

Can I Make Nilla Wafers Ahead Of Time?

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.

How To Store Nilla Wafers

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.

FAQs

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.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • 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.

Vanilla wafers crushed up and served with banana pudding.

Check Out More Simple Cookie Recipes

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)

4.74 from 260 votes
Crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness, my Homemade Nilla Wafers are perfect on their own or in other desserts!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 100 wafers
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness, my Homemade Nilla Wafers are perfect on their own or in other desserts!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 100 wafers

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (4 oz/115 g) butter, softened
  • 1 ⅔ cup (7 oz/198 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature (about 4 oz/120 g)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups (6 oz/170 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • 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 minutes.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

guest

311 Comments
most useful
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Boston Bob
Boston Bob
1 year ago

These are wonderful!
Point of info..
“Nilla” waffers used to be called Vinnila wafers but there is no longer any vinnila in them whatsoever. No eggs any longer… No butter any longer. Empty cheap crap basically
So nice to be able to make our own,
Thanks for the recipe.

Daniya G
Daniya G
2 years ago

I have a question. Do we need t to sift the powdered sugar for this recipe or not? And also, do we have to use a piping bag or can we use a Ziploc Bag

Monica Parrish
Monica Parrish
2 years ago

Hi, Gemma! Can you tell me about how many cookies this will make? I am looking forward to trying this…vanilla wafers are a favorite treat for my 91 year old dad, and when I told him I might try to make them at home, he was totally on board. 😜 Just wondering how many to expect! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

Carmen Routhier
Carmen Routhier
2 years ago

Do you use ungreased cookie sheet?

Rosa
Rosa
2 years ago

I really wish if this recipe had a video

Melody
Melody
1 year ago

Thank you for this recipe! Looked everywhere for Nilla wafers and thanks to Covid and the supply chain issues I could not find them anywhere. I found your recipe and made my own! Delicious! I needed them for my banana poke cake topping and they did not disappoint. This recipe is a keeper for sure.

Sanaa Mustafa
Sanaa Mustafa
2 years ago

Hey Gem,these nilla wafers are sooo delicious..but i wanna know,why do my wafers spread soo much? Like they become really thin n wide while baking.. is it bcz of the hot temperature we have these days? 🤔

Stephanie
Stephanie
2 years ago

Hi Gemma… These look great. Just fyi, Nilla wafers are the trademarked Nabisco brand though I guess people use the term the same way we call all tissues Kleenex. Looking forward to trying yours.

Trudy
Trudy
2 years ago

Flavor is really good. I did add 1 teaspoon of baking powder. They came out great!

Georgina Zarate
Georgina Zarate
2 years ago

Great!!

This Recipe Made By Bold Bakers

16 Images

Mné Kidwell

Kitelj

Sanaa Mustafa

Irene Shaji

TCBakes

Lprinciotta

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook