Vanilla Wafers
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Vanilla Wafers



To my mother's credit, she never bought us many pre-packaged sweets....well, almost never. Usually, if we were going to have things like cookies, we made them together, but Nilla Wafers were something I only experienced at Sunday school. I vividly remember sneaking extra handfuls of them off the snack table to take home with me and eat in private. They were soft inside with a slightly chewy bite and tons of sugary vanilla flavor -- oh, so yummy.

Why can't pre-packaged cookies be better for us!? That lament is one of the reasons why I love trying to figure out how to make healthier, homemade versions of pre-packaged products. The treats of my childhood are wrapped up with so many wonderful memories I want to share them all with my own kids -- just without all the preservatives and artificial flavors.

While you may think that a Vanilla Wafer would be complicated to make in your kitchen, my take on it is easy. After many blunders trying to perfect a homemade recipe, I eventually arrived at this version which tastes as good as, if not better than, the ones I remember. Kenya and Chloe have never tried the box kind, but give them a small handful of these cookies and a tall glass of milk and I don't think they're missing a darn thing!

Vanilla Wafers  (Makes about 4 dozen)

  • Prep Time: 35 mins,
  • Cook Time: 15 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
To my mother's credit, she never bought us many pre-packaged sweets....well, almost never. Usually, if we were going to have things like cookies, we made them together, but Nilla Wafers were something I only experienced at Sunday school. I vividly...


  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. 2. Place the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  3. 3. Place the butter and sugar in a standing mixer (or bowl using a hand mixer) and cream for 3-4 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy.
  4. 4. Add the vanilla extract and egg and mix for another minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  5. 5. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  6. 6. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  7. 7. Roll 1 tsp of dough into a ball, about 1 inch, and place on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet.
  8. 8. Flatten each ball into a disk then bake for 15 minutes.
  9. 9. Cool and serve.
Vanilla Wafers

Nutrition Information

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  1. Mamarow

    April 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I made these little gems using gluten free flour and were an immediate hit. They were less a crispy wafer and more like a very light, buttery cookie. We love ’em! I’d like to try almond extract in my next batch but I’m wondering if I should use the full 2 tbsp of extract as called for in the recipe. Any thoughts out there?

    • C. McCord

      April 4, 2016 at 10:41 am

      So great to hear the substitution worked well for you! I would go with 1 tablespoon for almond extract as it has a stronger flavor.

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  5. Siri

    January 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Made these yesterday. They came out ammmaazziinnngg. This recipe is soo simple to make. I got about 60 of 1 inch size wafers. Cooktime, about 12 minutes the edges started to brown. It depends on the oven I think. My 14 month old loved them. Next time, I wanted to try the exact same recipe with almond extract instead of vanilla. And maybe top off the wafer with a whole almond.

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  6. Alexis F

    December 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    What is the best way to store these and about how long would they last (assuming they aren’t all eaten with a day or two) :)

  7. null

    June 18, 2013 at 10:46 am


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  10. Sharon

    January 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Always looking for more recipes for my 2 year old granddaughter.

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  12. Mandi

    November 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Made these ones today, too! Not bad at all! I wouldn’t say they’re the healthiest but they’re definitely better than what you can get in store. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Kristin

      September 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Try substituting white whole wheat flour for AP flour, all or half and half. I have a similar vanilla wafer recipe that calls for white wheat. The cookies still have sugar, but at least there is added fiber. Oh, and my kids devour them just as fast. I use the homemade vanilla wafers to make my own “nilla wafer” crust for my favorite rhubarb torte recipe.

  13. טליה Talya

    October 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm


  14. keaton21us

    September 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    My 5 1/2 year son says this is the best cookie he’s ever had, they’re soooo good.

  15. Huffalumps and Woozles

    September 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    My oven cooks very hot and fast. I set the temp on about 315 (turned the dial to between 300 and 325) and checked them after 10 minutes. The edges were just turning golden brown – perfect! My son and I both think they’re delicious.

  16. CJ @ Morsels of Life

    August 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Nilla Wafers bring back memories! I’ll have to give these cookies a try. :)

  17. Kenzie

    August 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Should I freeze these before or after baking?

    • catherine

      August 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      I usually freeze cookies before baking them!

  18. Alison

    March 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I just made these, but before I read the recipe I promised my son we could use the cookie cutters. I did anyways, and they worked! It was a little sticky and I had to handle them delicately, but we’re eating alphabet nilla wafers nonetheless!

  19. kim

    February 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Can u use whole wheat flour?

    • Katrinaology

      July 1, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      Just made these. and it was a breeze. I used whole wheat flour (its all we have and always try anyway). They turned out great. I used them to make banana pudding and I’ve been sneaking in stealing soupie cookies the whole evening!

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  21. salvia divinorum

    January 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be actually one thing that I believe I’d by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very extensive for me. I’m taking a look ahead for your subsequent put up, I will attempt to get the hang of it!

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  24. Meredith

    November 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I made these the other day and they are FABULOUS! I should note that I do not like Nilla Wafers (the boxed kind), but I LOVE these! My girls were so excited to have homemade vanilla wafers and they loved them as well. Will definitely make this again.

  25. Noelia

    November 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for this awesome recipe, I’ve done it a couple of times already and it’s here to stay! Look forward to making many more of your recipes. I’m on the hunt for toddler recipes :)

  26. Stefany

    November 16, 2011 at 9:43 am

    might try these as a party favor with sprinkles for my daughter’s 2nd birthday… she LOVES nilla wafers! :)

  27. Summer

    November 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    These were tasty but tasted more like a simple butter cookie to me than a vanilla wafer.

  28. Kristina

    November 14, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Delish! Unfortunately, they’re almost gone! Cookies are dangerous in this house.

  29. Jamie Myers

    November 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Instead of rolling them into balls then flatening each one out I. Rolled all the dough into a log, wraped it plastic wrap and froze it. Then I just cut and placed the discs on the baking sheet.

  30. Lindsay

    November 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    These were super yummy! We did smashed raspberries and then made them into a sandwich for a tea party yum!

  31. christine

    November 12, 2011 at 11:55 am

    they were delicious!!!

  32. Kiki D

    November 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

    i made them last night for our family and they were a huge hit. they taste 100x better than the boxed kind. Thank you Catherine, you are genius =)

  33. Emily

    November 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    have a batch of these baking right now! Can’t wait to taste them! I think preheating the oven as the first step is a little soon, considering this dough has to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. I found prehating the oven when I take the dough out of the fridge was plenty of time for it to heat up while I rolled and flattened the cookies. Thank you for another awesome recipe!!!

  34. Mignon Vath

    November 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I am not a fan of Nila Wafers, however I don’t know if my kids are or not 😉 ! Why make them? I just found and bought vanilla powder at our local Health Food Store!! NO ALCOHOL!! Yah! Pure vanilla goodness!

    Thank you!!

  35. Jen

    November 11, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Nila Wafers are my favorite! I can’t wait to try these. I think I may try them today!

  36. yeni

    November 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Wow, these look amazing! I rarely buy Nila Wafers…usually only when I make mini-cheesecakes using the mini muffin tin and foil wrappers. I use the wafer on the bottom as the crust. These would be perfect for that recipe. I think my boy will also love these to munch on, since he prefers sugar-type of cookies vs. anything with chocolate (unlike his parents!). Thanks Catherine for another awesome homemade version of an otherwise scary product off the shelf!

    • bexy

      December 19, 2015 at 11:11 am

      Hey there, I was wondering if you could share your mini cheesecake recipe?! I have never heard of these and they sound adorable!!

  37. Heather Taylor @ Kids in the Sink

    November 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    These look great and so easy! I have been trying to find a recipe for Nilla Wafers for my son. He has had the boxed version a few times and I would much rather make them if I can. I can’t wait to try these! From the looks of them, I might be enjoying them just as much as he will.

  38. Liz

    November 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Do you think earth balance shortening would work in place of butter or margarine?

  39. Sarah

    November 10, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I started to make these last night and then realized I was out of sugar, so I subbed 3 T honey instead. I figured since I was already changing the recipe I’d use whole wheat pastry flour instead of the white too. Surprisingly, they still turned out really well! They were a bit soft (compared to crispy vanilla wafers), but I’m sure that’s because of the honey. To flatten the balls, I used the bottom of a glass that I dipped in flour. Also, I made my cookies too big and only got 24 – I’d say the ball is really more like 1/2 inch around rather than an inch. My son loves these with my changes, but for my husband I’d probably try them with the sugar next time or at least add another T of honey if I do it that way.

  40. Angela

    November 9, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I can’t wait to make these for our next playdate. I’m not sure how soft the dough is but I’m going to try rolling the dough into a log, refrigerating, and then slicing it so I don’t have to roll and flatten each one.

  41. Melinda

    November 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    This is insane (:

    Just this morning I had been thinking “I wonder if weelicious has a vanilla wafers recipe to make.”

    My mom doesn’t let me buy pre-packaged food, and these were a childhood favorite of mine for breakfast, with some milk and sliced banana. Super excited to make some for my littlest brother! Thanks (:

  42. janelle weems

    November 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    MAKING THESE TONIGHT!..and a healthy banana pudding sounds awesome since my daughter loves anything with banana! =)

  43. Food on the Table

    November 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I have the exact same memory of sneak graham crackers with lemonade in Sunday School growing up. But I really can’t wait to get my hands working on this recipe since Nilla Wafers are just as good.

  44. charsiubau

    November 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Living in Germany I have never eaten a Nilla Wafer. I have to try your recipe! And also your pumpkin donut recipe but first I have to cook some pumpkin puree as I cannot buy canned pumpkin here.

    • Jenny

      November 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      I live in Germany aswell and I found Pumpkin Puree in an organic supermarket calles Denn’s Biomarkt. Don’t know if you have one where you live I also found the pumpkin pie spice there. The only downside both are quite costly there the 500g Pumpkin puree was about 6€.

  45. Monette

    November 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    pumpkin doughnuts was a hit in my sunday school class! i can’t wait to make them for Sunday! Thanks!

  46. Wendy

    November 9, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Nikki @9, I was just going to suggest banana pudding with these on the bottom and meringue on top. Soo good and I bet these are better than the packaged kind.

    • Nikki

      November 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Meringue! Genuis!!

  47. Nikki

    November 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

    OH MY GOSH!!! I have been missing Nilla wafers (and occasionally enjoying them) since I realized how many ingredients they had. My mom LOVES these, I will be making some at Thanksgiving! Maybe with banana pudding… yum

    • catherine

      November 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      I’ve been working on a “healthier” banana pudding to go with these. Can you say YUM?!

      • Nikki

        November 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

        Can’t wait to see it! I recently tried a recipe that has roasted bananas, from Cooking Light magazine. Roasting the bananas makes them really flavorful, but sort of messes with the texture. Overall it was really good but I would like to find a good sub for the cool whip.

        • Rachel

          February 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm

          I want to say is thank you soo much for everything you do I love how you cook and talk threw all your taorutls you make it soo eazy forim deffanly going to try almost everything you make thank you soo much you a life savoer lol

  48. c

    November 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

    4 dozen cookies seems like a lot of cookies to make(I am only speaking for myself). If I were to make 12 cookies, would I just use 1/4 of all of the ingredients? I only have 1 cookie sheet and I have practically zero storage space. I absolutely love weelicious recipes and a lot of times I need to make half batches. …my freezer is even full :-)Thanks

    • Caryn

      November 10, 2011 at 2:38 am

      They are really small the whole batch fit on one sheet

    • catherine

      November 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Could you make 1/2 a batch? Give some to a friend? You might be able to fit 1/2 a batch on one cookie sheet as they don’t really spread when baked.

      • Painter

        July 8, 2012 at 12:20 am

        I would like to see a banana pudding recipe to go with these as well. Yummy!!! :)

      • c

        November 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

        Ok, good idea. Thanks

  49. Meredith

    November 9, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Sounds delicious! My daughter has dairy and egg allergies. Do you think I could substitute margarine for the butter and perhaps flaxseed for the egg?

    • Krissy

      November 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Ener-g also make a great egg sub that works perfectly in baked goods.

      • Meredith

        November 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm

        Great, thank you both. I’ll let you know how they turn out (will try it this weekend)!

    • catherine

      November 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      You could def try. It’s always worth a shot. I think the margarine would be fine, not so sure about the flaxseeds for the egg. I would love to hear your results, though!

      • karen

        January 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        If you substitute arrowroot powder for 1/4 of the flour, it will work like eggs. I tried it for a vegan vanilla wafer recipe that I was using for a vegan coconut cream pie. I also used canola for the shortening. They came out great.

  50. Allison

    November 9, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Yum! I will be definitely giving this a try!

  51. stephanie

    November 9, 2011 at 7:26 am

    can you freeze these??

    • catherine

      November 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Yes, you can freeze them!

  52. Shelley M.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

    It’s official. I looooove weelicious! This is one of my son’s favorite treats!

  53. Shannon

    November 9, 2011 at 7:07 am

    How would you store these and how long will they stay good?

    • catherine

      November 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      I stored them in a container on the counter for a few days and they were fine. You could also freeze a bunch as well.

  54. Caryn

    November 9, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Can’t wait to try. We have made the graham crackers so many times I can’t count. I love the healthy versions but I also love these because I can’t buy all the packages I miss now that I live overseas. When is your book coming out?

    • Caryn

      November 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

      Just baked them. Everyone over for our playdate loved them.

      • catherine

        November 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

        So happy everyone liked them, yeah!

  55. CCMom

    November 9, 2011 at 6:47 am

    One of my all time favorite cookies. Ivan taste them right now. I look forward to giving this a try!