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

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Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Place the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  • 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.
  • Add the vanilla extract and egg and mix for another minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  • Roll 1 tsp of dough into a ball, about 1 inch, and place on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet.
  • Flatten each ball into a disk then bake for 15 minutes.
  • Cool and serve.


Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 25mg | Sugar: 1g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. […] I’ve never had American “nilla wafers” and I sort of feel like I’ve missed out on something. I’m sure they’re not all that good though – at least not as good as Weelicious homemade Vanilla Wafers! […]

  4. […] Weelicious – um, I could eat these all day long! Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Weelicious Vanilla Wafers from Weelicious – Yes, you can buy them, but these are 10x […]

  5. […] on a weekend just to buy processed junk. So I headed to Weelicious and found a recipe for homemade Vanilla Wafers. Thanks to my Kitchenaid Mixer, I had a batch whipped up in no time. I was amazed at how similar […]

  6. 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.

  7. 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) 🙂

  8. […] got the recipe off of Weelicious and then used NOW brand gluten free baking mix in place of all purpose flour.  Since I used […]

  9. […] promising. So I changed it to “vanilla wafers.” About halfway down the first page I notice a post from the blog Weelicious for exactly what I was looking […]

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. […] Vanilla Wafers — Have you ever stopped to think about how Nilla Wafers came to be? Well, it turns out that they are hugely inferior versions of vanilla wafers, which are utterly divine. If you don’t feel like making some, I suggest that you hie yourself to Whole Foods and buy a box of their house brand vanilla wafers, which are pretty damn good. And, if you want a treat that is extremely fabulous and super easy, take two vanilla wafers (either homemade or the fabulous Whole Foods version) and make a sandwich out of them using Nutella as the filler. […]

  16. 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.

  17. 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 🙂

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

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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 =)

  22. 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!!!

  23. 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!!

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

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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 (:

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

  31. 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.

  32. 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€.

  33. 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.

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

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. 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

  39. 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!

  40. 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?

  41. 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.

  42. 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?

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

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