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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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Servings: 8
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes



  • 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
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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?

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