Pizzelle are thin and crisp waffle-like cookies that are flavored with anise and vanilla and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. They are perfect with a cup of coffee or espresso and are a great addition to any holiday cookie platter.
Italian pizzelle are a holiday favorite in our home, and every time I make them I wonder why I don’t make them more often.
While these cookies are wonderful for Christmas or Easter, they are easy enough to make all year long.
Pizzelle are made with just a few simple ingredients but do require a pizzelle iron to achieve the waffle and star designs.
Oh, and I’ll show you a few tricks to make these holiday wafers even more interesting!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Melt 1 cup (226g) of unsalted butter and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat your pizzelle iron in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and in a medium-sized bowl mix 3 1/2 cups (420g) of all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons (16g) of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) of kosher salt until incorporated.
- In a large bowl whisk together 6 large eggs (at room temperature), 1 1/2 cups (300g) of granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons (18g) of anise extract, and 2 teaspoons (9g) of vanilla extract until smooth. Then, add the melted butter and whisk until combined.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until blended taking care to not overmix.
- The batter will be thick.
- Spray the pizzelle iron with cooking spray and using a cookie scoop, add approximately 2 tablespoons worth of batter to the back third of each mold. Note: The clamping action will move the batter forward so placing the batter a bit toward the back will achieve a more even distribution and make a full pizzelle.
- Close the lid and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking. We used a Palmer iron and cooked for 35-45 seconds or until the steaming stopped. Note: some dough will leak out from the sides. That’s what you want to happen.
- Use a fork to remove and transfer the pizzelle to a wire rack to cool. Repeat the process for the remaining dough.
- Once cooled, dust the pizzelle with confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Enjoy!
Top tips for perfect pizzelle
- The pizzelle iron. These holiday treats do require a pizzelle iron. We have a Palmer classic iron with aluminum plates and have always been happy with the results. Since not all irons are the same, it’s important for you to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preheating and cooking.
- The batter. The batter is quite thick and we found that using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to remove the batter and place on the iron works best.
- Flavor. Traditional pizzelle are flavored with anise which tastes a lot like licorice or Sambuca. If you’re not a fan of anise, you can skip that flavor and just increase the amount of vanilla, or experiment with other extracts, like almond, orange, or lemon.
- Cooking the pizzelle. You may need 1-2 test runs with the pizzelle iron and batter before you make the perfect pizzelle. The most common problem we ran into was not loading enough batter onto the iron, yielding an incomplete disc. After 2 attempts or so you’ll get the hang of it. We found that placing the batter toward the back third of the iron worked best for even distribution of the batter once the iron was closed and clamped. The batter will seep out from the sides of the iron, and that’s normal! It means that you’ve placed enough batter on the iron.
- Serving the pizzelle. Be sure to let the pizzelle cool completely before dusting them with powdered sugar. While they are incredibly delicious on their own, below are a few alternate ideas on how to serve them.
If you love cannoli but don’t want to make the shells, consider the pizzelle cannoli your cheat code!
Simply make the cannoli filling which you can find here in our cannoli recipe and when the pizzelle comes out of the iron and is still pliable, gently wrap it around a cannoli form, or use your hands to create a shell. Fill the shell with the cannoli cream and add your favorite toppings!
Below is another idea that also uses cannoli cream. This is the pizzelle cannoli cream sandwich and I love it! You can also create a sandwich using your favorite ice cream or gelato.
More Italian dessert recipes
Here are a few more of our favorite Italian dessert recipes. I hope you enjoy!
- Reginelle cookies – biscuit-like cookies loaded with sesame seeds and a hint of lemon.
- Italian cheesecake – light and airy ricotta-based cheesecake with a lemon blueberry sauce.
- Tiramisu – layers of mascarpone-zabaglione whipped cream and espresso-dipped lady fingers topped with cocoa powder.
If you’ve enjoyed this pizzelle recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.
- 3 1/2 cups (420g) all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons (16g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) kosher salt
- 6 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons (18g) anise extract
- 2 teaspoons (9g) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter melted, and at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (28g) confectioner's sugar optional, for dusting
- cooking spray for the pizzelle iron
- Preheat the pizzelle iron and in a medium-sized bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, anise, and vanilla until smooth, then add the butter and whisk until combined.
- Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until blended taking care to not overmix.
- Spray the pizzelle iron with the cooking spray and using a cookie scoop, add approximately 2 tablespoons worth of the batter into each mold and close the lid.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cooking (Palmer's is 35-45 seconds or until steaming stops). Use a fork to remove and transfer the pizzelle to a wire rack to cool and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
- Once cooled, dust the pizzelle with the confectioner's sugar, if desired.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the pizzelle iron since not all irons are the same.
- Be sure to give the pizzelle iron ample time to warm up before using, and cool down completely before storing again.
- Other flavors, such as orange extract or lemon extract can be substituted for anise extract.
- Pizzelle can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.