Classic Italian Pizzelles
My grandmother’s recipe for classic Italian pizzelle cookies – light and crispy and delicious!
This pizzelle recipe was a staple in my family growing up. My grandma made these year after year (along with these galettes, or French waffle cookies I posted about awhile ago!), and it didn’t seem like Christmas without plates of pizzelles around the house.
If you’re unfamiliar with pizzelles, they are thin wafer-like cookies with snowflake designs and are an Italian Christmas cookie tradition. They require a pizzelle iron, which looks a little bit like a waffle iron.
Even after she moved into an assisted living facility, my grandma coordinated a pizzelle baking day with the staff and other residents. Now my mom has my grandma’s pizzelle iron, and when I was home last week we decided to dust it off and get out my grandma’s old handwritten recipe.
The cookies are light and crispy and just like I remember them. They are traditionally made with anise flavoring, but I prefer vanilla, so that’s what I used in this recipe.
This cookie is a classic, and is well loved by so many people. I dressed a few of them up with drizzled chocolate on top (yum!), but the cookies are delicious just as they are. Of course Zeke preferred the ones with chocolate. 😉
If you’re looking for a classic, tried and true pizzelle cookie recipe, this recipe is for you. It is sure to become a family favorite. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas around here without these cookies! 🙂
The pizzelle iron we used was my grandmother’s, but you can buy them on Amazon!
See this link for comments from bakers who tried and LOVED this recipe on Pinterest!
Classic Italian Pizzelles are day 12 of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats! I posted a new cookie every day for the first 12 days of December. You can see all these recipes from over the years under my Christmas Cookies tag. 🙂 See all of this year’s cookies here: 12 Days of Christmas Treats 2015. Enjoy! And, as always, let me know if you try any and how you liked them.
P.S. If you want to try Mike’s all-time favorite dessert, check out this delicious Blueberry Pudding Dessert from his grandma!
Classic Italian Pizzelles
Yield: Makes 30 pizzelles
My grandmother's recipe for classic Italian pizzelle cookies - light and crispy and delicious!
- 6 Tbsp butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1 tsp anise flavoring and 1 Tbsp anise seed)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, salt, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the flour, mixing until smooth.
- Heat your pizzelle iron. Cook the pizzelles according to the instructions that came with your iron. (Mine took about 45 seconds each to cook). Remove the pizzelles from the iron, and cool on a rack. If desired, dust cooled pizzelles with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate.
I grew up in a town with generations of families descended from Sicilian immigrants and my family would receive trays of lovely cookies at Christmas and pizzelles were always included. The ladies made them with anise and sprinkled powder sugar on the tops. Yummy! I missed them and a few years ago I sought out and purchased a pizzelle iron and now pizzelles are part of our Christmas tradition again. 🙂
Beautiful! Merry Christmas Megan!
Is it possible to substitute the egg in this recipe?
I’ve never tried it, but if you do try it, let me know how it turns out!
Can pizzells be frozen ??
yes! We freeze some every time we make them 🙂
Where can i find the iron to make these?
Just made these. My little grandson has a milk allergy, so I couldn’t use butter. I substituted regular Crisco for the butter and they turned out fine. 6 Tbsp. Crisco PLUS 1 TBSP. water. Must add the water because butter has water in it, but Crisco doesn’t. These are perfect as they aren’t real sweet. I did lightly sprinkle with Confectioner’s Sugar though.
Thanks for a great recipe – Kate
Some recipes call for baking powder. I notice yours does not. Any idea on why it may or may not be needed? All other ingredients look the same. My moms recipe calls for baking powder too but many I’m finding do not.
Usually higher end cooking stores or Amazon
I’ve had a pizzale maker for years and my recipe is slightly different but basically the same. Instead of making them flat as traditional, I have a cone roller and make them like a small waffle cone which can be stuffed. Usually put them in a round platter and make 3 – 4 rows and they look like a big flower…..My family and everyone that has them really enjoy them. By the way, I am not Italian!!!!!
I remember making these with my mom every year along with many other cookies…i just recently took my mother’s pizzelle machine and will start a tradition all over with my kids…they will remember when they also made these with Nonna Marian. I also get to make them with my daughter’s Italian class in a couple of weeks. Fun! Thanks Mom for all the traditions I can pass down with my family. God Bless!
Thank you for the recipe, I am going to give it a try tonight with my Daughter at age of 3. I grew up in Niagara falls, and I remember these being on the table for Christmas, and sometime through out the cold winter days. I will give you a follow up later. Thanks
You don’t add baking powder to your recipe but all others I’m finding do. Why? Did you just forget that key ingredient or is it optional?
I just checked my grandma’s recipe book to be sure, but nope, no baking powder! We’ve always made them using this recipe – hope that helps!
We have never used baking powder when making pizzelles. My parents are from Italy and my mother makes thin, rolled and thick varieties. None of which consist of baking powder.
Thanks for the comment – I just checked my grandma’s recipe book to be sure and there’s definitely no baking powder in our recipe either. 🙂
I tried both recipes with baking powder and with out. The baking powder made it taste different then I’m use to but it does seem to make them thicker. I liked this recipe so much more with no baking powder, they turned out a lot more crispy and thin. So much better!
Thanks for the comment! I like them thin and crispy too. 🙂
My dough is stiffer like cookie dough? Seems like it should be more like pancake? My eggs said large in box but were not really. Should I add another egg?
Sorry, I’m probably way too late with this reply. How did your cookies turn out? The dough is actually supposed to be stiff, so hopefully they turned out well!
Thank you so much for thIs recipe! I dusted off my pizelle iron only to realize I lost the one that came with it! Wanted to take some Christmas Eve to my son and daughter in law’s (whose name is Meighan) but didn’t find your post in time. Will save this and make some!
Eli, thanks for sharing! I hope you enjoy them 🙂
Megan, I assume your Pizzelle iron is not the electric kind?
Actually it is an electric one, but a really old one.
I love pizzelles in all flavors. I don’t have a iron, but am wildly tempted to purchase one. If so – how much dough / batter do you add per pizzelle or does it vary per the iron?
There should be specific instructions that come with your iron, but I’m guessing it would be about 1 Tbsp of dough per cookie
My husband use to make them with finely ground second for me.
I’m sorry he used Nuts PECONS
These are delicious. I added Lemon flavor and so good. Easy to make. Thanks for posting!
I believe online. I got one as a Christmas present a few years ago and I think they got of from amazon or Walmart website. Something like that.
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We used to have a day old bread store that carried these cookies in vanilla,and lemon that were SO good!! I’ve never seen them in my area or even in larger stores 2-300 miles away. Time to check Amazon for a new pan!!
Thanks for sharing the beautiful story and recipe!!!
Can these be made with gluten free flour?
I’ve never tried, but if you do, please report back and let us know 🙂
I am so excited to try this recipe. I come from a Sicilian background, but the only old family recipe I have is for marinara sauce. I have always wanted the chance to recreate family traditions that have been lost as authentically as possible, and this seems the perfect recipe to do so with pizzelles. Now, if I can just find a good, old fashioned Sicilian cannoli recipe…
The cookie is denser instead of lighter without baking powder. My grandmother never used baking powder and I think it just tastes better without baking powder .
Do you use anise extract or anise oil? If using oil, would I change the amount?
Used this recipe to make my first ever batch of pizzelles, so good!! Thanks for the great recipe
Any Italian market
I bought both of mine at BedBath and Beyond.
Don’t know if you have one but use the coupon and get it for less .
Do you have one for chocolate pizzelles. I have tried several now & not happy
We’ve been making these for 60 years! Both pizzelles and galletts ! I was so delighted to see your site. And to have both featured on the same site, how delightful! My mom who was 98, passed away several months ago. I am going to continue the tradition. It’s our first Christmas without her. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas and God bless you and your family.
I too was looking for a recipe for these. I found my mom’s but she had several and not sure which one was the best. Will be trying yours