Classic Italian Pizzelles

My grandmother’s recipe for classic Italian pizzelle cookies – light and crispy and delicious!

Classic Italian Pizzelles - an old family favorite, 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.

Italian Pizzelles

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!

Classic Italian Pizzelles - an old family favorite, light and crispy and delicious!!

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 the previous year’s cookies under myChristmas 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.

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.

Classic Italian Pizzelles - an old family favorite, light and crispy and delicious!!
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  1. 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. :)

  2. Beautiful! Merry Christmas Megan!

  3. Is it possible to substitute the egg in this recipe?

    • megan replied: — December 2nd, 2016 @ 11:01 pm

      I’ve never tried it, but if you do try it, let me know how it turns out!

  4. Can pizzells be frozen ??

    • megan replied: — December 2nd, 2016 @ 11:01 pm

      yes! We freeze some every time we make them :)

  5. Where can i find the iron to make these?

  6. 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

  7. 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. 

  8. Usually higher end cooking stores or Amazon

  9. 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!!!!!

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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?

    • megan replied: — December 16th, 2017 @ 2:50 pm

      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!

  13. 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.

    • megan replied: — December 16th, 2017 @ 2:50 pm

      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. :)

  14. 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!

    • megan replied: — December 16th, 2017 @ 2:51 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I like them thin and crispy too. :)

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