Pizzelle are light and crispy cookies made with flour, eggs, butter, and sugar. These addicting treats have been treasured by generations of Italians — give them a try!

Pizzelle on a tray.

What are Pizzelle?

Pizzelle are traditional Italian wafer-like cookies with a crisp texture and sweet taste. They are usually flavored with anise (a seed with a black licorice taste), but vanilla or almond flavors are also common. These wafers are cooked using a special pizzelle maker that flattens the dough into a thin crisp round. The hot iron usually imprints a beautiful design onto the cookies.

The name pizzelle is derived from the Italian word “pizze”, which means round or flat. The word “pizzelle” literally means “little rounds” or “little pizzas.” Pizzelle are thought to be the oldest cookies in the world, originating from south-central Italy in the eighth century. To this day, they are one of the most popular Italian cookies, enjoyed mainly around Christmas or Easter time. Wedding dessert tables in Italy frequently feature pizzelle, as they are visually appealing but take minimal effort to make.

Our Connection to Pizzelle

This recipe is very sentimental to us, as it evokes the most special memories of our “Italian grandma.” When we first came to the United States, we had a landlord who was an Italian immigrant. She was the sweetest lady, and we affectionately called her our second grandma because of her hospitality and kind heart. Every time we would visit her, she would make pizzelle cookies for us.

We have loved pizzelle ever since. For years, I refused to make them because they are so dangerously good! I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist devouring an entire batch when I got my hands on one.

How to Make Pizzelle

It may seem intimidating to attempt making these intricately designed cookies, but the pizzelle iron does most of the work. All you have to do is mix up the batter and get comfortable using the iron.

  • Preheat the pizzelle iron: Turn the pizzelle iron on and preheat it.
  • Make the batter: Whip the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add in butter and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold them into the egg mixture until the batter is smooth.
  • Cook the pizzelle: Spoon about a tablespoon of batter onto the hot iron. Cook for about a minute, or until the cookie is golden brown.
  • Serve: Remove the pizzelle from the iron and enjoy!

How to Use a Pizzelle Iron

A pizzelle iron is used like a waffle maker. Preheat the iron until the indicator light turns off. Place about a tablespoon of batter into the center circle, then close the lid. Cook for about a minute, or until the indicator light turns on again. Open the lid and remove the pizzelle with a fork or spatula. If the cookies stick, grease the iron with a bit of cooking spray.

Pizzelle on top of each other.

Flavor Variations

Pizzelle boast an unlimited amount of flavor variations. Customize these cookies to your liking by adding or substituting these ingredients.

  • Anise: Add 2-3 drops of anise extract to the batter for notes of sweet licorice. Be careful, as the anise flavor is very strong. Start slow, then increase the amount of extract to taste.
  • Chocolate: Reduce the amount of flour to 1 3/4 cups. Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the batter for a rich cocoa taste.
  • Amaretto: If you enjoy amaretto’s almond/cherry flavor, omit the vanilla extract and add 2-3 tablespoons of amaretto liqueur to the batter.
  • Lemon: For citrus lovers, omit the vanilla extract and add the zest of one lemon to the batter. Try a drop of lemon extract if you want a more potent lemon flavor.
  • Orange: Omit the vanilla extract and add 1 tbsp orange zest, along with a drop of orange extract to amplify the bright, fresh flavor.
  • Almond: For a punch of nutty savoriness, omit the vanilla extract and add 1/4 tsp almond extract to the batter.

Tips for the Crispiest Pizzelle

Creating the perfect pizzelle is mind-blowingly simple when you follow these pointers. If the first few pizzelle don’t come out great, give yourself some grace — you’ll be a pro in no time.

  • Make a thick batter. It is crucial to have the right batter consistency to make crispy pizzelle. Like pancakes, a pizzelle batter that is too thin will produce dense and chewy cookies. The batter should be thick enough to hold its shape when scooped up with a spoon.
  • Experiment with the amount of batter when cooking. Every pizzelle iron is different. Play around with the amount of batter added until you find your preferred cookie size.
  • Have a mold ready to shape the pizzelle. If you’re shaping the pizzelle, act quickly to get the perfect shape for cannoli shells or cones. The cookies are most pliable straight from the iron, so transfer them immediately to a cylindrical form (like ring tubes or glasses) once they are done cooking.
  • Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack. Pizzelle crisp up as they cool, so don’t worry if they seem soft right off the iron. Avoid transferring pizzelle to a storage container before they are entirely cool, as extra moisture and trapped heat cause soggy cookies.
Pizzelle on a tray next to each other.

Ways to Serve

Pizzelle are incredibly versatile cookies, enjoyed plain or filled. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar for the most classic appearance, and serve with coffee or tea. For a more indulgent experience, spread Nutella, raspberry jam, apricot jam, strawberry jam, peanut butter, or even pudding on the cookies. Pizzelle are also delicious with ice cream — simply place a scoop of ice cream on one cookie, then gently press down with another cookie on top to form a sandwich.

Another popular way to serve pizzelle is to fill them. Shape the hot cookies into cones or shells, and fill with chocolate or vanilla cannoli cream, ice cream, or custard for a delightful treat.

How to Store Pizzelle

Pizzelle are best enjoyed immediately or on the same day. If you have leftover cookies, follow these instructions for the best results.

  • Room temperature: Room temperature storage is ideal for pizzelle because it best preserves their crispness and taste. To store for up to two weeks, stack the cooled cookies, then transfer them to an airtight bag or container and leave in a dry space away from sunlight. Place a piece of bread in the storage container to absorb excess moisture.
  • Refrigerator: To store for up to a week, keep the cookies in an airtight bag or container in the fridge. Bring them to room temperature before reheating and serving. It is not recommended to store pizzelle any longer than a week in the fridge to best retain their crunchy texture.
  • Freezer: Freeze cooked pizzelle for up to two months in a freezer-safe bag or container. Wrap the individual cookies in plastic wrap to preserve texture and taste. Thaw on the counter, and refresh the crispiness in the oven before serving (as directed below).

Hot tip: Make sure the pizzelle are completely cool before storing. Residual heat compromises the crispiness of the cookies, making them soggy.

How to Make Pizzelle Crispy Again

The light crunchiness of pizzelle deteriorates over time, but all it takes is a couple minutes in the oven to restore their amazing texture. Place the pizzelle on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake for about two minutes at 350℉. If you have more time, preheat the oven to 300℉, then turn it off and allow the cookies to dry out for up to an hour inside.


Are pizzelle soft or crunchy?

Pizzelle are soft and pliable immediately off the iron, but they become crunchy as they cool.

Where can I get a pizzelle iron?

There are many varieties of pizzelle irons on Amazon. If you prefer to shop in-store, go to Home Goods for a smoking deal on pizzelle irons. Target and Home Depot also sell these appliances.

What do pizzelle taste like?

The taste of pizzelle largely depends on the type of flavoring used. If no extracts are added, the plain cookies taste eggy and sweet.

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About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.