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Classic Italian Pizzelle Cookies: My family recipe

Classic Italian Pizzelle Cookies: My family recipe

Classic Italian pizzelles are an Italian thin waffle style cookie that is made from flour, eggs, butter, anise and vanilla.  They are a tradition in Italian homes and usually made for special occasions and holidays. 

I grew up eating pizzelles that my grandmother made at every family get together and at holidays. These Italian cookies have so many great memories associated with it.

The extract that makes the Pizzelle a Pizzelle!

Classic Italian pizzelles are made with anise which has a very strong licorice flavor. When yo make these Italian cookies, if you use too much anise oil it can overpower the entire pizzelle. This is a family recipe so it is a pizzelle recipe that uses anise oil (extract).  I will show you how to use anise oil the right way so it is not overpowering.

A funny story about Anise oil:

When I first made these on my own after I was married I used so much anise that my husband’s mouth was numb for the whole day. 

For reference, too much was 1 teaspoon full. That may not seem like much if you are working with vanilla extract but with anise it is numbing.

My Italian grandmother (as did many) would actually use the anise to rub on my Aunt and Uncle’s gums when they were babies. During teething, anise would take the pain away!  Needless to say a little of this stuff goes a long way. 

No need to worry! I have figured out the perfect ratio to use so that it is a very faint flavor and makes these Classic Italian pizzelles taste so amazing! I have to thank my husband for being the guinea pig for all of these years and trying out all of the versions I made until I found just the right one. 

Ingredients you will need for these Italian pizzelles are:

  • All purpose flour
  • eggs
  • milk
  • vanilla extract
  • anise extract (oil)

The Pizzelle Dough:

Pizzelle dough is very thick and sticky. When you scoop it up with a spoon, it will stick to the spoon so you will have to push it off with your finger to get it on to the pizzelle maker. When I make my pizzelles, I always like to have lots of paper towels on hand so I can wipe my fingers off in between scooping out the dough.

The Pizzelle Maker:

To make the pizzelles, you need a special pizzelle maker. If you have never seen one,  it looks like a small waffle iron but the grooves on it are more shallow. 

Here is what it looks like.

These are very cheap to buy and last a long time!  I think I paid $20.00 for mine over 15 years ago and it is still going strong!  You can make homemade ice cream cones and faux cannoli shells with these as well if you want to put it to use more often. 

If you like the flavor of Italian pizzelle cookies but may do not want to buy pizzelle maker, you should check out my pizzelle cookies recipe that is made without the pizzelle maker. The cookies are not thin and crisp like Italian pizzelles but the flavor is perfect! The dough is the same as this pizzelle recipe that uses anise oil so the flavor will be the same.

If you have never tried making classic Italian pizzelles you should give it a try and I know you will love it! I have also included additional Holiday recipes below from fellow bloggers if you’re looking for more inspiration for baking!

Making the Pizzelles

When you are ready to make your pizzelles, you will want to scoop a good tablespoon full of dough on to your pizzelle maker and close your press. While every pizzelle maker varies and you will want to follow your manufacturer’s instructions, you can almost always tell when they are about ready when the steam slows down that is coming out of the pizzelles in the pizzelle maker.

When I start to see that steam slow down I will give a little peak at the pizzelles by gently lifting the top of the pizzelle maker and seeing if the outside is a nice light golden color.

Once the pizzelles are ready, you want to gently scoop them off with a spatula and place them on to a cooling rack. They will be somewhat soft and pliable for a few seconds until they cool. That is when they get nice and crisp!

Italian cookies
I like to make a few cannoli shapes to fill later when making pizzelles. I use the end of my tapered off rolling pin to wrap the warm pizzelles around.

At the point that the pizzelle’s are just coming out the hot pizzelle maker, you can shape them into cannoli or ice cream cone shapes since they are pliable. Just make sure to have something cylindrical on hand so you are ready to make the shapes when you are making these.

The last step when making pizzelles is cleaning up the edges after they have cooled. This is fun and part of the pizzelle tradition. If you can see from the picture above, the pizzelles will go over the edges of the pattern a little on the pizzelle maker. Once they are fully cooled, you just gently snap the edges that go past the pizzelle pattern and your pizzelles are all set!

We nibble on these pieces as we go!

Here are a few more holiday baking recipes you might like!

Citrus Holiday Cookies

Citrus Snowball Cookies

Baked French Toast with Sweetened Condensed Milk

Ciambella Yogurt Cake

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5 from 2 votes

Classic Italian Pizzelles: My Family recipe

A classic Italian Cookie flavored with Anise
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: desserts, italian cookie, Italian desserts, pizzelle recipe
Servings: 25 pizzelles


  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  • 3 tiny drops of anise to do this, pour a tiny amount of anise on to a spoon. Slowly turn the spoon downward over your mixture and wait for 3 tiny drops to fall and then you are done!
  • 1 stick 8 tbsp of melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp of salt


  • Whisk together your eggs, sugar, vanilla and anise (see how to anise above) in a medium bowl.
  • Now add your flour, salt and baking powder and mix it well until there are no lumps and it looks smooth.
  • Now add your melted butter and mix that in to your mixture.
  • Pre-heat your pizzelle maker. They are all a little different so follow the manufacturers instructions for this.
  • Once it is heated, add a heaping tablespoon of your thick dough to the middle of each of your pizzelle areas on the iron. Close and cook for about 30-45 seconds until it is a light golden color.
  • Once they are cooked, remove the pizzelles from the iron (they will still be soft and pliable at this point) and place on a cooling rack where they will cool and get nice and crispy. Keep doing this until all the dough is used up!
  • Once all of your pizzelles are fully cooked and cooled, you can go ahead and clean them up if you would like by lightly breaking off any parts of the pizzelle that went beyond the design edge. I find this to be relaxing but it is not necessary šŸ™‚

To serve

  • Stack them up or fan them out on a plate and eat them as is or with a light dusting of powdered sugar. Serve with tea or Italian coffee and Enjoy!
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