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Grandma’s Pizzelle Recipe with anise makes traditional Italian wafer cookies or waffle cookies that are light, crisp and delicious. A family favorite during the holiday season!

stacks of homemade pizzelle cookies with flower design on the table.

The Best Pizzelle Recipe

My grandma made the best pizzelle cookies using this classic pizzelle recipe. Even though Grandma was Polish, she worked in an Italian bakery and had Italian relatives. Lucky for us!

Grandma made a huge batch of these traditional Italian waffle cookies at Christmas time using her vintage pizzelle iron and stored them in a metal roaster with lid. These diamond-shaped cookies were light, crispy and flavored with a combination of anise oil, vanilla and citrus.

Now that I have a pizzelle press, I make homemade pizzelles using my grandmother’s recipe. I had to modify the recipe slightly for the electric press, and I usually cut the recipe in half because the original recipe makes a ton. But my family loves these crispy pizzelles, and they always go fast!

vintage pizzelle iron with recipe and flour, eggs, anise extract, vanilla extract, shortening, sugar and baking powder.


You only need a few simple ingredients from the grocery store to make this easy pizzelle recipe. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below. You will also need a pizzelle press.

  • Eggs — large eggs
  • Sugar — white sugar
  • Shortening — or butter, melted and cooled
  • Anise extract — or anise oil if you can find it. If using the oil, you won’t need as much.
  • Vanilla extract — adds flavor and mellows the anise flavor
  • Flour — all purpose flour
  • Baking powder — to help the cookies rise
  • Lemon zest and orange zest — optional, but brightens the flavor

How to Make Pizzelle Cookies with Anise

First, you will want to melt the shortening and let it cool. Then, add the eggs to a large bowl, and beat slightly using an electric mixer. Add the melted shortening and the extracts, and mix until well combined.

If you are using the citrus zests, you can add those now.

eggs in mixing bowl

Next, add the flour and baking powder, and mix until smooth and well combined. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl.

The batter is not like traditional cookie dough. It is more like a very thick waffle batter. It is also very sticky, which is normal.

mix flour into dough.

Preheat your pizzelle press, according to manufacturer directions. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to scoop up the batter. You can use a small spoon or your fingers to drop the batter onto the hot press.

balls of cookie dough on pizzelle iron.

Close the lid, and wait for these little Italian wafer cookies to cook. When they are done, you can use a fork or silicone spatula to carefully remove the cookies from the press.

They will be very soft and floppy, which is completely normal. Pizzelles crisp up as they cool down. Place the pizzelles on a wire rack in a single layer. When they are completely cool, you can move the cooled piezzelles to a container.

cooked pizzelles on iron.

How to Store Pizzelles

Store pizzelles in an airtight container at room temperature. They stay crisp and fresh for about a week. You can freeze pizzelles for 3 months for best taste.

Recipe Tips

If you are using an electric pizzelle press, follow directions for that model. Mine recommended using vegetable oil to lightly coat the press before cooking, as non stick spray can ruin the non stick coating. If your press isn’t non stick, you can probably use cooking spray.

For a crisp pizzelle cookie, allow the cookies to cool completely before storing, and use a wire rack if you have one. If your pizzelle cookies aren’t crispy, it may because you live in a humid climate or there was a lot of humidity when you made the cookies.

You can turn these cookies into waffle cones, cannoli shells or edible bowls for ice cream or fruit. Just mold each warm pizzelle into the desired shape right when they come out of the press! My press included a small wooden dowel for making cannoli shells!

If you don’t like anise flavor, which tastes similar to black licorice, use only vanilla extract or anise seeds for a more subtle flavor. Dip the cooled cookies into melted chocolate and crushed pistachios for a special treat or dust lightly with powdered sugar.

It may take a few tries to get the perfect pizzelle shape. Don’t worry if you have a lot of extra dough around the edges. We like to break the extras off and nibble on them or add them to our favorite Christmas snack mix!

pizzelle cookies on white plate.

More Family Christmas Recipes

Looking for another tried and true family recipe for the holiday season? You may like our homemade pierogi recipe or grandma’s nut roll recipe or grandma’s halupki recipe or this easy haluski recipe or our favorite Christmas dessert — eggnog pie!

5 from 6 votes

Pizzelle Recipe with Anise

By: Dee
Grandma's Pizzelle Recipe with anise makes traditional Italian wafer cookies or waffle cookies that are light, crisp and delicious. A family favorite during the holiday season!3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 30


  • 1 pizzelle press


  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup shortening melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon anise extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp lemon zest optional
  • ½ tsp orange zest optional
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  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs slightly using an electric mixer
  • Add the sugar, and mix until well combined
  • Mix in the melted shortening, anise extract and vanilla extract (and zests if using)
  • Add the flour and baking soda, and mix until smooth and well combined, scraping the sides as needed
  • Heat the pizzelle press according to manufacturer's instructions
  • Drop 1 tablespoon batter onto the center of the press, and close lid
  • Cook for 1 minute or until light golden brown or to desired doneness
  • Remove cooked pizzelles using a fork or silicone spatula and place on wire rack until completely cooled
  • Repeat process until batter is used up


If using anise oil, use only 1/2 tsp in this recipe. You can sub butter for the shortening.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for using an electric press. I used a Cuisinart for this recipe with a non stick surface. You can brush a little vegetable oil on the press to prevent sticking before cooking but do not use non-stick cooking spray as it may damage the coating.
Let cookies cool completely on wire rack before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. If it is humid out, cookies may be as crisp.


Calories: 69kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 51mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 27IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
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Recipe Rating


  1. Gloria says:

    I remember these from my Grandma! Had to make them right away! This was so easy once I found the anise! Yummy!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you liked the pizzelle cookies! Thanks, Gloria!