Vanilla Wafers

A Vanilla Wafer is a simple and perfect little cookie. They’re thin and crisp with iconic browned edges and a distinct vanilla bean flavor.

vanilla cookies on parchment paper.

These lovely little wafers have no nuts or chunky chips or gooey filling to hide behind. Of course, that simplicity means the texture and flavor of these cookies have to be perfect.

This recipe has the right balance of butter, sugar and flour to produce a perfectly thin and crisp cookie. The seeds from half a vanilla bean beautifully perfume the batter for pure vanilla flavor.


ingredients for vanilla wafer cookies in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter – Use unsalted butter at room temperature. Room temperature butter should be slightly soft and pliable but not at all melty or greasy. If you use salted butter eliminate the salt listed in the recipe.
  • Vanilla Bean – The seeds from a vanilla bean add the best vanilla flavor. You can use a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you can’t get a vanilla bean.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar – When I created my Crisp Lemon Thin Cookies I tested that recipe using both powdered and granulated sugar. Granulated sugar did make an acceptable cookie, but they didn’t stay crisp as long as cookies made with powdered sugar. In a pinch, you can use granulated sugar.

Process Photos

See the recipe card for detailed measurements and instructions.

a knife with vanilla bean seeds on the tip.
  • Split the vanilla bean and use the tip of a small knife to scrape out the seeds.
butter, sugar, egg and flour in a mixing bowl.
  • Cream together the sugar, butter and vanilla seeds. Whip until light and aerated.
  • Add the egg and mix to combine.
  • Add the flour and mix to combine.
  • Use a small cookie scoop or scant tablespoon to form the cookies.
vanilla wafers on a baking pan before and after baking.
  • Line the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Parchment paper is the best surface for baking these cookies. The paper allows the cookies to spread perfectly as they bake.
  • Bake until the edges are lightly browned and the center is barely set.


Vanilla wafers keep in a tightly sealed container for 2-3 days at room temperature. The baked cookies can be frozen. In fact, they taste quite nice straight from the freezer.

Recipe Tips

  • About 2-3 teaspoons of batter makes a perfectly sized cookie that can be baked 12 to a half sheet pan. Adjust the baking time and yield if you use a larger scoop and be sure to leave plenty of room for the batter to spread.
  • To work ahead you can refrigerate or freeze the cookie balls. Bring them completely to room temperature before baking. The batter may not spread quite as thin if it’s been chilled.
a stack of vanilla wafer cookies and a glass of milk.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a stack of vanilla wafers on a marble surface.
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Vanilla Wafers

A simple and perfect little cookie. Thin and crisp with iconic browned edges and a distinct vanilla flavor.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time9 minutes
Total Time39 minutes
24 cookies
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  • ½ vanilla bean (or 1 tsp extract)
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (room temperature, see note)
  • 6 oz confectioner sugar (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 5 oz all purpose flour (1 cup, see note)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (see note). Split ½ vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Save the pod to make vanilla sugar.
  • Cream 4 oz unsalted butter, 6 oz confectioner sugar and the vanilla seeds until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and beater thoroughly. Add 1 egg and mix until well combined. Scrape the bowl and beater thoroughly. Add ¼ tsp table salt and 5 oz all purpose flour and mix until incorporated.
  • Use a small cookie scoop or a scant tablespoon to scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between the cookies. They will spread as they bake so make sure to leave enough room.
  • Bake until the edges are golden brown and the middle of the cookies are set, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Slide the paper with the cookies onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  • Store at room temperature in a covered container.

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Room temperature butter is about 70F. The butter should be slightly soft and pliable, but not at all melty and greasy.
If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
Parchment paper is the best surface for these cookies to have just the right thickness and texture.


Serving: 1cookies | Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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