If you love vanilla wafers, aka nilla wafers, I am excited to share my new gluten-free vanilla wafers cookies recipe. They have all that sweet buttery vanilla flavor you love, with a delicious crispness you don’t often find in gluten-free cookies! You will love how easy this recipe is to make in under 30 minutes.

The top view of a bowl of gluten free vanilla wafer cookies.

If you have wanted to make homemade vanilla wafer cookies to top your Gluten Free Banana Cream Pie or pudding, these are the cookies! They are seriously that good!!

This is one of those rare recipes where I used my standing mixer. I think the standing mixer really helped to incorporate the syrup into the cookie batter better. We are cookie fanatics. If you love cookies, don’t forget to check out my delicious Gluten Free Cookies recipes on the blog.

What sets my recipe apart:

  • These delicious gluten free nilla wafers are the perfect combination of crispy and soft.
  • They are fun to make with the kids because you get to roll the dough with your hands.
  • These homemade nilla wafers taste like the real deal! They are full of vanilla flavor!
  • Make a batch in under 30 minutes, from start to finish!

Allergen Information:

These vanilla cookies are gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and oat-free.

Substitutions:

  • To make this dairy-free, use plant-based butter.
  • One reader told me she substituted the corn syrup for tapioca syrup, which still made the cookies crisp outside. Another reader wrote and let me know that agave with 1/2 teaspoon gelatin worked as a corn syrup substitute. (See the reader comment in the reader rave below for more details.)
  • Make this recipe egg-free by using Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer.

Reader Rave

Worked great! I made them corn-free as well by substituting light agave syrup instead of corn syrup and using Hain baking powder. Used homemade GF flour(rice, potato starch, tapioca flour) and added 1/2 tsp of gelatin and xanthan gum. The dough was not able to form into balls, but dropping a scant tsp on the pan worked great. Freckled (?) maybe because of light agave? Delicious!” Elisabeth G., Pinterest comment

Photos of the gluten free vanilla wafers ingredients.

Ingredient Notes:

You can also read about my favorite Cookie Making Equipment for more ideas.

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

A photo of steps one and two in the stand mixer.

Step 1: Attach the paddle attachment to a standing mixer. Add the wet ingredients and blend at low speed. Increase the speed to medium for 15 seconds, then turn it off.

Step 2: Add the dry ingredients in small amounts and mix quickly until incorporated. Be sure to turn off the mixer as you add more dry ingredients so they don’t fly all over the kitchen! I highly recommend using a sifter to sift out the lumps in the powdered sugar before adding it to the stand mixer.

Nilla wafers photos of steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: Your nilla wafer cookie batter should look like this photo.

📢 Sandi says: Every gluten-free flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio. The brand of gluten-free flour you use will affect the moisture of the batter. If your cake batter is too runny, add more flour, and if it is too thick, add more liquids.
Read Why Gluten-Free Flour Blends Vary to learn more about this.

Step 4: Form little cookie balls. Take spoonfuls of cookie dough and roll them with your hands into little balls. You don’t need to chill the batter for this recipe. Place the dough balls onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. You can also use gluten-free baking spray if you prefer. Note that PAM Baking Spray is NOT gluten free!

You can also pipe the dough into balls on a macaron sheet and press the cookie dough down with your fingers if you prefer.

Vanilla wafers photos of steps 5 and 6.

Step 5: Press each gluten-free nilla wafer down gently with your fingers to slightly flatten the cookies.

Step 6: Bake at 350º F for 10-11 minutes until the cookies are golden in color. The actual baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. Your cookies will be a light golden brown when they are finished baking.

Step 7: Remove and place on a wire rack for cooling.

You may also want to try this fun Gluten-Free Half Chocolate Half Vanilla Cookies recipe.

Why are my cookies flat, aka spread too much?

This is one of the most common questions I get from my readers. There are several reasons for flat cookies including:

  • Check to see how long you chilled your cookie dough. If you use partially melted or softened butter, you must chill it to prevent spreading.
  • How did you measure your flour? Measuring your flour accurately is important. I don’t often weigh my ingredients because every flour blend has a different weight, and my readers all use different gluten-free flour blends. I recommend using either the Spoon Method by using a spoon to add flour to the measuring cup. Use a knife to level along the top to remove the extra flour. Leveling Method by putting the measuring scoop into the flour and filling it with flour. Do not pack the flour. Use a knife to scrape along the top to remove the extra flour.
  • Every gluten-free flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio. This can affect the moisture levels in your cookie dough, resulting in flatter cookies. In this situation, you would need to add more flour.
  • Use a cooled cookie sheet when baking. Don’t take a hot cookie sheet and put the batter on it, or I promise the cookies won’t turn out. They start baking immediately, and it messes with their shape of them. Use a couple of sheets and rotate them out when making large batches of cookies.

Why do my gluten-free cookies taste gritty?

This grit you experience is from the rice flour in the gluten-free flour blend. Not all companies mill their flour extra fine. To eliminate the grit, I recommend letting the cookie dough rest for 15 minutes. This extra time will allow the rice flour to soften, eliminating the grit.

How do you make cookies the same size?

The best way to ensure your cookies are the same size and look uniform is to use a cookie scoop. I really like my XOXO brand medium-sized cookie scoop. It is the only scoop I have used that has lasted a long time and hasn’t broken. Check out all of my favorite gluten-free cookie tools.

For more cookie troubleshooting, read my Gluten-Free Cookie Troubleshooting Guide.

Storage/Freezing Instructions:

Store these gluten-free vanilla wafer cookies in an airtight container. Note, gluten-free doesn’t keep fresh as long as regular baked goods. This is because gluten-free has a lot fewer preservatives. I recommend freezing them in a large freezer bag if you are not eating or using them in the next day or two. To freeze the cookies, let them cool to room temperature, then place them into the freezer bag.

A cookie sheet with baked gluten free vanilla wafer cookies.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are vanilla wafers gluten free?

If you mean the Nabisco brand Vanilla Wafers, no, those are not gluten free. See below for the list of store-brands that are gluten-free.

What store brands of vanilla wafers are gluten-free?

Kinnikinnick is the best store-bought gluten-free vanilla wafer by far. Schar also makes pretty good ones. High-Key makes a keto version that is okay if you need to avoid sugars.

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This helps others know that this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A cookie sheet with baked gluten free vanilla wafer cookies.

Gluten Free Vanilla Wafers

Sandi Gaertner
These delicious homemade gluten free vanilla wafers are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, just like the real thing!
5 from 11 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cookies and Bar Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 86 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to blend.
  • In a standing mixer, add the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed and gradually increase the speed to medium. Whip for 15 seconds.
  • Turn the mixer off and add a little of the dry ingredients. Mix on low, turn it off and add more until you add in all of the dry ingredients.
  • Use your hands to roll the cookie dough into small balls. Drop each onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  • Press each cookie down slightly.
  • Bake 10 minutes until the cookies are golden.

Video

Notes

  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter.
  4. These cookies will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 86kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 50mgPotassium: 21mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 128IUCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

This post was updated from an older May 2021 post with more recipe details.

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14 Comments

    1. Hi Merry, I haven’t tested an egg replacement in this recipe. I would try the Bob’s Egg Replacer since it doesn’t have any flavor. If you try this, please let me know how it turns out.

    2. Made these using Pillsbury’s gluten free flour. The dough was wetter than what’s pictured, so I piped it, and they took longer to cook, but they were fabulous! They were absolutely perfect in dairy free banana pudding – they didn’t get mushy even after a couple of days. Thank you so much for the recipe! I’m about to go make some more!!

      1. That is interesting the dough was wetter. I haven’t tested that flour in this recipe. I am guessing you can add a little more flour, or continue as you are since they turned out delicious for you.

  1. 5 stars
    I made a banana pudding with these and it got rave reviews! It was great to be able to say I made it from total scratch, down to the nilla wafers!

  2. Being allergic to wheat (&cinnamon & Lactose intolerant) I’m now having to watch my Sugar & Carbs ( hopefully my Swerve Powdered Sugar will work ) ??? 🤗