Gluten Free Waffle Cookies

Gluten Free Waffle Cookies

These gluten free waffle cookies are super crispy, crunchy, and buttery. No special equipment or ingredients needed!

Are these Pizzelles?

Over the years, many of you have asked me to develop a recipe for gluten free Pizzelle cookies, which are sweet Italian waffle cookies made with a distinct shape and pattern. I’ve always hesitated to say yes (even though I adore eating them!) because you absolutely have to purchase a special Pizzelle iron if you want to make that particular cookie.

I have plenty of gadgets and appliances in my kitchen that serve just a few purposes (hello, Air Fryer 👋🏻), but a Pizzelle iron seemed a bridge too far. It is so distinct that it only makes Pizzelles. 

So, are they stroopwafels?

No, they’re not! It seems to me that stroopwafels, the Norwegian treat made from two crispy waffled wafer cookies sandwiched around a delightful caramel filling, seem to be everywhere lately. Maybe it’s because Trader Joe’s sells those stroopwafel ice cream sandwiches.

But stroopwafels are made with yeast and have a deep dark color that they get from a generous amount of molasses in the dough. These crispy waffle wafers are light and crispy and intensely buttery, but not deep, dark and rich like (I imagine) stroopwafels (to be). (I’ve never even had a stroopwafel!)

These gluten free waffle cookies are super crispy, crunchy, and buttery. No special equipment or ingredients needed!

How to make the waffle marks

Cooking the dough in a traditional waffle iron like you would classic, fluffy gluten free waffles was not an option. It would require a thicker dough, or the iron would overcook the dough very quickly. But if you have a grid-style wire cooling rack, you can make the waffle marks very easily. 

I happen to have nonstick wire cooling racks (affiliate link—feel free to shop around!). As long as the rack you have is grid-style, and not just one parallel set of lines, try spraying it with cooking oil spray and it should work just fine.

The rack will pull right off of the rolled-out dough as long as you hold the parchment paper down with one hand, and slowly pull the rack off with the other. Then, all that’s left to do is brush the dough with a bit more melted butter, and place it in the oven. 

Score the dough right out of the oven

This simple cookie dough (made with little more than flour, baking powder, salt, butter, and water) is pliable and soft when it first comes out of the oven. The easiest way to cut rounds out of the dough is to score the dough after about 12 minutes in the oven when it is still soft.

To brown the cookies a bit more, return them to the oven for about another 3 minutes. Then, let the cookies cool completely, undisturbed. Once they’re cool, the dough will be very crispy and you can break out the rounds. 

The dough must be rolled quite thin for it to crisp properly after it cools. It’s too fragile to cut shapes out before it’s baked. I just break up the scraps and store them in a mason jar, and my kids help themselves throughout the day. 

What else can you do with this cookie dough?

If you skip the waffle marks (or simply make them very shallow so the cookies don’t tear along any of the perforations), I think you could cut larger circles and bend these cookies into ice cream cones. Just be sure to work with the dough while it’s still hot. 

Similar to Pizzelle cookies, you could almost certainly make these into a baked cannoli shell. I’m dying to try that next. You need thick skin (literally, not figuratively), though, since you’ll have to handle the dough while it’s hot. 

You can always use this cookie dough for its original purpose: layered with milk chocolate, as gluten free Kit Kat bars. That was the only way my son was ever going to taste that perfect chocolate candy!

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: I haven’t tried this recipe with anything other than dairy butter, but I think you might be able to substitute Melt brand vegan butter. The right moisture balance is crucial since it’s such a simple recipe that comes out of the oven soft and then crisps completely as it cools. 

You might also try using 4 tablespoons (56 g) Earth Balance buttery sticks and 5 tablespoons (60 g) Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. For the butter that you brush on top of the dough right before baking, I’d use Earth Balance buttery sticks.  

Sugar: The granulated sugar in these cookies is a large part of what makes them crisp and airy. If you’d like to try using a sugar replacement, I’d recommend Swerve granulated sugar replacement. 


These gluten free waffle cookies are super crispy, crunchy, and buttery. No special equipment or ingredients needed!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 to 15 cookies


1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour, plus more for sprinkling (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups (200 g) granulated sugar

11 tablespoons (154 g) unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) lukewarm water, plus more if necessary


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine. Add 8 tablespoons (112 g) of the melted butter, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water to the bowl, and mix to combine. The dough will come together and be soft. If you’ve used a higher starch flour blend, the dough may be stiff. If it is, add more water by the half-teaspoonful and mix until the proper texture is reached.

  • Divide the dough into thirds and place one piece on a large sheet of unbleached parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and pat it into a thick rectangle. Dust lightly with more flour and roll the dough into a rough rectangle that’s a bit more than 1/8-inch thick (no thinner), sprinkling lightly with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Press a nonstick grid-pattern wire cooling rack firmly onto the top of the rolled out dough to create a grid pattern on the dough. Hold down the parchment paper with one hand, and slowly peel away the cooling rack with the other hand. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the dough generously with some of the remaining melted butter.

  • Place the rectangle of dough, still on the parchment paper, flat on a half sheet pan. Have a large, round, metal cookie cutter (I used a plain 3 5/8-inch cutter made by Ateco, but even a metal mason jar lid will work) ready to score the dough as soon as it comes out of the oven. Place the dough in the center of the preheated oven and bake until very pale golden all over, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, and immediately use the cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as possible into the dough. Twist the cutter a bit to cut all the way through the dough, but leave the dough otherwise undisturbed. Return the baking tray to the oven for another 3 minutes or until the top is more evenly lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before breaking away the scored cookie rounds from the surrounding cookie. Crumble the scraps and use as an ice cream topper or crush completely into crumbs and use in a graham cracker-style cookie crust. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough in turn.

  • Adapted from this recipe for homemade gluten free Kit Kats.


Comments are closed.

  • Jennifer S.
    June 25, 2019 at 1:41 PM

    These look great! do you think they are sorta close to feuilletine? I’ve been trying to find a GF recipe for feuiletine to use as a crunch layer in cakes… no luck so far….

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 25, 2019 at 2:46 PM

      Hi, Jennifer, I had never heard of feuilletine, so I looked it up and I have two things to say: first of all, where has that delicious crunchy stuff been all my life. Second, I think this would work great as a stand-in for feuilletine!

  • Brenda L. Jones
    June 25, 2019 at 12:55 AM

    Hi Nicole,
    Can these be made in a purple iron?

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 25, 2019 at 9:25 AM

      Hi, Brenda,
      I’m assuming “purple” is a really amusing typo, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what you meant! You can’t use a regular waffle iron, as I explain in the post, but if you mean a waffle cone maker that has shallow wells, then I think it might be perfect. Hope that’s helpful!

  • Carol Hassler
    June 24, 2019 at 9:38 AM

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ve been wracking my brain for something like this. I do have a question about an unrelated subject. Been baking gluten free for a few years. I find that I don’t like the flavor imparted from non-fat milk powder. Do you have a substitute for this?

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 24, 2019 at 11:44 AM

      Hi, Carol, it really depends upon the recipe. Sometimes, you can use buttermilk powder in place of nonfat dry milk, or even coconut milk powder. It’s really hard for me to guess in the abstract though, so that’s the best I can do!

  • Yasmeen
    June 23, 2019 at 8:56 PM

    Many thanks for your reply Nicole.. I’ll give the flax gel a try :)

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 24, 2019 at 8:18 AM

      You’re very welcome, Yasmeen. If you’re willing to make flax gel, it’s a good bet!

  • Michele jamison
    June 23, 2019 at 4:25 PM

    Can I use this dough in a waffle cone maker?

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 23, 2019 at 5:03 PM

      I bet you could, Michele! I don’t have a waffle cone maker, but if it has shallow wells, then I think it might be perfect. Let me know if you give it a try!

  • Pauline May
    June 23, 2019 at 9:40 AM

    I really can’t wait to try these! Maybe I’ll shape into bowls. But the possibilities sound fun. Maybe drizzle the cookies with chocolate. Thx!

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 23, 2019 at 5:04 PM

      Bowls would be great, Pauline! I’ve been able to shape the dough, just out of the oven, into a cone shape and into a cannoli shell shape. Just work with it when it’s still very warm!

  • Suzie Ryan
    June 23, 2019 at 8:25 AM

    Can I use almond flour instead of “gluten free”- husband is allergic to xanthum gum. 😖

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 23, 2019 at 5:02 PM

      I’m afraid almond flour is not an all purpose gluten free flour, Suzie, and cannot be used to substitute for one. You can try using guar gum in place of xanthan gum!

  • Yasmeen
    June 23, 2019 at 6:47 AM

    Hi Nicole, thanks for providing a great resource of gf recipes :) I unfortunately can’t use eggs as well.
    I was wondering if I can use flax eggs in your flourless chocolate/pb cupcake or the paleo muffin.
    I apologize for commenting here but the comment section was closed in those 2 recipes😅

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 23, 2019 at 5:01 PM

      Hi, Yasmeen,
      In any recipe that has no more than 2 eggs, you can try using a flax egg (which I only really recommend if you actually boil the flax seeds and then strain them out, or the taste is very strong) or a chia egg, but I’m afraid I can’t promise results!

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