Gluten-Free “Nilla” Wafers

I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome of this recipe! I had been playing around with various gluten-free recipes for copycat Nilla Wafers, but was never all that impressed with the results. I had actually given up trying for a while until Sam’s teacher sent home the Friday Fun Snack recipe of the week. The kids were going to be making “Bear Bagels.” There is nothing like the pressure I put on myself to make Sam feel “normal” at school to rev up my stubborn determination to “get it right!”

I recently bought one of Todd Wilbur‘s cookbooks, “Even More Top Secret Recipes,” and inside was a recipe for homemade Nilla Wafers. I made a few GF tweaks and went for it. Absolutely amazing results! Outside of the fact that they do not look like a carbon copy of Nabsico’s Nilla Wafers (I lack the machine to replicate the precise uniformity!), the taste is SPOT ON!

I was wondering how I was going to give everyone the recipe without violating a copyright, but after a little searching on the internet, I found the EXACT same recipe on another website that I can link to! 🙂 I found the following recipe on

Since I still do not have an “About Me” or an “About this Blog” page published (I am working on it), I thought I would re-mention how I get the recipes that I post. I am not a recipe creator, but rather a recipe “recycler”. I rarely find my recipes on gluten-free websites or in gluten-free cookbooks, not because there aren’t some really great recipes out there, because there are! Before my celiac diagnosis, I had well over a hundred “regular” cookbooks which I impulsively gave away. I mistakenly assumed I could never use them again, which is just not true. Once I learned the basics of cooking gluten-free, I was then able to figure out how to convert gluten recipes to be gluten-free.

My hope is to help others save some money (by not disposing of your “regular” cookbook collection!), and some time (I can literally spend weeks researching and testing different recipes for one particular item, but I am fascinated by the research and I love to experiment… but that is not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea!).

I also really want to help those who are newly diagnosed or those who may be stuck in the denial/depression phase of a celiac diagnosis, which I understand all too well. I was stuck in the land of denial for 3 years and harmed myself greatly because of it. I know how much missing a particular food can lead one to consider “cheating,” and I was a MAJOR cheater (but I was also devoid of all the “classic” GI symptoms. So consider yourself “lucky” if you experience a reaction to gluten. It is kind of like a physical guide to keep you safe and healthy and out of the land of denial!).

Fast forward to today… just knowing that I can have whatever I want, (if I am willing to make it) has done so much in terms of getting me to a place of acceptance for my new normal. Now I just need to help my son stay in his place of acceptance as he goes on his journey of growing up gluten-free in a “Lunchable” land (I couldn’t resist the twist on Adam Sandler’s “Lunchlady Land”). Kindergarten can be a harsh place to be different. So if you have a kiddo who is having a hard time with not getting “hot lunch,” like mine is, maybe this video will help!

Whoa, how was that for an ADD tangent?!! 😀

The format for the majority of my recipes (just in case you happen to be a new visitor) is the original gluten containing recipe is in black and my GF tweaks and suggestions are in red. I will always link to the original recipe and give full credit (which is why I even brought up Todd Wilbur’s book instead of just linking to Recipe Goldmine because people that can create recipes, deserve the full credit for them! It is just nearly impossible for me to show you how I do things without the original recipe posted on my blog.

Gluten-Free Nilla Wafers

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (I used 365 Organics Powdered Sugar which is corn-free. Click here to see a picture in an older post of mine)
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Shortening (I used Spectrum Shortening which is non-hydrogenated)
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups Cake Flour (See below for instructions on how to make your own GF Cake Flour)
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbs. Water

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees F. (I used my convection oven set to 325° F.).
  • Cream together sugars, shortening, egg, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the flour and baking powder.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of water and continue mixing until dough forms a ball.
  • Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls and flatten slightly onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. (I made mine smaller, about 1/2-inch. I flattened the cookie with the bottom of a glass (be sure it has a smooth bottom… I use a wine glass! 😉 ), then I pressed the edges down slightly to get that “domed” effect).
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until cookies are light brown. (Since all ovens are different, I recommend starting at 10 minutes, then check each minute thereafter for doneness. I pulled mine out of the oven after 15 minutes).

Makes 50 to 56 cookies.

Gluten-Free Cake Flour (I got this recipe from

  • To make a cup of (Gluten-Free) Cake Flour, first place two level tablespoonfuls of Corn Starch (or Arrowroot Powder if you need to avoid corn) in a cup and finish filling with regular Bread Flour (use your favorite Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend that has the Xanthan gum already added. I used Better Batter Gluten Free Flour). This makes the equivalent of one cup of unsifted Cake Flour. Then this should be sifted together three times before using in the mixture.

Pinch off little globs of cookie dough…

Roll the cookie dough globs into balls…

Press the cookie dough balls flat with the bottom of a glass…

I pressed my cookie dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.

Don’t be surprised if the cookie dough sticks to the bottom of the glass. If you use Better Batter GF Flour though, you can pull it right off, just like “normal” cookie dough! 🙂

I pressed the edges down with my fingertip to try and achieve the same look as the real Nilla Wafers.

They may not look exactly like a real Nilla Wafer, but to everyone I gave a sample to (even glutenators!) they tasted just like them!!

Just for kicks I had to assemble some GF Nilla Banana Pudding. Normally I make my own vanilla pudding, but I used the Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding in this photo because the artificial coloring in the mix helped distinguish the pudding from the cookies in my picture! 😀 I also used Cool Whip, another Kraft product (I will admit it, I like Cool Whip, even more than I like homemade whipped cream… shameful, I know!). For Kraft’s Gluten-Free Policy, click here.

I am testing several “make your own Cool Whip” recipes at the moment (to get away from the hydrogenated oil and corn syrup that is in Cool Whip, and also to see if I can find a recipe that can be easily tweaked to be dairy-free. Wish me luck!

8 Responses

  1. Whooohoooo! You are amazing! I used to love Nilla Wafers (and the annual summer dessert of banana pudding)…. I can’t wait to try this one out!

  2. Heidi, You are so adventuresome. I will have to give them a try…..they look better than Nabisco’s and I am sure taste better too.
    You keep up the great work. I am always anxious to see what is new on your blog. I wish I had a little more ADD in my blood, but seem to have the opposite.

  3. Cannot wait to try out this recipe.. it looks so delicious with the pudding!!

  4. Mmm … those look so good. Looking forward to making them myself.

  5. […] A few weeks ago, Sam’s Friday Fun Snack at school was making “Bear Bagels.”  The kiddos were using 2 bagels of different sizes, a large bagel and a mini bagel, to assemble a bear face.  I got the recipe with only a 3 day notice, so I did not have time to order any more bagels from Joan’s Great Bakes without paying an overnight shipping charge, and even I have to draw the line somewhere!   So, I had 2 whole days to figure out how to make homemade GF bagels and GF “Nilla” wafers! […]

  6. […] delirious from making 1,000 gluten-free Goldfish Crackers (Kindergarten class project), plus some gluten-free “Nilla Wafers” and sugar cookies for Sam’s Friday Fun Snack (they are building “Cat In The Hat” […]

  7. You are amazing. I am just in awe of you and there is no way I’d ever be abel to keep up. LOL. My list of things to try is so long now.

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