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Stroopwafel Vs. Pizzelle

Stroopwafel Vs. Pizzelle

Stroopwafels and pizzelles are two delightful traditional cookie treats with crispy, wafer-like textures. While both share some similarities, like being made from flour, eggs, butter and sugar, they have distinct origins, ingredients, flavors and shapes that set them apart.

History and Origins

The stroopwafel originated in the late 18th or early 19th century in the Netherlands. The name “stroopwafel” comes from the Dutch words “stroop”, meaning syrup, and “wafel”, meaning waffle. This refers to their construction of two thin waffle-like wafers sandwiching a sweet syrup filling in between.

Stroopwafels were first made in the Dutch city of Gouda, which was known for the production of syrups and jams. The combination of leftover bread crumbs or dough with syrup created an inexpensive treat that could be easily made at home. Their popularity spread across the Netherlands and today they are considered a national treasure and cultural icon of Dutch cuisine.

Pizzelles, on the other hand, trace their origins to Italy. They are a type of traditional Italian waffle cookie made by cooking a batter between two hot iron plates that imprint a snowflake, floral or lattice pattern onto the thin, crisp cookies. Pizzelles likely developed from the need to use up eggs, butter and flour once Lent was over.

The name comes from the Italian word “pizze” meaning round and flat. As Italian immigrants came to America in the 19th and 20th centuries, they brought pizzelle irons and recipes with them. Pizzelles became especially popular for holidays like Christmas and Easter within Italian-American communities.

So while stroopwafels represent a sweet Dutch treat, pizzelles have their roots in Italian culture and cuisine. Their different places of origin impacted the traditions and techniques used to make each.


The ingredients used to make stroopwafels and pizzelles also showcase their distinct origins and flavors.

Stroopwafel wafers use:

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder

The caramel stroopwafel filling calls for:

  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Vanilla extract

This combination creates a cookie with a pleasant butteriness from the wafer ingredients balanced by the sweet, rich caramel filling.

Pizzelle ingredients stick to the basics:

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder

Some pizzelle recipes also include:

  • Anise extract
  • Almond extract
  • Lemon zest

Rather than a filling, pizzelles achieve their flavor from the cookie dough alone. The subtle vanilla, anise or almond notes allow the delicate texture to shine.

So while both cookies share base ingredients like flour, butter and eggs, their distinguishing fillings and flavors connect back to their origins. Stroopwafels highlight caramel while pizzelles embrace delicate spice and citrus flavors.

Texture and Flavor

The different ingredients impact the final textures and flavors of stroopwafels and pizzelles.

Stroopwafels consist of two thin, crispy wafers on the outside sandwiching a soft, gooey caramel filling. The wafer cookies have a subtle butter and vanilla flavor that pairs nicely with the sweetness of the caramel center. Their flavor profile is caramel-forward with a hint of butteriness.

The combination of crisp exterior and chewy interior provides an enjoyable contrast of textures. The thin wafers also mean that stroopwafels are portion-controlled, as you consume the caramel filling in just a bite or two. Their construction makes them perfect for dunking in coffee or tea.

Pizzelles, on the other hand, are single thin, crisp cookies with no filling. Their texture is incredibly light, delicate and lace-like. The imprinted pattern gives them visual appeal and a satisfying crunch with each bite. Rather than thick, crunchy wafers, pizzelles almost melt-in-your-mouth.

The flavor is also more restrained than a stroopwafel. Pizzelles have a subtle sweetness accented by vanilla, anise or almond notes. Some are flavored predominantly with vanilla while others embrace the anise or almond more strongly. But in general, pizzelles allow their delicate texture to take the spotlight over bold flavors.

Shapes and Sizes

In addition to different textures and flavors, stroopwafels and pizzelles have their own distinctive shapes and sizes.

Stroopwafels are made of two round, flat wafers pressed together to encompass the syrup filling in the center. Traditional Dutch stroopwafels have a slightly indented and thick edge, almost like a bicycle tire. This helps keep the filling from oozing out the sides.

They range in diameter from about 2 to 5 inches, with 3-4 inches being most typical. Since they consist of two wafers with filling between, stroopwafels are usually around 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Their round, flat shape makes them perfect for dunking.

Pizzelles can come in a variety of shapes depending on the imprint of the iron mold. Traditional pizzelle irons press patterns into the cookies to give them visual flair. Common shapes include rounds, ovals, snowflakes, flowers and lattice or waffle patterns.

Since they are a single flat wafer, pizzelles are quite thin, usually less than 1/4 inch. Their diameter ranges from 2-3 inches on average. The variety of imprinted shapes and patterns distinguish pizzelles from the consistently round stroopwafel.

Preparation and Cooking

Preparing and cooking stroopwafels and pizzelles utilizes some similar techniques that reflect their wafer-like textures, as well as unique approaches.

Stroopwafels start with two separate wafer batters being pressed in a hot waffle iron to cook and set their shape. After cooking, the wafers are removed and allowed to cool completely before assembling the stroopwafel. The filling is made by cooking down ingredients like brown sugar, butter and cream to reach a caramel consistency. Once cooled slightly, the syrup is spread evenly on one wafer before topping with the second.

For the traditional dunking experience, completed stroopwafels may get briefly warmed or toasted before serving. This enhances the contrast of the crispy exterior and soft interior.

Pizzelle batter takes a more direct path from iron to finished cookie. The batter is spooned onto a hot pizzelle iron that imprints the design and cooks the cookie in one step. The thin batter spreads evenly before the iron is closed and the heat crisps the pizzelle. Once cooked, the pizzelle is removed and additional ones are quickly baked while the iron stays hot.

So stroopwafels take a bit more assembly with filling the center, while pizzelles go right from batter to iron to finished cookie. But both utilize specialty irons to create their signature wafer textures.

Pairings and Serving

Enjoying stroopwafels and pizzelles often means pairing them with complimentary foods and beverages.

Stroopwafels are frequently dunked in coffee or tea. The combination of the crisp, buttery wafers and indulgent caramel filling pairs nicely with a hot drink. The warmth slightly softens the caramel for the ideal dunking experience. They also pair well with milk.

Pizzelles are enjoyed year round, but are especially popular for holidays. Their light, crisp texture makes them a great accompaniment to seasonal sweets like gelato and ice cream. Sprinkling pizzelles with powdered sugar adds a nice sweet counterpoint to the subtle flavor. They also pair nicely with coffee, tea, or dessert wines.

For an innovative take, some sandwich pizzelles with cannoli cream, chocolate spreads, or jam. The anise flavor also makes pizzelles a good complement to fruit, cheese and charcuterie platters.

So stroopwafels tend to accompany hot beverages, while pizzelles lend themselves to both wine and creative culinary pairings. Both shine on their own as snacks too.


When comparing nutritional values, pizzelles tend to be lighter than stroopwafels.

A traditional two-inch diameter stroopwafel contains around 140 calories. Much of this comes from sugar in the syrupy filling as well as the butter in the wafers. They contain approximately:

  • 140 calories
  • 17g carbohydrates
  • 6g fat
  • 2g protein

So while delicious, stroopwafels are an indulgent treat best enjoyed in moderation due to their high sugar content.

Pizzelles have fewer calories and fat since they do not contain filling. A three-inch pizzelle averages:

  • 30-50 calories
  • 3-8g carbohydrates
  • 1-3g fat
  • 1g protein

Their thin, crisp nature makes them lighter than the dense stroopwafel wafers. For those monitoring sugar, the simple dough also contains less than stroopwafel filling. So pizzelles can be enjoyed moderately without as much guilt!

Popularity and Availability

While both stroopwafels and pizzelles have spread beyond their original regions, stroopwafels have recently exploded in international popularity.

As a beloved Dutch treat, stroopwafels have long been available in the Netherlands and some neighboring European countries. However, increasing globalization has now made them accessible worldwide. Stroopwafels can be found at large grocery store chains, speciality food shops, farmer’s markets and online retailers in many countries.

Big brands like Rip Van Wafels and Daelmans have ramped up stroopwafel production and distribution to meet growing worldwide demand. Coffee chains like Starbucks have even put stroopwafels on the menu as the perfect accompaniment to coffee.

In contrast, pizzelles remain most popular within Italian immigrant communities, especially in America and parts of Europe. They frequently appear at Italian bakeries and grocers, but haven’t achieved the same mainstream availability as stroopwafels. However, some online Italian food retailers offer international shipping on pizzelles.

So while pizzelles have a more limited market, stroopwafels have broken boundaries to become globally beloved cookies. Their growth shows no signs of slowing.


In the cookie world, stroopwafels and pizzelles both hold cult status. While sharing some attributes like a crispy, wafer-like texture, their differences illustrate two delightful and distinct cookie traditions.

Stroopwafels represent a sweet Dutch treat with caramel taking center stage. Their indulgent filling sandwiched between thin, gently-flavored wafers creates an ideal balance. Pizzelles symbolize the delicate, lace-like cookies of Italian heritage. Their light crispness lets subtle flavors shine through imprinted patterns and shapes.

Whether enjoying the rich caramel goodness of a stroopwafel with coffee or the floral hint of a pizzelle with wine, both cookies provide joy through their textural pleasures and cultural connections. So for cookie lovers seeking new crispy delights, be sure to add both stroopwafels and pizzelles to your must-try list!


What is the difference between a stroopwafel and a pizzelle?

The main difference is that stroopwafels consist of two wafers with caramel syrup filling in between, while pizzelles are a single thin, crisp cookie, often with an imprinted pattern but no filling. Stroopwafels also originally hail from the Netherlands, while pizzelles come from Italy.

Are stroopwafels better than pizzelles?

It depends on personal taste! Those who enjoy rich, caramel flavors will likely prefer a stroopwafel. For a more subtle, delicate cookie experience, pizzelles are perfect.

Where can I find stroopwafels and pizzelles?

Stroopwafels can now be found in grocery stores, specialty shops, farmer’s markets and online retailers in many countries beyond the Netherlands thanks to their surge in popularity. Pizzelles remain most common in Italian bakeries and grocers, primarily in America and Europe, but specialty online Italian food shops also offer worldwide shipping.

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