These vanilla sandwich cookies are made with a buttery wafer base flecked with vanilla seeds and filled with delicious vanilla cream. Perfect for any cookie tray or holiday gathering, these vanilla cream-filled cookies positively melt in your mouth!
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Homemade vanilla sandwich cookies
While regular sugar cookies are amazing, these vanilla sandwich cookies take it up several notches. Flecked with real vanilla, then sandwiched together with a rich vanilla cream… what could be better?
Vanilla on vanilla might sound a bit plain, but trust me… this vanilla sandwich cookie recipe is anything but.
The vanilla wafers themselves are buttery and practically melt in your mouth. And the vanilla cream filling is incredibly fluffy and decadent.
Vanilla crème sandwich cookies are perfect for any holiday cookie platter and make delicious food gifts. Make them for parties or whenever you crave a vanilla cookie!
This is one of my favorite sandwich cookie recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand. My other favorites include these rosewater cookies, chocolate cookies with rose ganache, and this gingerbread Oreo recipe.
This is just an overview. For the full ingredient quantities, scroll to the printable recipe card near the end of this post.
- Vanilla beans: The cookies are loaded with vanilla! Real vanilla beans create a delicious bakery aroma and pretty specks everyone will love. For more tips and possible substitutions, check the FAQ section below.
- All-purpose flour: For the perfect cookies, you’ll need to use just the right amount of flour. Too much flour will make the dough dry and crumbly. For accurate measurements, use a digital scale. Otherwise, spoon and level the flour, but don’t scoop it out of the bag.
- Granulated sugar (white sugar) adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Butter: Be sure to use good-quality butter for the best flavor. I prefer European-style butter because it has the best aroma.
- Egg: You need 1 egg to hold the cookie dough together. Make sure the egg is at room temperature. If you forget to take the egg out ahead of time, place it in a bowl with warm water for 10 minutes.
- Salt: A pinch of salt balances out the sweetness and highlights the vanilla aroma.
- Optional: If desired, add 1/2 tsp bitter almond extract and/or the finely grated zest of an organic lemon or orange to the cookie dough.
- Butter: The butter needs to be at room temperature since cold butter doesn’t whip well.
- Powdered sugar (confectioners’/icing sugar) helps to create a smooth texture. Be sure to look for pure powdered sugar that doesn’t contain cornstarch. For the creamiest consistency, buy 10X or 14X powdered sugar.
- Vanilla pods: We need 2 more vanilla beans to give the filling plenty of delicious vanilla flavor.
Making sandwich cookies takes just a few more steps than making regular roll-out cookies. You’ll have an extra bowl to wash, but it’s worth it. Let’s walk through each step before you get started.
Make the vanilla wafers
- Cream the butter and sugar. Add the butter, granulated sugar, and scraped-out vanilla seeds to a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Using your hand or stand mixer, whip on high for 2 to 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
- Incorporate egg. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
- Make the dough. Add the all-purpose flour and salt. Mix on low until combined.
- Chill the dough. Lay down a sheet of plastic wrap/cling film on your work surface. Place the dough in the center of the plastic wrap/cling film and pat it into a square. Wrap up tightly and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare for baking. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. Line several cookie sheets (trays) with parchment paper (baking paper). Set aside.
- Roll the dough. Unwrap the cookie dough and place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper (baking paper). Gently roll the dough into a square that’s 1/4 in / 6 mm thick.
- Cut out cookies. Using a 2-in / 5 cm cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet (tray), leaving 1 in / 2 cm between each cookie. Repeat with the scraps until the dough is used up.
- Bake. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Cool. Let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the vanilla wafers to wire racks to cool completely.
Create the vanilla cream filling
- Whip buttercream. Add the softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean seeds to a large mixing bowl. Whip with a hand mixer until pale, fluffy, and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, mix the buttercream in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Transfer to a piping bag. Transfer the vanilla cream into a piping bag outfitted with a round or star piping tip.
Assemble the sandwich cookies
- Fill cookies. Flip half of the cookies over. Hold the piping bag directly above a cookie. Gently squeeze butter creme onto the cookie, leaving a 1/8 in / 3 mm border.
- Sandwich cookies. Top the cookie with another wafer. Gently push the cookie down to push the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with the reaming cookies.
Where can I find vanilla beans?
You can find vanilla beans in the spice or baking aisle in most supermarkets or online. Look for beans that appear plump and moist, never dry, cracked, or brittle.
How to use a fresh vanilla bean?
To use a vanilla bean, follow these easy steps:
- Cut the pod lengthwise in half.
- Open it up to expose the inside.
- Scrape out the tiny seeds with the back of your knife or a teaspoon.
- Stir the seeds into the dough or buttercream.
- Use the leftover vanilla pod to make vanilla sugar by placing the scraped-out pod into a jar filled with sugar.
Can I use vanilla extract?
Of course! Add 2 tsp vanilla extract to both the cookie dough and cream filling. It doesn’t matter if you use brown and clear vanilla extract. Both will work fine.
Can I use vanilla bean paste?
Absolutely! Vanilla bean paste is made with vanilla seeds and is the best substitute for vanilla beans. You’ll need 1 tsp for the cookie dough and another tsp for the vanilla creme filling.
- Room temperature ingredients. For the best results, bring cold ingredients (such as butter and eggs) to room temperature so they can easily be creamed and whipped. Take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before starting with the vanilla sandwich cookie recipe.
- Use real butter. Shortening or margarine perform differently in cookie recipes, and I only tested these vanilla sandwich cookies with real butter.
- Mixer. I recommend a mixer of some sort to ensure the ingredients are properly combined. I used a hand mixer, but you can also make the cookies and vanilla crème filling with a stand mixer.
- Rolling pin. I love this rolling pin because it’s sturdy and takes all the guesswork out of how thick the dough is. Plus, it includes a handy pastry mat!
- Cookie cutter. I like these round cookie cutters. The set comes in 7 different sizes, and the cutters have plain edges on one side and scalloped on the other. I’ve used them to bake countless cookies, and they hold up well.
- Plain: If you rather have just vanilla sugar cookies, omit the vanilla creme filling and skip sandwiching the cookies.
- Different filling: Another idea is to stuff the cookies with your favorite jam, jelly, marmalade, or preserve. Raspberry jam, black currant jelly, orange marmalade, lemon curd, or dulce de leche are tasty alternatives.
- Dipped: Melt some chocolate and cover part of the cookie in it. My preferred chocolate is milk or white chocolate, but semi-sweet or dark chocolate is fantastic, too. I also like to add sprinkles to the chocolate-dipped side.
- Other shapes: Feel free to use any cookie cutter you have and like. Stars or hearts would look lovely, too. Just keep in mind that the baking time I’ve listed is for this specific cookie size and may vary if using smaller/larger cookie cutters.
Chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies
The best variation is chocolate vanilla sandwich cookies. You can use your favorite chocolate buttercream or try my easy chocolate ganache. Here’s how to make it:
- Add 1 1/3 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup heavy cream into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Warm in the microwave set to medium in 30-second bursts until the chocolate has melted. Stir between each heating.
- Stir until a smooth, thick sauce forms.
- Transfer the chocolate ganache into a piping bag.
- Fill and sandwich the cookies as instructed in the recipe.
- Wait until the ganache is set. Your vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies are ready!
Storage & make-ahead
Making vanilla cream cookies ahead of time
Yes, not only can you make cream-filled sand which cookies ahead of time, but the vanilla cookie dough and sandwich cookie filling can also be prepared in advance and frozen.
Unbaked cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Be sure to wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap/cling film.
To freeze the cookies, roll out the dough and cut out cookies. Arrange on a lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 to 2 hours, until the cut-out, unbaked cookies are frozen solid.
Then transfer the frozen cookies to a freezer bag or airtight freezer container, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Storing vanilla wafer sandwich cookies
Store vanilla cookie sandwiches in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the fridge for 1 week.
Freezing cream-filled cookies
Baked vanilla wafers (without the vanilla cream) can be frozen for up to 3 months, or 1 month with filling.
Carefully arrange cooled vanilla cream cookies in an airtight freezer container, place parchment/baking paper sheets between layers, label the container, and freeze.
Thaw in the fridge before eating.