These tasty little cookies can contribute to a wide range of recipes.

Ah, vanilla wafers. These mildly sweet, buttery cookies often end up being overlooked for flashier cookie counterparts like chocolate chip or Oreos. While they're great on their own, vanilla wafers also lend themselves to a lot of recipes. From decadent desserts to perfectly set puddings, you'll find yourself reaching for vanilla wafers more often once you try these recipes.

1. Crushed Crusts

Vanilla wafers make a crispy crust that's perfect for many baked goods. The wafers need to be finely crushed before being combined with butter to make a simple two-ingredient crust. You can make this Vanilla Wafer Crust recipe, and pair it with your favorite pie filling. Or choose cheesecake and bake up a decadent Chocolate Turtles (R) version. You can also make a bite-size dessert by whipping up a batch of Mini Cheesecakes with Vanilla Wafers.

Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes
Credit: Magda

2. Classic Cakes

Using vanilla wafers for decorating cakes and cupcakes is an easy method to adorn baked goods. Standard vanilla cupcakes are transformed in this Christmas Reindeer recipe that utilizes wafers as muzzles, but you don't have to use them strictly for decorative purposes. By substituting a portion of flour with crushed vanilla wafers, you'll end up with a rich and dense cake that is unlike anything you've baked before. This Vanilla Wafer Cake includes chopped pecans and flaked coconut for a dessert full of flavors and texture.

Orange Balls
Credit: SunnyDaysNora

3. No-Bake Bites

Forget about turning on your oven with these easy no-bake desserts. Bite-sized dessert balls make for easy finger foods to serve guests. In these, vanilla wafers are combined with confectioners' sugar and other ingredients to make a unique sweet. Go the citrus route with a batch of Orange Balls, or get a little boozy with Rum Cookie Balls. Everyone's favorite holiday dessert to love (or love to hate) can also be made with vanilla wafers. Our No Bake Fruitcake recipe from Ann Hammock uses the cookies as a flour replacement.

Southern-Style Baked Banana Pudding
Credit: crys

4. Perfect Puddings

Perhaps the most prominent use of vanilla wafers is in banana pudding. The cookies get perfectly soft, but still lend a great texture to the dish. There are a few ways to make banana pudding with vanilla wafers: You can choose Southern-Style Baked Banana Pudding, which features a meringue topping. Or if you're tight on time and don't want to fiddle with the oven, Uncooked Banana Pudding is a great option. And if you're feeling extra decadent, try Chocolate Covered Banana Pie with a layer of fluffy chocolate tucked inside.

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