16 Things to Do With Nilla Wafers

From Banana Pudding to Cheesecake Crusts

Banana pudding in individual dessert dishes.
Diana Rattray

Eating Nilla Wafers on their own is great, but making totally new desserts using them is even better. You may want to buy a few extra boxes next time you're at the grocery store to make more than one of these excellent and creative recipes.

  • 01 of 16

    Acorn Cookies

    Candy acorn recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    These adorable acorn-shaped cookies use Hershey's Kisses, Nilla Wafers, and chocolate chips to "glue" the two together. They make a great party favor or classroom treat and a fun activity to do with the kids in the fall. Mix it up by using different flavored chips or cookies.

  • 02 of 16

    Vanilla Wafer Cake

    vanilla wafer cake with butter pecan glaze

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Use crushed vanilla wafer cookies instead of flour to make this creative cake that tastes similar to pound cake. Pecans add nutty flavor and using dark brown sugar in the glaze gives it a richer, sweeter note.

  • 03 of 16

    Nilla Wafer Crust

    No-Bake Pumpkin Butter Pie

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    You can make a tasty crust for cheesecake, no-bake pie, or ice cream pie using vanilla wafers. Use it in place of a graham cracker crust for a sweeter, more vanilla-forward flavor. It tastes especially great with pumpkin pie.

  • 04 of 16

    Mini Cheesecakes With Cookie Crust

    Mini Cheesecakes With Vanilla Wafer Crust

    The Spruce / Jolinda Hackett

    Make these adorable miniature cheesecakes using a vanilla wafer crust for even more sweetness than traditional graham crackers. They bake in a muffin tin and work great as a light dessert or snack. Top them with a fruity glaze for delicious contrast.

    Continue to 5 of 16 below.
  • 05 of 16

    Easy Banana Pudding

    Banana pudding in individual dessert dishes.

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    This shortcut banana pudding uses prepared whipped topping and instant vanilla pudding as well as lemon juice and bananas for a fresh, tropical flavor. It works great for a busy day or when you need a last-minute dessert. If possible, build it in a trifle bowl or clear glass cups so you can see the pretty layers.

  • 06 of 16

    No-Bake Orange Balls

    No-Bake Orange Balls

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    For a sweet, unique treat, try these orange ball cookies that use a similar technique to rum balls. Crush the vanilla wafers nice and fine for the right texture,and serve them chilled so they don't get mushy. They taste best when made a day ahead to give the flavors time to meld, so plan accordingly.

  • 07 of 16

    Chocolate Delight Dessert

    Chocolate Delight Layered Pudding Dessert

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    This layered dessert uses pudding, graham crackers or vanilla wafers, cream cheese, and whipped topping for a delightful treat that kids and adults alike will love. It also lends itself well to variation, so feel free to experiment with different pudding flavors, adding nuts, or making the crust out of different cookies.

  • 08 of 16

    Banana Pudding Cake

    Banana Pudding Cake

     Kristina Vanni

    This banana pudding cake is made up of delicious layers; the moist cake made with mashed banana is covered with a sweet vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, and whipped cream. The vanilla wafers are the finishing touch, crushed up and added to the top for a nice crunch.

    Continue to 9 of 16 below.
  • 09 of 16

    Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Pie

    sweet potato cream cheese pie

     Diana Rattray

    A vanilla wafer crust complements this autumnal pie perfectly. The cream cheese, sweet potato, and spiced filling has a texture similar to cheesecake but with a fall twist. It comes out very rich, so serve it in small slices, perhaps with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

  • 10 of 16

    Classic Gingerbread House

    gingerbread house

    Leat Maroney


    Nilla wafers make great decorations for your classic gingerbread house. Try using them for windows or doors, shingles on larger houses, shutters, or any other element you can imagine. The only limit is what you can come up with!

  • 11 of 16

    Banana Pudding Pie

    Banana Cream Pie
    Alexandra Grablewski/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Use vanilla wafers for the crust on this banana pudding pie for a combination that tastes similar to a banana trifle. Sprinkle some extra crumbled wafers on top for additional crunch. You can also use a prepared graham cracker crust, for a faster preparation.

  • 12 of 16

    Pumpkin Dip With Vanilla Wafers

    Pumpkin Dip

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni 

    Vanilla wafers make the perfect dippers for this creamy spread that tastes like a fluffier version of pumpkin pie filling mixed with candy corn. If you don't care for candy corn, use roughly chopped leftover Halloween candy, caramels, or even caramel popcorn.

    Continue to 13 of 16 below.
  • 13 of 16

    Mini Cheesecakes With Cherry Topping

    Mini Cheesecakes
    Angus Fergusson/Radius Images/Getty Images

    These mini cheesecakes use whole vanilla wafers for the crust, making them both easy and delicious. Bake them in muffin tins for a simple, portable dessert and top them with cherry pie filling or another fruit preserve, nuts, or even chocolate chips.

  • 14 of 16

    Old-Fashioned Layered Banana Pudding

    banana pudding with meringue
    Brian Hagiwara/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    You may recognize this old-school banana pudding from your grandmother's kitchen, which uses a box of vanilla wafer cookies and bananas with a luscious meringue topping. It tastes great hot or chilled—try it both ways for a lovely, classic dessert.

  • 15 of 16

    Kentucky Bourbon Balls

    Bourbon balls for gift giving.

    The Spruce

    Everyone will ask for these easy, no-bake bourbon balls when the holidays roll around. They taste great coated in powdered sugar or dipped in melted chocolate, and have plenty of bourbon flavor. If you like them less sweet, cut back on the sugar and add more cocoa powder to balance it out.

  • 16 of 16

    Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes

    Thanksgiving Cupcakes

     Leah Maroney

    These adorable turkey-topped cupcakes make a great project for the kids that they will love showing off to their friends. Use Nilla wafers for the turkeys' bodies, candy corn for their feathers, M&Ms for their beaks, and a fruit roll-up for the waddle. If you can't find candy eyes, use small M&M candies to make those, too.