Benne Wafers

These delicate looking benne wafers are crunchy with a subtle nutty taste, thanks to sesame seeds. These seeds were brought over from West Africa, and thought to bring good luck. In the coastal area around Charleston, South Carolina of the U.S.A, sesame seeds are known as “benne” seeds.

ingredients for benne wafers

Unsalted butter, softened 1 Tbsp
Light brown sugar, firmly packed 2/3 cup
Egg 1 large
Sesame seeds ½ cup
All purpose flour 2 Tbsp
Baking powder 1½ tsp
Vanilla extract ½ tsp
Salt ¼ tsp


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  • Beat softened butter in a bowl using a wooden spoon. Then add brown sugar and stir vigorously to combine well.

    Sesame cookies are ready for baking

  • Add egg and stir thoroughly. Next come sesame seeds, flour, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix them all together until just combined.


  • Drop batter on prepared cookie sheets by ¼ teaspoonfuls, spacing at least 2-inches apart. These sesame cookies will spread.

    Benne Wafers

  • Bake until medium golden brown or about 7 minutes. Wafers should have a uniform golden brown color with crispy edges. They will firm up upon cooling even though the middle may still be soft when fully baked.



    Slide parchment paper with cookies on it over to a wire rack to cool completely. Store them in an airtight container to preserve their crispness.

This great recipe for benne wafers is in A Baker’s Field Guide to Christmas Cookies written by Dede Wilson and published by The Harvard Common Press, 2003.