Sesame Seed Cookie Recipe / Benne Wafers (2024)

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posted by Amy Johnsonon June 2, 2010 (updated Feb 24, 2019) 45 comments »

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These traditional southern Benne Wafers are a special treat, and quite addicting too! They also make a great gift during the holidays so make an extra batch or two to share.

Benne (sesame seed) Wafers are popular in the low country of South Carolina. They’re a traditional treat in that area and have stood the taste test of time. It’s no wonder. These cookies are nutty and crunchy and sweet, and the perfect compliment to a bowl of ice cream or a cobbler.

Just like every other recipe here, these Benne Wafers are easy peasy and what you’ll end up with is a beautiful, translucent wafer.

Hereare the ingredients thatyou will need to get started: brown sugar, butter, an egg, flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla and/or course toasted sesame seeds.

Some recipes don’t call for toasted sesame seeds, but I think you’re missing out by skipping this simple step. To toast the seeds, just brown them on the stove top in a dry pan, stirring them occasionally to prevent scorching. It should only take a few minutes. And man alive, is it worth every second. Don’t skip that step. Trust me.

After sesame seeds are toasted, begin by creaming the brown sugar and butter together. Beat the egg, and combine it with the sugar/butter mixture. Next, sift the flour, salt and baking powder together, add it to the mix and combine until just smooth.

Finally, toss in the vanilla and toasted sesame seeds, and mix well.

Toasted sesame seeds smell wonderful.

On a foil, parchment or silicon baking mat lined baking sheet, drop teaspoons of batter spaced apart to allow for spreading. Bake in a 375-degrees F oven for approximately 12-13 minutes, until browned. Let cool for about a minute on baking sheet before removing to cool on rack. Makes about 50 1 1/2-2 inch wafers.

Do you have a traditional local food (especially dessert) to share?Do share.

Sesame Seed Cookie Recipe / Benne Wafers (7)

Benne Wafers Recipe

Yield: 50

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

This southern traditional cookie is so full of flavor and makes a great gift during the holidays.


  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons sesame seeds


  1. In a sauté pan or skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium heat until brown. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching. Let cool.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter together.
  3. Add the beaten egg to the sugar/butter mixture, and combine well.
  4. Next, sift the flour, salt and baking powder together, add it to the mix and combine until just smooth.
  5. Finally add the vanilla and toasted sesame seeds and mix well.
  6. On a foil, parchment or silicon baking mat lined baking sheet, drop teaspoons of batter, spaced apart to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake in a 375-degrees F oven for approximately 12-13 minutes, until browned.
  8. Let cool for about a minute on baking sheet before removing to cool on rack.


Adapted from Charleston Receipts.

Makes about 50, approximately 2-inch wafers.

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originally published on June 2, 2010 (last updated Feb 24, 2019)

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45 comments on “Benne Wafers Recipe”

  1. AmandaReply

    That pic of you holding the cookie up to the light is amazing!!! What a beautiful recipe!

  2. Jamie | My Baking AddictionReply

    I have had these before, but for the life of me I cannot remember where. The look absolutely delicious!

  3. Roosalyn BrandReply

    How do I print out your photos? step by step, they look beautiful.

    I’m going to try to make them today anyway. Hope they turn out. RB

  4. HannahReply

    Please let me know how to store them for a xmas gift?

  5. CarolynReply

    Oh man, I want to make these so much! I wonder how they would fair with a low carb sweetener in place of sugar. Might be worht a try!

  6. dudut @mytwistedrecipeReply

    would love to try this sometime 🙂 looks and sounds delish!

  7. ShainaReply

    I need these (2 of them) with a big scoop of ice cream in the middle.

  8. Tara @ UnsophisticookReply

    I’ve never heard of these, but they sound delicious!

  9. Heather | Farmgirl GourmetReply

    Can I have 80 of those please? YUM!

  10. AmyReply

    I first had these years ago when visiting my parents. Someone had sent them a box of them for the holidays, and my Dad and I would sneak into the kitchen and gobble them down for a late-night snack.
    I’ve looked around quite a bit to find a recipe that duplicates the light, crispy, salty-buttery-sweet wafer I remember. This is the one! I’ve made them for friends and have been asked for the recipe, so I hope you don’t mind that I’ve shared it! They disappear fast! Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Roses1Reply

    Wei-Wei, I checked your blog and you admitted that your oven doesn’t work properly and the bottom heating unit doesn’t heat. That’s most likely why this recipe didn’t work for you. It has nothing to do with this recipe so why bash it? This is a great recipe and the cookies are delicious!

  12. Amy King CatheyReply

    I just made these for a holiday party tonight. Being the good guest I taste tested them first. I’m glad I made a double batch! These are wonderful and so beautiful!

    • Amy Johnson

      So happy to hear you enjoy them as much as I do, Amy. They’re quite irresistible.

  13. ErikaReply

    Such a great recipe! Thank you. Since we first made them, one of my kiddos has had to go gluten free so we tried them with sorghum flour and they are still just as yummy – thought we would let you and your readers know about a substitution that worked since so few of our favorites have made the GF conversion well. Thanks again!

    • Amy Johnson

      That’s so good to know, Erika! Thank you for sharing.

  14. BobReply

    Try without sesame seeds and different flavors, coconut works good.

    • Bob

      And lemon

  15. BetsyReply

    You asked for a traditional dessert to share. I’ve only seen this in Michigan, but variations elsewhere with more ingredients. I didn’t find them necessary. Soooo easy! You will need the following:

    1 graham cracker shell, I buy mine. Keep the lid. 1 8oz block of Philly cream cheese – NOT low or no fat – the regular kind, at room temp. 1/2

    cup of lemon juice. 1 can Sweetened Condensed milk. Mix these 3 ingredients all together with a mixer, about 5 minutes until it sets up and
    gets pretty thick.. If it doesn’t, add just a bit more lemon juice. If it still doesn’t thicken, just pour into the crust, top with the plastic pie lid I told you to keep:) and refrigerate for an hour or so. Top with a can of cherry pie filling, or any pie filling you like,, about 1/2 inch or so from the edge so it looks pretty. Put one cherry on first to make sure that the pie filling doesn’t sink to the bottom. If the cherry does sink, refrigerate for a couple of hours and try another cherry because I know you ate that first one! That’s it.

  16. PamReply

    I have never made them but buy bags of them every time I go to Charleston. I think it is high time I try to make them for myself. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Lilly FeherReply

    I give this recipe 5 stars. it is the best benne wafer recipe that I have tried. I store them in a mason jar so that they stay crisp. But warning you just can’t have one. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Amy Johnson

      I agree, it’s difficult to limit it to just one.

  18. AlieReply

    These cookies were not the delicate lace cookies my Southern Great Aunt Susie made. They were totally opaque and, if left in the indicated time, overcooked.
    Very disappointed in this recipe! I was trying to capture a fond memory of my childhood. The picture on the recipe drew me to it, but following the recipe to the letter, left me with over baked cookies. Then trying it with tiny tsp scoops at a lower temp, for less time still left me with over baked cookies. 🙁 not happy with this recipe.

  19. Coletta WalkerReply

    I first tasted these cookies 45yrs. Ago. My husband’s grandmother made them. I am thrilled with your recipe!
    Everyone has an oven that bakes a little differently than someone else’s. We just need to know how to adjust our times or oven temps.
    I live at sea-level…so I bake a few minutes less. I also cook with convection oven, another adjustment.
    There is nothing wrong with the recipe, folks! It’s great!
    After several batches , I have tried adding almonds and almond extract, for some variety. Yum. Then my last batch, I added poppyseed to all of that with the sesame seeds! 🥰
    Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  20. L. K. G.Reply

    A little hint * add a tiny bit of toasted sesame oil, lower your oven temp a bit. I use baking soda only and not powder (we like chewy cookies) and leave them on the pan for five minutes. You can adjust the recipe because of the extra oil.

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