It was created in 1837 as Vardal formannskapsdistrikt. According to the 1835 census the municipality had a population of 2,921. On 1 January 1861 the city of Gjøvik was separated from Vardal to constitute a separate administrative unit, leaving Vardal with a population of 4,114.
Starting in 1921, a series of border adjustments which moved territory from Vardal to Gjøvik took place. The parts moved to Gjøvik in 1921 and 1955 had 723 and 1,372 inhabitants respectively. On 1 January 1964 the district Sørligrenda with 87 inhabitants was incorporated into Vestre Toten municipality to the south. The rest of Vardal, with 9,612 inhabitants, was incorporated into Gjøvik along with Biri and Snertingdal.