16 Top-Rated Traditional German Christmas Cookies

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

For a real Old World holiday, bake up some of our best German-inspired Christmas cookies, including Springerle, Pfeffernüsse, Lebkuchen, and more. They'll fill your home with the wonderful scents of ginger, cardamom, anise, and cinnamon. Fröhliche Weihnachten!

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Traditional Springerle

Traditional Springerle
Kindra Loy Lee

These anise-flavored German Christmas cookies have been made for centuries using decorative, carved wooden molds or carved rolling pins. "We have made these very traditional German cookies every year since I was a child," says PREGOCOOK. "My mother remembers her grandmother making them with this recipe that has been in our family for generations. The molds can be hard to find, but check specialty cookware stores and antique shops."

02 of 17

Pfeffernüsse (German "Pepper-Nut" Christmas Cookies)

Iced Cookies on a white plate
Pfeffernüsse German Pepper-Nut Christmas Cookies. Chef John

Here's Chef John's take on a classic. "I think this is the best Christmas cookie of all time," says Chef John. "They're soft and chewy with a thin, crisp icing and the perfect combination of warming winter spices. Pack up a tin and share these delicious cookies with family and friends!" Chef John goes on to explain the name: "Pfeffernüsse translates to pepper-nut, even though these cookies don't contain either. Back in the day, 'pepper' was a generic name for any type of spice, and these were were called 'nuts' because they looked like nuts!"

03 of 17

Old German Honey Cookies

Old German Honey Cookies
Teddy Lombardi

"I got this recipe from my grandmother who got it from her grandmother," says Darlene. "She had to translate it and then figure out measurements. The original recipe called for 'enough flour to make a dough.' Thankfully grandma knew what kind of dough."

04 of 17

Crescent Butter Biscuits

high angle looking at a dish full of crescent butter biscuits
Allrecipes International

These buttery crescent-shaped cookies (Kipferl) are made with almond meal and rolled in vanilla sugar. "These delicious almond-enriched Christmas biscuits are perfect anytime of the year," says Marianne. "Enjoy with a big mug of tea."

05 of 17

Authentic German Lebkuchen

Authentic German Lebkuchen

"This recipe is over 150 years old and has been baked by my family for many generations for Christmas," says Ruth. "They are much easier to make than other lebkuchen and ingredients have been updated to what's available now. They are made with almond flour, hence are gluten-free and also contain no dairy."

06 of 17

German Christmas Coconut Cookies

high angle looking at a plate full of German Christmas cookies

These super-easy, gluten-free coconut cookies require only three ingredients. "Kokosmakronen are one of the most popular German Christmas cookies," says vewohl. "In Germany, Kokosmakronen are baked on edible Back Oblaten (very thin round wafer paper) you can order online, but you can put them directly on parchment paper as well."

07 of 17

German Twists

looking down at a bunch of German twists

"This rich and tender sour cream and yeast cookie is delicious and so lovely with its many delicate layers and twists," says Eliserae. "It is a classic and historic recipe for which many variations can be found. This updated version uses all butter and a food processor for wonderful flavor and ease of mixing. The rich yeast dough actually contains no sugar, but the sweetness and the layering results from well sugaring the dough and work surface, while rolling and folding it several times prior to cutting and shaping the cookies."

08 of 17

Bacon Cookies

close up of a plate full of bacon cookies
Linda T

This cookie proves the rule that everything really is better with bacon. "This is a German recipe for the holidays. It is very nice when you have had your fill with sweet, sugary cookies to have a hearty, bacon cookie!" says THISISAMBER.

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Allrecipes Magazine

These traditional buttery almond cookies are shaped like crescents and rolled in fragrant vanilla sugar. "Vanilla cookie crescents make the perfect German Christmas treat!" says Marianne.

10 of 17


looking down at a pile of zimtsterne cookies

These cinnamon-spiced, star-shaped German cookies are always a hit for Christmas. "My favorite!" raves KickKiki. "If you're curious what they taste like, it's basically like a sugar cookie with a hint of spice. Absolutely delicious! I like to sprinkle red and green sugar crystals on top for color."

11 of 17

Oma Kiener's Hazelnut Christmas Cookies

Oma Kiener's Hazelnut Christmas Cookies
Oma Kiener's Hazelnut Christmas Cookies. Green Goddess

It's so easy to make these hazelnut icebox cookies. You can even make the dough days in advance and store it in the fridge until you're ready to slice and bake!

12 of 17

German Walnut Shortbread Cookies

shortbread cookies with walnuts

"These German Christmas cookies are similar to shortbread and we bake them every year in December," says recipe creator Marianne. "The recipe makes a pretty large amount and they are pretty quick to make, since you only have to cut the dough, so perfect for last minute baking."

13 of 17

Easy German Cut-Out Cookies

star cut out cookies on cooling rack

"These simple cut out cookies are a must during Christmas time in Germany," says recipe creator barbara. "Especially kids delight in helping cut out fun shapes and later decorating and eating these delicious cookies that hold their shape."

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Coconut and Marzipan Macaroons

Coconut and Marzipan Macaroons

These chocolate-dipped marzipan macaroons actually originated in Lübeck, Germany, according to recipe creator nch.

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Bethmaennchen (German Marzipan Christmas Cookies)

marzipan cookie in cupcake liner

Bethmaennchen, which translates to "little praying men," are traditional German Christmas cookies made from marzipan. Each one is topped with three almonds to honor the three sons of the Bethmann family.

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Pfeffernusse Cookies

low angle looking into a bunch of pefeffernusse cookies with one broken in half
Port III

This traditional German spice cookie features cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, anise, cinnamon, and, of course, pepper. "This is by far the very best Pfeffernusse recipe I've ever made," says Anna. "I suggest making the cookies by the recipe the first time. I think the spices are very subjective and you can adjust to your tastes. I use a bit more pepper but that's just me."

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More German Recipes Ideas:

german sunken apple cake
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