Pfeffernusse Cookies


Pfeffernüsse are German Christmas cookies spiced with black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and other spices. I have searched far and wide for a recipe that mimics my favorite, store-bought version of these cookies. After days of thrown-out cookies, I think I have come as close as I can get.

A super close up view of a pile of pfeffernusse cookies, one on top of the pile has a bite out
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
36 cookies


  • ½ cup molasses

  • ¼ cup honey

  • ¼ cup shortening

  • ¼ cup margarine

  • 2 large eggs

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons anise extract

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting


  1. Place molasses, honey, shortening, and margarine in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until creamy. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Beat in eggs.

  2. Combine flour, white sugar, brown sugar, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add molasses mixture; stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate dough until well chilled, about 2 hours.

  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  4. Roll dough into acorn-sized balls and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until firm to the touch with slight cracking, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets briefly before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

284 Calories
6g Fat
54g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 18
Calories 284
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 213mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 191mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love