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20 Traditional German Christmas Cookies

When we think of German cuisine, we often picture beer, sausages, and schnitzel. After checking out this list, German Christmas cookies should also come to mind. 

The wonderful thing about German Christmas cookies is that you don’t have to know how to pronounce them to enjoy them (thank goodness!). 

Pfeffernusse or Cookies Coated with Powdered Sugar, Eggs and Honey
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Plus, there’s such a wide variety of German Christmas cookies that no matter what kind of sweets you enjoy – chocolatey, spicy, crunchy, or chewy – you should be able to satisfy your craving.

Now, all this talk of Christmas cookies is making me hungry, so let’s stop talking and get right to the recipes.

(And I’ll get in the kitchen and make a couple for myself!)

1. German Lebkuchen

These traditional German cookies are full of chocolatey and nutty flavor, and you’ll need fewer than 10 ingredients to make them. 

They take just a little over 30 minutes to prepare and bake, and each cookie is covered in chocolate and chock full of nuts, spices, and candied fruit. 

2. Pfeffernusse

These hard-to-pronounce cookies have a gorgeous white coating made from powdered sugar, eggs, and honey. 

They’re sweet, but the addition of cloves, all-spice, cinnamon, and white pepper make them sharply spicy and rich in flavor.

3. Vanillekipferl (Blue Moon Crescent Cookies)

These crunchy, powdered sugar-covered cookies have a lovely crescent shape and a mild, slightly nutty flavor with just a hint of vanilla. 

You’ll only need seven ingredients to make them, and aside from resting/chill time for the dough, it only takes 40 minutes to whip them up. 

4. Authentic German Springerle

Springerle cookies are just plain fun. Their name translates to “little jumpers” in English because they tend to jump around while they’re baking. 

They have a lightly sweet, almost delicate flavor that features notes of vanilla and anise, and you’ll make them with a fancy rolling pin that gives them gorgeous designs. 

In Germany, people make and serve these cookies around Christmas and New Year’s, but you’ll enjoy them so much that you’ll probably want to make them more often.

5. German Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck)

German spritz cookies, or spritzgebäck, are some of the most interesting-shaped cookies you’ll ever see.

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You can make them into ‘S’ shapes, ‘I’ shapes, ‘O’ shapes, or something else.

My niece calls them “noodle cookies,” and they do kind of look like oversized noodles twisted into funky shapes.

Dip them in warm chocolate for extra sweetness and yumminess. 

With or without the chocolate, they’re exceptionally tasty. 

6. German Hazelnut Christmas Cookies

All you’ll need to make German hazelnut Christmas cookies are five ingredients, 30 minutes, and some snowflake-shaped cookie cutters. 

With nothing more than butter, sugar, egg yolks, hazelnut flour, and regular flour, you can have them ready to go in no time. 

The cookies are crumbly, nutty, and pretty lovely, as well. 

7. German Christmas Cardamom Cookies (Kardamon Plaetzchen)

If you’re looking for something with a more interesting flavor, these salty and floral-like cookies could be just the thing. 

The vanilla sugar, rum, and cardamom provide several different flavors to enjoy, and you can dip them in chocolate for extra decadence. 

8. Zimtsterne (German Cinnamon Star Cookies)

If you’re going to make these in the traditional German fashion, you’ll need a set of star cookie cutters.

However, they taste just as good no matter how you decide to shape them.

They taste strongly of cinnamon and nuts, and they have a fun and tasty egg wash glaze.

Plus, you can make two dozen in just about an hour, so that’s always a good thing. 

9. Authentic Bethmännchen (German Marzipan Cookies)

These chewy marzipan cookies take only 5 minutes of preparation and another 15 to cook, making them a fast favorite among many German families in the holiday season. 

You’ll add rose water for a lovely scent and lightly floral taste, and the crunchy almonds add another depth of flavor to an already awesome cookie. 

10. German Walnut Shortbread Cookies

These are simple shortbread cookies with some walnuts added for crunch and taste. 

You can make them with nothing more than butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, flour, salt, sugar, and walnuts.

If you’re a fan of shortbread, then you’ll love these crunchy, buttery cookies.

11. Spekulatius

These are also traditional shortbread cookies, but they have a lot more spice in them than “regular” shortbread. 

You’ll flavor them with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cardamom, white pepper, salt, and more.

If you think that’s a lot of spice, you’re right! And that’s what makes them so good.

As a bonus, your house will smell incredible while these are cooking.

12. Haselnussmakronen (German Hazelnut Macaroons)

Haselnussmakronen might not look like typical macaroons, but that’s what they are, and it’s right there in the name: hazelnut macaroons. 

They’re gluten- and dairy-free, and they have a light flavor and simple recipe.

You can make them with no more than four ingredients: hazelnuts, sugar, vanilla, and egg whites.

They take a little over an hour to make, but they’re worth every second you’ll spend on them. 

13. Toasted Hazelnut Meringue Kisses

These light and fluffy meringue cookies are some of the easiest you’ll ever make.

They’ll require only four ingredients and have a delicate nut and sugar flavor that’ll delight your tastebuds. 

14. German Coconut Macaroons Recipe (Kokosmakronen)

If you’re a fan of coconut and cinnamon, these macaroons are a great option.

They’re chewy and have a fantastic texture, with just a hint of crunchiness inside. 

It takes about half an hour to make 40 of them, so they’re perfect if you need to make things in bulk and in a hurry.  

15. Stollen

If you’ve never had stollen, you need to try it right away.

It flawlessly combines the sweet and the tart with icing sugar, marzipan, dried sour cherries, and mixed fruit. 

They have a crinkly, crumbly appearance and a texture that everyone will love.

Soaking them in brandy gives them the richest, most flavorful taste, but you can substitute apple juice if you prefer.

16. No-Bake German Chocolate Cookie Cake

Technically, this is a no-bake German chocolate cake, but you’ll make it with plenty of store-bought tea cookies, and you’ll slice them in rectangular cookie-like shapes.

So I think they fit just fine on this list! 

If you’re looking for something super simple, you can’t beat these, as they’ll take only 15 minutes, six ingredients, and no cooking to pull together.

They’re rich and decadent with chocolate, rum, and powdered sugar in the mix. They’re always a hit at any get-together.  

17. Heidesand (Traditional German Browned Butter Shortbread Cookies)

Here’s another excellent recipe for traditional shortbread cookies, and with it, you can make 60 cookies in just half an hour. 

If the thing you enjoy most about shortbread is its warm, buttery flavor, then you’ll love these because they’re the most buttery shortbread cookies you’ll ever try. 

18. German Potato Cookies

Potato cookies may sound kind of gross, but as my dad would say, “Don’t knock ‘em till you try ‘em.”

If you live in the south or have southern relatives, you may have tried potato candy. 

These cookies are similar, but instead of whole potatoes and peanut butter, you’ll use potato starch, icing sugar, and either pandan, ube, or vanilla extract for color and flavor. 

They’re sweet, soft, and chewy, and you can make them into various beautiful colors to make them more festive for the holidays. 

19. Vegan Nut Bars (Nussecken)

These vegan-friendly and dairy-free nut bars are super crispy but surprisingly moist, as well. 

They combine three distinct flavors – apricot jam, dark chocolate, and caramelized hazelnuts – for a single, cohesive taste that’s sweet, salty, nutty, and incredibly indulgent. 

It takes 45 minutes to make a dozen, but they are delicious, and even though you’ll want to come back for seconds, you won’t need to because they’re so filling.

20. Oatmeal Cookie Recipe (aka Haferflockenplätzchen)

These chunky oatmeal cookies are a bit different from the traditional ones you’re probably used to eating. 

For one thing, you’ll add dried apricots and chopped almonds to give them some fruity, nutty yumminess. The texture is a little different, as well. 

Still, if you’re a fan of oatmeal cookies and don’t mind a touch of tanginess from the apricots, you’ll certainly enjoy these. 

20 Traditional German Christmas Cookies


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NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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