22 Traditional German Christmas Cookies

Lebkuchen, a Classic German Christmas Cookie

What would the Christmas season be without scrumptious homemade cookies? Fragrant bouquets of cinnamon, ginger, anise, and chocolate wafting through the house! The rich fragrances of traditional German Christmas cookies are some of the archetypical German culinary traditions, and those fabulous smells are found all over homes and outdoor Christmas markets in November and December.

Looking for the secrets behind those delectable Butterkekse, Spekulatius, Lebkuchen, Aachner Printen, Weckmännchen, Zimtsterne, Makronen oder Marzipan? Look no further, you will find them here. We have assembled authentic recipes for both novice and master bakers.

Once the shopping for sprinkles, spices, and secret ingredients is done, there is only one taboo – baking German Christmas cookies alone. This can be of the most special family activities of the year and a wonderful opportunity to get together with your friends who enjoy baking. ‘Tis the season after all … so get out the cookie cutters and preheat the oven. While it helps to have basic recipes handy, once the cookie dough is finished there is literally no limit to creativity.

Freshly baked Christmas cookies are always a special treat for friends and family and are best served with a mug of delicious, steaming Glühwein (mulled wine) or Kinderpunsch (non-alcoholic fruit punch).

If you run out of time to bake, visit our sister site TheTasteOfGermany for a large selection of Christmas cookies.

Angel Eyes Cookies

These buttery shortbread rounds are traditionally filled with red currant jam, but you can use any jam or any other filling you like.

Chocolate Spice Bars

A classic German cookie, these spiced chocolate bars signal autumn’s arrival and take culinary minds toward Christmas.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)

The quintessential Christmas cookie – these crisp, spicy cookies make a perfect snack after a day outdoors. Serve them with big pitchers of mulled wine and hot chocolate.

Emperor’s Cookies (Kaiser-Plätzchen)

Everyone seems to love these irresistible jam-filled cookies. Bake plenty because they won’t last long!

Hazelnut Cookies

These nutty meringues are decorated with a whole hazelnut.

Kirsch Marzipan Cookies

Decorative and dangerously delicious, this jam-filled cookie requires a little bit of skill on part of the baker but will reward cookie lovers with its layers of flavor.

Lemon Almond Hearts

These delicious cookies are decorative and delicious at any time of year, and will add a nice contrast to your selection of Christmas cookies.

Marzipan Holiday Surprise

These homemade holiday treats are sure to become one of your favorite Christmas cookies. When beautifully wrapped they also make a great gift.

Frankfurter Christmas Cookies (Bethmännchen)

This marzipan-rich recipe for almond lovers is from the city of Frankfurt, in the German state of Hesse.

Springerle

This anise-flavored, white cookie is a regional specialty from Southern Germany, more precisely form the Swabian region of Baden-Württemberg. What makes them special is their decorative charm since they feature intricate imprints that are made by pressing a mold into the rolled dough and allowing the impression to dry before baking. The molds range form simple patterns and folkloric motives all the way to very intricate depictions of animals, people or localities.

Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck)

While these cookies are a popular sweet snack all year round, no Christmas cookie tray should be without them. They have a delightful crunchy texture. Dust off the cookie press and create different shapes—classic straight cookies, round or S-shaped ones. Dipping the ends in melted chocolate makes them even more irresistible.

Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferl)

Delicate, crescent shaped cookies flavored with vanilla and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Even though these cookies are available year round, the homemade version is traditionally made at Christmas. The recipe originated from Austria but has become a classic among German Christmas cookies.

Macaroons

Beaten egg whites are the secret behind the wonderfully light texture of macaroons, which can be made several weeks before Christmas and placed in a tin. Layers of parchment paper will help keep them crisp. Freshly baked macaroons, enjoyed while still warm, are an especially delicious treat. Placing the cookie dough on baking wafers (Backoblaten) gives the macaroons an even more special appearance and adds great texture.

Coconut Macaroons
Hazelnut Macaroons
Lübecker Makrönchen
Walnut Macaroons

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread is so beloved in Germany that we have several recipes for capturing their flavor at home. These simplified gingerbread cookie versions make great personalized gifts for friends and family. Place them in a decorative jar or a box lined with tissue paper and a festive ribbon. The complex flavor and texture of true classic Lebkuchen might pose quite the challenge to the home baker and is best experienced in the many high quality, brand name Lebkuchen in North American grocery stores.

Walnut Squares
Spiced Honey Squares
Gingerbread (Lebkuchenplätzchen)
Gingerbread Cookies (Braune Kuchen)
Glazed Lebkuchen Gingerbread Cookies (Lebkuchen)
Glazed Lebkuchen Rounds (Elisenlebkuchen)

RELATED CONTENT:

A Guide to German Christmas Cookie Brands
German Christmas & Winter Holiday Baking
The Secrets of Great Stollen
German Recipes for Christmas Dinner and Holiday Parties
German Christmas Traditions