This collection of traditional German Christmas cookies. Rich in flavors and textures, these cookies will bring the festive spirit into your home. Each recipe uniquely tastes German holiday traditions, from the nutty and chocolatey Nussecken to the spicy and sweet Lebkuchen. These German Christmas cookies are perfect for adding a touch of international flair to your holiday baking.
17 Traditional German Christmas Cookies
If you like to dabble in holiday baking each year, why not branch out and try some international Christmas cookie recipes? These German Christmas cookies are best homemade; nothing you purchase in a cookie tin can compare!
From soft and crumbly shortbread cookies to chewy oatmeal cookies, there's something here for everyone. In Germany, they love to play with spices and textures which makes for some downright delicious cookies!
- 17 Traditional German Christmas Cookies
- The Most Popular German Christmas Cookies
- 1. Nussecken (German Nut Corners)
- 2. Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookie)
- 3. Pfeffernüsse (German Spice Cookies)
- 4. Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
- 5. Springerle (Anise Cookies)
- 6. Stollenkonfekt (Stollen Biscuits)
- 7. Heidesand (Traditional German Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies)
- 8. Spritzgebäck (German Spritz Cookies)
- 9. Alte Deutsche Honig Plätzchen (Old German Honey Cookies)
- 10. Kardamon Pläetzchen (German Christmas Cardamom Cookies)
- 11. Zimtsterne (Gingerbread Star Cookies)
- 12. Bethmännchen (German Marzipan Cookies)
- 13. Spekulatius (Dutch Windmill Cookies)
- 14. Kifles (German Nut Horns)
- 15. Kokosmakronen (German Coconut Macarons)
- 16. Butterplätzchen (German Butter Cookies)
- 17. Haferflocken Plätzchen (German Oatmeal Cookies)
- 🎄 More Christmas Cookies
- 📖 Recipe Card
- 17 Traditional German Christmas Cookies: Nussecken aka Nut Corners, or Nut Triangles (+More)
- 💬 Reviews
The Most Popular German Christmas Cookies
The recipes below are all beloved Christmas cookies from Germany that have been around for years and years! You may find a few variations of each recipe elsewhere, that's because they were often built upon over time as their popularity spread outside the borders of Germany and across Europe.
1. Nussecken (German Nut Corners)
Nussecken is a buttery shortbread cookie coated with sticky apricot jam, sweet hazelnuts, and a rich chocolate glaze. Oh, did I mention there's rum in them? Because there is!
2. Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookie)
Lebkuchen is very similar to gingerbread. These sweet but spicy cookies (or sometimes bars) are especially popular around Christmastime. Their distinguishing characteristic is that they require no flour and are made with a combination of hazelnuts and almonds.
3. Pfeffernüsse (German Spice Cookies)
The word 'pfeffernüse' translates to pepper nut because they are made with anise, seasonal spices, and black pepper. Pfeffernüse differs from lebkuchen in that it is rolled into a ball and coated with powdered sugar before baking.
4. Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
These vanilla crescent cookies will practically melt in your mouth. They are made with ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts), butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla bean. Their signature flavor comes from a heavy dusting of powdered sugar.
5. Springerle (Anise Cookies)
Springerle are crispy on the outside with a delightfully chewy center. The name 'springerle' translates to 'little jumpers' because of the way in which these cookies rise or 'jump' while baking.
6. Stollenkonfekt (Stollen Biscuits)
If you've never tried stollen, you're missing out. It is made by soaking mixed dried fruit and mixed peel in brandy, like a boozy fruit cake. Stollen is just that- a cake, but stollenkonfekt is its bite-sized cookie counterpart!
7. Heidesand (Traditional German Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies)
These decadent shortbread cookies have their own unique flavor from using browned butter in the batter. It gives the cookies a distinguished taste that is hard to resist. They may look plain, but I promise you won't miss the frosting on these totally delicious cookies!
8. Spritzgebäck (German Spritz Cookies)
Spritzgebäck cookies make a lovely addition to any holiday dessert spread or Christmas cookie tray. They are crisp, buttery, and just slightly sweet, so they balance out the more sugary confections.
9. Alte Deutsche Honig Plätzchen (Old German Honey Cookies)
Pronounced: Al·te Doy·chuh ho-nig plätz-chen
These classic German honey cookies are sweetened with both sugar and honey, though they are not overly sweet. The secret ingredient is ginger, which adds a lovely depth of flavor you don't often expect in a cookie.
10. Kardamon Pläetzchen (German Christmas Cardamom Cookies)
Pronounced: Kar-da-mom plätz-chen
Cardamom cookies are a Christmas tradition in Germany. They are fragrant and floral while also a bit salty. To finish things off, the cookies are half-dipped in chocolate, which pairs well with their unique flavor.
11. Zimtsterne (Gingerbread Star Cookies)
These gingerbread star cookies can be found in almost every household around Christmastime. They are light and gluten-free with a touch of nutty spiciness. Not to mention, these cookies are beautiful to look at.
12. Bethmännchen (German Marzipan Cookies)
Bethmännchen has been a beloved Christmas cookie in Germany for at least 200 years. They include high-quality marzipan, rose water, and almonds. The outside of these cookies is are firm and crisp, while the insides are chewy and soft!
13. Spekulatius (Dutch Windmill Cookies)
You can find spekulatius in the United States called 'Dutch windmill cookies.' These cookies are made with cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, giving them a lovely spiced flavor (clearly, Germans love spiced cookies)!
Traditionally, wooden baking molds are used to achieve their distinct shapes. You may also use silicone baking molds, a molding roll, or cookie cutters in a pinch.
14. Kifles (German Nut Horns)
These twisted walnut crescent cookies almost look like the horns of an animal, hence the name. They are incredibly popular in Eastern Europe and worldwide, so many countries have their own versions. In Germany, they may be filled with sweet apricots, cranberries, prunes, and/or nuts.
15. Kokosmakronen (German Coconut Macarons)
German coconut macarons, or kokosmakronen, are soft and slightly crunchy on the outside. Traditionally, Germans enjoy them without chocolate, though you will often see them dipped in chocolate in other countries (which is still delicious)!
16. Butterplätzchen (German Butter Cookies)
Butterplätzchen are easy-to-make butter cookies that work well with cookie cutters. Kids will love to help decorate them by adding sprinkles after you brush them with egg yolk! In Germany, you will sometimes see them with lemon icing on top, which is another tasty option.
17. Haferflocken Plätzchen (German Oatmeal Cookies)
Pronounced: Ha-fer-flo-cken plätz-chen
On the outside, these German oatmeal cookies are warm golden brown. On the inside, they are chewy and irresistible!
You can make these cookies with just a handful of standard baking ingredients. Sometimes, simple is a good thing!
Have you tried any of these German Christmas cookies before? Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!
🎄 More Christmas Cookies
- Polar Bear Paw Print Cookies - Chocolate cookies covered in vanilla frosting and coconut 'fur' with candy paw prints on top!
- Chocolate Blossom Cookies - These double chocolate cookies are always a hit with kids and adults alike!
- Christmas Cookie Gift Box - There's nothing better than a gift you can eat!
- Christmas Gumdrop Cookies - These soft cookies are loaded with chewy gumdrop candies!
- No Bake Pumpkin Cookies - You can whip up a batch of these tasty oatmeal pumpkin cookies without ever turning on your oven.
- Sprinkle Crinkle Cookies - These sweet, soft cookies look like festive snow-covered confetti!
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📖 Recipe Card
17 Traditional German Christmas Cookies: Nussecken aka Nut Corners, or Nut Triangles (+More)
Shortbread Base & Apricot Jam
- 1 cup dark chocolate (chopped - or dark chocolate chips)
- 1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Make the Shortbread
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and trim a sheet of parchment paper to fit inside a 18x13 rimmed baking sheet. *This is the jelly roll size baking sheet.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer cream the softened butter with granulated sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, as well as the baking powder and salt then beat until combined.½ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 pinch salt
- Add the flour and mix in until your flour is fully incorporated into a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to your parchment paper-lined baking sheet and press to fill the baking sheet in an even layer. *You can also roll the dough out between sheets of parchment paper until is close to your pan size, then transfer and finish pressing to fill the baking sheet.2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Dock the entire surface of the shortbread base using the tines of a fork. Then, coat the top of the shortbread pastry dough with a layer of the apricot jam, jelly, or preserves. *Use a drizzle of warm water to make the jam more spreadable.⅓ cup apricot jam
Make the Hazelnut Layer
- In a small saucepan add the butter and rum (or water), light brown sugar, and vanilla extract and heat over medium until the sugar is dissolved without bringing the sauce to a boil.1 cup butter, 5 tablespoon rum, 1 cup light brown sugar, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chop your hazelnuts or crush them in a plastic bag using the flat side of a meat mallet or tenderizer (or anything heavy!) until course in texture.1 cup hazelnuts
- Add the chopped hazelnuts and ground hazelnut meal to the sauce and mix until combined. Drop onto the shortbread base in large dollops, then spread over the apricot layer using your spatula to push the nut layer over the entire surface in an even layer.2 cups hazelnut meal
- Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 25-30 nor until light golden brown in color on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely overnight, or until the bars reach room temperature and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to set up completely.
Glaze the Nussecken
- Use a sharp knife to cut the Nussecken into 30 squares, then cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl (with optional butter if desired) in 30-second increments on high power. Stir between each heating until melted and smooth.1 cup dark chocolate, 1 teaspoon butter
- Dip the corners of each Nussecken into the melted chocolate then place the coated triangles onto a cooling rack or a sheet of parchment paper to set.
- The flavor is so much more wonderful when you take a few minutes to dry roast the whole hazelnuts before crushing. To do this heat a clean, dry skillet to medium heat and add the hazelnuts. Stir occasionally until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl (and out of the still-hot skillet!).
- Allow toasted hazelnuts to cool for a few minutes before bagging them to crush into 'chopped hazelnuts' size.
- If using raw whole hazelnuts, you can toast or roast to remove the skin. Toast until the skin blisters, then roll the nuts under your palm or rub with a kitchen towel to remove the skin. Alternatively, you can also roast hazelnuts in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, stir the nuts every 5 minutes while roasting.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3-4 weeks. Keep Nussecken in a single layer, or place parchment paper between layers.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!