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Germany is famous for its Christmas cookies! These popular, traditional cookie recipes have been handed down in our family for generations.

A collection of German Christmas cookies on various plates garnished with pine branches and red berries. There are Cinnamon stars, garnished with cinnamon sticks, thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam, linzer cookies with strawberry jam and lemon curd, Gingerbread and spekulatius cookies and Pfeffernuesse.

Growing up baking Christmas cookies with my Oma was always my favorite holiday tradition. I would sneak away some of the sweet cookie dough to share with my Opa from who I inherited my sweet tooth.

My Grandmothers always made so many different cookies from scratch, from Vanillekipferl to Pfeffernuesse, to share with family and friends. You can always find a plate with cookies on the table during the Holiday season!

German Christmas cookies are special because many of the recipes are very old and have been passed down for generations. I make the same recipes with my little son that my Oma got from her family. These cookies are delicate and made with nuts, vanilla sugar, candied peel, jam, and flavorful spices like German Gingerbread spice.

Let me share our favorite traditional Christmas cookies with you that will make your Holiday season even more special and taste delicious with a cup of Glühwein (German Mulled Wine) or Kinderpunsch!

a stack of three chocolate-covered lebkuchen with a red bow on a white plate next to a lebkuchen broken in half. There's a cup in the background
5 from 28 votes

German Lebkuchen Recipe

This traditional Lebkuchen recipe is easy to make from scratch and loaded with nuts, candied fruit, and flavorful spices.
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Elisenlebkuchen (German Gingerbread) are one of the most famous German Christmas cookies with their moist and soft interior and make a great edible gift during the Holiday season! They are made with nuts, candied peel, and homemade gingerbread spice flavored with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.

Close-up of Cinnamon Stars, garnished with cinnamon stick.
5 from 1 vote

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies)

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars) are classic German Christmas cookies made from ground nuts that are chewy and naturally gluten-free!
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These cinnamon-spiced star cookies are a delicious cross between a macaroon and a meringue. With their nutty flavor and chewy texture, Zimtsterne cookies make a tasty addition to every advent cookie platter!

A white plate with a square of chocolate topped spice cake with a fork.
4.87 from 15 votes

Easy Spice Cake Recipe (German Gewürzkuchen)

This easy Spice Cake Recipe is an old family recipe and makes your house smell amazing! A moist and chocolatey spiced sheet cake made with holiday spices that is easy to make from scratch and tastes even better on the next day.
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Even though this is called a cake it is usually found on a cookie platter cut into little squares. In northern Bavaria, this type of cake is called “Ulmer” and is similar to a fluffy Gingerbread cake.

Vanillekipferl dusted with Powdered Sugar
4.88 from 55 votes

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar! (Please read the post and watch the video below before making this recipe, these cookies are delicate and are a bit difficult to make but worth the effort! If you have a scale I recommend using the metric measurements (button to switch next to ingredients header)!)
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Linzer Cookies stacked on a plate
5 from 8 votes

Linzer Cookies

Linzer Cookies are traditional Austrian Cookies that are so tender and buttery! An easy recipe for jam-filled almond shortbread cookies with lots of tips.
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These little jam-filled sandwich cookies are always are hit and have been a favorite of mine since I was a child! These cookies are a Christmas favorite in our house, but they also make a cute Valentine’s Day treat, and let’s be honest I love to eat them all year round.

A log of marzipan with two slices cut off and leaning against it on a grey marble surface with some almonds next to it.
5 from 13 votes

Marzipan

Marzipan is so easy to make from scratch and so much cheaper than store-bought! It comes together quickly and can be used in cookies, cakes, and sweets.
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Marzipan is a baking ingredient that is often used in Holiday treats but is also popular year-round for decorating cakes and making candy. This easy step-by-step recipe shows how easy it is to make it at home with only a few ingredients!

Marzipankartoffeln in a white bowl, next to it are orange slices and almonds.
5 from 1 vote

Marzipankartoffeln

Marzipankartoffeln is a marzipan candy dusted with chocolate. These potato-shaped balls are a popular German Christmas treat and are so delicious.
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This classic Christmas treat – known as Marzipankartoffeln in Germany (Kartoffel translates to potato) – is so easy to make at home with just three simple ingredients! German marzipan candy tastes like almonds and is sweet and soft – similar to cookie dough.

Meringue Cookies in a glass bowl.
5 from 31 votes

Meringue Cookies

Meringue Cookies are crispy and light cookies made with only 4 ingredients that are perfect for using up leftover egg whites!
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Pfeffernusse on a plate
4.88 from 8 votes

Pfeffernusse

How to make authentic Pfeffernusse! These traditional German iced gingerbread cookies are made with white pepper, cinnamon, and are a classic Holiday treat.
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Coconut macaroons with chocolate bottoms and stripes on a black cooling rack.
5 from 2 votes

Coconut Macaroons Recipe

These Coconut Macaroons are chewy and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside! Made with lemon zest and without sweetened condensed milk, these sweet and easy coconut cookies are going to be everyone’s favorite treat this holiday season.
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Nut corners with one chocolate-dipped corner on a black cooling rack over a dark surface.
5 from 8 votes

Nut Corners Recipe

Nut Corners are called Nussecken in Germany and make a delicious addition to your cookie platter! Made with buttery shortbread, a sweet apricot jam layer, and a caramelized hazelnut topping, these mini nut bars are a favorite of my husband and a hit all year round.
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Two slices of christstollen on a white plate garnished with cinnamon sticks, cranberries and hazelnuts.
5 from 6 votes

Stollen Recipe

This traditional German Christmas Stollen recipe is a very special treat that has a long history and is very popular during the Holidays.
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Cookie filled with Nutella with a hazelnut on top
4.34 from 3 votes

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies are the perfect Christmas cookies! A classic German recipe made with ground nuts and filled with jam, Nutella, or Lemon Curd.
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A glass bowl of cinnamon candied almonds with a red ribbon around it.
4.89 from 59 votes

Easy Cinnamon Candied Almonds

Easy Cinnamon Candied Almonds are sweet, crunchy and make your house smell amazing! They can be made in less than 10 minutes and make a great snack for your next holiday party.
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A black plate of maple hazelnut cookies, with both ends dipped in chocolate and sprinkles on a grey tablecloth. There are silver and pink Christmas ornaments lying next to it.
5 from 1 vote

Maple Hazelnut Cookies

These Maple Hazelnut Cookies are so easy to make! Ground hazelnuts and maple syrup make these cute log cookies extra flavorful.
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A stack of Heidesand cookies.
5 from 3 votes

Heidesand (German shortbread cookies)

Heidesand are German shortbread cookies made with browned butter! These classic Christmas cookies have a tender texture and buttery taste.
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Here are a few more traditional German cookies:

  • Bethmaenchen: Little marzipan cookies studded with three crunchy almonds
  • Heinerle: A Franconian specialty made from chocolate, coconut oil, and thin wafers
  • Spekulatius: Usually one of the few cookies that most Germans buy,
  • Mandelhoernchen: Marzipan cookies in croissant shape decorated with almonds and chocolate
  • Dominosteine: Chocolate-covered treats made with multiple layers of filling
  • Springerle: Anise-flavored cookies made in special molds
  • Spritzgebaeck: Spritz cookies are often made with ground nuts and dipped in chocolate
  • Schneeflocken: Melt-in-your-mouth cookies similar to Mexican wedding cookies
  • Fruchthäufchen: Little cookies made with dried fruit, candied orange peel (Orangeat), and almonds
  • German Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck): These popular cookies are traditionally made by pushing the dough through a meat grinder
  • German Butter Cookies (Butterplätzchen): This is the German version of sugar cookies and is usually used for making cut-out cookies
What is the most popular German Christmas cookie?

The most popular cookie is Lebkuchen (German gingerbread) with Germany producing almost 90 thousand tons per year. There are different recipes, some even use old croissants or potatoes, but they are different from American gingerbread. Our recipe for German gingerbread cookies is a traditional recipe for Elisenlebkuchen made with nuts and candied citrus peel.

How long do German Christmas cookies keep?

Christmas baking in Germany usually starts at the end of November because many of the treats get better with time, for example, Stollen which has to rest for a few weeks before it gets eaten. The cookies and baked goods are stored in cookie tins and keep fresh for at least 3 weeks in a cold spot. After that, they are usually still tasty but might get a bit stale.

How to store German cookies?

The best way to store Christmas cookies is in cookie tins (affiliate link). This is how everyone in Germany does it. Cookies should be stored in a dark and cool place and metal tins are best because they are airtight and opaque. You can layer cookies with parchment paper in between but I recommend using a separate metal tin for each cookie recipe.

More German recipes

If you’re looking for more traditional German recipes check out my German Recipes category!

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About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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