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Kinderpunsch is a traditional German drink that’s served at Christmas markets! This non-alcoholic holiday punch is the kid’s version of mulled wine and is served hot.

Two glass mugs filled with Kinderpunsch garnished with orange slices and star anise.

Kinderpunsch is a classic German holiday drink that you can get at every German Christmas market. You can get it at the same booth that sells mulled wine (Glühwein) and it is not only a kid’s favorite but also popular with designated drivers, pregnant moms, kids, and everybody who isn’t fond of spiced wine or alcohol.

It’s sweet, hot, perfectly spiced, and warms you up from the inside on a snowy day! A perfect drink to warm up on a snowy day! Inexpensive and easy to make, it’s a great choice for holiday parties and outdoor adventures that call for a hot beverage!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Inexpensive to make with pantry ingredients that you probably have at home during the winter months.
  • A perfect non-alcoholic drink to serve at a holiday party. You can easily double or triple the recipe for bigger crowds and keep it warm in a slow cooker.
  • Easy to make at home in less than 20 minutes and most of that is hands-off.

Ingredient notes

Here is an overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for quantities.

Ingredients used for making Kinderpunsch.
  • Tea – Use a fruit-based tea (Früchtetee in German) like berries, super fruit, or hibiscus. I usually use this super fruit tea (affiliate) and the Kinderpunsch tastes just like in Germany.
  • Apple Juice – My go-to is apple juice in this recipe. It’s not too sweet and tastes delicious hot. You can also use grape juice or a blend of juices.
  • Spices – This punch recipe uses cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and star anise. Don’t use ground spices and make sure your spices are not older than 1 year to ensure they have enough flavor left.
  • Sugar – White sugar is traditionally used, but you can also use brown sugar or honey. If you prefer to use less sugar, you can half the amount.
  • Vanilla Sugar – You can use homemade vanilla sugar or vanilla extract. It adds a touch of sweet vanilla flavor to the finished punch.
  • Lemon – I find using half a lemon adds enough acidity to the punch. If you don’t have fresh lemons on hand, leave them out.
  • Orange – I recommend using an organic orange because you will slice the whole orange. Don’t peel it, a lot of the flavor is in the peel.

How to make this recipe

Detailed measurements and instructions can be found at the bottom of the page on the printable recipe card.

Steps for making non-alcoholic German Christmas punch.
  1. Prep: In a large pot, bring water to a boil. You will add all the other ingredients, so make sure you have room. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Let the tea steep for about 5–8 minutes, depending on the tea you are using. Meanwhile, cut the orange into fine slices. When the tea is ready, remove the tea bags.
  2. Combine: To the tea, add apple juice, spices, sugar, and vanilla sugar. Squeeze the juice out of the lemon and add it to the tea together with the orange slices.
  3. Simmer: Let the Kinderpunsch simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Don’t let it boil!
  4. Strain: Pour it through a strainer and serve hot.

Expert tips for success

  • Instead of apple juice, you can also use grape juice or orange juice. Just make sure the juice is not sweetened and is 100% juice; otherwise it will be too sweet.
  • Depending on the tea and juice you use, the color of the drink will vary. Orange juice will make it cloudy, for example.
  • A fruity tea like hibiscus, berry or super fruit works best.
  • You can reduce the amount of sugar if you prefer. I often only use half the amount, and it is still sweet enough.
  • You can also put the spices into a tea bag to make them easy to remove.
  • Don’t let the orange slices sit longer than 10 minutes in the punch or the bitterness of the pith will transfer to your beverage.
Two hands holding a Santa-shaped mug filled with Kinderpunsch.

Recipe FAQs

Do you garnish Kinderpunsch?

Even though I added some garnish for the pictures in this post, Kinderpunsch is served without any garnishes. It would just be in the way when drinking and wouldn’t add anything. It’s especially important to remove the orange slices after 10 minutes, so the punch doesn’t get bitter.

Do I need to peel the oranges?

No, don’t peel the oranges before slicing them. A lot of the flavor is in the peel and you would miss out on that if you peel the orange. Instead, I recommend buying organic oranges and rinsing them with hot water before slicing them.

Can I make this in a crock pot?

This Kinderpunsch recipe can also be made in a slower cooker or crock pot. Using a slow cooker is great for parties because it keeps the punch warm, and it’s easy for guests to refill their glasses.

Check out my mulled wine liqueur and my Orange Cranberry Moscow Mule if you’re looking for more holiday drinks!

A glass filled with non-alcoholic Christmas Punch on a marble board.

How to store and make ahead

Kinderpunsch can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Remove all the spices and orange slices before transferring the beverage to a pitcher or bottle. Store the cooled punch for 3–4 days in the fridge. Reheat it on the stove until hot, or in the microwave.

You can also make this recipe ahead and put the hot beverage in a thermos!

More German Christmas recipes to try

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5 from 2 votes

Kinderpunsch

Kinderpunsch is a hot German drink that's served at Christmas markets! This non-alcoholic holiday punch is the kid's version of mulled wine.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tea bags, berry or hibiscus
  • 2 cups apple juice, or grape juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 cup sugar, brown or white
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar, or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 1 orange, sliced

Instructions 

  • In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat, add tea bags and let steep for 5–8 minutes. Remove tea bags.
  • To the tea, add apple juice, spices, sugar, and vanilla sugar. Juice the lemon and slice the orange into fine slices. Add to the tea.
  • Let simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Don’t let it boil! Pour through a strainer and serve.

Notes

  • Instead of apple juice, you can also use grape juice or orange juice. Just make sure the juice is not sweetened and is 100% juice; otherwise it will be too sweet.
  • Depending on the tea and juice you use, the color of the drink will vary. Orange juice will make it cloudy, for example.
  • A fruity tea like hibiscus, berry or super fruit works best.
  • You can reduce the amount of sugar if you prefer. I often only use half the amount, and it is still sweet enough.
  • You can also put the spices into a tea bag to make them easy to remove.
  • Don’t let the orange slices sit longer than 10 minutes in the punch, or the bitterness of the pith will transfer to your beverage.
  • Kinderpunsch can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 145mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

This recipe was originally published in 2016 and updated with new images and an improved recipe in 2022.

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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2 Comments

  1. This sounds delicious. Could you please list the amount and type of cloves used? They are listed in instructions but not in ingredients. Do you let the spices float freely and remove before serving or do you make a spice pouch?

    Thank you,
    M

    1. You need 3 cloves for this recipe, use the little buds, not the ground spice. I let the spices float freely but you can also put them in a tea strainer or filter.