German Christmas Cookies are a indispensable part of the German holiday celebrations. Cinnamon and peppernut-scented gingerbread, infused with with anise, cloves and other spices. Unique cookies with an elegant splendor of chocolate, filled with luxurious jam or topped with snow-white lemon glaze… They are many traditional German recipes to choose from. In this post I will introduce you 43 of the top German Christmas cookies and share some of my best authentic, traditional German recipes with you.
Baking Christmas cookies – A lovely tradition in German homes at Christmas time
Every family cultivates holiday traditions that they follow year after year during the Christmas season. Especially in families with children, baking Christmas cookies is definitely one of them. It is not only the creation of the sweet treats that is the main focus, but also the shared experience of creating something together as a family gives parents and their children a lot of joy.
Do you also have fond memories of the Advent season when you baked cookies and this memory brings a smile to your face? Or maybe you want to start this tradition on your own or with your family? You want to enjoy the Christmas scents, soft Christmas music in the background and of course the secret snacking of the raw dough. If so, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve put together a great selection of delicious German Christmas cookies for you.
German Christmas Treats Book
Check out the All Tastes German Christmas Treats Book. You can find delicious recipes for Christmas cookies, truffles, homemade marzipan and nougat paste, stollen, gingerbread variations and gluhwein. More Information here: German Christmas Treats Book
History of the German Christmas Cookies
In the past, gifts were not distributed by Santa Claus, as is the case today, but by St. Nicholas. He helped poor people. According to a legend, he gave three balls of gold to a poor family man to save his daughters. Every year people remembered this legend by decorating their house with three balls. Later, the typical apples were created from this tradition, and over the years they were joined by the Christmas cookies.
Did you know that in the past, German Christmas cookies were not only baked for eating, but they also decorated the Christmas tree. In many places, besides candles and small wooden or glass ornaments, there were also homemade cookies hanging on the tree.
Traditional German Cookies with Nuts and/or Marzipan
Vanillekipferl – Vanilla Crescents
Vanillekipferl – Vanilla crescents are probably one of the most popular Christmas cookie choice in Europe. The cookie-like pastries are baked and served primarily at Christmas and during the Advent season. However, the Kipferl are not cut out of a rolled-out dough with cookie cutters, as many other cookies are, but are usually rolled and shaped into a crescent shape by hand. After the almond shortbread is baked, they are dusted with powdered sugar.
You can find the recipe here: Authentic German Vanillekipferl Recipe
Nussmakronen – Hazelnut Macaroons
Nussmakronen are light German style macaroons that are made with fluffy egg whites and nuts. Traditionally hazelnuts are used for this recipe, but you can make them with almonds or walnuts too. German style macaroons are more forgiving then the French version and are easy and fast to make.
Kokosmakronen – German Coconut Macaroons
Everyone loves this airy meringue cookie. Coconut macaroons are a Christmas classic that can be prepared super-fast and are ready to enjoy in the blink of an eye.
If you love coconut macaroons, you absolutely must try this deluxe version of the cookie. Marzipan paste gives this recipe that special something and makes the coconut macaroons even fancier.
Bethmännchen are a specialty from Frankfurt and are made of marzipan, rose water and almonds. It is very easy to make these delicious and juicy cookies at home. Prepared in no time and eaten so quickly that you will certainly have to bake them a second time. The perfect snack in the Advent time and a unique gift for friends and family.
You can find the recipe here: Bethmännchen Recipe
Many German families cannot imagine Christmas without cinnamon stars. Zimtsterne are among the most popular Christmas cookies in Germany. The Christmas scent, the crunchy glaze, the juicy soft, nutty dough, for many there is no better pastry than the brown star with the white top and the delicious cinnamon flavor.
You can find the recipe here: Zimtsterne Recipe
Walnut hearts are actually simple butter cookies. But the enhancement with ground walnuts and a delicious fruit filling transform these cookies into a very special treat.
Mandelmonde are real classics of German Christmas baking. They are made quickly and are ready to eat in less than an hour. The classic recipe calls for fine quince jelly, but modern recipes also like to use apple or pear jelly.
Kissinger Brötchen aka Kissinger Plätzchen
Kissinger cookies are delicious Christmas cookies with crunchy hazelnuts, walnut topping and jam filling. They look elegant and luxurious and are super delicious!
Brotlaibe – Schokoladenschneebälle
Buttery Classic Cookies & Tender Shortbread That You Find On German Christmas Plates
Butterplätzchen – German Sugar Cookie
The fine butter cookies for cutting are a classic all over the world and remind many of Christmas baking with grandma. They are easy to make and so versatile, as they can be enhanced with simple icing or complex, artistic decors.
Spritzgebäck – Authentic German Spritz Cookies
Buttery, tender and soft Spritzgebäck is quite something special! The classic reminds me of coffee afternoons at Oma´s and Christmas plates during Advent season.
You can find the recipe here: Authentic German Spritz Cookies Recipe
Butter S – Tender Butter Cookies
Butter-S is a classic of Swabian cuisine.The cookies are easy and quick to make and are traditionally decorated with hail sugar.
Schwarz-Weiss Gebäck – Black & White Cookies
Black and white cookies are another classic German Christmas treat. Whether in a checkerboard pattern or as a beautiful spiral – these cookies are a must for Advent.
Heidesand – German Shortbread
Heidesand – Heath sand cookies are a very crumbly, tender Christmas or tea cookie from Lower Saxony. The texture of this pastry is delicate and fine like sand, reminiscent of the sandy heath soil. Some recipes for Heidesand cookies include marzipan, cocoa, lemon flavoring and also rosemary and other spices.
The vanilla pudding powder in the dough makes these cookies extra tender and flaky. If you like variety, try the Butterhupferl recipe also with other pudding powder flavors like chocolate, banana or strawberry.
Filled Traditional Christmas Cookies That Germans Love To Bake
Terrassenplätzchen – Jam Stacker Cookies
These soft and delicious cookies are filled with fruity jam or nougat cream like Linzer cookies. However, they have not only two layers, but usually have stacked three or four layers of deliciousness.
Find the recipe here: Terrassenplätzchen Recipe
Engelsaugen – German Thumb Print Cookies
Engelsaugen – Angel’s eyes or also called Husarenkrapfen are small shortbread cookies with a fruity jam or nougat filling. The cookies belong to the favorite cookie classics in German speaking countries.
You can find the recipe here:: Engelsaugen Recipe
A cookie recipe that has many names: Spitzbuben are also known to many as Linzer cookies or Linzer eyes. Both names describe a buttery double cookie filled with jelly or jam and dusted with powdered sugar.
You can find the recipe here: Spitzbuben Recipe
Linzer Streifen are traditional Christmas cookies, which actually originate from Austria, but are very popular throughout the German-speaking countries. A not so easy recipe that needs a little practice but is very rewarding. The fine shortbread with almonds in combination with the tart currant jam is a very special flavor experience.
These jam-filled tender shortbread spritz crescent cookies, taste not only at Christmas, but are the whole year a delicious treat.
Linzer Kipferl is a delicate spritz pastry that is baked in the shape of a crescent. Two cookie crescents are filled with jam, and the ends are covered in delicious chocolate.
Heinerle cookies are made of tender wafers and chocolate. They look like they would be difficult to make, but you can easily make them at home – without baking! The delicate cookies literally melt in your mouth. A very special treat and different to most cookies.
Nougattaler are filled double cookies with hazelnut nougat. The crispy cookies with melt-in-the-mouth cream and chocolate icing are a true cookie dream!
The delicious chocolate shortbread tastes not only at Christmas time. The tender cookies have a creamy filling of nut nougat and the ends are usually coated in high quality chocolate.
Delicious Nutella cookies taste not only wonderful the whole year around but are a quick choice for the Cookie Exchange if you are in a time pinch.
These almond shortbread cookies are among the most popular Austrian specialties and are also very popular in Germany! They are simple, but delicious cut out cookies, spread with jam and covered with delicious chocolate. As a garnish, peeled almonds halves, walnut halves or chopped pistachios are used to decorate the sweet treat.
Christmas Cookies for Adults
White chocolate, egg liqueur and butter make these delicate cookies a special treat. They are also beautiful to look at and make the perfect hostess gift.
Another adult cookie variation are Gluhwein jelly filled cookies. It is so easy to make your own Gluhwein jelly and you can enjoy it not only as filling for cookies but also on buttered toast or freshly baked rolls.
Whether for Christmas or other special occasions, these delicious punch cookies are a very special treat. No one can resist the homemade punch icing with the delicious rum note.
A wonderful blend of butter cookies, red wine cake and lots of spices, these chocolate red wine cookies with jam are a special winter treat!
Modern Cookie Variations that Germans Love – Not Only In The Advent Time
The sweet hedgehog cookies are very easy to bake and are an eye-catcher in your cookie box. You probably have the ingredients ready at home and the cookies are guaranteed to succeed.
These sweet meringue cookies have a caramel chocolate center and remind to delicate snowflakes covering the landscape.
Poppy seed cookies can be found in many variations. From jam filled poppy seed cookies to poppy seed kringles, filled poppy seed spritz cookies to poppy seed crescents. No matter in which form, the poppy seeds gives every cookie that special something and an incomparable taste.
Pudding cookies also come in many shapes and ingredient combinations. They are usually made quickly and are light and fluffy due to the use of pudding component.
These delicious soft cookies with cinnamon and sugar are a beloved treat for the whole family. The dough for the cream cookies is prepared with a secret ingredient, which makes them wonderfully smooth and incredibly delicious.
A true classic in cookie shape! With this delicious recipe you can create cinnamon rolls inspired cookies for Christmas and all year long.
Lebkuchen – German Gingerbread Specialties
Peppernuts are small spice cookies are one of the most famous0 Germans Christmas holiday treats. Similar cookies are also made in Denmark and the Netherlands.
You can find the recipe here: Authentic German Pfeffernusse Recipe
Printen are another German gingerbread specialty and have been around since the 15th century. The typical elongated shape was given to the pastry because the dough was pressed into elaborately carved wooden molds.
Elisenlebkuchen are exquisite gingerbread cookies, which are made from nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), candied orange and lemon peel. Usually homemade recipes for Elisenlebkuchen contain no flour. A good cookie option for those who are gluten intolerant!
Gefüllte Lebkuchen – Jam Filled German Chocolate Gingerbread
To make filled gingerbread involves a little more work but is especially delicious and rewarding. The spicy gingerbread dough in combination with the sweet jam filling and the delicious chocolate coating is simply divine.
Find the recipe here: Jam Filled German Chocolate Gingerbread
Dominosteine are widely popular during Advent season. The original consists of layers of gingerbread, marzipan and jelly, and is fully covered in melted chocolate.
Magenbrot is popular not only at German Christmas markets, you can also find at fairs and folk festivals. You can make large portions of the delicious soft gingerbread quickly and easily at home. Therefore, it makes also a lovely gift for friends and family.
You can find the recipe here: Magenbrot Recipe
Lebkuchen vom Blech – Gingerbread Squares
The gingerbread squares are actually not typical gingerbread cookies, but rather a sheet cake cut into small squares, but still mega delicious and so juicy. The perfect alternative to gingerbread cookies when you don’t have much time and crave some delicious gingerbread treats.
You can find a delicious Recipe here: Lebkuchen Cake Recipe
Spekulatius Spice Cookies
Armomatic speculoos cookies go back a long way and are rarely available in the US. But you can easily bake them yourself and they taste so much better than store-bought.
Springerle Anis Cookies
Springerle are a type of southern German cookies with an embossed design made by pressing a mold onto rolled dough and allowing the impression to dry before baking. This preserves the details of the surface pattern. While historical molds show that Springerle were baked for religious holidays and secular occasions throughout the year, today they are most commonly associated with the Christmas season.
What are Cookies called in Germany
Cookies are called Kekse or Plätzchen in German. The German word for Christmas Cookies is Weihnachtsplätzchen or Weihnachtskekse.
Where to Buy German Christmas Cookies Online?
It is really to make your own cookies at home, but if you want to buy them you can find German Christmas cookies on Amazon, German Delis and often in your local Aldi and Russian Grocery stores.
German Christmas Cookie Tins
Cookie tins are the best way to keep German Christmas cookies moist and tender for a long time. This makes it possible to bake your cookies already early in November and you will have less stress in December. Make sure to hide your cookie tins well or your family probably will eat them way before Christmas and you need to start all over again.
If you are looking for German inspired tins you can find some here and other online shops.
Christmas Cookie Molds & Cutters
Cookie molds and cookie cutters are the perfect helper if you want to bake with little children or need to make a large amount of cookies. You can find them in local supermarkets, craft shops, home decor stores and a large variety online.