Try some of our favorite traditional German cookies. From simple butter cookies to gingerbread and jam cookies, there are plenty of recipes you can bake for your family this winter.
Making Christmas cookies is a German culinary tradition; I cannot even imagine December without baking and eating lots of traditional or less traditional cookies. It all starts at the end of November or the beginning of December, usually around the 1st Advent, which falls either on the last Sunday in November or the first Sunday in December. Four weeks of eating cookies coming in all shapes and flavors, some you make yourself, some you get from your friends or family, some you buy at the Christmas market.
Here you will find some of our favorite German Christmas cookies recipes!
- German Butter Cookies
These Butterplätzchen are our most-baked recipes; I've been baking them with my kids at least once every season, ever since my eldest one was 3 years old (10 years ago). It's our most sacred tradition at the beginning of December: an entire afternoon spent with my children (and sometimes one or two of their friends), cutting dough (we have at least 30 different cookie cutters), sprinkling the pieces with rainbow sprinkles, and baking the cookies.
These are some of my favorite German cookies. They consist of a double layer of shortcrust almond pastry with jam in between. We typically cut the dough with a star cutter, but any other shape you like is excellent. All that matters is to cut a hole in the middle of the upper pastry, which you will fill with jam once you've baked the cookies.
3. Vanillekipferl Recipe - Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Actually, these cookies are of Austrian origin, but they have been a part of the German cookie tradition for so long, it doesn't matter who developed the recipe in the first place. I got this recipe from Oma (my husband's grandmother), who almost made it to be 100 years old. She used to bake these for us every December while she still could, and I started baking them myself when she couldn't do it anymore.
4. Almond Cookies without Eggs
Easy to make, tender, almond cookies are the perfect choice if you're on the lookout for no-egg recipes. All you have to do is stir the ingredients, child the dough, cut it into rounds, and bake those.
5. Coconut Cookie Recipe
Tender coconut macaroons or coconut cookies made with only three ingredients; these are probably the easiest German Christmas cookies you could make. It takes 15 minutes to make them; the longest part of the process is forming the macaroons and placing them on the baking tray. Ten more minutes in the oven, and that's it!
6. Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Sweet and chewy and with lots of chocolate, these are some of our family’s favorite Christmas cookies. They are pretty addictive. Not only the baked cookies but the unbaked dough as well… I really have to force myself to stop nibbling that dough every time…
7. Classic Thumbprint Cookies
Only five ingredients and less than half an hour actual work and you will be rewarded with some of the best cookies I know: Engelsaugen (Angel’s Eyes) in German or ochi de pisica (Cat’s Eyes) in Romanian. They are not only a classic German cookie, they seem to be a classic in many other countries.
8. German Hazelnut Macaroons
If you feel like baking, but don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, these Nussmakronen are the solution. They taste incredible, sweet and chewy and “hazelnutty”, are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, they are made in no time and, at least for me, a happy way of using the egg whites that I keep gathering in the freezer.
11. German Walnut Marzipan Cookies
Shortcrust walnut marzipan cookies, a holiday treat you cannot miss. Pretty-looking cookies, incredibly delicious, and bound to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth.
12. German Heidesand Cookies
Heidesand or heath sand are traditional German cookies, shortcrust pastry usually made with brown butter, rolled in sugar, sliced, and then baked. Really simple but really good. This is another recipe inherited from Oma.
13. Cornflakes Cookies
Or Schokocrossies, these are my mother-in-law's signature cookies and probably my husband's favorite sort, he can devour a whole batch on his own in one day. You will only need a few ingredients and less than half an hour’s time. The reward is the crispiest cookies ever, full of chocolate and so hard to resist.
14. Muesli Biscuits
These are an American twist on simple oat cookies, enriched with peanut butter and dried cranberries, which are very untypical ingredients for using when making German cookies. They are super chewy and delicious!
15. Gingerbread Cookies without Molasses
A perfect Lebkuchen or gingerbread dough made with honey, nicely spiced and so easy to work with.
16. Empire Biscuits
These biscuits have many names, the list of names is actually longer than the ingredient list. You can call them German biscuits, Imperial cookies, Scottish cookies, Empire cookies, Deutsch biscuits, double biscuits, Belgian biscuits, double shortbread, biscuit bun, Freedom or Linzer biscuits. They are shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with raspberry jam, iced with powdered sugar icing, and topped with a glace or candied cherry. Not something you will find in Germany, but still they are called German biscuits in many other countries, hence the decision to add them to this list of Best German Cookies.