German Spice Cookies

The German Spice Cookies will amaze first your nose while being bake. The smells of the spiced blend made of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and clover will take you by surprise and will travel you to Germany, where the big brother of the cookies is found: the Pfeffernüsse. Made with dark molasses, brown sugar, and flour in addition to the spices, these German Spice Cookies are the quintessential sweet treat for Christmas and the entire month of December. Follow the traditional recipe as follows and pair them with a glass of Mulled Wine – you are then all set!

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Why we love 💕the German Spice Cookies

  • They transport us to the Christmas markets in Germany- so fun to walk around!
  • Their aromas in the kitchen and everywhere in the house.
  • Their powdered sugar that makes them so cute!

👩‍🍳What you need to make the German Spice Cookies

  • Large mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • 2 Silpat® baking mats or parchment paper
  • Hand Mixer

🕐How to make the German Spice Cookies

  • First you make the dough: start by mixing the butter with the sugar; then add the molasses and the eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and spices.
  • Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients. Make sure to mix it all together well. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
  • When the hour is up, take the dough out of the refrigerator and form 1-inch balls. Preheat your oven to 375 °F.
  • Place them on a baking sheet and bake for up to 8-12 minutes until cookies are browned. Once they are done, let them cool for a few minutes.
  • Then coat them with powdered sugar – the cookies are ready!
A bowl with sugar, butter, egg and molasses
Mix them together
A bowl with flour and added spices
Add the spices
A bowl with wet ingredients and spices
Mix wet ingredients and spices
Bowl with both wet and dry ingredients
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together
The dough is rolled in balls on the baking sheet
Roll the dough!
German Spice Cookies
The German Spice Cookies are ready

Do you like cookies? Try our Crispy Ginger Cookies recipe here

FAQs about the German Spice Cookies

What is the difference between these German Spice Cookies and the Pfeffernüsse?

Pfeffernüsse contain commonly white pepper, Ginger spice, almond meal, honey, and heavy cream. The German Spice Cookies have only grounded ginger from the above ingredients. Pfeffernüsse means pepper nut which indicates the peppery flavor of the cookie and also makes references to its walnut shape. Favorite cookies for the Christmas holidays in Germany, they are eaten in celebration of the arrival of St. Nicholas on December 6.

What type of butter should I use?

Regular unsalted butter is the best choice. Make sure it is at room temperature but not completely melted because it will not cream well with the sugar.

Can I substitute molasses?

Yes, you can. You can use maple syrup, agave nectar or honey to name just a few. Molasses are used in this recipe for the extra brown color and the caramel taste. If you decide to go for honey or agave nectar, the cookies will have a lighter color for sure. Maple syrup may be closer to molasses for its color. You have to adjust the quantities as various sweeteners have different sugar levels.

Can I add extra spices?

You could add white pepper so they can taste like their German brother – the  Pfeffernüsse!

How long can I keep the German Spice Cookies?

You can keep them in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze the cookies in a freezer-safe container for 3 months without the powdered sugar.

Can I make them gluten-free?

You can use gluten-free flour for the cookies however, the texture will be completely different. You may not get cookies as soft or crispy as you may want to.

How can I make them vegan?

You will need to replace butter with a vegetable butter and the eggs with chia eggs.

Did you make this? Follow us on Pinterest @wedesserts or using the hashtag #wedesserts on Instagram and Facebook. We can’t wait to see your creation!

More recipes for the holidays? Check out the Traditional Swedish Saffron Buns here

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A plate with baked and coated in sugar German Spice Cookies

German Spice Cookies

Made with dark molasses, brown sugar, and flour in addition to the spices, these German Spice Cookies are the quintessential sweet treat for Christmas and the entire month of December.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 32 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Servings 24
Calories 152 kcal


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • cup molasses
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger


  • Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl
    Butter and brown sugar in a bowl
  • Add the eggs and molasses and mix to combine
    A bowl with sugar, butter, egg and molasses
  • In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and spices. Stir to combine
    A bowl with flour and added spices
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined
    Bowl with both wet and dry ingredients
  • Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for one hour
  • When ready to bake, place top oven rack in center position and pre-heat oven to 375°F
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and form balls with a 1-inch scoop. Roll the dough in your hands to form a ball and set on baking sheet with two inches between each cookie
    The dough is rolled in balls on the baking sheet
  • Place baking sheets in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are nicely browned and cooked through
  • Remove from oven and let cookies cool for several minutes
  • Working in batches, transfer cooled cookies to a Ziploc bag filled with powdered sugar. Seal tightly and gently turn until cookies are thoroughly coated
    A plate with coated cookies in powdered sugar
  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
    German Spice Cookies


  • You can use a Silpat® baking mat instead of parchment paper
  • You can replace the molasses with the sweetener of your choice. You could use honey, agave nectar or maple syrup but the consistency and/or the sweetness levels will probably change. Adjust according to your preferences in texture and taste. 


Serving: 1Calories: 152kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 120mgPotassium: 59mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 189IUVitamin C: 0.05mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Keyword German Spice Cookies, German Spice Cookies with powdered sugar, Pfeffernüsse
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