German Christmas Cookies (Lebkuchen Recipe aka German Gingerbread)

[Updated 12/2/2022]  Lebkuchen, a.ok.a German Gingerbread, are conventional Christmas Cookies that has been round for hundreds of years.

It was once at the beginning invented via clergymen in Franconia, Germany within the overdue 1200s, however has developed during the last 800+ years into a lot of diversifications.

Right here’s a have a look at the origins of those cherished German Christmas cookies, in addition to a easy Lebkuchen recipe courtesy of Chef Mirko Peters, the Government Chef of the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Assortment. 

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German Christmas Cookies/Lebkuchen Gingerbread Information

  1. Historical past of German Christmas Cookies
  2. Nürnberger Lebkuchen
  3. Lebkuchenherzen
  4. Elisen Lebkuchen
  5. Different Kinds of Lebkuchen
  6. Lebkuchen Recipe a.ok.a. German Gingerbread
  7. Lebkuchen Cookies FAQs

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Christmas market in Nuremberg Germany Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay
Christmas marketplace in Nuremberg Germany via Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

The Historical past of German Christmas Cookies

Lebkuchen is a standard German Christmas cookie courting again to the thirteenth century. The deal with was once invented via clergymen in Germany, with skilled bakers recorded making the Christmas dessert as early as 1296 in Ulm and 1395 in Nuremberg.

Nuremberg briefly become essentially the most well-known exporter of the German ginger cookies, which quickly garnered the title Nürnberger lebkuchen.

In the ones days, Nuremberg sat on the crossroads of main business routes. So town may just simply import spices that have been wanted for the recipe and couldn’t be discovered in the community.

The woodland that surrounded town, which was once regularly referred to as “the Emperor’s Bee Lawn,” additionally proved essential. The more than a few brightly coloured flora there attracted bees, which in flip produced honey (the one sweetener that existed at the moment).

The Lebkuchen cookie won fashionable reputation in 1487. Emperor Fredrich III held a normal meeting in Nuremberg, inviting just about 4,000 youngsters from around the town to wait.

On the particular match, he introduced the youngsters with German Christmas cookies that have been adorned together with his personal portrait. 

With the intention to formally acknowledge the occupation and create particular pointers that needed to be adopted with the intention to promote the cookies, Nuremberg went at the create the “League of Lebkuchen Bakers” in 1643.

Ever since then, Lebkuchen cookies have remained a well-liked German Christmas delicacy. They have got grow to be a commonplace Christmas cookie custom, no longer simply in Germany however in lots of different Ecu and North American international locations as smartly.

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Nürnberger Lebkuchen
Nürnberger Lebkuchen symbol via Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

Nürnberger Lebkuchen

Since their introduction, Lebkuchen were baked and ready in plenty of tactics, differing in form, taste, and magnificence of presentation.

Essentially the most well known sort is Nürnberger lebkuchen. Known for his or her cushy texture, they come with marzipan as a primary element, and feature remained slightly true to the unique recipe that was once created in Nuremberg in 1395.

One in style variation of Nürnberger lebkuchen is kaiserlein, which might be simply lebkuchen that experience an imprinted or drawn image on them for adornment.

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Lebkuchenherzen image by Katja S. Verhoeven from Pixabay
Lebkuchenherzen symbol via Katja S. Verhoeven from Pixabay


Lebkuchenherzen is tougher and crunchier than different kinds of lebkuchen.

They’re usually made within the form of a center, with subtle icing detailing at the best.

This alteration won recognition after changing into a staple at Oktoberfest, and are regularly delivered with loving or humorous messages.

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Elisen Lebkuchen

Elisen Lebkuchen are extensively regarded as to be the very best quality of lebkuchen to be had.

It’s in most cases required that they’ve no less than 25% almonds, hazelnuts, and/or walnuts within the recipe, in addition to not more than 10% flour.

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Braune Lebkuchen
Braune Lebkuchen via Torsten Maue CC BY-SA 2.0

Different Kinds of Lebkuchen

Braune lebkuchen (brown gingerbread) is baked with honey, and the dough is normally formed right into a mould.

As soon as baked, they’re normally lined in a glaze combination or dipped in chocolate.

Weisse lebkuchen (white gingerbread) use a considerable amount of egg whites within the dough giving them a lighter look as soon as cooked. They’re usually adorned with almonds and orange or lemon peels.

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German Christmas Cookie
German Christmas Cookies symbol via Jill Wellington by means of Pixabay

Lebkuchen Recipe (aka German Gingerbread)

This conventional Lebkuchen recipe involves us courtesy of Chef Mirko Peters, the Government Chef of the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Assortment.

Check out adorning them with white, inexperienced, and pink frosting for an extremely festive vacation deal with!


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup darkish molasses
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup combined chopped candied culmination & peels


  • 1 rather crushed egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • sprint of salt


  • Stir in combination dry elements.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Upload the brown sugar and beat till fluffy. Stir in honey and molasses and beat till smartly combined.
  • Upload dry elements to the mix, stirring smartly till mixed. Stir in nuts and culmination. Sit back in a single day.
  • Roll chilled dough on a floured floor right into a 14-inch sq.. Reduce into 3 1/2 x 2-inch rectangles or use cookie cutters to shape the required shapes.
  • Position 2 inches aside on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375°F for 12 to fourteen mins.
  • Let cool 1 minute prior to shifting to twine rack.
  • Whilst Lebkuchen is baking, make the lemon glaze.
  • Mix all elements and blend smartly. Brush onto the cookies whilst they’re nonetheless heat. 

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Lebkuchen Cookies FAQs

German Gingerbread Cookies

What’s at the backside of Lebkuchen?

The skinny, paper-like wafer at the backside of lebkuchen is known as an Oblaten. It was once at the beginning utilized by clergymen as a way to forestall the dough from sticking.

It’s produced from flour, so it’s utterly fit for human consumption. However for those who want, it may be peeled off of the cookie prior to consuming.

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What does Lebkuchen style like?

The style of lebkuchen varies rather– from highly spiced to candy– in keeping with the kind and person recipe used to make the German gingerbread.

Basically the cookie has a flippantly nutty style, with simply the correct quantity of spice peaking via to lead them to flavorful.

It’s in most cases a slightly chewy dessert, with a cake-like texture within and a slight crunch at the out of doors.

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What’s the distinction between Pfeffernuse and Lebkuchen?

Pfeffernuse and lebkuchen are each German Christmas cookies that come with identical primary elements, like flour, honey, and a mix of more than a few spices so as to add taste.

The primary distinction between the 2 conventional meals is that lebkuchen is made with nuts, whilst pfeffernusse isn’t.

Pfeffernusse actually have a dome form, while lebkuchen have a tendency to be flatter.

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What’s Lebkuchen Allerlei?

Lebkuchen Allerlei is a variation of braune (brown) lebkuchen.

They have got a gentle and cakey texture, and have a tendency to be closely spiced.

As soon as baked, they may be able to be served undeniable, glazed, or lined in chocolate. They normally have a tendency to be served in an varied selection.  – via Christina Maggitas; lead photograph by means of Pixabay

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