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German Pfeffernüsse Cookies

German Pfeffernusse Cookies – A traditional spiced German cookie covered in powdered sugar. The perfect cookie for a Christmas cookie exchange!

German Pfeffernusse Cookies

Have you ever tried a German pfeffernüsse cookies before? If you haven’t, these cookies are going to be a new Christmas favorite! They are soft, spicy cookies with a more toned down molasses base than normal gingerbread with a bit of honey too.  I liked how the spices shined through more than traditional gingerbread cookies.  Because of their prevalence, they create such an incredible flavor!

These traditional German cookies is the second recipe in my international cookie series of posts leading up to Christmas.  My first post was the French Palmier Cookies and for this one I popped over to their neighbor, Germany, for a traditional Christmas cookie recipe! I’m not quite sure what international cookie recipe will be up next, I have two Italian cookies lined up for the first week of December but none for next week!

This Pfeffernusse Cookies recipe was the first time I’ve had the chance to use star anise or anise extract.  I finally got to pull that out of the pantry which was weirdly exciting! I had gotten some a while back but just hadn’t come across any recipe with it in it!

Common Questions About Making German Pfeffernusse Cookies

What are German pfeffernusse cookies?

German pfeffernusse cookies are a spiced molasses cookie that is baked that then covered with powdered sugar.

How many cookies does this recipe make?

This recipe makes about 16 cookies but it can easily be doubled if you want more.

Can I glaze these cookies?

Yes! Glazing these cookies with icing is also a popular choice.

Ingredient Notes –

  • Butter is the base of our cookies – it adds richness and moisture to our cookies. I use salted, but use whatever you have on hand.
  • I like to use a mix of granulated sugar and brown sugar in this recipe because it creates a chewy cookie and gives it a bit of warm flavor.
  • Egg holds our cookies together.
  • Vanilla enhances the flavor of the spices and molasses.
  • Flour helps give the cookies shape and body. Make sure to measure using the scoop and level technique so you don’t end up with dense cookies.
  • Baking soda helps the cookies rise just slightly so they stay light and chewy.
  • Molasses sweetens the cookies and gives them flavor.
  • Cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, and anise extract all give the cookies a spiced flavor.
  • Powdered sugar coats the cookies.

Looking for more cookie recipes? Check these out!

Yield: 16 Cookies

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

German Pfeffernusse Cookies - A traditional spiced German cookie covered in powdered sugar. The perfect cookie for a Christmas cookie exchange!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp anise extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. In a small saucepan, combine butter, molasses, and honey over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Add egg and anise extract to butter mixture. Stir and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, ground pepper, ground ginger, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let cool in a fridge for 2-3 hours.
  5. Once the dough has cooled, preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Roll cookie dough into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Once cookies have cooled, roll in powdered sugar and serve.
  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Friday 29th of April 2022

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Marguerite Brave

Tuesday 21st of December 2021

I mix the sugar in with molasses honey and butter hope it still works I'll let you know LOL


Saturday 4th of December 2021

I'm making these now, after not being able to find my Mom's recipe for these cookies. I'm wondering why a cookie named "Pfeffernusse" - which means, literaly, pepper-nuts, has no nuts in it? I can't remember if my mom put chopped nuts in hers, so I'm trying this out without nuts. I hope it's tasty! I love all the spices! :)


Monday 1st of November 2021

One of my favorite to buy packaged cookies, now have a recipe that’s awesome. Now I just need to know how to pronounce.

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