Lebkuchen (German Spice Cookies)

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These German Spice cookies known as Lebkuchen are made from scratch and absolutely delicious! Glazed German gingerbread is a Holiday favorite and always the first thing to go on a Christmas cookie tray.

German Spice Cookies

What is Lebkuchen?

Pronounced leyb-koo-kuh n, this traditional German Christmas treat is a soft, spiced cookie with lemon glaze on top. If you have never tried one, the taste is comparable to gingerbread cookies but with a big distinction, which is that these cookies are chewy, not hard.

German Spice Cookies

The word Lebkuchen translates to English as “Christmas cookie” and for good reason, it’s got all the warm, winter tastes like cinnamon, ginger, honey and nutmeg. This cookie was new to me until recently but once I tried it I was hooked. If traditional gingerbread isn’t your thing, I would still give this a try because they are very different!

Ingredients Needed:

The ingredients list is quite long, as it utilizes a large assortment of spices. The only ingredient you may not usually keep around is ground almonds, which you can find in your local grocery store or Walmart. Other than that, most of these things are probably in the pantry.

  • Sweeteners – Honey and Brown Sugar
  • Butter – We always use unsalted butter and then add the salt to make sure it’s the right amount. Store brands have different amounts of salt content in salted butter.
  • Dry ingredients – All-Purpose Flour, Baking Powder and Baking Soda
  • Egg – You only need 1 large egg.
  • Citrus – Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest
  • Ground Almonds – you can buy this already ground of grind the almonds yourself.
  • Spices:
    • Ground Cinnamon
    • Ground Ginger
    • Ground Allspice
    • Ground Cloves
    • Ground Nutmeg
    • Fine Sea Salt

For The Glaze:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Rum – optional

Lebkuchen Cookies

How To Make Lebkuchen

Before you begin, make note that this dough does need some rest time, so it’s not a last-minute recipe. It needs at least an hour to rest.

Step 1: Start by heating the honey and sugar together in the microwave until the sugar melts. When it is melted, quickly add in the butter and lemon zest and stir until the butter melts.

Step 2: Next, stir in the egg, all of the spices, the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Step 3: Stir in the flour and ground almonds and stir until you get a sticky dough. Add a bit of lemon juice as needed.

Step 4: When it’s ready. spray your hands with cooking spray and scoop the dough into a ball. Cover it with a towel and leave the dough at room temperature for an hour – overnight.

Lebkuchen stacked

Step 5: Make the glaze by simply stirring the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Step 6: Divide the dough into thirds and roll out each (one at a time) to about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut out circular cookies.

Step 7: Bake the cookies on 350 degrees for about 12 minutes and let them rest on a wire rack. Add the glaze on top.

If you want to add some chocolate, melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips in the microwave and dip the cookies in and transfer them back to the wire rack to cool.

Broken Lebkuchen Cookies

Other Christmas Cookie Recipes:

Lebkuchen German Spiced Cookies
4.98 from 48 votes

Lebkuchen (German Spice Cookies)

These German Spice cookies known as Lebkuchen are made from scratch and absolutely delicious! Glazed German gingerbread is a Holiday favorite and always the first thing to go on a Christmas cookie tray.
Servings: 30 Cookies
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 22 minutes



Glaze Ingredients


  • In a glass bowl, mix the honey and sugar and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir together well until sugar dissolves (heat another 15-30 seconds if needed).
  • Immediately add the butter and lemon zest and stir until the butter melts.
  • Stir in the baking powder, soda, salt and spices and egg.
  • Add the flour and ground almonds. Mix until you have a soft and slightly sticky dough, adding a little lemon juice as needed. Be careful not to add too much because you will be rolling the dough, just enough to where it’s not dry.
  • Spray your hands with cooking spray and gather the dough into a ball.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with a towel and leave to rest for at least an hour or even overnight at room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile prepare the glaze.
  • Mix together all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until you have a thin glaze.
  • Divide the dough into thirds. Roll the dough on a silicone baking mat to 3/4 of an inch thickness to right under 1 inch.
  • Cut out circles using a cookie cutter.
  • Space the cookies out on the silicone mat and bake for 12 minutes.
  • Repeat with remaining dough, gathering up any scraps and rolling out again and bake in batches.
  • Transfer the cookies carefully to a wire rack and brush with the glaze while they are still a little warm using a pastry brush.
  • Allow the glaze to dry and add a second layer (if desired). Check the recipe notes if you want to cover or dip the Lebkuchen in chocolate.

Last Step:

Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.



To cover the Lebkuchen in chocolate, melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips in the microwave according to package directions.
Stir gently until the chocolate chips have melted completely.
Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate and leave to dry on a wire rack before storing.


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55 comments on “Lebkuchen (German Spice Cookies)”

    1. Hi Elizabeth. It’s added with the baking powder, soda, salt and spices listed in step three in the recipe card.

  1. 5 stars
    Made your cookies today for our Christmas and they turned out awesome!! I didn’t use the ground almonds and they still turned out very well… will be adding to our yearly baking!

  2. What can you use instead of the nuts? My daughter loves gingerbread, but can’t have nuts. Any ideas? Could you just sub an extra cup of flour?

  3. Hi Jill! Your recipe says to roll out the dough to between 3/4 and 1 inch thick, but in the video they seem much thinner. How thick do you roll them out? Thank you.

  4. Avatar photo
    Philip Conley

    5 stars
    So for the ground almonds – just use unblanched almonds and pulse in a food processor until they are small crumbs?

    1. Hi Philip. Yes, you can make your own. You will want to keep them in the processor until they are a fine meal or powder.

  5. 5 stars
    First time making these..Look just like the photo. Moist and cake like, right amount of holiday spice. I used the rum in the icing and nice touch. Will likely make these again

  6. 5 stars
    Hi. I asked my husband what kind of cookies did he want for xmas (there is a cookie oversupply at the house at the moment – i havent baked a single one). He replies, the german ginger ones – something that smells like xmas. i go online and find this recipe. i made these about 4 days ago, let me tell you, he asks “when are WE making more? as he counts that there are 5 left. complete disregard for the over supply cookies on the counter. thumbs up. great recipe & method. one for the kitchen cookbook here. thanks a mill, euri & chris; South Africa

  7. 5 stars
    Good cookies! Everyone- keep in mind these are European cookies and should not be overly sweet or overly big. I managed to make around 35 cookies. I ground up some hazelnuts for a great nuttier flavour & reduced the honey to 1/4c. Could be less even.

  8. 5 stars
    I had to hurry for a gathering so I drop spoonfuls of dough instead of rolling this time. They came out just as yummy. Big hit!

  9. 4 stars
    I would do 100g of honey & 100g of brown sugar.. way too sweet with the full amount. This also makes closer to 16 cookies, not 30.

  10. 5 stars
    These were delicious!! Mine weren’t brown like the ones in the picture. Instead of ground almonds I ground up some pecans instead. I really enjoy the tart flavor from the lemon first then melt’s into the spices and chocolate