Here is a recipe to make Lebkuchen cookies. Traditional German gingerbread cookie recipe from my grandmother who made them every year.
Lebkuchen cookies or German gingerbread cookies as some people may call them, were my favorite cookie growing up! My grandmother always made it during Christmas time and put them in a little tin with other cookies. (originally published 12/13, affiliate links present)
This reminds me of her every time I make them, and I continue the tradition, making this special German spice cookie recipe with my 3 girls now.
- I think it is important to have traditions especially during the holidays.
Yes I could definitely make lebkuchen throughout the year and would enjoy them immensely then too. However, it’s a special German Christmas making these just once a year too.
I had to take a picture of this recipe because it is so well loved. It still gets the point across on this little 3×5 card right?
This year I blogged about it so I could never forget this special recipe and here we are today. You just combine all the dry ingredients above and then add the egg and honey last.
- Baking sheets
- Brown sugar
- All purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice
- Powdered sugar
- Parchment paper
- important while cooling completely so they don’t stick
Or use this silicone baking mat which rocks
It does take a bit more patience than traditional cookies just because the honey is a bit challenging to really mix it in properly, and this time I even got in there with my hands and needed it together to get it to all mix through.
Spice cookie sugar glaze:
Make the glaze for your lebkuchen recipe. Do so while your first batch is in the oven so you can spoon some over each one when they come out and are still warm.
- I boil the sugar, confectioner sugar, and water in a small pan until it boils and then turn it off.
- Use a tablespoon to spoon over cooked cookies
- Make sure to put them on parchment paper or no stick foil before spooning glaze over because they WILL stick!!
If you love this Lebkuchen German cookie recipe you will love our other recipes like Christmas tree sugar cookies on The Typical Mom too!
I also make 2 batches and freeze half of them because I make them only once a year and it is nice to bring a few out later to enjoy too (family members always ask for a few too).
- Preheat the oven to 400. Make sure you spray the pan before putting the cookies on, dough is sticky!
The dough will be very thick and sticky. I don’t bother making them into a long roll, wrapping with saran wrap, cooling, and cutting into a traditional squares.
There’s just no time for that. Using my hands, I just make them into equal size balls, flatten the ball a bit and bake for about 9 min. or so.
- You want them to be chewy (they have a chewy texture you won’t find in any other cookie you will ever eat), and you do NOT want to overbake them.
Baking them a bit shorter than a bit too long is better, I just take them out when it has barely browned on the top and is brown on the bottom…they will harden a bit when they sit.
What does Lebkuchen taste like?
These German cookies are either rectangular or round. I find it is easier to just make balls instead of trying to shape them. They have a sweet, nutty taste, and their aroma is spicy.
I compare them to a cross between a dense spice cake and gingerbread. If you like nutmeg and allspice you’ll love these.
- They are usually soft with a slight crunch from chopped nuts on top if you choose to add those.
- Lebkuchen is a traditional Christmas cookie which is often enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee.
Is Lebkuchen the same as gingerbread?
One is typically cut into human shapes or built into houses called gingerbread houses while lebkuchen is a traditional german christmas biscuit form of gingerbread.
How long do Lebkuchen keep?
- These are so special to me that I make a double batch and freeze half of them in small freezer bags. That way I can take out a few weeks later and savor them.
However, if you store them on the counter I would eat them within a few weeks for optimal texture and taste. As long as you store your lebkuchen in an airtight container and in a cool, dry place, you can continue to enjoy it for more than 3 months.
Can you freeze Lebkuchen?
Yes Lebkuchen cookies can be frozen in appropriate freezer bags. It is important that they are defrosted gently and slowly though when you’re ready to enjoy them.
The more gently this is done the softer and more succulent they will be once defrosted.
Lebkuchen German Spice Cookie
- Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and mix well
- Combine wet ingredients in another bowl, mix well, and then slowly add dry ingredients in. It will be REALLY sticky and thick!
- Spoon about a large tbsp. full of batter on to a WELL sprayed cookie sheet. If you want the traditional look you can use a piece of parchment paper and create a long roll of dough, roll it up and put it in the fridge, then cut when dough is harder to make slices. (I don’t bother with that)
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the outer edges are firmer but the very middle is still a bit undercooked. This will create a really chewy german spice cookie.
- If you want a glaze on your lebkuchen, heat on the stovetop sugar, powdered sugar and enough water to make the consistency you want. Thin is okay, it will still create a sweet glaze on top.
- Put cookies on parchment paper or a cooling rack with paper underneath and spoon glaze on so it won’t stick to plate.