Christmas is a special time of year, and what better way to celebrate it than with some traditional German Christmas desserts?
From stollen (fruit bread) to lebkuchenmänner (gingerbread cookies) and everything in between, these traditional German Christmas desserts are sure to get you into the holiday spirit.
So whether you’re looking for something to bake for your own holiday gathering or simply want to try something new, be sure to check out this list!
Related: 61 Traditionelle Deutsche Desserts (Liste)
German Christmas Desserts
Scroll ahead for traditional German Christmas desserts to spruce up your holiday this season.
1. German Gingerbread Cookies (Lebkuchenmänner)
Lebkuchenmänner literally translate to “gingerbread men” in English. Gingerbread cookies and gingerbread houses originated in 16th century Germany. These cookies have become associated with the Christmas tradition in the U.S. as well.
2. Gingerbread House (Lebkuchenhaus)
Lebkuchenhaus literally translates to “gingerbread house” in English. You can eat gingerbread houses! The decorations are also edible, unless you add non-food items. Gingerbread houses are a real crowd pleaser!
3. German Christmas Bread (Bremer Klaben)
A traditional German Christmas bread, stollen is a fruit- and nut-filled treat that is often coated in powdered sugar. Bremer Klaben, often known as Klaben, is a German stollen (fruit bread) that originates from Bremen. Stollen is a fruit bread coated with powdered sugar or icing. This well-known treat is popular in northern Germany during the Christmas season when it is called Christstollen or Weihnachtsstollen.
4. German Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)
Black Forest Cake is a festive addition to your holiday dinner.
Also known as Black Forest gâteau, this traditional German dessert is made of two or more layers of chocolate sponge cakes topped with whipped cream and cherries.
In some versions, the chocolate layers are soaked in decadent cherry syrup or kirschwasser brandy. The whipped cream is sometimes lightly flavored.
I recommend adding extra cool whip before serving.
Related: 500+ Desserts from A-Z (List)
5. Peppernuts Cookies (Pfeffernüsse)
You can never have too many Pfeffernüsse!
Pfeffernüsse are small spice cookies that are popular during the holidays in Germany, and among ethnic Mennonites in the United States.
Anise seeds or anise extract gives peppernuts their unique licorice flavor. The addition of ground black pepper and their round shape inspired the name “pepper nuts”.
Looking to practice your German? READ 61 Traditionelle Deutsche Desserts (Liste)
6. German Baked Apples (Bratapfel)
Baked apples are very in Germany throughout the winter season, especially around Christmas. The apples are baked with fillings such as marzipan, hazelnut cream, almonds, and/or raisins. The aroma of cloves and cinnamon is very festive. This dish can be accompanied with ice cream or vanilla sauce.
7. German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)
This traditional German apple cake is a simple vanilla cake with thinly sliced, fresh apples on top. When you slice the apples without cutting all the way through, you get a lovely fanned effect as they bake. The cake looks so festive and fancy during the holidays with a fresh dusting of icing sugar on top.
8. Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)
The dessert is a long strip of strudel dough filled with apples. It is popular around the holidays in America. The filling is made of grated cooking apples (usually Winesap apples), sugar, cinnamon, and bread crumbs. The dough for strudel is unleavened.
9. Yeast Dumpling (Dampfnudel)
Dampfnudel is a popular Christmas market food in Germany. Dampfnudel is a sort of white bread roll or sweet roll. Dampfnudel contains egg and yeast and is cooked in a somewhat creamy sauce. The bread is soft and sweet with a pale brown crust. Dampfnudel may be either savory or sweet, depending on the region in Germany that you are in. Dampfnudel may be eaten as a meal or as a dessert with vanilla and caramel sauce.
10. Linzer Cookies (Linzer Auge)
The red jam center and powdered white sugar dusting makes Linzer cookies a holiday favorite. Linzer cookies are buttery, jam-filled sandwich cookies that were modeled after the traditional Viennese Linzer torte, which is a nut-filled, jam-topped pastry with a lattice design. The finely ground almonds and almond extract in the dough give the cookie a shortbread-like texture and a nutty flavor.
11. Poppy Seed Breads (Mohnschnecke)
These poppy seed sweet breads are popular during Advent and Christmas in Germany. Many bakeries sell these traditional German sweet breads. They are filled with poppy seeds and may be decorated with them. Because a lot of sugar and butter are used in the preparation, it tastes very sweet and greasy. Sugar icing is commonly topped on this snail-like pastry.
Dominostein is a sweet confection that is primarily eaten around Christmastime in Germany and Austria. The dessert is covered with a thin, dark chocolate icing and consists of several layers. The base is made of Lebkuchen. It’s layers include jelly and marzipan (or persipan).The Dominostein was invented in Dresden in 1936.
13. Almond Croissant (Mandelhörnchen)
Mandelhörnchen are a popular Christmas treat around Christmastime. Mandelhörnchen or almond horns in German, are a naturally gluten-free sweet delicacy consisting of marzipan, almond flour, and sugar, then wrapped in almond flakes and dipped in chocolate on both ends. The almonds and chocolate enhance their taste and texture. These horseshoe-shaped pastries are widely available in bakeries throughout Germany.
The marzipan inside these horseshoe-shaped pastries goes well with the chocolate and almond flakes on the outside.
14. German Fruit Bread (Stollen)
Stollen is a Christmas dessert similar to fruitcake but without the rum soaking. It’s also a little less thick, more like bread. Powdered sugar is typically sprinkled on top.
Sliced stollen can be eaten with butter, honey, or jam. Individual slices can be toasted or microwaved before eating.
The word stollo means “support or post” in Old High German.
15. German Bundt Cake (Gugelhupf)
Traditional Gugelhupf Christmas cake is a typical southern German dessert delicacy. It is a type of sponge cake with the form of a mountain on top. It’s made in a unique mold.
It is a semisweet cake made with yeast dough, raisins, citron, and nuts, and baked in a fluted tube pan.
In the north of Germany and the south of the English peninsula, gugelhupf is known as bundkuchen.
16. German Pudding (Herrencreme)
Herrencreme is served on festive occasions such as christenings, weddings, and Christmas in Germany. The Herrencreme is a traditional dessert in Germany. This dessert is a vanilla pudding that is combined with a considerable amount of rum, chocolate chips, and cream. Traditionally, Herrencreme is a dessert that is served after a particularly big meal. This alcoholic German delicacy has both a stunning appearance and a delicious taste.
17. German Hot Chocolate (Heiße Schokolade)
Heiße Schokolade, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, is available for purchase at any German Christmas market. Heiße schokolade is German for hot chocolate. Heiße schokolade, made with actual chocolate, is not to be confused with Trinkschokolade, which is made with powdered chocolate. To be clear, hot chocolate was not invented by the Germans. The Mayans deserve this honor. On a chilly winter day, drinking Germany’s heiße schokolade topped with whipped cream is a real treat.
18. Christmas Market Waffles
Waffles are a sweet pancake like treat enjoyed as a dessert and at coffee time. Waffles actually originated in Belgium, which is a neighboring country to Germany. In the summer, it is typically served with ice cream and other fruits, but in the winter, it is typically consumed with vanilla sauce and cherries, or with spices in Christmas markets.
19. German Cinnamon Star Cookies (Zimtsterne)
Zimtsterne are star-shaped cookies with a white glaze that resembles snow. Every year, many homes in Germany get into the holiday spirit by making these tasty dessert treats.
Cinnamon is a key ingredient in the traditional recipe. In its purest form, zimtsterne is not particularly sweet; however, it does have notes of nuttiness and citrusy brightness.
20. German Quark Balls (Quarkabällchen)
Quarkbällchen, or quark balls, are a traditional German snack made of quark, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, and baking powder. The mixture may also include milk, melted butter, cinnamon, lemon zest, and corn or potato starch. The quark mixture is formed into small balls and deep-fried until golden brown. Then, they are usually dusted with powdered or granulated sugar, or a cinnamon-sugar mixture. They are often made for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Fasching (Germany’s carnival season), and Oktoberfest.
Lebkuchenn are honey-sweetened treats that have become a Christmas tradition. Lebkuchen, sometimes known as Pfefferkuchen is somewhat reminiscent of gingerbread. It is rich, velvety, spicy, sweet, and extremely filling, with a cake-like texture. Typically, it is prepared throughout the winter holidays. The “leb” in “lebkuchen” derives from either the term “leibspeise” or the German word “leben,” which both mean “life.”
22. German Spit Cake (Baumkuchen)
Baumkuchen is made by brushing layers of batter on a rotating spit over an open flame. In Germany, Baumkuchen is a significant aspect of the Christmas holiday season.
The distinctive rings that appear when the cake is sliced resemble tree rings, giving rise to the cake’s name, which literally translates to “tree cake” or “log cake.” This classic German spit cake has also gained wide popularity in Japan.
23. German Spice Cookies (Spekulatius)
Spekulatius are Christmas sweets from Germany that include a variety of spices. These buttery shortbread biscuits include speculaas spices like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Typically, they are prepared and enjoyed on St. Nicholas Day. This cookie has a rich history that dates back to the 15th century.
24. German Anise Cookie (Springerle)
South German Springerle is a type of biscuit or cookie that has an anise flavor. They are made from a simple dough that contains eggs, flour, and sugar. Springerle often have an image or pattern on them and are square or spherical. The raised patterns were created using carved wooden molds or rolling pins. Giving them as Christmas presents is a tradition that dates back at least 700 years.
25. Vanilla Crescent Cookies (Vanillekipferl)
Vanillekipferl are shortbread cookies that are created with a lot of butter and often no eggs. They are a traditional Christmas cookie baked with crushed nuts and coated with vanilla. Vanillekipferl translates to “vanilla crescent” or “vanilla moon” in German, which suits the dessert because it is crescent-shaped. This dessert may also be made with apricots but was traditionally prepared with walnuts. These cookies melt in your mouth.
Allerheiligenstriezel is a braided Christmas bread. Strietzel is a braided yeast pastry. In English, it is known as “All Saints’ braid”. It contains flour, eggs, yeast, shortening or butter, raisins, milk, salt, and decorating sugar or poppy seeds. Rum and lemon juice are also used in some regional variations.
27. Aachener Printen
Aachener printen is a spice cookie for Christmas. It is a molded cake cookie or bar, typically sweetened with honey. Aachen printen is similar to gingerbread and features a tough exterior and a robust, caramel-like flavor. The name “printen” alludes to the use of carved wooden molds. Aachener printe is typically sweetened with syrup made with sugar beets instead of honey.
28. German Snowball Pastry (Schneeball or Schneeballen)
Schneeballen snowball pastries are a traditional German Christmas food in Rothenburg, Germany. Schneeball is made from short crust pastry. Schneeball literally translates to “snowball” in English. Although there are bakeries in other Bavarian towns that enjoy Schneeballen, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is where they are most well-known.
29. Chocolate-coated Marshmallow Treats (Schokokuss)
Schokokuss is a wafer that is coated with chocolate after being slathered with sugar cream. Schokokuss is often found in markets during the Christmas season. These treats are known as chocolate foam kisses in English.
30. German Preserved Fruit in Rum (Rumtopf)
Rumtopf, also known as Romkrukke in Danish, literally means “rum pot”. It is an Austrian, German, and Danish dessert composed of mixed fruit and booze that is often consumed around Christmas. Rumtopf is created by soaking fruits in rum and sugar for months. The most common fruits used are plums, strawberries, and cherries.
31. Buttery Spritz Cookies (Spritzgeback)
Spritzgebäck cookies are always a holiday crowd pleaser. Spritzgeback are shortbread-like buttery biscuits that are formed with a piping bag or a Spritz cookie press. The main ingredients are flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. Spritzgeback received its name from the German verb “spritzen,” which means “to squirt” because the soft, buttery dough of this dessert is piped via a nozzle.
32. German Crumb Cake (Streuselkuchen)
You can’t have Christmas without Steruselkuchen! Classic crumb cakes originated in central Europe, most likely in Germany, as a flat cake topped with a sweet crumb topping known as streusel. Streuselkuchen is made with yeast dough covered with streusel (a sweet crumbly topping). The streusel topping is made with flour, sugar, and butter.
33. German Plum Dumplings (Zwetschgenknoedel)
The treats your grandmother made each Christmas. Plum dumplings are called Zwetschgenknödel. A pillowy potato dough encases a whole purple prune plum, which is sweet and juicy on the inside. The dough contains flour, baking powder, an egg, salt, and milk.
34. German Gingerbread Cookie (Nürnberger Lebkuchen)
Festive nürnberger lebkuchen instantly puts you in the holiday spirit. They are a large, honey-sweetened cake-shaped cookie or bar cookie from Germany that has become a Christmas tradition there. It tastes like gingerbread. The dried fruit and warming spices scream Merry Christmas!
35. Chocolate Bundles (Napolitains-Bündel)
In Germany, these classic, little chocolate bundles are a must-have during the holidays.
36. Gingerbread Hearts (Lebkuchenherzen)
The gingerbread limit does not exist! Gingerbread hearts, or Lebkuchenherzen, are often sold at German outdoor markets like Christmas markets. Lebkuchenherz means “gingerbread heart” in English. Gingerbread is “Lebkuchen” and “Herz” means heart..
37. German Rum Balls (Rumkugeln)
These chocolate no-bake German Rum Balls are incredibly simple to make! You can make them with or without hazelnuts, and you can adjust the rum flavor to your preference. Sooo easy!
38. Chocolate Santa Claus (Schokoladenweihnachtsmänner)
The hollow chocolate figures are essential during the Christmas and Advent seasons and have a long tradition. They’re covered in foil similar to chocolate Easter eggs.
39. German Chocolate Wreath Cookie (Schokoladenkränze)
You can’t beat the classics! Schokoladenkränze are round, flat cookie rings covered in chocolate on the bottom side, and sprinkles on the top side. All holiday treats should be this sweet and simple.
40. Macaroons (Makronen)
This classic German Christmas treat is perfect anytime of year. Macaroons are a popular and traditional Christmas cookie in Germany. They’re not only delicious, moist, and chewy, but they’re also incredibly simple to make.
41. German Jam Cookies (Spitzbuben)
Spitzbuben are a traditional German Christmas cookie. They are made up of two sandwiched almond shortbread cookies. One of the cookies has a hole in the middle. The dough for the cookie is deliciously crumbly and buttery. And filled with raspberry or red currant jam.
42. German Marzipan Potato Candy (Marzipankartoffeln)
Marzipan is a Christmas staple in Germany! These traditional German Marzipan potatoes for the holidays are one of the cutest and sweetest desserts you can find. Made of tasty marzipan that has been rolled in cocoa powder.
43. German Marzipan Hearts (Marzipanherzen)
Marzipan is associated with Christmas in Germany. This luscious marzipan treat is covered by a thin layer of crisp dark chocolate in the shape of hearts.
44. German Shortbread Cookie (Heidesand)
A traditional German shortbread cookie that is made with butter that has been browned and is eaten around Christmas time. Should you wish to ring the changes from the traditional, then try heidesand.
Did you know?
Many Christmas traditions started in Germany, including decorating trees.
German Christmas Traditions
Christmas is an important family tradition in Germany. Germans are known for several Christmas desserts and traditions.
Day of St. Nicholas (Sankt Nikolaus Tag)
German kids love the holiday of St. Nicholas Day. Before going to sleep on December 5, the kids clean and shine their boots and put them outside the door. The next morning, they find that St. Nicholas has filled their shoes with nuts, candy, and small gifts.
Advent Calendar (Adventskalendar)
German children use the Advent calendar as a way to count down to Christmas. Every day for the four weeks before Christmas, one of the windows on the advent calendar is opened to reveal a poem, part of a story, candy, or a small gift.
Christmas Wreath (Adventskranz)
German Lutherans started the tradition of Advent wreaths in the 1600s, and the wreath is still a symbol of Christmas in Germany. Four candles are set in a bed of pine cones, berries, dried flowers, and Christmas ornaments to make the wreath.
The Sternsinger and Epiphany
In some parts of Germany, the Christmas spirit lasts until January 6, which is Epiphany or Das Dreikonigsfest (the “three kings festival”). Children dressed as the Magi often go from house to house singing songs (hence the name Sternsinger, which means “star singer”) to ask for money for children’s causes.
Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmarkte)
Even though the magic of Christmas markets has spread to many other countries and continents, their roots can be found in the Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe. Every year, Germany has a few thousand Christmas markets.
Mulled Wine (Glühwein)
Glühwein is a hot wine that Germans drink during the Christmas season. This classic Christmas drink is sold in ceramic mugs at all German Christmas markets. It is a way to beat the winter chill and spread holiday cheer.
Related: 20 Best Hot Toddy Cocktails (+Recipes)
The Feuerzangenbowle is a very strong German Christmas drink that is as beautiful to look at as it is to drink. A lot of high-alcohol rum is added to mulled wine, and then the whole thing is set on fire.
Christmas Angels (Weihnachtsengel)
In Germany, Christmas angels are the most popular Christmas decorations. At Christmas, they are put on Christmas trees. Most Christmas angels are made of wood.
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If you like sweet treats during the winter months, then this list of classic German Christmas desserts is for you! From stollen to pfeffernüsse, there are so many delicious dishes to choose from. I hope you enjoyed my roundup of traditional German Christmas desserts and that you’ll be inspired to try out some of them this holiday season!