Traditional German Holiday Cookies and Treats

If you've ever been to Germany or another German-speaking country during the Christmas season, you already know how delicious German cookies and treats can be, many of them steeped in centuries-old traditions. The following is a listing of traditional German cookies and treats that will surely tantalize your tastebuds during the holiday season.

Allgauer Butter

German Sugar Cookies.

Basler Brunsli

Basel chocolate balls: a sweet confection made with chocolate, almonds, and hazelnut; a Christmas treat.

Basler Leckerli

A flat rectangular Swiss-German Christmas Cookie made from honey with a sugar glaze on top.

der Baumkuchen

Photo@Getty (Mahlow).
Lietrally a"tree cake" , so called because of its interior layers which resemble tree rings when cut. It is a labour-intensive and unique cake that is made and baked on a thin spit to which the baker adds layers as the cake is baked

das/der Bonbon (-s), die Süssigkeiten (pl.)

Candy, sweets.

der Eierpunsch

Similar but not the same as eggnog.

Frankfurter Brenten

Photo@Getty (Klink).
Frankfurter Brenten are traditional Christmas biscuits from marzipan from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, originating from the Middle Ages.

Frankfurter Bethmännchen

Traditional puffy Christmas biscuits decorated with three almond slivers on the side.

das Gebäck

Baked goods, pastry.

der Heidesand, die Butterplätzchen

Shortbread, butter cookies.

die Kekse, Kipferln, Plätzchen

Cookies (pl.)

das Kipferl (-n)

Photo@Getty (Hutschi).

Crescent-shaped sweet nutty breads. Particularly the Vanillekipferl is popular during Christmastime in Germany and Austria. The Kipferl is also known as

Gipfel Hörnchen


das Kletzenbrot

Photo@Wiki (Lizzy).
An Alpine rye bread containing dried pears, Kletzen (pear pieces), and various spices. Also called 'Birnenbrot' or 'Hutzenbrot'.

das Marzipan (almond paste candy)


die Marzipankartoffeln

German candy "potatoes" (small round marzipans) given to friends, family and acquaintances during the Advent season.

der Lebkuchen


die Linzer Torte

A popular Austrian torte with a lattice design on top, filled with a fruit jam. It is named after the city of Linz, Austria and is thought to be the oldest cake in the world.

die Linzeraugen

Linzer tartlets.

die (grosse) Neujahrs-Brezel

New Year's pretzel. Neujahrskranz

(New Year's wreath) is popular in Nordrhein-Westfalen. It is often given as a gift when visiting close friends and family in the new year.

die Nuss (Nüsse pl.)


das Pfefferkuchenhaus

Gingerbread house. Also called Lebkuchenhaus.
When and how the tradition of making gingerbread houses came about is not really known. However, the gingerbread house no doubt gained popularity after the story of Grimm’s Hänsel und Gretel was published in the 19th century.
Hänsel und Gretel Hänsel und Gretel verliefen sich im Wald.
Es war so finster und auch so bitter kalt.
Sie kamen an ein Häuschen von Pfefferkuchen fein.
Wer mag der Herr wohl von diesem Häuschen sein?
Hu, hu, da schaut eine alte Hexe raus!
Lockte die Kinder ins Pfefferkuchenhaus.

die Pfeffernüsse

Spicy gingerbread cookies.

der Schmalzkuchen

German donuts.

die Springerle/ Anisbrötli

Photo@Wiki (Bauerle).
Simple, anise-flavored cookies with a picture or design stamped on the top. Designs can be quite intricate.

der Stollen/ Christstollen, der Striezel (dial.)

Popular Christmas fruit cake/loaf known worldwide, originating from the Middle Ages in Dresden. Each year a stollen festival is held in Dresden where the city bakers produce a 3000 to 4000 kg stollen. It is then served to the general public.

der Stutenkerl

A sweet bread in the shape of a man with a clay pipe popular during the days leading up to St. Nikolaustag (December 6th).

die Weihnachtsplätzchen

Generic term for Christmas cookies.

der Zimtstern (-e)

Star-shaped, cinnamon-flavored Christmastime cookies. A favorite in many German homes during Christmastime.