Lebkuchen ~ Easy German Gingerbread Cookies

➤ by Gerhild Fulson

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These German gingerbread cookies, or Lebkuchen, are such a traditional cookie to have for Christmas. They're so very easy to make, that there's no reason to buy them.

However, the usual ingredients for these are not readily available outside of Germany, unless, of course, you have a German deli close by. It is possible to buy Lebkuchen spice online, but my recipe below uses regularly available ingredients that are easy to buy in Canada and USA.

You've got to try these German Gingerbread Cookies, aka Lebkuchen for Christmas-time. What a treat!

There are many varieties of Lebkuchen cookies. Traditionally, you'll find the Nuremberg Lebkuchen, the Elisenlebkuchen, the  Lebkuchenherzen, the chocolate filled ones, the ones with candied citron, the ones with nuts, and the list goes on. 

The recipe below is a basic Lebkuchen cookie. Nothing fancy. No nuts or candied fruit inside.

Just plain Lebkuchen. Delicious. Iced and topped with nuts. Wunderbar.

Quintessentially Christmas.

What are Oblaten and do I need to use them?

Traditionally, these lebkuchen cookies are baked on oblaten ... white, tasteless wafers that look communion wafers. It's actually the only way I know them because that's the way my Mutti made them. 

In fact, there are several traditional cookies that must be made on these wafers. 'Must' is traditional. However, just because some say 'must' doesn't mean it can't be done without.

You can easily get oblaten online if you wish and use them for this recipe. However, for the recipe below, I did not use them, because I wanted to see how they would turn out. Personally, I really didn't miss them :) In fact, I think I like them better this way.

A bit of Lebkuchen History

There are many possible origins of the name of these. Leb could come from leben, meaning life. Leb could come from lieben, meaning love. Leb could come from lebbe, meaning sweet. 

Actually, all together, these make sense. A sweet ~ loving ~ life ... a cake that's perfect to celebrate Christmas!

For a bit more Lebkuchen history, check out this post.

Get ready for Christmas! Grab your copy of Oma's collection of her favorites in Christmas Cookies e-Cookbook.

Take a look at Oma’s Christmas Cookies eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine this Christmas.

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How to store Lebkuchen ...

Store these Lebkuchen cookies in a sealable container, with waxed paper between the layers of the cookies. Place half an apple on a piece of waxed paper on the top of the cookies. This will keep the cookies moist and actually impart a very light fruity aroma that makes these cookies so yummy. 

As with many of the German cookies that are traditional for Christmas, these do taste better if they are allowed to 'age' ... the spices mellow and the texture is amazing. Mind you, it's difficult to wait to enjoy these!

Make sure to wait until the glaze has hardened totally before storing the cookies. Even waiting a day before putting them into the cookie tins is a good idea. 

Ready to make some Lebkuchen cookies?

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German Gingerbread Cookies ~ Lebkuchen

These German gingerbread cookies, or Lebkuchen, are such a traditional cookie to have for Christmas. They're so very easy to make, that there's no reason to buy them.

You don't need to buy the Lebkuchen spice mix, since we'll make our own here.

Prep Time

30 minutes

Bake Time

20 minutes

Total Time

50 minutes


Makes about 30 cookies


  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (200 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) molasses
  • ⅓ cup (80 milliliter) light corn syrup
  • 2¾ cup (358 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cup (267 grams) packed brown sugar
  • ½ package Lebkuchen spice or make your own by mixing ½ tablespoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cloves,  ⅛ teaspoon each of mace, coriander, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 ounces (114 grams) bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) coconut oil
  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
  • nuts to decorate, such as walnuts or halved almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two 11x17-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Put butter, molasses, and corn syrup into a small pot and heat just until butter melts.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, spice mix, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Stir butter mixture into dry ingredients, mixing well.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, stirring until well mixed.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Press lightly with your fingers to form each into a disc.
  7. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
  8. To make the glazes, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small bowl (about 2 minutes in a microwave) and stir until smooth. In another bowl, mix powdered sugar with about 3 tablespoons water and stir until smooth.
  9. Dip half the cookies into the chocolate and half into the white icing. Top with nuts to decorate.

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11.17.2021 revision update

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You've got to try these German Gingerbread Cookies, aka Lebkuchen for Christmas-time. What a treat!

Lebkuchen ~ Easy German Gingerbread Cookies made Just like Oma

Lebkuchen ~ Easy German Gingerbread Cookies made Just like Oma
These German gingerbread cookies, or Lebkuchen, are such a traditional cookie to have for Christmas. They're very easy to make, there's no reason to buy them.

Ingredients: molasses, butter, light corn syrup, all-purpose flour, spices, baking powder, eggs, bittersweet chocolate, coconut oil, powdered sugar, nuts,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

Words to the Wise

"The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves."

Proverbs 14:8 (NLT)