Warm Your Heart with Spicy Pfeffernusse Cookies in Minutes!

Welcome, dear readers, to my latest recipe article. Today I am excited to share with you a delightful treat that is perfect for the holiday season – German Pfeffernusse Cookies. As a nutritionist cum food blogger, I always aim to provide delicious and healthy recipes for my readers. And this recipe is no exception.

The Pfeffernusse Cookies, also known as “pepper nuts” or “peppernuts,” are traditional German cookies that date back several centuries. These cookies are the perfect balance of sweetness and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and of course, peppers. The original recipe typically includes gluten, dairy and egg but, as my focus is on healthier recipes that cater to varying dietary requirements, I have provided a gluten-free variation that is sure to please everyone.

The process of making these cookies is like crafting an art masterpiece. You mix together all the seasonal spices and sugar, combine it with your gluten-free flour blend and butter to make the dough. You then roll them into little balls and bake them for about ten minutes until golden brown. The aroma of freshly baked cookies will fill your kitchen and bring warmth to your heart.

So whether you are looking for vegan pfeffernusse cookies or gluten-free gingerbread snowball cookies, this recipe has got you covered! Stick around and prepare to be wowed by the authentic yet healthy twist on these delicious German spice cookies.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

German Pfeffernusse Cookies - Gluten Free
German Pfeffernusse Cookies – Gluten Free

Dear readers,

Are you ready to fall in love with a delicious treat that will transport you to the festive holiday season in Germany? Look no further than these Pfeffernusse Cookies!

These gluten-free cookies are full of warm and seasonal spices such as ground ginger, clove, cinnamon, and both white and black pepper. Every bite is bursting with flavor, and their unique texture is the perfect combination of chewy and crumbly.

What’s more, this Pfeffernusse cookie recipe is highly customizable. You can substitute ingredients based on your dietary preferences or availability, making it easier for anyone to enjoy. You can also adjust the amount of spices to your liking to create a personalized taste experience.

Are you following a vegan or dairy-free diet? No worries! These cookies are dairy-free and can easily be adapted to become vegan by using oil instead of butter.

Not only do these cookies taste incredible, but they are also ideal for gift-giving or a cozy night in with loved ones. They provide an authentic German Christmas cookie experience that is easy to prepare.

This recipe secretes the essence of seasonal spices reminiscent of the German spice cookies; thus, making it a perfect way to indulge in the essence of tradition during special occasions such as Yuletide or New Year Eve.

In summary, I highly recommend this recipe for Pfeffernusse Cookies. It is a gluten-free, customizable treat that will have you tasting its authentic spices and enjoying every bite. Let us get started the next time you want a delightful dessert experience!

Ingredient List

 Sweet and spicy Pfeffernusse cookies that are gluten-free!
Sweet and spicy Pfeffernusse cookies that are gluten-free!

Below are the gluten-free ingredients you will need to prepare the traditional German Pfeffernusse cookies. Do a quick check that you have all of these on hand before starting the recipe:

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups of gluten-free flour blend (see note below)
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

Leavening agents:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Note: For the gluten-free flour blend, you can use any brand of gluten-free all-purpose flour that contains xanthan gum or guar gum. Alternatively, you can make your own blend by combining 1 part coconut flour, 1 part oat flour, and 2 parts rice flour.

The Recipe How-To

 Perfectly spiced and crunchy German holiday cookies.
Perfectly spiced and crunchy German holiday cookies.

Let’s dive into the heart of the matter, the how-to of making these delicious German Pfeffernusse Cookies. This recipe will yield around 80 small-sized cookies.


  • 2 cups (240g) almond flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup (90g) gluten-free flour blend (see note below)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup (150g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the almond flour, gluten-free flour blend, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, white pepper, black pepper and ground ginger. Set aside.

  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat together the melted butter and dark brown sugar until smooth.

  4. Add in one egg at a time and mix well after each addition.

  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add in the dry ingredients mixture that was prepared earlier.

  6. The cookie dough will be thick but should come together as you mix it.

  7. Using your hands or a cookie scoop, roll dough into small balls about 1-inch in diameter.

  8. Place each ball on a lined baking sheet about one inch apart.

  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just set – over-baking can cause them to become too hard.

  10. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack for about five minutes.

  11. Roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar until they are well coated.

  12. Once the cookies are cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.


  • For the gluten-free flour blend, I use an equal mix of tapioca starch, chickpea flour and rice flour. You can use any gluten-free flour mix available to you.

Now that you know how to make these delicious German Pfeffernusse Cookies, let your creativity run wild by trying out different variations and pairings to make them your own!

Substitutions and Variations

 These gluten-free Pfeffernusse cookies are packed with flavor!
These gluten-free Pfeffernusse cookies are packed with flavor!

Dearest readers, if you are looking to make some substitutions or variations to this delightful recipe, do not worry. Beneath the surface of traditional German Pfeffernusse cookies lies a world of possibility and creativity that is free to explore. Here are a few suggestions for those of you who would like to add your own touch:

– Flour: This recipe calls for gluten-free flour, but if you prefer using all-purpose flour, feel free to substitute it in equal measurement. Alternatively, for a nuttier flavor and texture, you can substitute half the flour with almond flour.

– Spices: The combination of white and black pepper, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon make up the lovely blend of spices within these cookies. However, feel free to experiment with other spices such as cardamom or nutmeg to create your own unique blend.

– Vegan: If you avoid dairy and egg in your baking or have any vegan guests over for the holidays, rest assured this recipe can be easily adapted by swapping out the butter with coconut oil or another vegan butter substitute. Additionally, choose a vegan egg replacement product or try using 2 tablespoons of applesauce per egg.

– Pfeffernusse lebkuchen: For an extra special twist on classic Pfeffernusse cookies, try following the same recipe while adding 1/4 cup molasses along with an additional teaspoon each of cinnamon and cloves. This transformation makes the cookie flavor profile closer to Lebkuchen (a traditional German gingerbread cookie).

Friends, let your creativity soar in crafting changes and additions into your favorite holiday dessert recipes. These Pfeffernusse cookies lend themselves well to experimentation without losing their roots in German baking culture.

Serving and Pairing

 An irresistible holiday treat that's easy to make.
An irresistible holiday treat that’s easy to make.

Now that your delicious gluten-free pfeffernusse cookies are ready to be served, I recommend pairing them with hot cocoa, tea or coffee. The cozy flavors of your beverage will blend perfectly well with the warmth and sweetness of the cookies.

These German Christmas cookies also make a delightful addition to any festive dessert table. You can serve them plain on a beautiful platter or arrange them in decorative cookie jars or boxes as a lovely holiday gift for friends and family.

For a unique serving idea, try pairing these pfeffernusse cookies with homemade apple sorbet or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The contrasting flavors and textures will provide a refreshing finale to your meal.

Whatever way you choose to serve your gluten-free pfeffernusse cookies, they will surely be a delightful and tasty treat for everyone to enjoy.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Your house will smell amazing while these cookies bake in your oven.
Your house will smell amazing while these cookies bake in your oven.

One wonderful aspect of these German Pfeffernusse Cookies is that they can be made ahead of time, making them the ultimate dessert for busy holiday seasons. To get a head start on your baking, simply prepare the cookie dough as instructed in the recipe and then shape it into small balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet and then freeze them until firm. This will take around an hour.

Once the cookie dough balls are frozen, transfer them to a large ziplock bag or airtight container and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake. When you’re ready to enjoy these deliciously spiced cookies, remove them from the freezer and let them come to room temperature before baking.

You can also store baked gluten-free Pfeffernusse cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. They will keep for even longer if stored in the fridge, and up to three months if stored in the freezer.

To reheat the cookies, simply place them on a baking sheet and warm them in an oven preheated to 350°F (180°C) for around 5 minutes. This will help bring out their delightful aroma and make them perfect for serving alongside hot chocolate or coffee.

Overall, these German Pfeffernusse Cookies are perfect for those who like to plan their holiday desserts ahead of time or those who want a tasty treat on hand whenever they might want it. Their simple preparation, paired with ample storage options, make them a favorite option for any lover of seasonal spices and German gingerbread cookies.

Tips for Perfect Results

 You won't be able to resist munching on these delicious gluten-free cookies!
You won’t be able to resist munching on these delicious gluten-free cookies!

When it comes to baking, every little detail counts. Here are some crucial tips to ensure a perfect batch of gluten-free Pfeffernusse Cookies!

Firstly, make sure to properly measure your ingredients. For this recipe, I recommend using a kitchen scale to get the most accurate measurements. It may seem fussy, but trust me when I say that weighing your ingredients will give your cookies the best chance of success.

When combining your ingredients, use room temperature butter and eggs. This will allow the dough to come together smoothly and evenly. It’s also important not to overmix the dough once you add the dry ingredients. Doing so can result in tough cookies instead of light and tender ones.

Another tip is to let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before shaping and baking. This enables the flavors to meld together, and allows for easier handling when shaping into balls.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to experiment with different substitutions and variations. For example, you can try adding a bit of orange zest or substituting honey for some of the sugar in the recipe.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make perfectly spiced gluten-free Pfeffernusse Cookies every time.


Before we conclude this article, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about this gluten-free German Pfeffernusse Cookies recipe. Here, I have addressed the concerns and doubts that might arise while making these delicious cookies. Read on to learn more!

Is Pfeffernusse the same as lebkuchen?

While pfeffernusse and lebkuchen share similar flavors, as they are both made with honey and warm baking spices, their appearances and glazes differ. Pfeffernusse are typically small, ball-shaped cookies coated in a powdered sugar glaze, while lebkuchen can come in various shapes, including regular cookies or bars, and are often glazed with chocolate.

What does Pfeffernusse mean in German?

These delightful cookies are called Pfeffernüsse, which is German for “pepper nut”. However, they do not contain any nuts – they are merely small in size, similar to nuts. The name likely comes from the fact that they are usually consumed by the handful. The dough for these cookies typically includes a dash of pepper, which is where their name originates.

What makes gluten-free cookies rise?

When it comes to baking gluten-free treats, having a good binding agent is crucial for structure and elasticity. Without it, your baked goods may end up crumbly and fall apart. Consider adding a binding agent like xanthan gum, guar gum, or flax to your favorite gluten-free flour mix if it doesn’t already contain one. This will help ensure that your baked goods hold together and have the perfect texture.

What’s the difference between Pfeffernusse and gingerbread?

When it comes to the question of whether pfeffernusse and gingerbread are the same, the answer is both yes and no. While gingerbread cookies are often referred to as the standard for the category, pfeffernusse sets itself apart with its unique blend of spices, including black pepper, that distinguishes it from typical gingerbread recipes.

What country are Pfeffernusse cookies from?

Today we celebrate a delicious cookie called Pfeffernuss (Pfeffernusse in plural), which is thought to have originated in Germany but is also widely enjoyed in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, these gluten-free German Pfeffernusse Cookies are an excellent choice for anyone looking for healthy, delicious treats during the holiday season. These cookies are packed with seasonal spices and ingredients that will help add a touch of warmth and nostalgia to your dessert table.

With this recipe, not only can you enjoy a delicious treat, but you can also create something special for people with gluten allergies. The cookies are easy to make, and the recipe has detailed instructions, tips and recommendations that will help you achieve perfect results every time.

So what are you waiting for? Get baking and indulge in the flavors of authentic German spice cookies. These Pfeffernusse Cookies are perfect for sharing or gifting to your loved ones, as they bring a beautiful blend of flavors and textures. Trust me; your taste buds will be thanking you!

With these free pfeffernusse cookies, you’ll be making everyone’s holiday season a little bit sweeter. Happy baking!

German Pfeffernusse Cookies - Gluten Free

German Pfeffernusse Cookies - Gluten Free Recipe

A traditional German cookie for Christmas..or any time of the year. Commonly served with wine. Should make 30 to 40 biscuits. If not using a blended flour with xanthan or guar gums added- then add one teaspoon of gum with your flour to the recipe. These biscuits remind me of a ginger snap cookie from Arnotts (or at least what I remember them tasting like!)
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Servings 30 biscuits
Calories 63.4 kcal


  • 250 g self-raising gluten-free flour (I use Orgran brand)
  • 200 g dark brown sugar
  • 60 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper or 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, if you don't mind black specks


  • Preheat oven to 190°C Line baking trays with greaseproof or baking paper.
  • Mix all ingredients in an electric mixer on a medium speed, until roughly mixed. Do not overbeat.
  • Using a spatula then,scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until well combined.
  • Leaving the mixture in the bowl, knead with your hands (gloved if you wish!) until all of the ingredients are well mixed.
  • Roll mixture into balls, about the size of walnuts.
  • Place on baking sheets about 1/2 inch/ 1 cm apart. Bake for about 10 minutes at 190°C.
  • Allow the biscuits to cool completely on the trays. Store in an airtight container.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 15gCalories: 63.4kcalCarbohydrates: 9.9gProtein: 0.4gFat: 2.7gSaturated Fat: 1.6gCholesterol: 15.8mgSodium: 6.8mgSugar: 9.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Christmas, Cookie and Brownie, Dessert, Easy, European, For Large Groups, Free Of..., German
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