Nurnberger Lebkuchen ~ German Gingerbread

I have updated my lebkuchen recipe and you will find that post HERE.  The second recipe makes a nuttier, chewy cookie. 

 One of the oldest and most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe is the Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg,Germany. The Christmas Angel opens this famous market on the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent and when it closes on Christmas Eve more than 2 million visitors will have browsed the almost 200 stalls and feasted on Nuremburger bratwurst, spicy lebkuchen and warm glühwein.  It is impossible not to take away many souvenirs of this famous Medieval market and one of the favorites is “Nuremberg Prune People,” little people made from prunes with a walnut head. The stalls are made of wood and are festooned with red and white cloth, thus the Market name of “The Little Town from Wood and Cloth.

Prune People ~ Nuremberg Christmas Market

I had the sweetest little grouping of prune people on my buffet every Christmas, but they
eventually succumbed to Pacific Northwest winter humidity and little nutcrackers took their places.

Lebkuchen has always been one of my favorite cookies, and in Nuremberg you can find many versions of
this delicious German gingerbread.  Some are iced with a powdered sugar glaze and some have chocolate and most are decorated with almonds.

Most lebkuchen has a cakey texture like a traditional gingerbread, but my favorite is a chewy version,especially when it is warm out of the oven. Right inside the gate to the Old City you will find a small bakery that makes lebkuchen every morning. It is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted and I would make a trip back to Nuremberg at holiday time for this one thing alone.  I know that the setting can make a difference in how much we enjoy something, like eating macarons in Paris,  but there is nothing like  warm, spicy, chewy lebkuchen on a cold December morning in Nuremberg.

This recipe is from my mother’s files and it is good, but not my favorite.  I’m looking for a chewier version and at first
thought I wouldn’t post this recipe until I found just the right one, but that could take ages and I realized that maybe one
of my German readers has the recipe I’m looking for.  If anyone can help me with this I would be very grateful.   I prefer the
combination of ground almonds and hazelnuts and like to use the oblaten wafers because the cookies are easy to handle.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Nurnberger Lebkuchen ~ German Gingerbread
  • ½ c. softened butter (113 grams)
  • 1 c. sugar (200 grams)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. white flour (360 grams)
  • 1 T. Lebkuchen spices (6 grams)(see note below)
  • 2 T. cocoa powder (12 grams)
  • 1½ tsp. double acting baking powder
  • 1 c. milk (225 ml)
  • 1¾ c. ground almonds, ground hazelnuts or a combination of both (150 grams)
  • ½ c. candied lemon peel, chopped (100 grams)
  • 1 T. rum or orange liqueur
  • Glaze***
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • ¼ c. water
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 - 2 T. rum or liqueur
  • ½ c. powdered sugar
  • Extras***
  • 32 Oblaten (baking wafers) 3 inch size
  • ½ c. raisins, soaked in rum and chopped
  • ¼ c. shredded coconut
  • Note about "Lebkuchen spices". If you do not buy premixed "Lebkuchen Gewürz" from a German store, you may mix your own.
  • 2T. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground anise seed
  • Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per recipe.
  1. Cream butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in flour, spices, cocoa powder and baking powder, alternating with milk.
  3. Fold in nuts and lemon peel. Stir in rum. Stir in raisins and coconut if you are using them.
  4. Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle. (If you are using "Oblaten" drop the dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges.) When tray is full, use the back of the spoon to fill out circle, slightly mounding the dough towards the center.
  5. Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes. Turn down oven to 350°F if cookies are browning too much.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a cookie or cake rack to cool.
  7. While they are still warm, make the glaze.
  8. Place ½ c. sugar and ¼ c. water in a small saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Add vanilla and liqueur or rum. Sift powdered sugar over hot sugar syrup and stir.
  9. Using a pastry brush, brush warm glaze over warm cookies. Let dry completely.
  10. Dry glazed cookies for a day (to dry the glaze so it stays a bit crunchy) then store in an airtight container or freeze.
If you are not using the "Oblaten" (they look like Catholic communion wafers and are purchased in Germany or at a German deli, etc.) draw 3-inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template.


Ingredients include almond meal from Bob’s Red Mill and Hazelnut Flour from Cascade Hazelnut. As soon as I get my web store up and running I will have high quality candied lemon and orange peel available.  A good quality lemon peel is essential to the taste and texture of lebkuchen.

Spoon a generous scoop (3-4 tablespoons) of the cookie dough onto an oblaten wafer and smooth it out,
making it slightly higher in the center.

After baking brush glaze powdered sugar or chocolate glaze over the surface of the cookie.
Let them air dry overnight and then store in airtight containers.  The flavor mellows with age.
Cookies last several weeks.

I hope you will try this traditional German treat this Christmas.  If any of my friends have a recipe that produces a chewy rather than a cakey version I would be very grateful if you would share it.  Many German deli’s carry a premade lebkuchen spice blend, Lebkuchen Gewürz, but making it from scratch is easy and then you will have some for gingerbread cake too.


  1. Kris says

    Very interesting post Cathy! I never met a cookie I didin’t like, so you know I would love these! Is your Mama German?

  2. says

    I am really going to miss being in Germany and Austria for the holiday season. We have gone four times and I love the Christmas markets. Everything about Christmas is extra special there. Thank you for the recipe. I wonder if you have a good recipe for the cinnamon star cookies?
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  3. says

    What a perfect post for this time of the year; we do have a German Gourmet shop here and I love going there; the smell is to die for.
    I am sure your cookies must be heavenly. Saving this recipe.

  4. says

    Cathy, Christmas in Bavaria is something that brings tears to my eyes. Seriously. As a little kid, we lived near Nuremburg. I’ve been there, at Christmas. I still remember the lights, the cookies, the Prune People (the herring sandwiches…yuk). All of it. We had prune people in my Mutti’s buffet, but after a couple decades, they just disintegrated, too. I was in Bavarian for Christmas eve in my thirties. People cannot imagine what it’s like to hear the church bells, and how beautifully German’s decorate for the holidays. I much prefer this, over the American version. I love Lebkuchhen, and I’m looking for a chewy version. One year, I bought a cookie that I have not been able to find, since. It had marzipan in it, and I greedily ate them– did not share them at all. This recipe sounds lovely, though. You did a great job on making them look nice and purty.
    By the way, we celebrate our holiday on Christmas Eve. I play German Christmas music, make German food (aufschnitt) and the whole ball of wax. I miss my mom, terribly, that time of year. One day, I’ll go back and visit– once our US dollar picks up a bit more strength, that is!

    • darlene says

      I agree “weihnachten” in germany is great–my mom is from roth bei nurnburg and as an army brat i lived my childhood in germany–miss it all

  5. Rosa says

    Hi Cathy,
    Your post brought back fond memories. 2 1/2 years we moved from Regensburg to Buxtehude (just south of Hamburg) and each year I miss the Bavarian xmas markets. Nuremburg and Regensburg have the most beautiful Christkindlmarkts. Hamburg also has a gorgeous xmas market in front of the Rathaus. I’ve been there a few times with my MIL and love it. :-)

    I would be happy to help you with your request. I’ll look for a German recipe with your requests and then translate it for you. I just need a few days to prepare it and then I’ll email it to you.

    Liebe Grüße aus Buxtehude

  6. Rosa says

    Hi Cathy, me again.

    I found some recipes that call for more almonds and hazelnuts than flour, which I think would give the cookie more of the chewy texture that you’re looking for. A lot of recipes also call for candied orange and lemon peel, and I came across one that had marzipan Rohmasse. Last year I made some gingerbread cookies with marzipan and they were delicious.

    Also, I was wondering if you would like for me to send you a couple packages of Lebkuchen Gewürze since they are now available? I can mail them off this Saturday, if you wish. :-)

    Ich wünsche Dir eine gute Nacht.

  7. Happier Than A Pig in Mud says

    I love the picture of the Market Cathy, it looks amazing! I don’t think the prune people would hold up well in Philly either. Great looking cookies, I hope you find the recipe you’re looking for:@)

  8. says

    That’s interesting about the oblaten. It looks like a wonderful place to visit, and eat gingerbread. No desire for France at all!
    I hope someone can help with the recipe. It reminds me it is time for dh to make your stollen! We have been eating Pannetone. I bought it, but it is very good!
    I have a Pandora mold, I should give it a try! So many recipes so little time!:)
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  9. Pondside says

    Oh my goodness – I could smell the lebkuchen and the roasted, candied almonds and gluhwein. I spent many happy hours in that Christmas market and other, in the the 10 years we lived in Germany. I’d dearly love to go back there one Christmas!

  10. says

    Hi Cathy,

    I’ve made German Gingerbread houses with a traditional recipe. Yours looks so delicious. We have traveled to Germany several times. I will check out my cookbooks from there and see if there’s a crispy version of your creation. Happy December!
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  11. says

    That first picture makes me want to pack my bag and head over to Nuremburg to go to this market. Then your description of that chewy cookie really makes me want to check into plane tix. I love being somewhere special like that around the holidays. I would love these cookies because I am a spice nut. I am also German, but this is one item I have never had. If I ever see a recipe for a chewy Lebkuchen I will send it your way! Great post!
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  12. [email protected] says

    Fabulous post. I want to go back…….

  13. says

    Oh my Cathy, thanks so much for sharing this wonderful post. The scene of X’mas market in German is awesome. Just look at those cookies. And the ingredients used in German ginger bread contains of so many kinds of spices. Amazing! Thanks again.
    Hope you’re having a wonderful festive season.
    Blessings, Kristy
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  14. Verna says

    I just made your lebkuchen recipe… yum! I didn’t have the oblaten and tried a few with a Christie chocolate wafer under the cookie, but that was a disaster. Then I tried making them smaller = about two inches in size and baked them for only 16 mins. They turned out nicely (even though I left out the almond on the top for decoration). I just ground up some almonds in the blender… worked well, and used a knife/ spatula that I dipped in water to spread the batter so I didn’t end up with a thicker cookie (although the thicker ones tasted good too).
    Thank you also for the lebkuchen gewurz/ spice mix recipe… I was looking at some German recipies on and was wondering what it consisted of… surprised by the coriander..not too strong – Schmecks Gut! Viel Danke!

  15. says

    Oh my goodness, I am a follower of your blog for a long time, but I must have missed this subject from the Nuernberger Markt, I am from Germany, actually from Munich, but the Lebkuchens are my favorite from Nuernberg, my family sends me every year a huge package of them. Love, love and more love.
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  16. Amy says

    Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for the great recipe! I am in Germany right now and went to Nuernberg a couple of weeks ago. I must say that it was absolutely the best gingerbread cookie I have ever tasted. I can’t wait to try your recipe as my 3 1/2 year old daughter loves the gingerbread cookies too.

    For those that plan to visit the market, it is beautiful. However, get yourself out of bed and be there when it opens. The Nuernberg market is wall-to-wall people otherwise. The children’s market they have is great. My daughter loved riding the train despite the very cold temperature.

    I was wondering if anyone has a good recipe for German potato salad (vinegar based, no mayo). I would really appreciate a copy. I can’t seem to have enough of it.


  17. says

    I have a recipe for German Lebkuchen that my family uses every year. My husband swears that this recipe is even better than the bought ones. It’s very simple and easy to make. If you are interested send me an e-mail and I will print it for you.

  18. Liv Christianson says

    I’ve been meaning to try this recipe just printed in November 2012 — the author of the article says that the honey gives a chewy texture, and I know from my own baking that brown sugar also does that — this recipe has both!
    wondering if I could use your recipe as a base to produce a chewier cookie. I won’t use lard, but shortening.


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