Here Are Some Authentic German Christmas Recipes To Get You In The Holiday Spirit!
It’s the holidays – and there is no better way to enjoy Christmas time than to eat your way through it with family and friends.
And whether you’re celebrating Christmas on December 24th (as is common in Germany), on December 25th, in January, or just want to get in the holiday spirit, there are plenty of tasty recipes you can make.
Some German holiday recipes may remind you of sitting around the table with your Oma and Opa. Others will transport you to the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the German Christmas markets.
Lisa grew up in Bavaria and we often go visit her family in Germany during the holidays. We love eating Christmas cookies while lighting the candles on the Advent wreath and visiting the Christmas markets.
To bring you a little piece of Germany, too, here is our collection of German Christmas recipes. You may notice that we’re missing some classics, such as Springerle cookies, Bethmännchen or Sauerbraten… we’ll add them once we have them live on the site.
Psst: If you are looking for more specific German recipes, check out our other German round-ups:
Traditional German mulled wine – known as Glühwein – is definitely a favorite German holiday recipe. It's so easy to bring the classic taste and smell of German Christmas Markets to you with a little red wine, citrus, sugar, and a few select spices. We make a big pot of mulled wine every year for family gatherings and it's always a hit!
Authentic German Christmas bread – known in German as Stollen or Christstollen – is another sweet treat that is worth the effort. This delicious yeast bread is loaded with raisins, candied citrus peel, and sometimes even marzipan. The powdered sugar dusting on top gives the sweet bread its classic look. Remember to make your Stollen ahead of time, because it tastes best when it has a chance to "age" for a week or two.
Rum Balls are another holiday classic that we love to make. They take a bit of work to get right, but once you're done the pay off is worth it. With lots of rich chocolate and a hint of rum, these treats are the perfect adult treats for the holiday cookie plate (and they make great edible Christmas gifts, too).
Rouladen is a classic savory dish that we often make around the holidays (usually on December 25th or 26th). Made from thinly sliced beef and stuffed with pickles, bacon, onions, and mustard, it's a hearty dish that takes a bit of prep, but it is easy to make in ahead. It goes well with bread dumplings, potato dumplings, spaetzle, or potatoes.
Zimtsterne – or Cinnamon Stars in English – are chewy on the inside with a little crunch to their sweet glaze. Made from ground almonds, they are naturally gluten-free and make a delicious holiday snack to add to the cookie platter.
While potato pancakes are eaten year round, they are definitely a classic Christmas market food. Also known as Reibekuchen or Kartoffelpuffer, these fried delights make a great snack and can be enjoyed savory or sweet. You can serve them with quark or a creamy garlic sauce, or with applesauce if you're looking for something sweet!
German candied almonds, or Gebrannte Mandeln, are a beloved Christmas treat. Sweet, coated in cinnamon, and found at Christmas Markets, they offer that perfect blend of sugar and crunch. You'll probably be able to smell them from a mile away. For an extra touch of authenticity, serve them in a paper cone.
You may be a little confused to find a recipe for German potato salad on this list, but Kartoffelsalat is actually a classic "Christmas Eve dinner" in many German households. Served with wiener sausages, it's a low-effort dinner that many people love. Our version is creamy with potatoes, eggs, meat salad, pickles, and more – but there are lots of different versions of German potato salad.
German Spritz Cookies – known as Spritzgebäck – are relatively easy to make into any shape and can be dipped in chocolate for an extra layer of deliciousness. Not only do they shine on your holiday cookie platter, but they are also a fun baking activity to enjoy with kids since they can get creative with their cookie designs.
A classic marzipan recipe can go a long way around the holidays. It's easy to make with lots of ground almonds and powdered sugar. Whether you enjoy it on its own or use it as an ingredient in other recipes like Stollen or marzipan potatoes (see further down), it's worth making from scratch and doesn't take long at all.
Butterplätzchen are another classic German Christmas cookie. You can use cookie cutters in different shapes and sizes to make them and then top them however you like! Whether you prefer them with a simple icing for a touch of sweetness, decorated with colorful sprinkles for a festive look, or just as they are, these cookies are a classic.
While they are not the healthiest, Apfelküchle, also known as German Fried Apple Rings, are undeniably delicious. Made with fresh apples and a simple batter, these fried rings are golden brown and dusted with sweet cinnamon sugar. They are a great treat during the holiday season and are often found at Christmas markets.
Linzer Cookies are a popular holiday cookie in many countries including Austria, Hungary, and Germany. These buttery cookies are wrapped around a heap of fruit jam to make the best little cookie sandwich. Don't forget to dust them with powdered sugar! Linzer Augen, with their distinctive three dots, are a variation of Linzer cookies and are also popular around the holiday season.
Egg Liqueur – or Eierlikör in German – is a classic holiday drink in Germany. Lisa's mom loves it, so we make it every year to have some to sip on. It's thick, creamy, and sweet – made with egg yolks, sugar, and rum. It's good on its own or can be used to make Eierpunsch (see below)! It tastes great out of small waffle cones coated in chocolate.
German Marzipan Potatoes – known as Marzipankartoffeln – are another easy dessert that you may come across during the holiday season (Eric loves to make them). Once you've made the marzipan, you can use a little cocoa powder to make realistic little potatoes worthy of your dessert table or to gift to family and friends. You can also just eat them yourself – we won't tell anyone!
If you've been on the hunt for a classic German gingerbread cookie recipe, this one for Elisenlebkuchen might be the one! Made with lots of nuts, gingerbread spice, and candied citrus, these cookies turn out soft and delicious. You can dip the Lebkuchen in a simple icing or chocolate for the perfect sweet finish! Lebkuchen in all their variations are one of Lisa's favorite holiday treats, but Elisenlebkuchen will always be extra special.
German potato soup, or Kartoffelsuppe, is a hearty and comforting dish often enjoyed during the colder months, so it's no surprise that it's also popular in December. This soup is made with potatoes, carrots, leeks, sausage, and more. You'll often find variations of this soup at Christmas markets, sometimes served in little bread bowls. And sometimes it's served as part of a holiday meal.
Pfeffernüsse – or German spice cookies – are those round and glazed cookies you see on holiday cookie plates. Their name is fitting for a reason – they are made with fragrant spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and even ground pepper.
Don't want mulled wine? Give Eierpunsch – or egg punch – a try! It's similar to eggnog but with a unique twist that makes it worth the effort. Eierpunsch is sweet and creamy, made with egg liqueur (mentioned above) and white wine. Don't forget to generously top it with a dollop of whipped cream. Lisa really likes it, but we know that it's not everyone's cup of tea!
This German red cabbage recipe – called Rotkraut, Rotkohl or Blaukraut – is made with red cabbage, apples, onions, and some aromatic spices. It’s a beloved and vibrant side dish that's eaten all year round, but also as a side dish during the holidays. It's a favorite of both of our families and goes well with meat dishes, such as Rouladen, Sauerbraten or pork roast.
Vanilla Crescent Cookies – Vanillekipferl – are another popular holiday cookie. Originally from Austria, they are also enjoyed in Germany, Hungary and many other countries. They are wonderfully sweet yet soft and crumbly. They are one of the classic cookies that many families bake every year (Lisa's family included)… just make sure you have butter on hand!
For the kids in the group (or those who don't want an alcoholic drink), Kinderpunsch (non-alcoholic punch) is the perfect alternative. It's sweet, slightly tart, and made with fruit tea, apple juice, and holiday spices like cinnamon and cloves. In Germany, you can find it at Christmas market stands and in supermarkets… but it's also really easy to make it yourself at home.
Candied Orange Peels are sweet, zesty, and pretty easy to make. In Germany, they are commonly used as an ingredient in holiday baking, such as for Stollen or Lebkuchen. But of course, you can also enjoy them as a snack or as a garnish for your cocktail or cake.
Mulled white wine is a little twist on a holiday classic. If you like classic Glühwein, you might want to try mulled white wine. Made with white wine instead of red, this holiday drink is much lighter but just as sweet and packed with holiday spices. The citrus really brings it home – we make it at least once a year at Christmas just to change it up from our classic mulled wine!
If you want to make authentic German gingerbread, you'll need a good spice mix. This gingerbread spice – Lebkuchengewürz in German – is pretty easy to make yourself. It's a fragrant spice blend of cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and more. One whiff and you'll know Christmas is coming.