baking / dessert

German Lebkuchen Cookies

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Lebkuchen are German Christmas cookies that are pillow-y soft and full of all those special holiday flavors – imagine gingerbread but amped up with a hint of spice and chewiness. Be sure not to skimp on the orange peel! The citrus makes for an extra layer of deliciousness and it’s a great way to use up as much of your oranges as possible. If you have leftover fresh ginger, you can use it to make hot tea or add to stir frys and smoothies.

Makes about 18 cookies

German Lebkuchen Cookies with Imperfect Foods Cloves


  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ⅓ cup ground almonds (almonds pulsed in a food processor)
  • 2 tsp Imperfect Foods Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp Imperfect Foods Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Imperfect Foods Cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange peel 
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk 


  1. Add honey, sugar, and butter to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely melted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. 
  2. In another bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, ground almonds, and spices. Set aside.
  3. Remove honey mixture from the refrigerator. Beat in egg and orange peel.
  4. Add flour mixture to honey mixture and stir until well combined. Dough will be sticky. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Chilling will make it easier to form cookies.
  5. Preheat oven to 325℉. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to ¾ inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place cookies on lined baking sheets. 
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk confectioners sugar and milk. Dip tops of cookies with glaze, letting excess drip back into the bowl. Transfer cookies to a rack and let sit until glaze hardens, about 10 minutes. 

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • If you loved these German Lebkuchen Cookies, be sure to check out the rest of the sweet treats in our Cookies From Around the World series like our Tim Tams.


  • Mark
    December 19, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    Where are the cloves used?

    • Imperfect Foods
      January 12, 2022 at 4:39 pm

      You’ll add them in step 2 with your other spices!


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