Table of Contents
  1. Watch how to make these peppernuts:
  2. Peppernuts Recipe

Peppernuts have been a Christmas tradition in Europe since the 1800s. In more recent history, my family has made these our own tradition. Peppernuts are a small cookie, mostly flavored with anise oil, but this tastes completely different than black licorice. The cookies are quickly whipped up, but take a little time to roll out and cut. These are so worth the wait and are my favorite with a cup of coffee (I always dip mine and savor each bite-size cookie).

Hopefully, you can make this your new family tradition this year and for many to come!

Close up view of small lightly golden peppernut cookies sitting on cooling rack after coming out of oven
Small peppernut cookies sitting on baking tray after coming out of the oven on white surface with greenery in foreground

Watch how to make these peppernuts:

Top down view of small golden peppernuts sitting on white piece of parchment after coming out of the oven


4.67 from 6 votes
These mini cookies are flavored with anise and molasses and are perfect for dipping in coffee. They’re a German staple that’s well worth the effort!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Servings 16 cups


  • 1 cup lard (or vegetable shortening)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp real anise oil
  • ½ cup sour milk (1 tbsp vinegar with ½ cup milk)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 cups flour


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the lard and molasses, 30 seconds. Add the sugar, egg, anise oil, sour milk, and mix well, 1 minute. Add baking soda and flour and mix until only a few streaks of flour remain, 1 minute.
  • Shape into cylindrical rolls approximately ½-inch to ¾-inch in diameter. Chill overnight and cut into ¼-inch pieces.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape the peppernuts into an airtight container. Store for up to three months in the freezer.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.2g | Protein: 1.4g | Fat: 3.5g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 6.1mg | Sodium: 43.5mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 10.3g
Course Cookies
Cuisine German
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. My grandma made peppernut cookies every year at Christmas time. However, she rolled each one the size of a large pea. Then Grandma would fill baby food jars with them. She would decorate each jar with a circle of festive cloth and tie it with twine. Her friends and family felt very special receiving these gifts.

    1. I found it on Amazon. I live in rural North Dakota and the small local stores only carried the extract rather than the oil.

  2. Thank you!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!!! I have been looking for this recipe since my Grandmother passed away many years ago. I always helped her make them. The only difference is she also added anise seeds. They were my Dad’s and Grandpa’s favorite cookies. Now I can make some again!!!!!

  3. Hi Kaleb:
    I found your blog this year and I love it so much. Your are wonderful.
    I ordered Anise oil and it will be here tomorrow. I am excited about making the Peppernuts recipe.
    I do have one question, “Which do I need, plain flour or self-rising?”
    Thank you Kaleb. I look forward to seeing you next year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

  4. 5 stars
    I must say that these cookies are easy and delicious but, I am disappointed that I made these because you said that they were a European treat and common and I wanted something different in my Christmas baskets this year …I usually make the same cookies every year with different breads, homemade cocoa (hot chocolate mix) and a bottle of home made coffee brandy or a home made Portuguese liqueur…and after I made these cookies I wanted to see where they originated… When I looked it up they were German cookies and brought over by the Mennonites but, the recipe was totally different….the original had cinnamon and other spices besides the anise …and I would have like to try that one first if I knew your version was not the actual pepper nut cookie … You should have mentioned that in your video…I will definitely put these in my baskets because brush are delicious but u font feel right calling them pepper nut cookies …. They were your grandmas cookies … Can I use her name and say these are grandma ______’s pepper nut cookies?

    1. Hi Donna! I am so happy you found these delicious even though you feel the recipe is not authentic. Cultural appropriation is real and does happen with so many recipes. This recipe is directly given from my great grandma who migrated to America from Gernmany in the early 1900’s. This was the recipe she made with her family in Germany and then brought over to her new home here. There are so many varieties of peppernuts each having distinct differences depending on where, sometimes what town, the recipe originated. I do think authenticity is subject to what each of us holds dear, but I am glad you tried the recipe and enjoyed.

  5. I’m a little confused, why do you call them pepper nuts when they contain no pepper? The German versions I know all contain ground black pepper as one of the spices, thus the name. I love your posts, videos and the joie de vivre that you exhibit for everything in your life! Give a hug to Kipper for me. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I learned something new. I made a batch and didn’t take the anis hardly at all. I bought anis extract rather than the oil. I bet that is the problem.

    1. Yes, oil does make a big difference. The extract is not regulated and you never know how much flavor a brand will have. Oil is always flavorful.