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:

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

Peppernuts

4.87 from 15 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 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 16 cups

Ingredients

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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 113kcalCarbohydrates: 19.2gProtein: 1.4gFat: 3.5gSaturated Fat: 1.3gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 6.1mgSodium: 43.5mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 10.3g
Course Cookies
Cuisine German
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

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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19 Comments

  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.

  7. 5 stars
    Have not tried yet – but I will! Always looking for a cookie recipe to add to my standard Christmas selection.
    I soooo enjoy your site/reels/home/family! Thank you for sharing it all with us. I know that if we lived down the street from each other we would hang out and have a perpetual blast! You are WONDERFUL! Again: thank you😘
    …& very best wishes for this holiday season🎄

  8. I kept saying peppernuts over and over so I could remember to look them up…I finally realized(sadly it took awhile) they are pfefferneuse! My grandma made these, too but we never called them pepper nuts, which I NOW know is the exact translation. Ours didn’t have pepper in them either. Anyway, I got a giggle from the lightbulb moment! Cannot wait to try your recipe, it looks wonderful.

  9. 5 stars
    Luv luv luv peppernuts-grew up on them as my grgrndparents were German from the old country. But my little brother gave me the best help in making these-iinstead of rolling the logs out, he stuffs the dough in his jerky gun & it’s done in less than half the time. Throw them in the freezer til you’re ready to cut & bake! Still haven’t come up with a short cut for cutting up all the logs.

  10. 5 stars
    I have been looking for this recipe forever. My mother-in-law used to make them every year for the holidays, and we all (husband kids and me) have missed them so much. I searched her recipes, but we decided she made them from memory. Thank you so much.

  11. I’ve been making peppernut cookies for years but always struggled rolling the dough into ropes after I had chilled it overnight. Imagine my pleasant surprise using your method of rolling the dough into ropes before you chill it! Thanks for the tip!

  12. 5 stars
    I have had pepper nuts in the past, but never made them. I was excited to try your recipe. Christmas came and went, so finally just made them for the first time. This recipe is so easy to follow and the taste is amazing. Thank you, Kaleb for my new addiction! 😁