Authentic German Lebkuchen Recipe

This authentic recipe for Lebkuchen comes from the German culture site bellaonline! Make your Oktoberfest cookies with this recipe, or save it for your gingerbread houses come December!


3/4 cup softened, but not warm, unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar (cane sugar adds extra flavor)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup honey
2 medium eggs, beaten
3 to 4 cups flour (All purpose or 2/3 wheat 1/3 rye)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


Place butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream the mixture until it becomes light and fluffy.
Add spices and zests, beating until they are incorporated.
Heat molasses and honey until boiling and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Add molasses mixture to butter stirring constantly, then beat in the eggs and combine thoroughly.
Sift 3 cups flour, soda and salt together and stir into mixture.
Stirring, add as much of the remaining flour as needed to get a soft but not sticky dough.
Shape into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.

Chill at least overnight. The flavors develop, and it also becomes easier to handle. Can be left for three days.

Roll out the dough about 1/3-inch thick.
Using cutters or freehand, cut the dough into whatever shapes you have in mind.
If they are to be Christmas tree decorations or Oktoberfest hearts don’t forget to make holes for the ribbon or twine.
Brush with the lightly beaten white of an egg.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes well spaced out on a greased sheet or baking paper, they will spread, and take care not to allow the edges to brown.

For Oktoberfest Hearts… wait until completely cooled and decorate with a piped stiff royal icing, made from a mixture of slightly beaten egg whites, a little lemon juice and confectioner’s (powdered or icing) sugar added gradually until the icing becomes stiff and can stand in peaks.

Read more on the history of Lebkuchen on!