Pfeffernuesse Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min./batch


10 dozen

Updated: Aug. 17, 2023
A German holiday tradition, these fragrant pfeffernuesse cookies pack a warm rush of spices in every bite. Also called peppernuts, they go wonderfully with coffee or tea.—Joanne Nelson, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Pfeffernuesse Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


  1. In a small saucepan, combine molasses, honey, butter and shortening. Cook and stir over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Stir in eggs and extract.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and salt. Gradually add molasses mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°. Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cookies to wire racks. Roll warm cookies in confectioners' sugar. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Pfeffernuesse Cookies

What kind of molasses should you use to make pfeffernuesse cookies?

Light molasses is best for baking as it is lightest in color, sweetest, and mildest in flavor. Light molasses also helps make cookies softer. However, dark molasses is a great option, too. Dark molasses gives gingerbread cookies their distinct color and flavor. It’s really a personal preference!

Can you make a glaze for pfeffernuesse cookies?

Absolutely. Try dipping your pfeffernuesse cookies in a simple vanilla glaze the next time you make them!

How should you store pfeffernuesse cookies?

Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze these cookies for up to 3 months as well. Check out these amazing holiday recipes for your next cookie adventure!

—Ellie Crowley, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 42 calories, 1g fat (0 saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 31mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.