Pfeffernusse Cookies

These spiced Pfeffernusse cookies are perfect for the holidays! Make them for yourself or bag them up as gifts.

To recipe
pfeffernusse cookies on a plate
Recipe insights & TIPS

December is here and that means lots of home baking and sweet treats! Whether you just want to have fun in the kitchen or if you’d like to surprise family and friends with homemade gifts, baking at the holidays is always much more fun than any other time of the year in my opinion. 

pfeffernusse cookies on a plate

Cookies are probably the number one thing baked over the holidays. We as a family always try and set an afternoon aside just for cookie making and decorating! There are so many amazing recipes to choose from but these Pfeffernusse cookies are easy and quick to put together and taste amazing. Their unique taste is created by using Watkins Organic Spices. Watkins has been supporting home bakers since 1868 and with so many spices and extracts to choose from, they help add flavor to any of your holiday baking projects. Watkins Spices and Extracts are dye-free with nothing added such as high-fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients.

The flavors of Watkins Spices and Extracts made from only the purest of ingredients, and this is the reason your cookies will taste so much better than anyone else’s this year. The flavors are strong and bold, filling your whole house with that amazing spiced holiday smell! You can find your spice of choice online at or at select grocery stores in your area.

What is a Pfeffernusse Cookie?

Pfeffernusse is German for “pepper nut” so these cookies have a very slight peppery bite to them. They are similar to molasses cookies but after baking they’re rolled in powdered sugar. They have a soft and chewy texture and taste so good it’s hard to eat just one! The recipe calls for ingredients such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. These are all classic holiday spices and all available from Watkins.

Pfeffernusse Cookies cooling on a wire rack

How To Make Pfeffernusse Cookies

This recipe is a classic wet and dry mix combining the flour and spices together and then creaming the butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg until light and fluffy. Mix these two together and leave the dough to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help prevent the cookies flattening and keep that domed look to the surface. The recipe makes about two dozen.

a mixture of spices and flour to make Pfeffernusse Cookies
cookie batter in a mixing bowl and adding vanilla

Tips for Making the Best Pfeffernusse Cookies

  • Definitely sift the flour and Watkins spices together. This will make sure the spices are evenly distributed through the dough giving your cookies maximum holiday taste.
  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature before starting.
  • Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm for best flavor and taste.
  • Store any leftover Pfeffernusse Cookies in a sealed container for 3 days.
homemade Pfeffernusse Cookies on a plate
A white, fluffy chef's hat with an orange band, logo of Foodness Gracious.


Small spiced cookies rolled in powdered sugar and served warm.

14 minutes
Total TIME:
29 minutes
15 minutes


  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp Watkins Organic Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp Watkins Organic Ground Ginger
  • ¼ tsp Watkins Organic Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Watkins Organic Ground Cloves
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Watkins Organic Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Ingredient Swaps


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt, pepper, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and molasses until light and creamy.
  4. Add the egg and baking vanilla and beat again until well combined
  5. Scrape down the bowl and add the flour mixture
  6. Mix on low speed until the dough forms, cover and chill for 30 minutes
  7. Scoop small balls of the dough, about a tablespoon each and roll into balls
  8. Place them on the prepared sheet pan about 2 inches from each other
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes
  10. Let cool for 5 minutes then roll the cookies in the powdered sugar
A white, fluffy chef's hat with an orange band, logo of Foodness Gracious.

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