Easy & authentic Lebkuchen recipe


Lebkuchen are traditional German Christmas treats which are also popular in Austria and other European countries. Lebkuchen are sweet spiced biscuits made from ground nuts and/or flour depending on the recipe you use, honey and spices. Water or butter are used sparingly if at all. Due to the high sugar content in Lebkuchen, they keep well so you can make them in November and enjoy them all the way through December. Honey is the key element which binds the other ingredients in the dough together. Some Lebkuchen recipes call for up to 85% honey and sugar when compared to flour and ground nuts contents. There are lots of regional variations and some specialty Lebkuchen (Elisenlebkuchen from Nuremberg) are made entirely without flour, using only ground almonds and hazelnuts.


This post features a Lebkuchen recipe made primarily with rye flour. The recipe is quick, straightforward and authentic. The dough is beautifully versatile. You can use different cookie cutters for different shapes and decorate with nuts, white icing or a dark glossy chocolate sauce.

Authentic Lebkuchen

Before I jump into the Lebkuchen recipe, I put together a few essential Lebkuchen need-to-knows.

The Lebkuchen spices

Lebkuchengewürz is the Lebkuchen spice mix which typically includes ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, cardamom and other ground spices. Make your own spice blend and adjust the spices you use to suit your taste. Here is my favourite spice combination.

Lebkuchen spice mix ingredients

  • 30g ground cinnamon
  • 9g ground cloves
  • 2g ground allspice
  • 2g ground ginger
  • 2g ground cardamom
  • 2g ground coriander
  • 1g ground anise
  • 1g ground nutmeg
  • 1g ground mace

The Lebkuchen shape

Traditionally, Lebkuchen are large rounds of about 11 cm in diameter. There are also Lebkuchen hearts which are common at Christmas markets and fairs around the year are often inscribed with icing. Use whatever cookie cutters you have, but adjust the baking time accordingly as smaller biscuits will bake through more quickly.

The Lebkuchen tin

Once the Lebkuchen biscuits are baked, it’s best to store them in a tin. I really like the Garden Trading biscuit tins but there are plenty of options available. You can add a piece of apple into the tin to store and keep the biscuits moist.

Authentic Lebkuchen recipe

This is a typical Lebkuchen recipe as we would make in Austria. Lebkuchen are also called Lebzelten in Austria. The key ingredients in this Lebkuchen recipe are rye flour, honey, ground almonds and the spice mix.

This is an authentic recipe for Lebkuchen, translated from German. My mum uses the recipe when she does our family’s Christmas baking. The rye-based Lebkuchen recipe is super delicious and the Lebkuchen biscuits are wonderfully moist with a beautiful crumb.

German Lebkuchen
German Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen ingredients

Main dough

  • 400g white rye flour
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 250g honey
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 30g Lebkuchen spices

Lebkuchen topping

  • 1 egg for brushing
  • Almond slices for decorating

Lebkuchen icing (optional)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 7g cornflour

Combine the above icing ingredients and whisk until creamy.

How to make Lebkuchen

Day 1

  1. Combine the honey, sugar and eggs in a bowl and whisk vigorously.
  2. Sieve the rye flour, ground almonds, bicarb of soda and spices into a bowl and whisk to mix well.
  3. Add the honey, sugar and egg mixture to the dry ingredients to make a dough. It’ll be sticky but shouldn’t be too wet to handle.
  4. Shape into a ball, place back into the bowl, cover and rest in the fridge overnight.

Day 2

  1. On a floured work surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to 5mm thickness. Make sure you are able to move the dough at all times so it doesn’t stick when you cut out the cookies.
  2. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Use your cookie cutters to cut out the biscuits and place on the baking tray. Make sure to leave a little space in between as they will expand in the oven. Repeat the process until you have no dough left.
  4. Brush the dough shapes with egg wash and decorate with almonds slices.
  5. Bake for 10 – 15 mins (depending on size) at 180°C.
  6. Cool on a wire rack

Enjoy the Lebkuchen straight away or store in a tin. Serve with Glühwein, coffee or tea.

Homemade Christmas bread gifts


If you are looking for thoughtful DIY Christmas gift ideas, baking homemade Christmas bread gifts could be a winning option.

Giving bread as a gift has a long tradition, specifically for housewarmings, and giving bread as a Christmas present is an equally good idea.

Christmas bread gifts are perfect for festive dinner parties and can be the ultimate a little something for neighbours and foodie friends. Merry baking!

Christmas Bread Gift Idea
Christmas Bread Gift Idea

How to guide: Christmas bread gifts

If you are considering to prepare a loaf of bread as a Christmas gift, think about these three elements:

  1. Give a decorative, celebratory and tasty loaf of bread
  2. Wrap it nicely as a gift
  3. Add something of longevity, for example a pretty loaf tin, as the bread gift itself will of course be devoured quickly 🙂

The festive loaf

A lot of Christmas breads are decorative and tasty by default, so there are plenty of recipes to choose from. For example this German Stollen recipe and this easy Christmas wreath recipe.

For this year’s Christmas gift breads I’m opting for a simple brioche recipe. Its inherent richness, the beautiful bake and glossy dome make for a luxurious Christmas bread loaf gift option.

The gift wrapping

If you wrap your homemade bread gifts, you’ll ensure your breads are recognised as the gifts they are. Wrapping bread as a gift can be as basic or elaborate as you like, but I tend to opt for something practical.

Wrap in a colourful cotton kitchen towel which allows the bread to breathe and adds vibrancy to the presentation. As a serial bread gifter, I have also invested in a personalised stamp and label set. Use baker’s twine to hold it all together.

Personalised baking
Personalised baking

The baking dish

To provide a gift beyond the homemade bread, I like to add something practical into my homemade bread gifts. Place the bread into the decorative baking tin it was baked in. Baking tins and dishes fit well into any kitchen and there are plenty of options to choose from, for any budget.

In the case of the brioche gift, it’s a nice idea to give the brioche dish away as part of the gift, for future bakes. It acts as the perfect bread loaf gift box.