These pfeffernusse are chewy spice cookies rolled in powdered sugar that are perfect for the holidays!

Pfeffernusse (Spice Cookies)

Pfeffernusse are thick and chewy spice cookies that just scream ‘holidays’! These small yet substantial cookies are rolled in powdered sugar for a sweet touch. This version is dairy-free, too!
Course Cookies
Cuisine German
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 41 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Calories 126kcal
Author Alyssa


  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp anise extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar for rolling (divided - optional)


  • Add molasses, honey, and coconut oil to a small saucepan set over medium heat. As the mixture heats, stir to combine ingredients until it's smooth and well-mixed (about five minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and let molasses mixture cool to room temperature. [see note]
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg and anise extract. Once molasses mixture has sufficiently cooled, very slowly pour in small amounts of the egg mixture, whisking continually, until all is combined.
  • In a separate bowl, add flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, white pepper, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour molasses mixture into bowl with the dry ingredients and stir so that everything is combined and mixture is smooth, trying not to overmix. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough until thoroughly chilled, at least 1-2 hours.
  • Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 325 degrees F and lightly grease baking sheet(s). Add 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar to a small bowl and set aside. Scoop small balls of dough (approx. the size of a large gumball), form into a sphere with your hands, and roll all sides in the confectioners' sugar, dusting off any additional sugar. Discard remainder of sugar.
  • Place cookies about 1" apart from one another on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 11 or so minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are mostly firm to the touch and bottoms have darkened slightly. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5-6 minutes, and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled completely, you may coat or dust pfeffernusse in remaining 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar before serving if you prefer. I skipped this step for the cookies in this picture.


Make sure the molasses mixture is at room temperature and no longer warm. If not, you run the risk of having small pieces of cooked egg in the batter if you add too much egg at once to the molasses mixture while it's still warm. If this happens, the batter will still be just fine to use (I've been there, done that), but it's a bit of a bummer. No worries though - you won't be able to tell in the final product cookies.
Prep time includes approximately 1/2 hour for cooling the molasses mixture and 1 1/2 hours for chill time.
Nutritional info includes the second rolling of confectioners' sugar.
Adapted from allrecipes


Serving: 2cookies | Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.6g | Protein: 1.6g | Fat: 3.1g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 13.2g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.