I love my family’s German heritage, and I especially love it at Christmastime when we get to bake my favourite German Christmas recipes! Let me share with you some recipes that our family cherishes. I hope you enjoy these treats too!
My grandpa and grandma immigrated from Germany to Canada in the 50s, and with them they brought all of their German Christmas traditions. We honour my grandparents by continuing to open most of our presents on Christmas Eve, going to a Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, lighting the candles on an advent wreath, putting up our Christmas tree a little early, and by baking lots of yummy German recipes over the Holidays. These German Christmas recipes are my ultimate favourites passed down from my family!
Tante (Aunt) Betty’s Pfeffernusse (Iced Spiced Cookies)
If you like the taste of gingerbread, you’ll love these traditional German Christmas cookies! They’re spicy, soft and pillowy, and they’re encased in an icing glaze to keep them moist and give them even more sweetness and texture. These cookies are full of warming spices, and you can even freeze them to enjoy later on.
German Crumb Cake AKA Streuselkuchen
Not a family gathering goes by where we don’t have Streselkuchen at the table with our coffee! This is a coffee cake with a sweet yeast dough base and a crispy, sweet crumb topping. It’s great as a brunch dish on Christmas Day, or with coffee after Christmase Eve dinner.
Honey Cakes AKA Honigkuchen
This German recipe for Honey Cakes (or “honigkuchen”) is from my Great Auntie Betty and it’s a cake traditionally made at Christmas time. I find the taste and texture of this cake very unique, and incredibly festive (read: spicy and flavourful)! This dense sheet cake features lots of yummy spices like cinnamon, cloves and anise.
Marble Bundt Cake
This beautiful marbled coffee cake was one of my Grandma’s special desserts. This cake is a classic at all of my German family’s get-togethers. My grandma always makes this marble bundt cake and it’s usually enjoyed after dinner with our coffees. Cocoa powder is used to flavour half the batter, and then its mixed with the plain batter to create a swirling effect.
Apple Crumb Cake (or apfel streuselkuchen)
YES, we bake a lot of KUCHEN (cake!) over the Christmas holidays! This apple crumb cake a dense white sheet cake topped with apple slices and “streusel” (the German sweet crumb that basically goes on everything). It’s similar to the strueselkuchen recipe above, but it has a cake base rather than a yeast dough base.
What does a traditional German Christmas dinner look like?
In case you want a bit of savoury food at Christmas time before all of these cakes (haha!), here’s what a traditional German Christmas dinner menu often looks like:
- the main dish is a roast duck, roast goose, or roast beef (we usually have both roast turkey and roast beef)
- apple and bratwurst sausage stuffing
- red cabbage (my Grandma would make something similar to this) and/or sauerkraut
- potato dumplings (our family usually just has mashed potatoes or perhaps a potato salad)
- homemade spaetzle (our family never made this, but Grandma always made these homemade noodles for other occasions)
- a loaf of bread or homemade buns (my Grandma always made a multi-grain bread or soft, white dinner rolls)
- a variety of cakes for dessert including Stollen
- I find it interesting that our particular German family never made Stollen which is a popular traditional German Christmas food… that I know of. I imagine it was because the ingredients were too expensive.
I hope you enjoyed this list of my favourite German Christmas recipes. If you try any, please let me know what you think of them in the comments below. Merry Christmas & Happy December from my family to yours!