If you love cookies, these gluten free pfeffernusse cookies will soon become one of your favorites :-). Crunchy, with a hint of spice, these German holiday cookies make a delicious treat all year long. Make a batch in 30 minutes!

A stack of gluten free pfeffernusse cookies.

I am so excited for this holiday season. Cookies are my thing, as you can probably tell from all of the cookie recipes on my blog. The holidays are an excuse to make cookies more often! If you love cookies as much as I do, you may want to buy my Gluten Free Cookies From Around The World e-cookbook too!

You will love how this recipe came to be. I was at fencing class with my son when I got an urgent text message from Mr. Fearless Dining. It was a photo of a box of regular pfeffernusse cookies and a note, “Please make this gluten free for me soon.” If you are looking for more gluten free cookie recipes, check out all of my gluten free holiday cookies.

This recipe is for my die-hard gluten free cookie fans. (My kids also just asked me to tell you to try two of their favorites: Gluten Free Nutella Stuffed Linzer Cookies and these Gluten Free Russian Tea Cookies.)

What are Pfeffernusse Cookies?

Pfeffernusse is a popular cookie in Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

My husband’s family is from Germany, and his grandmother used to bake homemade pfeffernusse cookies during the holidays. Since going gluten free, he hasn’t really thought about this cookie…until he was grocery shopping with our daughter a few days ago.

Seeing the box of cookies triggered his memories, and I knew I had to create a gluten free version for him. One bite of this gluten free pfeffernusse cookie, and I think you will be hooked too.

Did you know you can also use this recipe to make an amazing Gluten Free Cookie Mix? Just layer it in a mason jar for easy gift-giving!

Ingredients Notes:

  • Gluten free flour blend – Gluten free flour blend – I tested this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend and King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work; I just have not tested other flours.
  • Xanthan gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon. This is what holds the cookies together.
  • Almond flour – I highly suggest using almond flour and not almond meal. Almond meal is more coarse and will make your cookies grainy.
  • Butter – To make these cookies dairy-free, use vegan butter.
  • Molasses – You can use regular or blackstrap molasses.

I also have a lot of great recommendations for my Favorite Cookie Baking Equipment.

Reader Rave

I made these on the weekend using Bod’s Red Mills 1 for 1, Earth Balance vegan butter, and Bob’s Red Mills egg replacer. They turned out great! This will be a yummy treat a family member who eats GF, dairy, and egg-free can enjoy over Christmas.” Margaret L., Facebook comment

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

The pfeffernusse dry ingredients in a bowl.

Step 1: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Hint: As you can see in this picture, you may need to chop up some of the almond flour.

Pfeffernusse liquid ingredients being whisked together.

Step 2: Whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

📢 Sandi says: Every gluten-free flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio. The brand of gluten-free flour you use will affect the moisture of the batter. If your cake batter is too runny, add more flour, and if it is too thick, add more liquids.
Read Why Gluten-Free Flour Blends Vary to learn more about this.

Pfeffernusse dough balls next to a cookie scoop

Step 3: Use a cookie scoop to make your cookie balls. I used to drop the cookies onto the cookie sheet with a spoon, but my son really likes it when the cookies are all uniform and “pretty” so I now use a cookie scoop.

Step 4: Bake your cookies at 350º F for 8-10 minutes. You don’t want to over-bake them and have them get too hard.

Step 5: Once the cookies are baked, you will want to roll them in powdered sugar.

This cookie recipe is perfect for a holiday party or even a cookie exchange party. Although these gluten free pfeffernusse cookies remind me of Christmas, they are a delicious cookie to bake all year round!

Want to see more gluten free cookie recipes? Click here to see all cookie recipes on this site.

Three Gluten Free Pfeffernusse Cookies stacked on top of each other on top of a red gift bag.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you make pfeffernusse dairy-free?

You can make them dairy-free by using palm shortening or coconut oil. It will change the texture a little bit, but the flavor is still great!

How do you store almond flour so it doesn’t get rancid?

I store my almond flour in the refrigerator to prevent it from going rancid. This cold makes the almond flour bunch up a bit sometimes.

Can you make these cookies nut-free?

You can easily make these pfeffernusse cookies nut-free by omitting the almond flour and adding 1/3 cup additional gluten free flour blend.

How long will these cookies keep?

These cookies should keep up to 4 days. You can also freeze them easily in a freezer-safe zip-style freezer bag. Freeze them flat.

If you want to create a delicious German dinner to enjoy before you eat these cookies, check out my Gluten Free Schnitzel recipe! This recipe also includes a recipe for German potato salad that is delicious with the schnitzel!

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

Gluten Free Pfeffernusse Cookies

Sandi Gaertner
Easy gluten free pfeffernusse cookie recipe
4.89 from 43 votes
gluten free allergy icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cookies and Bar Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 18 cookies
Calories 106 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ¾ cup almond flour * see note
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick of butter melted (1/2 cup)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • powdered sugar for dusting after the cookies have cooled

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients.
  • Whisk to blend.
  • In a small bowl, add all wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  • Mix well.
  • Use a cookie scoop to drop dough balls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes until done.
  • Remove and move to a cooling rack.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Drop each cookie into powdered sugar and toss to coat.

Notes

  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter.
  4. I highly suggest using almond flour and not almond meal. Almond meal is more coarse and will make your cookies grainy.
  5. Allow your cookies to cool before rolling them in the powdered sugar!
  6. These cookies will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 106kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 38mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 15IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

4.89 from 43 votes (34 ratings without comment)

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38 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are excellent! I have been missing Pfeffernüsse since I had to give up gluten several years ago. This recipe was so easy to make and they taste delicious. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for a delicious gluten free pfeffernusse cookie recipe. The whole family enjoyed them. I will definitely make these again!

  3. 5 stars
    I just made a batch, and they turned out great! I’m at altitude, so I used a scant 1/2 tsp of baking soda, amped up the spices, and they’re delicious.

    1. Hi Ang. They freeze really well, but hold off on the powdered sugar until you thaw them out. Otherwise the sugar gets odd when it defrosts. Thank you so much!

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks! I was thinking the powdered sugar wouldn’t do well. They turned out SO good! Love all the spices in every bite! My kiddos enjoyed them too. We will be freezing the rest for the big Christmas with my family!I did put the butter in when it wasn’t entirely melted. The wet ingredients ended up too cold and separated but I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds and all was good! Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  4. I’ve never been able to try these cookies because I haven’t seen a GF version. It’s so perfect that you have one! My niece is GF too and I’m sure she’ll love these for the holidays 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Hi, Thanks for this wonderful recipe. My son takes a german language class that has a student and a teacher that can not have gluten.. Every week parents bring snacks. Last week someone brought really delicious chocolate chip cookies but the two could not have any. I felt so bad. I found this recipe to make especially for them AND THEY BOTH LOVED IT!!! I loved the recipe so much I made a regular flour batch just for my family and it was still amazing.

    1. Hi Marilyn, I am so glad you and your son made these for the class! Your story made my day 🙂 I can’t tell you how often it is my kids who can’t eat something brought for the class. Thank you!!

  6. My mother used to make this cookie every Christmas, I have tried to make her version gf with no luck. What did base ypur version on…a recipe that you used to make and just substituted the flour??? I make mom’s every year for my brother and my husband and it kills me not to be able to eat tehm.

    1. Hi Sand, my father in law is German and I sort of modified a recipe he had. I think you will like this gluten free version very much 🙂

  7. Good Morning Sandi,
    Thank you so much for sharing your lovely recipe. Aimee noted that she is allergic to almonds – this is an allergy we have in common. Thus, when making these cookies, I omitted the almond flour and only used a GF flour (the brand name = GF Jules – at gfjules.com) as per the recipe and only added 1/8 cup of extra flour to the recipe. One note, they took a few minutes longer to cook than noted in the recipe – not sure of the chemistry or maybe was just my oven. These cookies came out beautifully and were incredibly tasty – just the right amount of spice which isn’t overwhelming. A nice moist cookie that isn’t hard and crumbly like a gingerbread cookie can be.

    Again, many thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes. Your site is a treasure trove of yummy stuff! Going to try the chocolate mint crinkles later today. 🙂

    1. Wow Janette, Thank you so much for letting us know how you modified this recipe to remove the almond. This will help a lot of readers 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday. Sandi

    1. Hi Aimee, Almond flour doesn’t absorb much liquid, so feel free to use more gluten free flour blend but maybe try 1/4 cup of the flour blend first. If it is pretty runny, add a little more to get a good ratio. Thanks for writing. If you do come up with a good % regular flour to substitute, please come back and let us know because it would help a lot of readers 🙂

  8. Beautiful! I have homemade macadamia flour in the fridge right now, and think it’d add a special richness to these. Thanks!