Traditional German Christmas Foods to Celebrate the Holidays

Traditional German Christmas Foods to Celebrate the Holidays |

From the birthplace of the Christmas Tree, we bring you German Christmas Food ideas to brighten the holidays with tradition, festivity, and heritage. We’ve compiled the best recipes we could find, both savory and sweet. And… for added flavor, we’ve included some traditional activities you might want to add to your calendar.

RELATED: Travel to Europe with Christmas Market Foods to Make at Home

How Germans Celebrate Christmas

Germany celebrates Christmas with two public holidays, 25 and 26 December. For many people, 24 December, Christmas Eve, is divided into a hectic morning and a festive evening. When Christmas Eve falls on a working day, the shops are open until noon and they are very busy as people buy their last presents or food for the festive meal. Afterward, attention focuses on decorating the Christmas tree with fairy lights and colorful baubles, wrapping up presents and preparing food.”

German Christmas Traditions

Traditional German Christmas Foods to Celebrate the Holidays

It’s said, “The first taste of Christmas arrives when Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Spekulatius (gingery biscuits) suddenly appear on the supermarket shelves at the beginning of September. From the first Sunday in Advent onwards, Christmas markets, Christmas hits on the radio and Christmas lights spread the Christmas spirit throughout the land.”

We’ve gathered some deliciously authentic German recipes to add to your Christmas celebrations.


Roast Goose with Pork, Prune and Chestnut Stuffing

“While author Luke Barr’s research shows that Julia Child prepared a roast goose stuffed with pork, prunes and chestnuts for Christmas dinner in 1970, no such exact recipe exists in any of her cookbooks. Inspired by the goose recipes in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, F&W’s Kay Chun perfected this delicious version, which calls for techniques—like basting the goose with boiling water—that Child most likely used as well.”

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Crispy Roasted Goose Is a German Christmas Favorite

“Weihnachtsgans or German Christmas goose is the preferred fowl choice, along with duck, for festive occasions. Turkey is rarely seen on holiday dinner tables. Goose, for that matter, is rarely seen anymore, as well, which is a shame because it is so simple to prepare. Like other poultry, onions, thyme, and fruit are great seasoning choices with goose.”

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Bavarian Bread Dumplings (Semmelknödel) Recipe

“Bavarian home cook Brigitte Drexler’s soul-satisfying bread dumplings are great for sopping up the rich gravy from the braised roast.”

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German Braised Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)

“Juniper berries, green apple, and tangy vinegar give this German braised red cabbage it’s distinctive sweet and sour flavor. Make a big batch of this “rotkohl” and watch it disappear!”

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Krautstrudel: An Easy Savory Cabbage Roll

“German Krautstrudel is a delightfully easy savory cabbage roll, perfect for the season. With soft sauteed strands of cabbage, the smoky flavor of bacon and savory crunch of caraway seeds; all wrapped in a delicate, flaky crust. It’s a treat friends and family will love.”

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A Classic German Dresden Christmas Stollen

“German Stollen has been around for nearly 700 years and are prized throughout the world as one of the most famous and beloved of all Christmas pastries.   Your search for the BEST authentic Stollen recipe has ended:  Flaky, moist, aromatic and divinely flavorful, these homemade German Christmas Stollen are INCREDIBLE!”

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Almond-Filled Stollen

I’ve been making this during the holiday season for nearly 50 years. When we flew to Alaska one year to spend Christmas with our daughter’s family, I carried my stollen on the plane!" - Rachel

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Gingerbread Cookies (Lebkuchen)

“A traditional German Christmas gingerbread cookie, or Lebkuchen. Created by medieval monks, lebkuchen dates back to the 13th century in Germany and Switzerland.”

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Lebkuchen Bars

“These spicy gingerbread-like bars, which are traditional holiday fare in Germany, contain no fat other than that in the egg. They’re addictive nonetheless, with their hard sugar glaze and nippy bite of crystallized ginger (substituted for the more typical citron). They keep very well too, especially when a piece of apple is tucked into their airtight container to soften them. They’re a perfect accompaniment to hot tea after a blustery afternoon of scouring the shops for just-right presents.”

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German Christmas Cookies

“An assortment of German Christmas cookies at Rischart bakery in Munich. From left: chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons; cinnamon and kirsch star cookies; raspberry jam sandwich cookies; anise seed crescent cookies; chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies; chocolate-dipped hazelnut cookies.”

See the recipe for Kokosmakronen (Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons) »

See the recipe for Zimtsterne (Cinnamon and Kirsch Star Cookies) »

See the recipe for Spitzbuben (Raspberry Jam Sandwich Cookies) »

See the recipe for Vanillekipferl (Anise-Seed Crescent Cookies) »

See the recipe for Schokiladen-Butter-platzchen (Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies) »

See the recipe for Nusstaler (Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Cookies) »


Lebkuchen (German Christmas Cookie) Recipe

"This rendition of the deeply-spiced German Christmas cookie gets its soft, chewy texture from the addition of honey. Any leftover dough scraps can be re-rolled and cut into additional cookies; remaining candied citrus can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month."

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Buttery German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

There's a family story behind this cake, "which was passed down (in memory! Not written down!) through three generations, beginning with one resourceful German grandmother. It’s also known as Versunkener Apfelkuchen, meaning German apple cake."

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