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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
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) »
"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."
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."