Pfeffernusse Cookies (Peppernuts)

German Mennonite Pfeffernusse Cookies, otherwise knows as peppernuts, are a crunchy spiced treat filled with clove, cardamom, and ginger.

Pfeffernusse cookies are a tiny, crunchy spice filled treat that I was introduced to when I joined my husband’s family about 10 years ago. His mom grew up making these traditional German mennonite snacks and the first time I got into the giant bowl of them, I was done for!

They’re way too small, which means you eat about 75 of them and feel like it’s ok because they’re only the size of your thumbnail. The good news is though that they’re completely delicious and a must have for any home cookie maker’s recipe box!

The spices used in Pepper Nuts is what makes them so unique. The traditional cookies have anise extract, but since I’m not a big fan of the licorice taste, I usually opt to go with vanilla instead.

The dry spices are: ginger, cardamom, clove, black or white pepper, and cinnamon.

The process of making these is a bit labor intensive, although none of it is hard. They’re a great treat to have kids, even little ones, help you with because they’re great at rolling dough ropes and placing the little cookies on the baking sheet!

The first step is to mix up the dough. A stand mixer is a must with this recipe because it’s quite a thick dough and would be hard to do with handheld beaters.

Once the dough is ready to go, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When the dough is cold and firm, you can remove it from the fridge and roll it out into 16-20 1/4 inch thick snakes.

Lastly, take a sharp knife and cut the ropes into tiny bite sized pieces and then place in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

Repeat the process until finished!

Baking all of the cookies will take a few rounds since there are so many of them, but once you’re done, that’s it! No frosting, no glaze, no decorations. You’re done!

The secret of these cookies is to make sure you bake them until they’re starting to brown, then store them in an airtight container. They will continue to crisp up the longer they cool and the longer they sit. Some say they get better with age!

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Pfeffernusse Cookies (Peppernuts)

  • Author: Jessie
  • Yield: 12 cups of cookies 1x


German Mennonite Pfeffernusse Cookies, otherwise knows as peppernuts, are a crunchy spiced treat filled with clove, cardamom, and ginger.


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (affiliate), room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (affiliate), lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons anise extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla (affiliate) extract (I don’t like anise flavor, so I do vanilla (affiliate), but anise is the traditional taste!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (affiliate)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a stand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and extract, and mix until combined.
  3. Add salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cardamom, clove, and flour and mix on medium low until all ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overmix or the dough will get tough!
  4. Remove dough from the bowl and pat into a large round disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  5. Remove dough from fridge and roll into 16-20 long snakes. Each snake/rope should be 1⁄4 inch in diameter.
  6. Use a sharp knife or a dough scraper to cut ropes into tiny pieces about 1⁄2 inch long.
  7. Spread little dough pieces onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes or until a dark golden brown.
  8. Remove from baking sheet to an airtight container and let cool before placing the lid on top. They will become very crunchy and delicious as they cool!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.