Bake pepparkakor like a pro – Swedish gingerbread cookie recipe(s)

Sara Roza

Written by Sara Roza

06 Dec 2020

I can’t really imagine anything more festive than my kitchen smelling like Christmas cookies. The mixture of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom in the air click something in my brain, and I feel the urge to decorate every corner of the house. I hum the cheesiest holiday melodies, and I dance like the sugarplum fairies from the Nutcracker (Now rather please imagine a piglet in a tutu!). 

I have to admit I am not really a sweet tooth person, however, any version of gingerbread and ” Christmas- flavored” cookies are exceptions! That is why I brought you not only one BUT 3 versions of the Swedish Pepparkakor recipe!

1. The classic pepparkakor – aka ‘the cookie’ version of the 3

Perfect to dip in tea (or coffee) or from a box in your lap while watching crappy Netflix Christmas movies.  (Yes, that is my guilty pleasure after a long and challenging day especially). This type of gingerbread deliciousness is the quickest and is the one that can be stored the longest.


  • 2.5 dl brown sugar
  • 0.75 light syrup (honey, maple, agave, etc.)
  • 0.75 dl water
  • 150 g butter or margarine (vegan, non-vegan up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tsp grind cloves
  • about 6 dl wheat flour (+ extra for baking, 6 dl corresponds to approx. 360 g)
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate (baking soda)

Mix the brown sugar, syrup, and water in a saucepan and boil the whole mixture.  Add the fat (butter or margarine) to the mixture stir it and let these ingredients melt together. Now add the spices, and stir it well! When you’re done let the mixture cool down a bit. Meanwhile in a bigger deep bowl mix the flour and the bicarbonate together.

When the previously made dough is cool enough, add it to the flour-bicarbonate mixture mix it well together. At this point, I usually use my hands (previously dipped in flour) to knead the dough. Yes, it’s sticky, but smells amazing! When you feel like it’s done (you will know, don’t worry!) Wrap the dough and put it in the fridge for a few hours (I usually leave it there overnight).

Preheat the oven (175° C), and take out the dough from the fridge, and on a floured surface start kneading. From now on pay attention and dip everything (including your hands) into flour, the syrup made the dough sticky! With a rolling pin (or a wine bottle work just as fine) roll the dough and carve the patterns out. Use cookie cutters, or you can also be creative and hand carve.

Place the cookies on a greased baking sheet or on parchment paper. Bake them in the middle of the oven at 175 ° C, 6-8 min.

I recommend storing them in a jar at room temperature, but most importantly EAT THEM ALL and enjoy 🙂

A tabletop covered with freshly baked gingerbread cookies in the shape of people and Christmas trees.
Proudly presenting round 2 of this season. Photo: Sara Heindl

2. Gingerbread – the decorative version of the 3

This version is my favorite. This is the softer version, that I normally make not only to eat but to decorate too!


  • 500 dkg all-purpose flour
  • 1,5 dl honey
  • 1 egg
  • 5 dkg margarine or butter
  • 13 dkg icing sugar (“powdered” sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • 1 gingerbread mix (aka grounded cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, ginger, fennel, anise all together around 14 g)

Melt the honey and the margarine together (not hot, just melted!) and mix it with the powdered sugar,  with the egg, and lastly the spices. In a separate smaller bowl mix the flour and the bicarbonate, and start to add the flour-mix little by little to the honey-based mixture. The dough will be VERY sticky and this is how it should be! Now comes the part you’re already familiar with… fridge for a few hours, and bake it on the next day! The ready cookies will not be soft, only after a few days. I like to store them in a metal box, and like a miracle, they will be as soft as butter.

If you also want to decorate your cookies I recommend waiting a few days! For the icing, I use an egg white and powdered sugar mixed together!

Three gingerbread cookies in the shape of stars decorated with white icing.
They can also serve as Christmas decorations! Photo: Sara Heindl

3. The thick gingerbread cookies – aka the softest of the 3!

This last one screams childhood memories for Me.  The recipe I am going to share with you is from my grandma 🙂 This is the german version of the gingerbread cookies (known as Lebkuchen), the thickest and the softest.  The one that you decorate with chocolate, colorful candies, or nuts.


  • 50 dkg of fine flour
  • 15 dkg “strudel” flour (pastry flour)
  • 15 dkg of honey
  • 15 dkg powdered sugar
  • 10 dkg butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 knife tip of ginger

Melt the honey in the microwave, then mix it with the flour, the butter, and the eggs. Sift the flour then add the baking soda and the spices. When it’s well mixed add it to the honey-mixture.  Knead the dough together, and when it starts to stick to your hands, and you feel like the ingredients are well kneaded together, wrap it in foil and put it in the fridge for a night!

The next day chose a flat surface which you cover with flour. With a rolling pin, stretch the dough to almost a centimeter thickness or make small balls (size of a golf ball). Put them in a baking sheet covered tray a bit further away from each other (they will grow a bit in the oven) and bake them at 190°  (preheated oven of course) for around 15 minutes (when the bottom is lighter, than you know they are done!).

Decorate and EAT THEM however you fancy!

A gingerbread cookie in the shape of a house decorated with white icing.
Normally their color is not this light! Mine was laking some spices, but as decoration, it still looks fine :). Photo: Sara Heindl

Do you also have some traditional holiday cookies? If so, please share them with Me! And which one of these you’d try out?

Sara Roza

Written by Sara Roza

06 Dec 2020