When you grow up in Germany or Austria visiting Christmas Markets or Christkindlemarkets is very likely part of your yearly Christmas tradition. And the Christmas time would not be the same without all the amazing Christmas market food and sweet treats. Eating or drinking them is the best way to get into the Christmas spirit. And therefore it is no wonder that locals and travelers alike flock to the markets day after day.
And then there are times when it is not possible to visit a Christmas Market and the holiday season just does not feel right. You might miss out on the markets due to a cancellation of the markets like in 2020 or just because your travel plans do not allow you to go to one of the many Christmas markets around the globe. If you end up in one of these situations the best thing to do is to recreate all the Christmassy delicacies at home.
Therefore I am happy to share these traditional German recipes so you get the full experience of German Christmas Market food and drinks without having to leave the house or having to travel to Germany or Austria.
About these German Christmas Market Food Recipes
The Christmas Market food recipes in this post are only one of many ways to make these sweet Christmas treats. I chose to share the recipes my family has been using since I was a child because I love how everything tastes when following the recipes. However, this does not mean that other recipes aren’t just as good.
Even the traditional recipes for some of these Christmas Market treats vary depending on the region. Given the chance, you should definitely eat your favorite treat in different cities in Germany and Austria.
Some of these Christmas Market food and drink recipes are really simple and don’t take a lot of time while others are more work-intensive. Similarly, you might have to venture to the supermarket to get the ingredients for some of these treats, while you should already have everything you need for others.
Rum: If a recipe includes rum, I used Havana Club. The only recipe where I used a different rum is Feuerzangenbowle, as the alcoholic concentration of the rum has to be above 50%.
Abbreviations: kp. = knife point; Tsp. = table spoon; tsp. = tea spoon
Sweet Christmas Market Treats
Gebrannte Mandeln (Roasted Almonds)
The smell of roasted almonds can be one of the first things one notice as you approach a Christmas Market. Therefore it is no wonder that they are a real classic when it comes to Christmas Market food. There are different ways to make them, but the easiest and fastest one is by using a microwave.
You can also use this recipe if you want to make them in the oven, but I am not entirely sure how it affects the times listed in this recipe. My rough guess would be that you should double the times and pre-heat the oven at 180°C (360°F), but it might be a little bit more or less depending on your oven.
My Tip: Only use 1.5 Tsp. of water and add 1 Tsp. of (non-alcoholic) amaretto in the first step. Doing so adds to the flavor of the roasted almonds and makes them even more delicious. This version with amaretto might not be authentic Christmas Market food, but it is well worth it!
Kokosmandeln (Coconut Almonds)
4. Let the almonds cool down while melting the white chocolate.
5. Mix the remaining powdered sugar with the remaining cinnamon and the coconut flakes.
6. Pour the molten chocolate over the almonds and let the chocolate covered almonds dry for a minute or two.
7. Put the chocolate almonds in a bowl and add half of the coconut flakes mix. Shake the bowl before adding the rest of the mix. Your almonds should now be entirely surrounded by chocolate and coconut flakes.
Printen are a local favorite when it comes to Christmas Market food. There are different kinds of Printen, but the only ‘real’ ones are those made in the region of Aachen. While the roots of this sweet treat are Belgian, the ‘original Aachener Printen’ have since become an EU certified product that can only be produced in the area. I grew up eating loads of them every single holiday season and even now I cannot imagine the festive time without them.
1. Grind the sugar candy.
2. Mix the sugar beat syrup and the rum in a bowl. Dissolve the potash in a small amount of water and add it to the mix. Add the ground sugar candy.
3. Add all other ingredients to the dough and knead it. Let it rest for one or two nights.
4. Roll the dough on a flour covered surface until it is 0.5 cm (0.2 inches) thick. I usually create snowball-sized dough balls and flatten them with my hand before I roll them. That way the dough is less likely to break and easier to handle.
4. Cut it into 3 x 9 cm (1.2 x 3.5 inches) large rectangles.
5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 200°C (400°F). Take the Printen out of the oven and let the cool down.
If the cut off leftovers are too crumbly to roll them, I usually add a small amount of honey to the dough. Honey Printen are another favorite German Christmas Market treat so it is the perfect way to use the entire dough.
If you want to, you can cover some of them in dark chocolate.
Fruchtspieße (Fruit Skewers)
Chocolate-covered fruit skewers are one of the most popular German Christmas market treats and likely the easiest delicacy on this list. They are incredibly popular and there is a large variety of them. Strawberries and grapes tend to be the most popular Fruit Skewers at German Christmas Markets, but melon and bananas are strong contenders as well.
Paradiesapfel (Paradise Apple)
Obviously, there are many different cookies and similar things that can be found at Christmas Market. And it would admittedly be impossible to include all of them in one single post. Therefore I decided to include German coconut macaroons as a representative of all the cookies. This sweet Christmas Market treat can be found at most Christmas Markets and I happen to love it, so including my grandma’s recipe seemed like the best choice.
Christstollen (Christmas Stollen)
1. Mix the raisins, lemon peel, candied orange peel, ground almonds and rum. Let it rest for 1 hour.
2. Add flour to a bowl and create a pit in the middle before adding yeast to the pit. Add 2 Tsp. of warm milk and mix it with the yeast in the pit. Cover the pit with flour before covering the entire bowl with a towel and letting it rest for 30 minutes.
3. Add butter, sugar, vanilla sugar, the egg and the spices to the flour bowl. Mix everything before kneading it for 10 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the milk during these ten minutes.
4. Combine the dough and the rum mix before letting it rest for 30 minutes.
5. Knead the dough again and divide it into two lumps. Form both of them into longish loafs.
6. Flatten one half lengthwise with a dough role to create the typical form of this popular Christmas Market food. Fold the higher half over the flattened one. Let the loafs rest for 30 minutes.
7. Place the loafs on tinfoil and baking paper. Bake at 200°C (390°F) for 40 minutes. Turn down the heat to 180°C (350°F) after 25 minutes and cover the loafs with the tinfoil.
8. Take the loafs out of the oven and cover them with molten butter. Repeat after 5 minutes and add the powdered sugar on top.
Lebkuchen (Nuremberg Gingerbread)
Nuremberg gingerbread, called Lebkuchen, might have gingerbread in the name, but it does not taste like the gingerbread many of you know and love. I personally would say that this Christmas market food tastes even better!
It was invented in Germany in the 13th century and there are different ways to make it. Some recipes are closer to the Lebkuchen‘s roots of honey bread, while others are more modern. This is the recipe I like the most and it tastes like ‘Elisenlebkuchen‘ which happen to be my personal favorite.
1. Mix all ingredients but the egg whites.
2. Beat the egg white until they are stiff before folding them in the Lebkuchen dough.
3. Place one spoonful of the dough on a round wafer paper or directly on backing paper.
4. Place the Christmas Market treat on a griddle with baking paper. Ensure that there are at least 2 cm of space between all of them.
5. Bake at 170°C ( 340°F) for 17 minutes.
6. Let the Lebkuchen cool down while preparing the coating.
Dark Chocolate: Melt some chocolate and spread it on the Lebkuchen.
Honey Orange Glace: 5 Tsp. honey, 2 Tsp. butter, 3 Tsp. orange juice, powdered sugar
- Melt the butter and honey on the stove. Stir until the mix is fully liquid.
- Add the orange juice to the mix.
- Spread the glaze on the Lebkuchen.
Savory Christmas Market Food
Maronen (Roasted Chestnuts
Bubble waffles are sweeter than normal waffles and due to their form, the waffles are fluffier. You need a bubble waffle iron to make them, but it is also possible to use the recipe to make conventional sweeter waffles. The waffles are a newer Christmas market food, but you should definitely try them.
Topping: You can use whatever topping you want for your bubble waffles. I personally love adding vanilla ice cream, chocolate spread, and coconut flakes as a topping.
Dampfnudeln (Yeast Dumplings)
A lot of recipes for this Christmas Market treat require a steam cooker and these days I tend to use one whenever I make Dampfnudeln. However, I am aware of the fact that not everyone has one or that you might not be able to use yours if you are currently away from home. Therefore I decided to select the recipe I use, whenever I cannot use my steam cooker.
1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in warm milk before adding a small amount of flour and the yeast.
2. Add the remaining flour, the vanilla sugar, the egg and the butter. Knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your bowl.
3. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for 45 minutes.
4. Form 12 round yeast dumplings and dust them with flour so they no longer stick to each other. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
5. Grease a pan and add 1 Tsp. of sugar and the cream. Place the yeast dumplings in the pan.
6. Place a lid on the pan and cook them at a high temperature for 4 minutes. Lower the temperature to a moderate one after that and let the yeast dumplings cook until the liquid is gone. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes.
7. Serve this great German Christmas Market food with vanilla pudding. Hereby you can make the pudding however you usually cook it and just add approximately 50 ml of milk or cream more than you usually would.
Tip: If you cannot eat all of them and have some leftovers, you can put them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to turn them into sweet bread buns.
Flammkuchen (Tarte Flambée)
1. Mix all dough ingredients before letting the dough rest in a cold environment for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out the dough as thin as possible.
Topping: There are different toppings and all of them can be found at German Christmas markets. The ingredients listed above are for the traditional topping.
3. Cut the red onion and mix all ingredients except for the chives. Spread it on the dough.
4. If you want to, you can add additional things to the topping of this popular Christmas Market food. Cheese, champignons, corn or smoked salmon are popular additions.
5. Preheat the oven. Bake at 250°C (480°F) for 20 minutes.
6. Spread the minced chives on the tarte flambee and enjoy this delicious treat.
Reibekuchen (Potato Fritter)
Christmas Market Drinks
Weißer Glühwein (White Mulled Wine)
Roter Glühwein (Red Mulled Wine)
Most Christmas Market drinks contain at least a small amount of alcohol, but obviously, they are not always an option. Therefore I just had to include non-alcoholic punch that you can drink while you work or give to the kids while you enjoy real mulled wine. It is the perfect drink to drink while enjoying the Christmas Market food on this list!
Eierlikör (Egg Liqueur)
Marzipanlikör / Engelchenlikör (Marzipan Liqueur)
There are many liqueurs that are available in different cities, but marzipan liqueur is a classic. It combines that sweet flavor of marzipan with a creamy taste and once you have tried it, you will know why it is popular. Most people drink it cold, but you can also drink it while it is hot. That is how I prefer this fantastic Christmas Market treat.
There are different variations of Grog, but this is the one you will find at German Christmas markets. Originating from England, Grog became popular in Northern Germany in the early 19th century. It has since become a popular winter drink, so you can get it at Christmas markets everywhere in Germany.
Making Feuerzangenbowle involves burning rum, so please be careful while making it. It is quite easy to make it, but if you play with fire caution is always advised. Please do not make it if you are already intoxicated or in a situation you would not drive a car in. After all, I want you to enjoy a German classic without setting anything but the sugar on fire. Be careful and enjoy your Feuerzangenbowle!
1. Heat up the wine with the cloves, the cinnamon quill, lemon juice and orange juice. Ensure that it does not cook are the alcohol evaporates.
2. Place the cone sugar (Zuckerhut) on the fire thong above the wine mix.
3. Pour some of the rum over the sugar.
4. Check if there is nothing nearby that could catch fire and there is nothing above the put for at least 1 m. You are literally playing with fire to make this drink and I do not want you to set anything but the sugar on fire.
5. Carefully light up the rum-soaked sugar with a stick lighter or along matchstick. The flame can be high for a second and you do not want you fingers nearby if that happens.
6. Keep pouring rum onto the sugar with a spoon. Never pour it directly from the bottle as doing so is incredibly dangerous.
7. Continue to do so until the sugar is nearly or entirely gone.
8. Stir the Feuerzangenbowle to dissolve potential sugar remains at the bottom of the bowl.
Hot Chocolate Variations
Which Christmas Market food will you make first?
If you plan weekend getaways in Europe in December, you can eat as much Christmas Market food as you want. But as that is not always an option, these traditional German recipes are the way to create a small piece of Europe wherever you are.
I believe that these sweet treats and drinks are the key to getting into the holiday spirit if you cannot visit Christmas Markets like the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarket or all the other big ones in Europe. And knowing that you made them yourself makes the entire thing even better aside from the fact that some of these treats can be a great last-minute Christmas gift.
Which Christmas Market food will you make first?