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Peppernuts Recipe {Pfeffernüsse/Päpanät}

Growing up in Southern Manitoba I can not remember a Christmas without peppernuts , sometimes known by the name Pfeffernüsse or päpanät as I knew them.

What are peppernuts? They are small, round, spiced cookies that are absolutely delicious!


Here is the recipe that I make, it looks like it makes a lot, but let me warn you, those little cookies are addicting. I have not met someone who can pass by without grabbing a handful.

I like to make them so that they are a little bit soft and a little bit crispy – they can be baked shorter or longer according to how you like them. Many people add star anise to their recipe, but our family loves this combination of spices.

Some people omit the black pepper, but I think it is a must for this traditional recipe!


4.5 from 13 reviews
Peppernuts Recipe {Pfeffernüsse/Päpanät}
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: mennonite
Peppernuts also called Pfeffernüsse or päpanät are small, spiced cookies which are a common treat in Mennonite homes during the Christmas season.
  • 1 cup butter or margarine (softened)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup whole milk (with 1 tsp vinegar and 2 tsp baking soda added)
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3¼ cups flour
  1. Cream together the butter and brown sugar with a mixer. Add eggs and continue beating. Slowly add the corn syrup and the milk mixture.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together remaining ingredients (dry). Then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until a dough ball is formed. Put dough mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. Roll dough into long snake like rolls till they are between the width of dime and a nickle. I do this on parchment paper to make it easy to transfer the rolls onto a greased cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer till firm. Then slice the rolls in about 1 cm pieces and place flat on pans. Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.


  1. This sounds really good! I may have to give it a try :)

  2. I have never had these, or even heard of them… but they sound delicious!! Think I will be adding this to my Christmas baking list!

  3. Anne Taylor says:

    These sound yummy and I bet the pepper gives off a great bit of kick! Really interesting, thanks for the recipe!

  4. Doris Calvert says:

    I am from a family where we were brought up on these at Christmas time, these are a favorite in Germany at Christmas time and I lost my Oma’s recipe so thank you for posting!

    • Oh Doris, Thank-you for sharing your memory with me. You will have to let me know how these are compared to the ones your Oma made. I hope they bring back wonderful memories for you. Merry Christmas!

  5. Judy C (Judy Cowan) says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, they sounds good. I might have to make a batch this year to add something new to my holiday baking.

  6. Chandra Christine O'Connor says:

    I have never heard of them. they sound delish

  7. Thanks for the recipe – looks like something i could do.

  8. oh these are one of our favourites!!!!

  9. Oh these look fantastic, I bet I could eat about 100 of them! Will definitely be baking these for upcoming family dinner :)

  10. Catherine Cole says:


  11. now these look like a must to bake and I thought I was all done baking for christmas

  12. I had never heard of these but will have to give them a try!

  13. These sound delicious! Thank you for the recipe and for including the ‘print’ option that makes it so convenient.

  14. Jennifer A. says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe these would be great for Christmas :)

  15. Wow! Very interesting sounding cookies – I cannot imagine the taste with the pepper in there, but it sounds delicious!

  16. Thanks for sharing! Definitely a great one to keep bookmarked or pinned. Will try making a batch for the holidays. :)

  17. Jo-Anne Pfoh says:

    thanks for the post I love these things

  18. Love these! I am absolutely going to try this recipe! Thanks!! 😀

  19. Nena Sinclair says:

    I just live in the Interlake area and I’ve never heard of these either! I’m thinking about making them, but I’m just a little unsure about the pepper! :)

  20. I love Pfeffernüsse cookies. This is a new take and I am going to make them. Thank you for sharing.
    Carol L

  21. They look easy. I could try this recipe with other nuts as well.

  22. Treen Goodwin says:

    These sound yummy , have to make them , thanks for sharing :)

  23. Teresa Claire says:

    This looks so easy to make and not as pricey as the almond Roca that I make every year.

  24. I remember having these every year as a child

  25. Christy Martin says:

    I have not had pfeffernusse in years and the thought of making them myself never crossed my mind. I think these might make the cut this year!

  26. Jody, is there any way to avoid corn syrup? Any substitutions? Thanks!

    • Ira, You could substitute it with 1 cup of honey or a little less than a cup of maple syrup. You could also substitute it with sugar or coconut sugar, but you would need to add a bit of water (about an 1/8 of a cup).

      • Oh, that’s a lot of options :) I just wasn’t sure if corn syrup has any other purpose it this recipe than being a sweetener. I think I will go with honey. Thank you so much!

        • Ira, With my recipes I often switch things around to get them the way I like them. You may have to play around with the quantities a bit, but I’m sure it will turn out amazing. Let me know how it works for you.

  27. kristen visser says:

    wow im totally interested in making these just to see how they taste. never had them before but they look yummy!

  28. These sound yummy but I think I would have to leave out the pepper for my gang!

  29. These are perfect for my cookie exchange!

  30. I have known people who love pepper nuts, but I have not seen a recipe before. It looks great.

  31. kathy downey says:

    I have never had these,nor have i heard of them,but the look delish and i have saved the recipe and will make them soon

  32. I love peppernuts. I had a couple issues, I also followed the recipe exactly. The dough was way too sticky, even after a couple hours of chilling. So I added a little more flour, over a cup! And it was still gooey. When I finally got down to cooking, took them 23 minutes. These also don’t have as much flavor, it seems its not enough. But thanks for the recipe the kids love them.

    • Hannah,
      The dough is very, very sticky and hard to work with. Did you roll it while it was on parchment paper? Did you freeze the dough after? Maybe the baking time increased because of the added flour or if you made them larger than mine.
      I’m glad your children like them. They are a lot of work to make.

  33. Emily Chui says:

    Oh these are such a great snack!

  34. Oh, my this sounds so good. Will definitely have to try them.

  35. I haven’t ever heard or tried these cookies. But they look really good. The spices sound like a great combination.

  36. I followed the recipe correctly but had a very gooey and sticky mixture that tasted wonderful. The little gloobs flattened out to little disks once they were baked. Consequently only 4 cookie sheets got baked. I was very disappointed in the appearance. This is not a recipe for this cook.

  37. These sound really good to make for my Christmas baking.I am wondering f they taste a little bit like ginger snaps.I love them too.Thank yo.u for the recipe.I am going to try them

  38. I remember my Aunt making these. They never lasted that long. They are sitting in the fridge now. Can’t wait to taste them. Thank you

  39. Hi jodi I just read your recipe for papanats and I make them myself. Everybody loves them. There are a few things I do differently. I use white pepper instead of black, I also use shortening instead of margarine, I also use white sugar. I like to put the dough in the f

  40. Hi jodi i make papanats also. I do a few things differently. I exchange some of the ingredients. I also cover and leave in fridge for a couple of days. I also use a pastry dough kneader to cut the dough.

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