Lebkuchen – German Gingerbread Basic Recipe (without nuts)

A classic basic Lebkuchen recipe is made from Honiglebkuchen (Honey Gingerbread dough) to which spices and leavening agents like Ammonium carbonate (Hirschhornsalz) and Potassium carbonate (Pottasche) are added. This will ensure the cookies have the perfect shape and consistency. Make sure you get the Ammonium and Potassium carbonate used for baking. If you can’t find those, you can use Sodium bicarbonate (Natron) as a replacement but be warned that the aspect and consistency of your cookies will be affected.

This basic Lebkuchen recipe is also great for people who are allergic to nuts. The cookies go great in winter with a glass of warm milk. They get softer by the day and you can keep them for months. That is, if they last that long. I like my Lebkuchen with a stronger cinnamon flavor so I make my own Lebkuchen Spice Mix by mixing 1 tbsp cinnamon with 1 tbsp Cookie Spice Mix.

The proportions for the Lebkuchen basic recipe are:

  • 1000 g Honiglebkuchen (Honey Gingerbread Cake) Basic Recipe
  • 20 g Lebkuchen spices or Cookie Spice Mix
  • 5 g Baker’s AmmoniaAmmonium carbonate (ger. Hirschhornsalz)1% of the flour quantity
  • 2,5 g Potassium carbonate (ger. Pottasche) – 0.5% of the flour quantity
  • [7,5 g baking soda (ger. Natron: 1 satchet = 5g ~1 tsp) if you want to replace the Ammonium carbonate and Potassium carbonate]
  1. Prepare the Honiglebkuchen basic dough and let it rest in the fridge for 1-3 days.
  2. Take out the dough a couple of hours before working with it so it reaches room temperature, thus easier to work with.
  3. If the dough is too firm, break it in small pieces and add the spices. Mix it by hand if you don’t have a strong kitchen robot so you don’t break it.
    Honiglebkuchen (German Honey Gingerbread Cake) mixed with spices, for making Lebkuchen
  4. Add the Ammonium carbonate (Hirschhornsalz) dissolved in 1 tbsp milk, egg white or water and mix till everything is incorporated.
  5. Add the Potassium carbonate (Pottasche) dissolved in 1 tbsp milk, egg white or water and mix till everything is combined.
  6. Do not add the leavening agents together so they don’t interact with each other. The dough should be elastic.
  7. Preheat the oven at 180°C/356°F (no ventilation).
  8. Roll the dough about 5mm thick and cut it with your preferred cookie forms.
  9. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes until the margins are slightly brown, on a tray covered with baking paper.
  10. Take the cookies out and let them cool down on a cooling rack or another tray. Use a knife under them if they are stuck to the baking paper.
  11. The cookies will be hard in the beginning but they will get soft in a couple of days. If you want them to be soft faster, place them in a cookie jar or a tight container with a few sliced apple pieces and they should get soft faster. Better make them at least one week in advance.
  12. The cookies will easily last up to 3 months. Store them in an airtight container.