My Vanillekipferl Recipe- A Favorite German Christmas Cookie

Vanillakipferl or Vanilla Crescents generally aren’t the first cookie people think of when searching for a traditional German Christmas cookie recipe. It’s not spiced like a Lebkuchen, or topped jam like Spitzbuben. Instead, the recipe is a great example of how a few simple ingredients can come together to make flavorful magic.  These rich and delicious cookies are made from ground almonds and A LOT of butter (they really are quite short), then flavored with vanilla and a coating of vanilla sugar.  Maybe they don’t shout Christmas, but they fit perfectly on your Bunter Teller. And in my house, they are the first to vanish.

(They are also quite tasty with a cup of coffee in summertime.)

vanilla crescents


Because there are so few ingredients in the Vanillekipferl recipe,  each ingredient is important. Don’t substitute margarine for butter, and don’t use stale or old almonds. The flavors will all show through.  Because I often bake German Recipes, I keep a jar of Vanilla Sugar on hand. I used to bring home the packets, but home made is easy.

My grocery store sells ground almonds for baking, but you can make it yourself in a food processor. Put whole almonds into a food processor, and pulse until you have ground Almonds (pulse too much, and you will have Almond Spread…great with jam on toast, but not so good for these cookies). Even better… if you have a German Hand Grinder for nuts, you will get the perfect texture every time!

vanilla crescents

All photos by Karen Lodder

Vanillekipferl Recipe in English

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
chill time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Servings 40 Cookies


  • cup Flour 260g
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Powdered Sugar 80g
  • 1 cup Ground Almonds 100g
  • 1 cup Cold Butter-cubed 220
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Vanilla Sugar


  • This recipe comes together in no time if you use a food processor.... If you don't have can use a mixer.
  • Put the Flour, Egg Yolk, Vanilla Extract, Powdered Sugar, and Ground Almonds in the Bowl of a Food Processor, pulse to combine.
  • Feed Butter cubes one at a time until it's incorporated, and the dough comes together.
  • Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Turn out the dough onto the plastic.
  • Shape the dough into a log... about 2 inches in diameter.
  • Wrap the log in the plastic wrap.... kind of squeeze and form as you go.
  • Stick the dough log into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill
  • Preheat the Oven to 350 F, 180 C
  • Now for the shaping part.
  • Pull the dough out of the fridge. Slice off 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices... roll the dough between your hands to a mini log shape.. then taper the ends, and bend the dough to a crescent shape, and put it on a cookie sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.
  • Give the cookies about an inch of space in each direction.
  • When you fill up a cookie sheet, pop it into the oven. Bake 12-13 minutes.... until browning around the edges.
  • While the cookies are baking, put the Vanilla Sugar in a small bowl. (If you don't have Vanilla Sugar, use plain sugar)
  • Set a cooling rack over a cookie sheet with the bowl next to it.
  • Set the cookie sheet with the baked cookies near the Vanilla Sugar Bowl and the Prepared Rack. Take a cookie... one at a time while still warm... from the cookie sheet... roll it in the Vanilla Sugar, and set it on the rack.
  • Repeat will all of the cookies.
  • Let cool on rack.
  • Store in an airtight container. I think they should be ok airtight for a few weeks, but honestly they've never lasted that long here.
Keyword Vanilla Crescent, Vanillekipferl

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Quick Vanilla Sugar Recipe

If you bake a lot of German recipes, it’s good to make your own Vanilla Sugar. Follow this link for a Quick Vanilla Sugar Recipe to keep on hand. —>Quick Vanilla Sugar Recipe

Where to Buy Vanilla Sugar

You can find Vanilla Sugar online at Amazon

Vanilla Sugar By Penzeys Spices 3.4 oz 1/2 cup jarVanilla Sugar By Penzeys Spices 3.4 oz 1/2 cup jarDr. Oetker Vanillin Zucker (Vanilla Sugar) (2 x 5 bags)Dr. Oetker Vanillin Zucker (Vanilla Sugar) (2 x 5 bags)


Step by Step Photos for Making This German Vanilla Kipferl Recipe

Put the mixed dough in a line on some plastic wrap

german vanilla kipferl recipe

Wrap the plastic around the dough, and smooth it a bit.

Chill… 30 minutes in the refrigerator (you can also freeze the dough)

german vanilla kipferl recipe

Slice off a a bit… roll up, taper the ends, curve the dough, and place it on a cookie sheet.
They should be about 2 inches long.

vanilla crescents

Bake 12 minutes. They should be just browning

vanilla crescent

Roll the hot cookies in vanilla sugar, then place on a cooling rack to finish cooling. 

vanilla crescent

I usually place a cookie sheet under the rack to catch sugar… it’s easier to clean up

vanilla cookies

Serve and enjoy

vanillekipferl recipe


vanillekipferl recipe

14 thoughts on “My Vanillekipferl Recipe- A Favorite German Christmas Cookie

  1. Hi, I am of German ancestry. My dad did all the cooking. I would love to make Stollen, Sempgorken,

  2. My Tante Erna always made the cookies with hazelnuts not almonds just if you want to try it with a different twist.

    1. Hoping to make these for my mother who had these as a child and still raves about them – can almond flour be used instead of almond meal?

    2. Also is it all purpose flour/plain or self raising flour?

  3. A time saver her is to roll a long log, as if you were making pretzels…cut into 2 inch pieces, and shape those into crescent shapes…saves a lot of work..

  4. My mother use to make a German dumpling called klaus(spelling?) she made them using flour and can’t remember the rest. Do you have any idea what I’m talking about. She has dementia and has no clue. I would really like to make them. Thank you.

    1. Klöße or Kloesse… try these, it’s the easiest–>

  5. I grew up in Stuttgart and my childhood Christmas was always full of Gebaeck, especially Kipferl. I made these today, and your recipe makes it almost painless – every other time I tried, they would fall apart. FIrst time I used my own vanilla sugar. Vielen Dank!

  6. I am going to try this today. I am using a stand mixer, is the butter really to be added cold?

  7. I followed your recipe exactly and the Kipferle taste deliciously; however, they lost their shape during baking and instead of a nicely shaped crescent some turned into little “heaps.” What did I do wrong?

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