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A friend gave me this Pepparkakor recipe a few years ago and I have finally tried making some of these biscuits a few times this year.

Pepparkakor are a Swedish Christmas biscuit that somewhat resembles gingerbread – Kakor is equivalent to biscuit or cookie in Swedish.

Icing sugar dusted star-shaped pepparkakor on a plate with some blueberries for a Christmas treat

While the recipe I was given said it made 20 biscuits or kakors, I have found it makes heaps more – and it would want to with the amount of flour and sugar involved! As it is hard to halve this recipe (given it uses one egg), I make the full recipe and then freeze half of it to cook another day – I still get 30-40 biscuits per batch depending on the size of cutter I use.

Pepparkakor (Swedish ginger biscuits)

Makes 60-80 biscuits

Pepparkakor ingredientsPepparkakor ingredients

  • 250g butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 3 teaspoons orange zest (about 2 oranges)
  • 550g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • icing sugar for decoration (optional)


Prepare baking trays and turn your oven onto 200oC.

Cream the butter sugar (that means mix it thoroughly until it is a light yellow colour).

Creamed butter and sugar to make Pepparkakor

Stir in the orange juice and zest. Then add the egg and golden syrup.

Add in the spices (cinnamon, ginger and cloves).

Stir in the flour and bicarb soda until everything is combined.

You can work with the dough straight away, but it is easier to work with if you chill it for an hour or more before working with sections – particularly on warm or hot December days!

Put about a quarter of the dough onto a floured board/bench and roll it out to about 0.25cm thick. Cut out biscuits with Christmas shaped cutters and place onto your trays.

Pepparkakor dough being cut into Christmas shapes

Combine the dough scraps and roll it out again to cut more biscuits. Then use the remaining dough (or put some  aside to use later – make sure to wrap the dough well before freezing it).

Bake the Pepparkakor in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Pepparkakor biscuits (star and Christmas tree shapes) on a baking tray

I made some biscuits with red and green sanding sugar – due to the darker colour of the spices, the colour doesn’t show a lot on the final biscuits but it was fun to try!

Stages of adding sanding sugar to pepparkakor

Green sanding sugar is more effective than red on the darker Pepparkakor biscuits

Place biscuits onto a cooling rack to cool.

Pepparkakor biscuits on a cooling rack

These biscuits have a lovely spiciness to them that has pleased everyone I’ve shared these with. As soon as they tasted one, my children were begging me to make more!

Traditionally dusted with icing sugar to serve, these biscuits are nice plain, with coloured sugar or with decorative icing, too.

Person shaped pepparkakor biscuits with decorative icing and sugar

Iced and sugared Pepparkakor

A simple icing made of icing sugar and orange juice is my favourite way to eat these – I find the orange complements the biscuits beautifully.

Pepparkakor star biscuits on a white plate with fresh strawberries

Pepparkakor with fresh strawberries are lovely!

You can make these biscuits thicker, put a hole in them with a skewer before cooking, and use them as decorations on Christmas trees.