Norwegian pepperkaker cookies are heavily spiced sugar cookies that are topped with a simple royal icing. Perfect for dunking in a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Norwegian pepperkaker cookies: A heavily spiced holiday cookie with royal icing.

I’m all about the Norwegian recipes – especially around the holidays. (I know many of you feel the same way, because my Norwegian-themed recipes are super popular around Christmas!)

Pepperkaker cookies are new to me. Most of the Norwegian recipes I post are traditional recipes that my family has been making for generations in the U.S.

But these cookies are actually popular in Norway. And for good reason: They’re the perfect upgrade to a traditional sugar cookie. They are heavily spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and other warm spices.

These cookies are popular in both Norway (pepperkaker) and Sweden (pepperkakor). 

Pepperkaker cookies: A Norwegian holiday cookie with lots of spices!

What Do Pepperkaker Cookies Taste Like?

These sugar cookies are thin, crispy, and heavily spiced. In the best way possible!

You might think you’re eating a regular sugar cookie, but once you start eating them you’ll be delighted by the spice. These cookies are flavored with:

  • Ginger
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice

One of my taste-testers said the cookies tasted like chai tea. And that makes sense, consider the mélange of spices these cookies contain.

Pepperkaker cookies: A spiced Christmas cookie from Norway. Click through for recipe!

Top Pepperkaker Cookies With Royal Icing

While many pepperkaker cookie recipes do not call for frosting, I think royal icing is the perfect topper.

Royal icing hardens nicely, adding a bit of extra crunch to the finished cookie

The icing is easily piped into pretty designs. I simply placed the icing in a small plastic bag, snipped off the very tip of the corner of the bag, and piped on some simple designs. No special equipment needed!

Check out this pizzelle recipe, which is an Italian cookie made in a pizzelle iron. Also a very special holiday cookie!

Norwegian pepperkaker cookies: A spiced cookie that's a hit for the holidays.

Recipe Tips

  • If you prefer a crispier cookie  (like me), bake for the full 10 minutes. For a doughier, softer cookie, start at 7 minutes.
  • If you’ve never made royal icing before, check out this video tutorial.
  • If you’re using several different sizes of cookie cutters, make sure to bake similar-sized cookies together. The smaller ones bake faster than the larger ones.

Looking for a new Christmas cookie to try? Check out these Norwegian pepperkaker cookies. A heavily spiced cookie with royal icing.

More Norwegian Recipes

I love exploring my Scandinavian roots by trying traditional recipes in the kitchen. And since you’re here, I’m guessing you feel the same way! 

Here are some traditional Norwegian recipes you might like to try:

Norwegian recipes, from Cheap Recipe Blog. Click through for many traditional Norwegian recipes!

Norwegian pepperkaker cookies: Try this spicy, gingery Christmas cookie!

Norwegian pepperkaker cookies: A spiced cookie that's a hit for the holidays.

Norwegian Pepperkaker Cookies

Icing is optional, but I really love the texture of the royal icing on these cookies. Plus, it can be piped on in so many pretty designs, no special equipment needed - just a plastic baggie!


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey (or Lyle's Golden Syrup)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For royal icing

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 7-8 tablespoons water


  1. Cream butter for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add sugar and spices and beat for 3 more minutes, until well incorporated.
  2. Add egg and vanilla and beat for another minute. Add honey (or Lyle's Golden Syrup) and beat for another minute.
  3. Add flours and beat until a dough forms. Use a wooden spoon or your hand to incorporate any flour that sticks to the bowl.
  4. Place dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  5. Take about 1/4 of the dough and roll out on a floured surface until 1/4" thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out into desired shapes.
  6. Place dough on cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  7. Bake in 350F oven for 7 to 10 minutes. For a crispier cookie, bake closer to 10 minutes.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough.
  9. To make royal icing: Combine powdered sugar and meringue powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add water, using an electric mixer to ensure smooth consistency. Tip: You'll know when the icing is the right consistency when you lift the beaters and let the icing drip back into the bowl, and the drizzled icing disappears back into the bowl in 5 to 10 seconds. Check out this video if this is your first time making royal icing.
  10. To decorate cookies: Place a sealable plastic baggie in a glass - bottom corner side down. Place about a cup of royal icing in the bag, and push toward the bottom corner. Squeeze out air and seal bag. Cut off the very tip of the bag, enough so a thin stream of royal icing can get out. Begin decorating cookies, allowing adequate time to dry before storing. The icing will harden in about an hour. Can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator or freezer.


Adapted from La Peche Fraiche.

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