Pepperkaker: Norwegian Gingerbread

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Norwegian gingerbread pepperkaker

Christmas is almost here and that means the stores are filled with delicious pepperkaker!

For me at least, gingerbread evokes memories of childhood and warming up in front of the fire. During my first winter in Norway I was delighted to discover the treat that are pepperkaker.

Pepperkaker – literally pepper cakes – are the Norwegian version of gingerbread, and one of the classic biscuits that are easy to find in the run-up to Christmas.

They tend to be thinner and crispier than what I would term gingerbread, and also come with a more fiery taste because of the extra pepper and/or spice used in most recipes.

Snowman at Christmas

Right now, big tubs of pepperkaker can be bought in any supermarket at a much cheaper price than any other biscuits. Look out for the big red tubs!

Most offices will have a plate or two doing the rounds, and you might even catch a whiff of the homemade variety if you walk around any residential estate!

Gingerbread houses are also a common sight at this time of year. Schools and workplaces sometimes host pepperkakehus competitions, while Bergen plays host to the Gingerbread CityPepperkakebyen has been going for 25 years with all profits going to children's charities.

Making gingerbread cookies

How to make pepperkaker

My friend Whitney over at Thanks for the Food has published this recipe if you want to make your own pepperkaker. It's super simple!

For the traditional Norwegian touch, make sure you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter to hand. Most pepperkaker aren't iced, but you can of course do so if you so wish!

Inspired? Let me know how your version turns out! To share this idea with others, you can share this post on Pinterest:

Pepperkaker: Norwegian gingerbread cookies are typically eaten during the Christmas period with tea, coffee or mulled wine.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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10 thoughts on “Pepperkaker: Norwegian Gingerbread”

  1. I make a Gluten, dairy and egg free version for my OH who has allergies. They seem to evaporate rather rapidly. Making another batch today.

    • Would you mind sharing the recipe? It would be great to have another version. I am also trying to make one without regular sugar. I am going to try it with coconut sugar and maple syrup.

  2. Yes, in our family (mixed Swedes & Norwegians – now only 2nd generation and growing) we try to tap the pepperkaker exactly in half… although we were told it means we’ll find true love, we enjoy practicing it as a table game.
    And I prefer my lefse with butter and lingonberry jam, although stuffed with Swedish meatballs or potatas korv isn’t a bad way to go either.

    Takk og Gud velsigne deg og dine.


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