Gluten-Free Vegan Lebkuchen Cookies

5 from 3 reviews

Adapted from this classic recipe by BBC Good Food. Gluten and dairy-free version of tasty lebkuchen, or "honey cakes" cookie recipe.



  • ½ cup dairy-free butter
  • ¾ cup maple syrup {or Honey Bee Free since honey is traditional}
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend {I recommend Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend}{or make your own by combining: ¾ cup brown rice flour, ¾ cup tapioca starch, ½ cup sweet rice flour, ½ tsp guar gum}
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp GF baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • tiny pinch {⅛ of a tsp} of each of the following: cloves, nutmeg, black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon


  • ⅔ cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp water


  1. Place non-dairy butter and maple syrup in a small sauce pan and warm on low heat until the butter is totally melted. When mixture begins to lightly simmer, let it simmer for 1 minute and then remove from heat.
  2. In the meantime, combine all remaining cookie ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Once butter mixture is ready, give it a stir to mix the butter and maple syrup together. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine everything into a smooth batter {it will be runny at this point}.
  4. Place the mixing bowl in the freezer, and allow the mixture to chill for 1-2 hours {see additional notes for more details}. Alternatively, you can let the batter chill in the fridge overnight.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  6. Pull the mixture out of the freezer. Scoop out about 1 ½ tbsp batter using a spoon, and roll into a ball with your hands {batter should be very firm, but soft enough for rolling out with hands without sticking -- see additional notes for more details}. Flatten the ball into a disc. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the batter. Space cookies out at least 1-2 inches apart.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place the tray on a cooling rack. Cookies will harden a bit as they cool.
  8. Prepare the icing by combining icing ingredients in a bowl {see additional notes for icing variations}. Brush each cooled lebkuchen cookie with a bit of the icing. Let the cookies sit for 1 hour to allow the icing to set. Enjoy!


Notes on batter: I've made this recipe several times now, testing the consistency of the batter. If you only chill it for 30 minutes in the freezer prior to baking, it will be rather soft. I was still able to roll it into a ball {albeit my hands were very sticky} and bake them. They spread out into a thin and very delicious cookie that way, but they certainly did not resemble a traditional Lebkuchen. I recommend making them this way if you're in the mood for a regular ginger cookie -- be sure to space them out at least 3 inches apart though {and needless to say you will therefore be making more than 2 trays...}

For a traditional look, chill batter for 1-2 hours. It should be firm enough to roll into a ball without sticking to your hands. They will not spread out much on the tray this way, so they can be spaced 1-2 inches a part.

One thing I did notice though is that they get the "crinkle crack" look when frozen longer. I actually quite liked that, but if you want a smoother cookie, chill the batter less long so it stays more soft and relaxed -- that's why I narrowed the freezing time to 1-2 hours. For a smoother and slightly flatter look, chill closer to an hour. I wanted the more domed look, so I chilled the batter for 2 hours, which makes it easier to handle and shape. Another option is to chill batter for 2 hours, and then take a few extra moments rolling each cookie ball in your hands to warm the batter up a little. Decisions, decisions... ;)

Notes on spice level: I loved the spice balance in this recipe, though if you're used to a stronger flavor, feel free to increase the amount of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

Notes on baking time: The original recipe asks for a much longer baking time, though as per the comments and as per my experience 12 minutes was the perfect time each time I made a batch. Perhaps the longer time they recommend is to create a harder cookie, though I don't feel like it's needed. Mentioning it in case you're feeling adventurous though and want to bake them longer ;)

Notes on other traditional ways of making these: Feel free to press in 1-3 almonds into the top of each cookie prior to baking
- Use non-dairy milk instead of water in the icing for a whiter looking icing
- Use lemon juice instead of water in the icing for a fruitier/zingier Lebkuchen
- Melt some chocolate and dunk each cookie in the chocolate mixture {either whole cookie, or just the bottom half} for a traditional chocolate coated Lebkuchen

Notes on refined sugar-free version: Traditional Lebkuchen do not require sugar as they are a honey-based cookie {though some people like to add some brown sugar to the mix}, therefore this Lebkuchen recipe is naturally refined sugar-free. The icing is another story though -- I did attempt to make a refined sugar-free version using a mixture of maple syrup and coconut oil, and that didn't turn out great. So I resorted to a more traditional icing using powdered sugar. Feel free to skip the icing if you'd rather keep the cookies refined sugar-free. They taste great either way.

Notes on butter and other non-dairy alternatives: Some people commented that they had success using coconut oil in place of butter in this recipe. I haven't tried it, but just wanted to put the option out there if you'd prefer that over the non-dairy butter alternatives. I'd go with a neutral tasting coconut oil.