During the Christmas season, you will find many different types of cookies in Switzerland. Within particular geographic regions, and even within individual households, people have their favorite recipes — some of which have been passed down from previous generations. When considering the most popular Swiss cookies during the holiday season, here’s my list of six — in no particular order, which seem very well-known and loved. I have also included links to recipes in English for each of them, if you want to try making them yourself.
Mailänderli / Milanais
Mailänderli (German) or Milanais (French) are small, cut-out cookies flavored with lemon zest. Before baking, bakers brush the tops of these cookies with a beaten egg yolk thinned with water or milk. This gives the cookies a shiny, yellow appearance. It’s hard to find someone who does not like these.
Basler Brunsli / Brun de Bâle
Another favorite Swiss cookies during the holidays is the Basler Brunsli (German) or Brun de Bâle (French). These small cut-out cookies contain chocolate and ground hazelnuts or almonds, although I most often see recipes that call for the latter. Flavored with spices like cinnamon and cloves, these cookies get their name from their place of origin (Basel) and their color (brown).
RECIPE: Basler Brunsli
Chräbeli / Biscuits à l’Anis
These delicious little cookies contain whole, toasted anise seeds. Chräbeli come from the City of Baden, in the Swiss canton of Aargau. If you are looking for a new Christmas cookie to make this year, you must add this to your list! They are rather easy to throw together, but like several other cookies on this list, you have to let them air-dry for several hours before baking. I think they are absolutely irresistible. You truly cannot eat just one.
RECIPE: “Christmas cookies | Swiss Aniseed Chräbeli,” Nettle & Quince
Spitzbuben / Miroir
Spitzbuben (German) or Miroir (French) are jam-filled sandwich cookies. The cookies are delicate and flavored with vanilla. You can choose any jam you want, but during the holidays, I like to use a red-colored jam, such as raspberry or sour cherry.
RECIPE: “Spitzbuebe” are my favorite Swiss Christmas cookies, and here’s the recipe,” from Newly Swissed
Vanillekipferl / Croissants à la Vanille
Vanillekiperferl (German) or Croissants à la Vanille (French) are delicate crescent-shaped biscuits made with vanilla and ground almonds. After they come out of the oven, you gently coat them in sugar. They are light and crumbly and a pleasure to eat.
RECIPE: “Vanillekepferl – Vanilla Almond Christmas Cookies,” Little Swiss Baker
Zimtsterne / Étoiles à la cannelle
The name of these biscuits — Zimtsterne (German) or Étoiles à la cannelle (French) — translates to “cinnamon stars” in English. These biscuits are similar to the Basler Brunsli, as they are made with ground almonds or hazelnuts and egg whites, and of course, cinnamon — but they do not contain chocolate. And, part of the egg white and powdered sugar mixture used inside the cookie, is also brushed on top before baking. They do not need to be baked for very long, otherwise the meringue-like top begins to crack and turn brown.
RECIPE: Zimtsterne / Étoiles à la cannelle
What are your favorite Swiss Christmas cookies? Please leave a comment below. Thanks!
Updated: December 17, 2021
Categories: biscuits, cookies, Dessert, Recipe, Swiss, Swiss food, Switzerland
Milanais for me please! Merry Christmas dear Heddi and family!
You should come over for cookies and tea. We have too many here right now! 🙂 Happy Holidays to you all. xoxo
Looks very delicious
Thank you very much! Happy Holidays!
Looks very delicious
Thanks for visiting my blog! I enjoy learning about all the regional Swiss recipes for the Christmas season. Happy New Year to you!
Happy New Year Heddi!!!
Thanks, and same to you! Best wishes for 2018!
Note to self: don’t open culinary posts when you’re hungry 😀 Happy New Year!
Yes! 😉 Many thanks for visiting my blog. Happy New Year to you as well!
Looks so yummm
Thank you so much! I really appreciate you visiting my blog. Best wishes from Switzerland! 🙂
Best wishes 2 to u 😊
It looks delicious😍😍
It looks so yummy 😍😍😍
Thanks so much! 🙂
It looks delicious😍
Thanks so much! 🙂
Looks so good! Reminds me of my grandma’s cookies. Mmmm!!
Thank you! 🙂
Looks sweet & yummy😊
I love discovering all these traditional Swiss recipes. These are some of my favorite cookies, but so many more to try! For next year… 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog!
These all look delicious!
Thanks! I really enjoyed making all of them. And, the recipes are really very easy. Many thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂
Mmm these look yummy. Especially the basler brunsli. Ok, next year Christmas in Switzerland!
Hello Peta! Thank you very much for visiting my blog. Christmas in Switzerland is wonderful. So many delicious treats to discover. Safe travels, and best wishes.
Looks really nice
Thanks so much! 🙂
I just followed your blog…It’s amazing, Fantastic, breath taking blog. Cheers to your effort.
Hope you’ll visit my blog http://www.itsourlife.blog 🙂
Your suggestions matter !!
Thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂 I really appreciate it.
Really delicious 🙂
Congratulations for this post thank you for the links and yes I have commented where I could, therefore three 🙂 🙂 🙂 each for every comment, but now is time again for “offline” baking !
Many thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂
so good to see this blog – beyond the rostii n fondues! i tasted some amazing desserts while in Zurich –
yes, there’s more to Swiss food than chocolates too. No offense to Sprungli & Lindt 🙂
Thanks! Yes, there’s a lot of delicious chocolate and cheese here, but I really enjoy discovering all the other delicious regional foods as well. Many thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂
The cookies look amazing. It’s so much fun learning about other cultures. I write my own blog about my dining experiences in Uganda. https://foodinuganda.wordpress.com/
Thank you for visiting my blog! And, thanks for sharing a link to your blog, as well. I enjoyed reading your first few posts. Best of luck!
Thank you so much! It means a lot to get positive feedback especially from someone like you. 🙂
Your blog is so nice. I try to share the French Gastronomy in my blog for foreigners and I speak about different topics. Maybe, it could be a good idea to have a look on my blog, you will find new ideas about French food. 🙂
Thank you for your articles !
Hello! Many thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂 Very kind of you, and I am pleased to discover your blog as well. I look forward to following your adventures.
Hello! Many thanks for visiting my blog too. 🙂
That was a pleasure to discover your blog.
See you soon,
Wow, these look amazing! I will have to make some post-Christmas cookies 😉 My husband (Czech) makes a version of the “Vanillekipferl” using chopped walnuts – it is also delicious!
Thanks! I know what you mean. My son opened the cookie jar yesterday and said, “Where are the cookies?” 😉 Maybe I should make another batch of something soon. And, a walnut version sounds great. How nice!
Haha, so cute! My theory is as long as it stays this dark and grey, it’s cookie time 😀 🍪Thanks for following my blog, actually the Czech/walnut version of the cookies is there somewhere under recipes. I think the reason they use walnuts is that they have walnut trees and there are piles of nuts every year from the garden. Have a nice day!
Thank you for posting the recipes. I have been looking for a recipe that my husband of Swiss heritage loved. My Swiss mother-in-law used to make Chrabeli. I never found her written recipe & am so happy to have it. My husband & children will be surprised! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!🤗🇨🇭🤗🇺🇸
Hello Sheila! Thanks for your nice message. We love all of these Swiss Christmas cookies. I am behind in my holiday baking and need to get started ASAP. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Best wishes, -Heddi
my favorite is baller brunson
They are so good!