Cinnamon Stars

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. This is a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Last month I took a trip to beautiful Denver Colorado to attend the Food Allergy Blogger’s Conference. Denver is one of the most gluten free-friendly spots the country has to offer, there are so many dining options there!

The morning before the conference began, I went on a gluten free tour of the surrounding areas with a group of gluten free bloggers, hosted and planned by Michelle at My Gluten-Free Kitchen.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Our first stop was a cute little German shop called Rheinlander Bakery. They had just celebrated their 50th year being in business, and it was easy to see why they have been in business that long. Once you step inside, you feel like you’ve been transported to Germany.

There are hundreds of delightful pastries, cookies, and treats of all kinds. Two entire display cases are dedicated to gluten free and dairy free goodies, and we felt very confident in their processes for avoiding cross contamination.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

It was so hard to pick just a few things to try! The display cases were loaded with eclairs, chocolate dipped “Oreos”, different flavors of tortes, biscotti, and more. At the last minute, I decided to add a cookie that caught my attention. The cookies were labelled “Cinnamon Stars” or zimtsterne in German.

We went outside to taste the goodies and just as expected everything was wonderful. But the Cinnamon Stars stole the show for me.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

What is zimtsterne? 

Zimtsterne, or Cinnamon Stars is a traditional German Christmas cookie. It is made with almond flour (the whole ground flour works best), egg whites, powdered sugar, and a few other simple ingredients. The cookies are chewy and have a warm cinnamon flavor – but not too much.

As a finishing touch, these cookies are traditionally frosted with meringue, but the Cinnamon Stars in Rheinlander Bakery were topped with a layer of decadent chocolate and that is my favorite way to enjoy them 🙂 These Zimtsterne cookies stay good for 1-2 weeks making them the perfect make-ahead Christmas treat!

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

I saved half of the zimtsterne to share with my family, and because these cookies stay fresh up to 2 weeks, it was just as good when I got home. Now that’s a Christmas cookie you need in your repertoire! The entire family loved it, picky kids and all, so I knew that I needed to recreate it. I scanned the internet and read through half a dozen recipes (this is a good place to start) before creating my own version. It took a few trials to get the texture and flavor as I had remembered it from Rheinlander Bakery.

If you don’t love chocolate or want to try something new, feel free to top your gluten free Cinnamon Stars with meringue. Just follow the modifications on step 5 of the recipe notes below.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Whether you’re topping these Cinnamon Stars with meringue or chocolate, you’re sure to enjoy them! They’re a fun twist on traditional American Christmas cookies, and if you’re making them with kids be sure to grab some fun gluten free sprinkles for decorating.


I partnered up with some great gluten free bloggers to bring you more gluten free cookie goodness! find the recipes below!

Check out all 12 recipes in our virtual gluten-free cookie exchange, listed in the order they appear in the photo, left to right, row by row. 

Gluten-free Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies by My Gluten-Free Kitchen

Gluten-free Gingerbread Kiss Cookies by Gluten Free Palate

Snowball Cookies by Allergylicious

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Mint Cookies by Meaningful Eats

Cinnamon Stars by Life After Wheat

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies in Jar by This Vivacious Life

Crock Pot Bark with Salted Peanuts by What the Fork

Candy Cane Cookies by gfJules

Coffee Flour Cookies by Flippin’ Delicious

Snickerdoodle Cookies by Veggie Balance

Lemon Cranberry Cookies by Vegetarian Mamma

Gluten Free Vegan Rasberry Pinwheel Cookies by Sarah Bakes Gluten Free


Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Cinnamon Stars ( Zimtsterne)

Yield: 18-24 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS!


  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or Silpat baking liners
  2. In a large bowl, whip egg whites with a whisk attachment until stiff. If you're topping the cookies with meringue, please see recipe notes for modifications.
  3. Add powdered sugar, 3 1/2 cups almond flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and sea salt. Mix on low just until combined or stir gently by hand. Don't overmix. The dough will be only slightly sticky, but definitely workable. Note that humidity can affect how much flour you'll need so if it's too wet to be workable, add more almond flour a tablespoon at a time.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Dust countertop, silpat, or wax paper with about 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. 
  6. Form dough into a ball, roll in powdered sugar to prevent sticking, and slightly flatten. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Using a star shaped cookie cutter, cut out the dough and place onto prepared baking sheets. Sometimes the dough will stick a bit so I use a lightly greased spatula to transfer them to the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are set, a lighter color, and the bottoms are slightly browned.
  9. Cool on a rack.
  10. When cookies are completely cooled, melt the chocolate chips
  11. Dip the tops or the entire cookies one at a time into the melted chocolate and set right side up on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles if you want. Enjoy!
  12. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks!


  1. Whole almond flour works best. A lot of almond flours you see in stores will have the peels removed, leaving a flour that is one color throughout. I have tested this recipe with almond flour that uses the whole almond, and with the flour just mentioned and the whole almond flour yields the best texture. I found some at my local natural grocery store.
  2. Since you're working with egg whites, be gentle with the dough. I have used the paddle attachment on my KitchenAid mixer, a hand mixer, and stirred by hand. All of those methods have worked but turn your mixer to a low setting and just mix until the ingredients are barely combined.
  3. You'll be baking these cookies low and slow. Don't be tempted to turn up the heat as the texture won't be quite the same.
  4. Because you're already dealing with a brown dough, it might be difficult to tell when the cookies are done. They will have gotten a little more pale while baking, and should have a very light golden brown finish underneath. They should be chewy but should not taste doughy. In my oven, they are done in exactly 17 minutes.
  5. Bake on the middle rack, but if you're topping with meringue, move the oven rack to a lower position.
  6. To top with meringue instead of dipping in chocolate, follow the recipe with these modifications:
  7. After whipping the egg whites, add just the powdered sugar and mix on low about 10 seconds until the sugar is incorporated.
  8. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the meringue and finish preparing/rolling dough as directed.
  9. Before baking, spread a thin layer of meringue on top of each cookie.
  10. Move your oven rack to the lowest position so the meringue doesn't burn before the cookies finish baking.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 115Total Fat: 7gCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 3.5g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 





You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Chrystal @ Gluten-Free Palate
    December 10, 2017 at 7:22 am

    These cookies are so pretty! I love how simple the recipe is.

  • Reply
    Brianna Hobbs
    December 10, 2017 at 8:02 am

    These were my favorite from our Denver trip. I’ve been wanting to make them! I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • Reply
    Nicole Dawson
    December 10, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Even more sad I couldn’t get my flight changed in time for the tour, BUT so excited I can try these cookies you recreated from the trip! They look amazing.

  • Reply
    Dana Coughlin
    December 10, 2017 at 10:02 am

    My favorite cookies are Russian tea cookies and rosettes

  • Reply
    Lydia Claire
    December 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    My favorite are macaroons!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Always a win!

  • Reply
    Dee Johnson
    December 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I always love chocolate shortbread cookies.

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

      I have never tried a chocolate shortbread, sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    Margaret E Clegg
    December 10, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I LOVE Cinnamon Star Cookies, but they don’t always turn out for me. I’ll have to try your recipe!

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Margaret you’re the first person to say they’ve tried cinnamon stars! Let me know if it works for you!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    My favorite is iced sugar cookies!

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Iced sugar cookies are a such a classic and always a win!

    • Reply
      December 17, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      I want to try this recipe but only have the blanched almond meal. You said they aren’t as good but I am interested in more details about what happens and the outcome with the white almond meal. I had hoped to try making Zimtstern with ground hazelnuts this year, but haven’t seen them at my market. That is what they usually use in Germany. Beautiful cookies!

      • Reply
        December 18, 2020 at 8:44 pm

        Hi Maria! The texture will be similar, it mostly affects the appearance.

  • Reply
    Rachel Fuller
    December 10, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    I love gingerbread cookies!

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Oh yes, I do too!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Very nicely decorated cookies you have there! My favorite Christmas cookie is decorated, cut-out sugar cookies.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I love real Swedish ginger snaps – thin and crisp!

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

      I don’t know that I’ve ever had those! I love ginger cookies though.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 11:35 am

    My favorite are chocolate chip cookies – simple yet delicious!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Yes, classic chocolate chip is always a win!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    i love a good crunchy sugar cookie

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Mmmmmm yes!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I usually like gingerbread and sugar cookies during Christmas. These cinnamon stars look great too!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I love gingerbread too, Christmas just isn’t complete without it! Hope you enjoy these, too Kayley! -Celeste

  • Reply
    Erica D
    December 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I still can’t believe I haven’t gone after all these years. Looks incredible!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Next year!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    These are so pretty! I can’t wait to try them! Excited to be doing this virtual cookie exchange with you!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Thank you Jules! I hope you enjoy them and am planning on trying your candy cane cookies with my kids this week!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Yum! I can’t wait to make some!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:23 am

      I hope you enjoy them Mary!

  • Reply
    Lesly f
    December 11, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    My mom’s cinnamon cookies are delicious ?

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Cookies from mom are always the best, huh? Are they a snickerdoodle type cookie?

  • Reply
    Lisa Howell
    December 11, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookies are chocolate covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Chocolate + Peppermint is always a winning combo in my book!

  • Reply
    amy guillaume linderman
    December 12, 2017 at 6:53 am

    i really love making cream cheese spritz/cookie press cookies

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Spritz cookies are so fun! I remember making them as a kid but don’t much anymore…I might have to make a batch this year!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2017 at 9:05 am

    After returning from a work related trip, I have 5 days to bake before Christmas. Your Cinnamon Stars have just knocked something off the list. The only 2 cookies that are safe from elimination are my Oatmeal Snickerdoodles & my mothers’ Nut Butter Thumbprints.

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:20 am

      I am so glad to hear that this recipe saved you a little stress this Christmas! I hope you enjoy them, Merry Christmas! -Celeste

  • Reply
    Brianna Wolin
    December 12, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I am all about chocolate in my cookies!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:20 am


  • Reply
    Jessica Allen
    December 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Thank you!!!! We just had a cookie fellowship at church and a family brought these to share. I was hoping to get the recipe but hadn’t yet.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Perfect timing! Hope you enjoy them Jessica!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Love white chocolate/cherry cookies!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Absolutely! One of my favorite flavor combos!

  • Reply
    Becca Z
    December 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Gorgeous stained glass sugar cookies.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      I remember making those as a kid, so fun!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Our favourite Christmas cookies are either gingerbread or sugar cookies as the children love decorating them!

  • Reply
    Lisa S
    December 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Sugar cookies

  • Reply
    December 13, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I like the gingerbread cookies

  • Reply
    December 13, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookie would have to be German Spekulatius 🙂

    • Reply
      December 14, 2017 at 9:27 am

      I haven’t tried these, I’ll have to look up a recipe! I love trying new cookies.

  • Reply
    Dandi D
    December 14, 2017 at 7:01 am

    My favorites are frosted sugar cookies.

  • Reply
    Liz Newsome
    December 14, 2017 at 8:19 am

    I love iced shortbread cookies!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Ginger snaps are my favorite Christmas cookie.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      I love Ginger too! Great choice 😉

  • Reply
    shelly peterson
    December 14, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I like frosted sugar cookies.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Always a win!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    These cookies are amazing! Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Yes, always so fun!!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Cut out sugar cookies!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookie is sugar cookies.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Always a good one!

  • Reply
    December 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I like my moms date bars

  • Reply
    Casey the College Celiac
    December 15, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I’m loving gingersnaps this year – it’s been my first time trying them!

  • Reply
    Melinda M.
    December 15, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    I’ve never heard of Zimtsterne but they look delicious! Our favorite is Peppernuts but I have yet to find a good GF substitute. :-/

    • Reply
      December 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      I haven’t heard of peppernuts, I’ll have to look it up and try a recipe!

  • Reply
    Bridgett Wilbur
    December 16, 2017 at 11:04 am

    I love my grand mothers snow ball cookies.

  • Reply
    Kayte CookWatts
    December 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    I love pumpkin chocolate chip with coconut & pecans.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookie is chocolate snickerdoodles!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 5:21 am

    My favorite cookies are the Hungarian walnut-paste filled Crescents my Mom would make only at Christmas time! The best!

    • Reply
      December 18, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Those sound so good!

  • Reply
    Erika W.
    December 18, 2017 at 8:18 am

    My favorite Christmas cookies are sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies with hershey kisses in the middle.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Sugar cookies are my favorite Christmas cookie.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 10:47 am


  • Reply
    Maggie Smith
    December 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    We love peanut butter blossoms!

  • Reply
    Lindsay A.
    December 18, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Ahhh, sooo hard to pick a favorite! I love snickerdoodles, almond crescents or anything with marzipan/almond paste, almond extract (can you see a theme here? Lol), and many others! 😀

  • Reply
    December 4, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Is whole almond flour the same as almond meal?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Yes. Some almond meal/flour has the almond skins removed, and some include it. I’ve had the best results using an almond flour that uses the whole almond.

      • Reply
        December 5, 2018 at 10:35 am

        Okay, perfect! I hate buying almond flour because it’s so expensive. Almond meal is far cheaper and for the most part I can get away with using it in most recipes.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    can anything be done to make these nut free?

    • Reply
      January 22, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Unfortunately I don’t think there is a substitute since nut flour is so unique. Sorry Cyn.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    So I did try out this recipe and I think the milling blade on my Nutribullet did a great job providing me with whole almond meal. I love the chocolate on these! I was horrified though that the first sheet (over half the cookies) burned on the bottom and I checked at the earliest stated time of 15 minutes. My oven does not run hot. The second sheet did not burn but are pretty hard. I have surveyed other recipes for Zimtsterne and find 300 the highest oven temp suggested. You did mention they should bake at a low heat but have 350 as the temperature on the recipe. You may want to double check that 350 is the temperature you want posted here.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Skip to Recipe