Speculoos Spice Cookies

Speculoos Spice Cookies are based on a classic Belgian recipe that makes perfect cut out cookies ~ these pretty snowflakes will be the stars of your holiday cookie assortment!

speculoos spice cookies

Everybody’s got their favorite cookie cutters, and chances are they only see the light of day at this time of year. If I’m going to bother rolling and cutting cookies, then I want it to be fun, and I’m partial to pretty snowflakes.

Speculoos are a traditional holiday spice cookie in Belgium and the Netherlands. This dough is a little more interesting than plain sugar cookies, and yet not as overwhelmingly spiced and peppery as gingerbread can sometimes be. It smells like the holidays and makes a nice all purpose cookie dough.

Easy Belgian Spiced Cookies

Some years I use these cutters with salt dough and make tree ornaments to give away. This year it’s strictly edible.

Speculoos spice cookies for rolling and cutting

Use any cutter you like. The dough rolls out easily and reforms and re-rolls easily as well, so there’s little waste.

Speculoos Christmas Cookies

I just used a plain white royal icing to glaze these cookies. The frosting dries hard, so you can stack them for giving.

Belgian Spiced Cookies

Not quite Martha Stewart, but then again they won’t make you pull out your hair…which is worth something.

Iced Christmas Cookies

If you love to cut out holiday cookies, see my HOLIDAY SUGAR COOKIES AND DIY COLORED SUGAR post for more inspiration. I’ll show you how to make your own colored sugars in a rainbow of shades you won’t find at the grocery store!


Speculoos Spice Holiday Cookies

3.92 from 23 votes

Speculoos Spice Cookies

Speculoos Spice Cookies are based on a classic Belgian recipe that makes perfect cut out cookies ~ these pretty snowflakes will be the stars of your holiday cookie assortment!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Belgian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill time 1 hour
Author Sue Moran



  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purposed flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/3 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (about 11 tablespoons)

royal icing

  • 2 egg whites, or you can use dried egg whites mixed with water according to the package
  • 2-3 cups confectioner's sugar, add it in slowly, just enough so you get a spreadable consistency, add more sugar for a stiffer icing
  • decorations if desired


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Turn the dough out onto a board and bring together into one piece, if it's crumbly, knead it a bit. Cut the dough in 2 and form flat discs, as if for pie dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Roll out the dough to your desired thickness and cut your cookies. If you spray the inside of your cutters with cooking spray, they will release the dough easier. Place the cut out cookies on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, depending on thickness, and cool on a rack. They won't brown, and will firm up as they cool.
  • Frost with royal icing and add decorative sugars, etc., if you want to.
  • To make the frosting, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add in the sugar, and beat well, until you get stiff peaks.
  • Transfer to a baggie with the edge clipped, or a pastry bag. Or, you can just spoon the icing down over the cookies for total coverage like I did. If the icing seems too thick, thin with a little warm water. Add in food coloring if you like.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make it your own ~

  • Don’t hesitate to add sprinkles or colored sugar to the wet icing for a colorful festive touch.
  • Before baking the cookies use a toothpick or a straw to create small holes at the top to thread with string or wire for hanging as ornaments.
  • Add gel food coloring to tint the royal icing any color you’d like.

Don’t forget to pin these Speculoos Spice Cookies!

Speculoos Spice Cookies pin.


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Hi, Sue! These cookies sound amazing, except I’m not really a fan of ginger. Can I substitute something else or should I just leave it out? Thanks!

    • Reply
      December 7, 2017 at 9:26 am

      You can absolutely leave it out, and customize the spice blend however you like.

    • Reply
      Arlene C
      December 26, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Is the frosting supposed to be hard? Mine is not as smooth looking as yours and doesn’t seem to want to harden.

      • Reply
        December 26, 2017 at 2:04 pm

        Yes, it should harden as it dries, Arlene. It’s possible yours needed more sugar? That should help it harden faster.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2017 at 8:57 am

    My daughter and I chose these cookies for her 4-H cookie exchanged WE love them. We did add a slight lemon flavor to the frosting but very mild. So much fun!! I wish I could post a pic!!

    • Reply
      December 6, 2017 at 9:22 am

      I would love to see a photo, you can always tag me on instagram, or facebook Angela! I’m a lemon-a-holic so I know I’d love your lemon version.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Sue,
    I was wondering where you got the little v-shaped cutter that you used to cut out the inside of the snowflake cookie pictured on the speculoos cookie recipe. I would love to purchase one for my snowflake cutter, which is the same shape as yours.
    I am going to add your speculoos cookie to my Christmas cookie gifts this year…can’t wait to try them!
    Thanks for this awesome blog, It’s become my go to site when I need something special for dessert or dinner.
    Nancy ??

    • Reply
      November 11, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      That came with the cookie cutter set, Nancy, and I think they sell it at Williams Sonoma…I’ll track it down and come back and link it for you.

    • Reply
      Angela Thoresen
      December 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Ok, I did on facebook under my henna page!!!

    • Reply
      December 7, 2020 at 9:34 am

      You can buy these little cutters at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. They are used for clay. Just make sure you only use them for food.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I just made these. They did not seem to have enough moisture. Were very crumbly. Any tips?

    • Reply
      December 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Hi Sarah ~ there are a few things I can think of…make sure the butter you use is truly soft, so it can blend with the flour. And make sure you measure the flour carefully. I fluff the flour, then scoop it and level it. This dough might need some extra mixing to incorporate the butter and egg into the flour. And finally, you can feel free to add a drop or two of water to a very dry dough. It’s always hard to be exact because different butters can have different moisture levels, and everybody measures a little differently. Even measuring cups can vary quite a bit!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2015 at 4:30 am

    Does anyone know about how many cookies this recipe makes? I know it can depend on the cutter, but some sort of guesstimate.

    • Reply
      December 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Anise oil has a slight licorice taste.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Couple of questions about the recipe! Never says when to add the 1 egg. I added after creaming butter and sugar. Also when I first read it, I thought it was 1 stick and 1/3 cup of butter. Which is what I put in – they came out great and I don’t think I’ll play with that, but when going to make another batch now I read it as 1 and 1/3 sticks of butter. Could you just clarify the measurement of butter in cups/tablespoons? Thanks!

    • Reply
      December 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks Irene, I just updated the recipe. As for the butter it would be approximately 11 tablespoons. It’s interesting that your cookies came out so well with the extra butter, I’ll have to try that next time!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    I was wondering about the use of raw egg. I guess its not a problem or you wouldn’t be posting the beautiful looking cookies. Just was wondering.

    • Reply
      December 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      You can use powdered egg whites, Arlene!

  • Reply
    Sharon Day
    December 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Hello again! I have a question you may or may not be able to answer. When I was a child, my German grandmother made cut out sugar cookies that were just a little thicker than paper thin, extremely crispy and most importantly had an unusual flavor that I haven’t found any cookies since then to taste like. Unfortunately, I can’t describe the flavor except to say it was amazingly delicious. It was not spicy like gingerbread and I don’t think it contained any of the typical pumpkin pie type spices. It was a delicate but very distinct flavor that made the cookies delectable. Could it have been Mace or Cardamom, or is there something else out there that’s used in some old world sugar cookies? Just thought I’d check with you. Hope you and your family had a warm and yummy Thanksgiving.

    • Reply
      December 2, 2013 at 10:15 am

      Maybe if you take the individual spices, like mace, cardamom, nutmeg, etc, and sniff them to see if it brings back the memory? It could have been a speculoos cookie, which sometimes contains white pepper.

  • Reply
    Patricia Reitz
    December 20, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Stunning! I have this set of cutters – haven’t used them yet this year. Maybe I will now that I’ve seen these beauties.

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    December 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    hey sue, any chance you have these measurements in metric rather than cups… what’s the weight of 1/3 stick of butter for instance. (we don’t have butter sticks in the UK…) also… why do you say 2 x 1/4 cups of flour instead of 1/2 cup flour? All very confusing!!

  • Reply
    thyme Sarah
    November 30, 2012 at 3:09 am

    They look so perfect! I love the snowflake design. So many cookies to make! So little time!

  • Reply
    Quinn Morrissey
    November 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    These look absolutely amazing. I’m definitely going to be making these cookies this year for Christmas!! I just had to share this the other foodies on Reachably https://www.reachably.com/activity/for/foodies

  • Reply
    November 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    I do love everything about this!
    Excellent idea!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    what gorgeous and delicate snowflakes! these sound great. if i’m breaking out my cookie cutters, you’d better believe the result will be for eating purposes only. 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda A. Thompson-Ditch
    November 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I have to try these cookies…I love ones with a little spice. And those cookie cutters make beautiful cookies.

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    November 28, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Just special! This is the second time I have come across Speculous in as many days – how have I never heard of it before. Maybe I could get it on lin?

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    November 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    thee are just divine… I’ve got such large hands that I’m really rubbish when it comes to this kind of fine cookie cutting and icing but I do happen to have a couple of nice christmas inspired cookie cutters so I may give this recipe a go… I guess I need to give myself some time and relax into it… thanks for sharing the recipe x

  • Reply
    Debby Foodiewife
    November 28, 2012 at 4:00 am

    I have a confession to make. I read every post you write. Only, I don’t comment. I’m sorry, but time is so limited. However, today, I must comment. I love these cookies. I truly do. I love Speculoos cookies, and I don’t have to patience to decorate sugar cookies all fancy-like…you know. But, these. Ah, these. They are pretty, and very do-able. Yes, I can make these. And, I shall. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Eat Live Love
    November 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    These are so gorgeous! They make me want to get up and bake right now!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Love how you made the cutouts in the snowflakes’ interiors!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Those are beautiful! I would LOVE to make something that pretty for tree ornaments at our cabin. I considered it, but I’ve had truly HORRID luck with making any form of cut cookie/ornaments in the past. Given, I’ve only tried twice, but it was pretty darn bad.

    Of course, I’m not sure if I could resist just eating these! How do you make your salt dough, Sue? Mine really was awful. 🙁

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    November 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I set out to do something much more elaborate, but gave myself permission to switch gears midway through and keep it simple. Big hands or small, there’s just so much fussing that you can do with food before it becomes headache inducing!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Gorgeous! Those cutters are the bomb!
    Not sure why you wrote “not exactly Martha Stewart”; but, she’s a bit too Princess Perfect for me anyway.
    I much prefer Ina… she loves the “homemade” look…. so you are right up there in my book!
    They sound divine and I can’t wait to see a big snowflake in your virtual cookie box… happy the flakes are MIA in upstate NY as of now 😉

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      Haha, Ina is the bomb! Glad your weather is holding up, but I know I’m going to need lots of snowflake cookies this winter to make up for the lack of real snow here!

  • Reply
    My Little Bungalow
    November 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Wow, those shapes are gorgeous. I am drawn to this recipe because of the cardamom, which I just recently used in a coffee cake (recipe to be posted on my blog this weekend). What an interesting spice cardamom is! I must try these cookies. Where did you find those amazing cutters?

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      I love cardamom too, I’ve been using it a lot. In fact, I’m basically using it in place of cinnamon. I love that it’s used equally in sweet and savory foods. Don’t remember where I got the cutters, I meant to look them up and make a link, thanks for the reminder. I’m guessing someplace like Williams Sonoma.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    November 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    “Speculoos are a traditional Dutch holiday spice cookie” <-- and I will be traveling to a place shortly where they serve them, in full force, and have always been trying to recreate a good, quality, solid recipe (that's written in English..ha!) but never really have found the recipe I am looking for. Yours looks amazing! I would love these. I love speculoos, the spread, the cookies, the whole flavor palate is perfect!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      My grandfather was Dutch, and so I remember eating them at his house when I was young. This is a pretty mild version, but I’d love to see what you come up with for an authentic one. It uses black pepper, no?

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    November 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    You recipe and cookies look good:-) I added some new cutters this year:-)
    Looking forward to trying them:-)
    Thank you for the recipe–so pretty:-)

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 27, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      I used to have a huge drawer full of cutters, but when we moved they didn’t make the cut (no pun intended!)…I’m glad I saved my snowflakes, though!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    So pretty, I wish you could open a blog store Sue.

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