Making a gingerbread house is far less intimidating than it may seem at the onset. Our Gingerbread House Recipe is foolproof and comes with a free printable template so you can cut the exact sizes you need. The best part is that it brings the whole household together for a fun and festive project.
Gather your little ones together for an activity that will build long-lasting treasured memories! Don’t forget your camera, you’re going to want to capture all the precious moments as the kids unleash their creativity.
Why you will love this gingerbread house recipe
We love bringing joy to our homes during the holidays, and this gingerbread house recipe delivers. Here’s why we know you’ll love it:
- It’s festive for the holidays
- It’s a fun family activity for everyone in your household.
- You can add your own personal touch to the decorations
- There’s enough dough for scraps, which means you can make gingerbread cookies and extra decorations like trees and gingerbread people.
- The dough is easy to work with and doesn’t spread out or lose its shape as it bakes.
- The recipe comes with a free template to cut the pieces for your gingerbread house.
Multiple day project
We made this gingerbread house a three day project.
- Day 1: Make the dough, cut out the template pieces, bake the gingerbread, let the gingerbread cool.
- Day 2: Glue the gingerbread house together with the special icing. Let the house dry for several hours or overnight.
- Day 3: Grab the kiddos and set them loose with candy, cookies, sugar sprinkles and their creativity.
Don’t forget to take pictures! If you send us your photos we will add them to a gallery at the bottom of the post.
Ingredients needed for a gingerbread house
This is the shopping list of all the ingredients you need to make this recipe:
- Molasses. Along with the spices, molasses is a key ingredient in gingerbread. Choose a dark molasses for a classic flavor.
- Brown Sugar. Use light or dark brown sugar.
- Spices: Ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves for the perfect blend of gingerbread spices.
- Salt. Salt enhances the flavors.
- Butter. Use cold butter which will cool the hot mixture down faster so you can add the egg.
- Egg. The egg is important to act as a binder and give structure.
- Flour. Just regular, all-purpose flour.
- Gingerbread House Icing which is a basic royal icing mixed to the perfect consistency.
- Assorted Candy and Miniature Cookies for decorating the house.
- Sugar Sprinkles, marshmallows, dried coconut, and your imagination to make the best gingerbread house ever!
How to make a gingerbread house
Here are the basic steps, make sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details:
To bake the gingerbread house
- Print templates: We provided the gingerbread house templates in a free printable PDF. Just click on the link, print the templates and cut them out.
- Cook and dissolve sugar mixture: Combine the sugar mixture and bring it to a boil. Remove it from the heat, stir in the cold butter, then let it come to room temperature before adding the egg.
- Add the flour and knead the dough: Stir in the flour and knead the dough on the counter until it is smooth. If the dough feels too sticky, add a bit more flour. If it seems too crumbly, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
- Roll dough: Roll the dough on a piece of parchment paper. The parchment paper will make it super easy to transfer the shapes without warping them.
- Cut out the templates: Place the templates on the dough and cut out the shapes. All the template pieces will fit on one large, 20-inch baking sheet. If you use smaller baking sheets, divide the templates among 2 or 3 pans.
- Bake: Slide the parchment paper right onto the baking sheet and bake. Let the pieces cool completely on the baking sheet. Use the scraps of extra dough to make gingerbread people and trees for decoration or cookies for eating.
To construct the gingerbread house:
Before you begin, find a base to put the house on. Your gingerbread house will be 5-1/2 inches wide and 6-1/2 inches long. You can use a cardboard cake board, a serving tray, or just cut a foam board from the dollar store.
- Pipe thick icing on the sides of the house: Make sure you use royal icing to glue the house together. Royal icing dries like cement and keeps the house super sturdy. We linked to the icing inside the recipe card.
- Construct the walls: Attach the four walls using the icing as mortar. Let the walls dry for 30 to 40 minutes. If your icing is a bit thin, you may need to grab some boxes or cans to hold the walls up while they dry.
- Build the roof: Once the walls have set, pipe along the top edges of the house. Press the roof pieces in place then glue the chimney pieces together and let them set up.
- Let the roof set up: let the roof sit for 15 to 20 minutes. If your icing is a bit too thin, you may need to gently hold the roof in place for a few minutes so it doesn’t slide off.
- Attach the chimney and let the house dry: When the chimney is completely dry, attach it to the roof. Let the house sit for several hours to dry completely.
- Decorate: Use the royal icing as glue to stick candy, cookies, and sugar sprinkles to the house.
Send us your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will add them to a gallery at the bottom of the post.
Tips for recipe success
Here are some key tips to make a successful gingerbread dough:
- Knead your dough on parchment paper or a well-floured surface.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to the same size as your baking sheet, roll your dough out to the exact size as the parchment. You can cut the pieces right on the parchment and slide the whole sheet onto the baking pan. This way, you won’t have to use a spatula to transfer the pieces.
- After kneading, if your dough is too sticky, add a little bit of additional flour until you have a smooth consistency. If it is too crumbly, drizzle in some water. This is such a forgiving recipe.
- Don’t let the scraps go to waste! Save them, bake them, and snack away! Decorate with any leftover icing, sprinkles, and candy.
- You can put the scraps of dough back together to cut out gingerbread people, trees, cookies, or other fun shapes.
- Want to eat the gingerbread? For tender, soft gingerbread cookies to enjoy immediately, you can roll out your dough a little thicker than ¼ inch. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 14 minutes. The edges will be crisp while the centers will be soft.
Here are some tips for constructing your gingerbread house:
- Make sure you are using thick royal icing to glue your gingerbread house pieces together.
- Do not overfill your piping bag to prevent icing from oozing out the top.
- No piping bag? Just use a knife or spatula to spread the icing onto the gingerbread. Most food storage bags are not strong enough for the extra thick icing.
- If your icing is thin, support the walls by placing some glasses or cans next to them until they set.
- You can also support the roof by holding it in place for several minutes until the icing sets a bit. If the icing is thick enough, you won’t need to hold the roof.
- If you see any gaps along the edges of the roof and walls, fill the gaps in with extra icing. This will help ensure a sturdy construction of your gingerbread house.
Frequently asked questions
All the house and chimney templates will fit on one 20” x 15” sheet pan. You can use 2 smaller 13” x 9” pans if you do not have a large sheet pan.
We don’t recommend using a silicone mat for this project. When you are cutting the gingerbread house templates, you may accidentally cut your mat and ruin it.
If any of your gingerbread house pieces break, do not fret! You can glue the pieces back together using the icing. Make sure the icing sets completely before you finish constructing the house.
To extend the shelf life of your gingerbread house, keep it away from humidity and direct sunlight. Find a cool, dry area within your home to display your masterpiece. For optimal preservation, store in an airtight container.
If you don’t pick at the gingerbread house and the candy, it will last indefinitely. After a couple of weeks it will get stale and inedible but will still make a festive display.
If you store your gingerbread house in an airtight container, you can save it for next Christmas season! At this point, it’s really for display purposes only.
Uncooked gingerbread dough keeps for 3 months in the freezer. Pre-cut your gingerbread pieces and lay them flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer. When the pieces are frozen, you can transfer to an airtight container. Line each piece with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Bake within 3 months!
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
This time of year is perfect for homemade candy and gift given. This brown sugar fudge makes perfect Christmas gifts and it will remind everyone of grandmas homemade candy.
English toffee is another favorite this time of the year and it is so easy to make.
These soft and chewy molasses spice cookies just can’t be beat! Add them to your Christmas cookie exchange.
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- Print and cut out the gingerbread house templates
Gingerbread house recipe
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 4-2/3 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour for rolling)
To construct and decorate the gingerbread house
- Icing for gingerbread house
- Assorted candy and miniature cookies
- Sugar sprinkles
BAKE THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE RECIPE
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Add the molasses, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and salt to a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove it from the heat.
- Add the cold butter and stir until it is completely melted. The cold butter will help cool the mixture down. Let the mixture sit for a few more minutes until it cools down to a temperature that is warm enough to touch.
- Stir in the egg until well combined. Stir in the flour.
- Transfer the dough to the counter and knead it for about 1 minute until it is smooth. If it is too sticky and wet, add additional flour. If it is dry and crumbly, knead in 2 to 3 teaspoons of water.
- Roll the dough out on a piece of parchment paper that is the same size as your baking sheets (see notes). Roll the dough to less than 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with flour to keep the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.
- Place the templates on the dough and cut them out with a knife. Remove the excess dough from the cut-outs then slide the parchment onto the baking sheet. The parchment makes it easy to transfer the cutouts without disrupting the shapes. If you don't have parchment paper, use a spatula to transfer the cutouts to the baking sheet. You may need to straighten the sides after transferring them.
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes. Remove the chimney pieces at 10 to 12 minutes and remove the larger pieces at 14 to 16 minutes.
- Let the pieces cool on the baking sheet (they may break while they are still warm so let them cool down first.) The cookie pieces will appear soft when you take them out of the oven but they will get firm when they cool down. If you want extra-crisp gingerbread pieces refer to the notes below.
- Use the scraps of dough to cut out gingerbread people, trees, and fun shapes or just make cookies to eat.
CONSTRUCT THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE.
- Find a base to put the gingerbread house on. The house will be 5-1/2 inches wide by 6-1/2 inches long.
- When the pieces are completely cool, use the icing to glue the pieces together. Start by piping a thick layer of icing to the inside edges of the front and back pieces. Press the sides in place to form 4 walls.
- Let the walls dry for 45 minutes to an hour before starting on the roof. If your icing is thick you shouldn’t need to hold the walls while it dries. If the icing is a bit thin you may need to support the walls with glasses or cans until the walls are set.
- After the walls have a chance to set, pipe along the top edges of the house and gently press the roof pieces in place. The roof will hold in place if the icing is thick enough. If you have thinner icing then you will need to hold the roof in place for several minutes until the icing sets.
- Put the chimney pieces together and let them partially set up before adding the chimney to the top of the roof.
- If you see any gaps along the edges of the roof and walls, fill the gaps in with extra icing.
- Let the house sit for 6 to 8 hours until the icing is completely dry before you start decorating the house.
DECORATE THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE
- Use assorted candy, cookies, and sugar sprinkles to decorate the house. You can add a few drops of water to the icing and thin it out if you want to create “icicles”.
- Cut a piece of parchment to the same size as your sheet pan and roll the dough directly onto the parchment paper. You can cut the templates out directly on the parchment then slide the paper onto a sheet pan. This will keep the cookie pieces perfectly shaped because transferring them with a spatula can warp the edges.
- All the house and chimney templates will fit on one 20” x 15” sheet pan. If you don’t have a 20-inch sheet pan use 2 smaller 13 x 9 pans. Cut your parchment paper accordingly. I don’t recommend using a silicone baking mat as you could inadvertently cut the mat.
- If you don’t have parchment paper then roll the dough out on a heavily floured surface. Transfer the cutout pieces to a baking sheet using a flat spatula. You may need to re-shape them a bit after you transfer them.
- For extra crisp gingerbread, turn the oven down to 300°F after 12 minutes and bake them for an additional 10 minutes at the lower temperature.
- If the gingerbread pieces break, you can glue the pieces back together using the icing. Let the icing dry completely before constructing the house.
- If you want tender, soft gingerbread pieces for eating, roll the dough out a little thicker (a bit thicker than 1/4 inch) and bake for 12 to 14 minutes at 350°F. The thicker pieces will be crisp on the edges and soft in the center. We usually use the scraps to make gingerbread cookies for snacking.
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Parchment Paper Sheets - 200-Count Precut Unbleached Parchment Paper for Baking, Half Sheet Pans, Non-Stick Baking Sheet Paper, Brown, 12 x 16 Inches
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.
Gallery of Gingerbread Houses by our Readers
Send us a picture of your gingerbread house and we will add it to our gallery below. Let us know if you want us to include your name on the photo.