How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (2024)

A tried-and-true Easy Gingerbread House recipe with a gingerbread house template and tips on how to construct and decorate it.

Christmas gingerbread house is a holiday tradition in our household and it’s always so much fun to frost and decorate it!

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (1)

Contents

[hide]

  • Why this gingerbread house recipe works
  • Gingerbread house recipe ingredients
  • Equipment you’ll need to make this gingerbread house
  • How to make a gingerbread house (and all the tips!)
  • Gingerbread house workflow
  • Easy gingerbread house decorations
  • Pro tips for your Christmas gingerbread house recipe
  • Frequently asked questions

There’s something exciting and quintessentially holiday-worthy about making and decorating a Christmas gingerbread house with kids and all the people you love!

Yes, it’s much easier to bake some ginger cookies or thumbprint cookies or linzer cookies or shortbread cookies and just stuff your face with them for the holidays!

But assembling and decorating a gingerbread house (especially your first gingerbread house) just seems like a jolly experience that any kid would love around the holiday season!

Why this gingerbread house recipe works

  • This is a detailed guide on how to make a gingerbread house with a well-tested gingerbread house template! It’s a simple design that is easy to follow and make with kids as well.
  • I’ve been making this gingerbread house recipe for years, and I’ve streamlined my workflow so that I can make it within a couple of days, or over a few days. And I show you how to do that.
  • I even provide ways to personalize the design of your gingerbread house, while still using the same template.
  • Not only is the gingerbread dough easy to make, it’s also absolutely delicious to eat! The gingerbread cookies have a lovely spice and flavor without any overpowering sweetness. So, it’s perfect to eat with royal icing and other candy that will be stuck to it!
  • The royal icing for gingerbread house is safe to eat as it contains no raw egg whites, and is easy to make!
  • There are so many ways to decorate this gingerbread house, and you even eat all that at the end as well! Win-win.

Gingerbread house recipe ingredients

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (2)

For the gingerbread dough

AP flour

Easily accessible flour and perfect for many purposes. Including making these gingerbread cookies.

I do not recommend using bread flour, as it has a higher protein content, and can make the cookies rubbery and tough.

Gingerbread spices

I prefer to make my own because I can adjust the spices to my taste. I use a mixture of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves.

I use less cloves because I find ground cloves can easily overpower the gingerbread house flavors.

Baking soda

Baking soda is the chemical leavener for the cookies. It reacts with the acidity of fancy molasses and brown sugar, and helps to puff up the cookies.

It does cause the cookies to spread a little, but without it I find that the cookie texture is too dense and heavy. Baking soda makes the cookies a little lighter and crisp. You can read more about the role of baking soda as a chemical leavener in my baking 101 article on chemical leaveners.

Butter

Butter provides the fat for the cookies. It binds the dough, while also preventing the flour from forming too much gluten. So, butter adds flavor to the cookies and also helps to keep it tender.

Brown sugar

Adds sweetness to the dough. These cookies are certainly not overly sweet. So, anyone who loves the spice and warmth of gingerbread cookies will love this gingerbread house recipe!

But if you do love a sweet gingerbread cookie, then decorating the cookie with royal icing will add that extra layer of sweetness to it.

You can use white sugar instead of brown sugar, but I love the additional molassey flavor and dark brown color it lends to the dough.

Molasses

This is such a key ingredient for a classic gingerbread dough! Make sure to use “fancy molasses”, as it has a sweet flavor with deep molassey and slightly acidic flavors.

However, you can use unsulphured blackstrap molasses as well. But the taste will be different with blackstrap molasses, as it’s more bitter and salty with a potent molassey / mineral flavor.

If you live in New Zealand or Australia, you can use treacle instead of fancy molasses, if you don’t like the flavor of blackstrap molasses.

Eggs

Eggs act as a binder for the dough, but provides structure as well. Without eggs, the dough will be more crumbly.

Vanilla and salt

Both are added for flavor for the gingerbread cookie. However, vanilla is optional. Due to the strong flavors in gingerbread dough, vanilla isn’t necessary. But salt is highly recommended.

Royal icing for the gingerbread house

To stick the gingerbread cookies together and construct the gingerbread house, you will need a type of “cement”.

You can either use a thick royal icing or melted chocolate for this. I use meringue powder so this makes it safer for anyone to eat. However, you can also use egg whites instead of meringue powder and water.

  • Meringue powder
  • Water
  • Cream of tartar or lemon
  • Confectioner’s sugar / powdered sugar

Equipment you’ll need to make this gingerbread house

  • Stand mixer (minimum 5 qt bowl) with a paddle attachment – This is a big batch of dough, so you may need a stand mixer to make the dough.
  • Large bowls
  • Sifter
  • Dough cutter or bench scraper
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Plastic wrap or ziploc sandwich bags (or equivalent, to store the dough)
  • Dough thickness guides
  • Cardboard and glue (to stick the template)
  • Craft knife (to cut the template and the gingerbread dough)
  • Sharp knife and cookie cutters
  • Baking pans
  • A cake board or base – To build the gingerbread house on
  • Piping bags or ziploc bags

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make this with a hand mixer as well. However, you will need to make half a batch at a time and be gentle with incorporating the flour to make the dough.

How to make a gingerbread house (and all the tips!)

Making the dough

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. In winter, the butter might still be too cold, so you can keep it in a warmer area to let it warm up and soften more.

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (3)

Step 1– Prepare the dry ingredients. Remove about 100 g of the flour and set aside. Sift the rest of the flour with the spices and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the salt and whisk to combine well (Images 1 and 2).

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (4)

Step 2– Start creaming the butter and sugar. If your butter is not as soft, then place the butter in your mixer and mix it for about 5 minutes with a paddle attachment to make it soft and creamy (Image 3).

Next, add the sugar, and cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is creamy (Images 4 and 5). Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so that the butter and sugar mix well. It’s important that the butter and sugar are creamy at this stage, but the mix doesn’t have to be too fluffy.

The next step is to add the eggs (Image 6). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between. This will ensure that the eggs mix in properly.

The mixture might look curdled at this stage and that’s OK. Temperature differences in the ingredients can lead to this, but the dough will come together when the flour is added.

Next mix in the vanilla and molasses (Images 7 & 8), until mixed through.

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (5)

Step 3– Add the dry ingredients. Finally, add the flour mixture. Add the flour a little at a time, and mix it in by “pulsing” (turning on the mixer in short bursts) the stand mixer on low speed (Image 9). This will prevent the flour from flying everywhere, and the dough from being overmixed.

Add the next amount of flour, while there are still white streaks in the dough (Image 10). You don’t have to wait until one portion of flour is completely mixed in before adding the next.

Scrape down the bowl as much as possible to prevent the flour from settling at the bottom of the bowl.

Once all the flour is added, mix the dough on the lowest speed until it’s almost mixed through (Image 11). The dough might be reaching the top of your bowl, but that’s OK.

Step 4– Form the dough. Turn the dough out onto your work surface, and gently knead it a few times to make sure all the flour is incorporated in the dough.

Do not knead the dough – the way you would with bread dough. Instead, simply fold the dough over itself a few times. The dough might be fairly sticky, so use the remaining flour to flour the dough and your work surface (Image 12).

Step 5– Divide and store the dough. Divide the dough into four portions. I like to weigh the dough and divide it equally (Image 13).

Form each dough portion into a smooth disc, while dusting it with flour to prevent it from sticking (Image 14).

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (6)

Place the dough in a ziploc bag, and spread the dough evenly inside while removing excess air. You can also wrap the dough in plastic wrap. I like to keep it as a square so that it’ll be easier to roll out later (Image 15).

Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, or up to 48 hours.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the gingerbread house template. You can even do this the day before, to save time.

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (7)

Gingerbread house template

Here’s thetemplate that I used for the gingerbread housefrompickyourownchristmastree.org.

You can change the shape and positions of the windows and doors however you like!

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (8)

Step 6 Print out the gingerbread house template and get the tools ready. Such as a glue stick, cardboard, and craft or utility knife (Image 16).

Step 7 Stick the template onto the cardboard. Use slightly thick cardboard and non-toxic glue like a glue stick. Apply the glue on the back of the printed template. Remember to apply the glue outside of the template line AND inside (Image 17).

Place the template on the cardboard and use a bench scraper to make sure that the template is stuck to the board with no bubbles or wrinkles (Image 18). Let it dry for a few minutes (Image 19).

Step 8 Cut out the templates using a ruler and your craft knife. Be careful and precise when you do this. Try to keep the lines as straight as possible.

I like to make several shallow cuts over the same line until I cut through the cardboard (Image 20). Cut out the doors and windows from the template as well, and then keep all of template pieces ready to be used (Image 21).

Rolling and cutting

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (9)

Step 9– Rolling out the dough. Once the dough is chilled, it’ll be easier to roll out. Remove the dough from the package and place it on your work surface (Image 22). I like to roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, so I don’t have to use too much flour, but you can roll out the dough on a floured surface as well.

If the dough is soft, then I recommend rolling it out between two pieces of parchment paper (Image 23).

Use dough thickness guide to make it easier to roll out the dough to an even thickness.

I use a guide that is about 5 – 6 mm thick for most of the dough. For smaller parts of the house (chimney, doors, window shutters), I use dough guide that is thinner, about 3 mm. The rolled out dough should fit inside a half sheet baking sheet.

The rolled out dough is easier to cut if it’s frozen, so you can choose to freeze it for about 30 minutes before cutting it.

Step 10– Place the gingerbread house templates on the dough, and cut the shapes using a craft knife or a small sharp kitchen knife (Images 24 and 25).

There will be four portions;

  • 1st portion – The front of the house + 1st side of the house.
  • 2nd portion – The back of the house + 2nd side of the house.
  • 3rd portion – Half of the roof.
  • 4th portion – Other half of the roof.

Any remaining space can be used to cut out the chimney parts, and other gingerbread shapes you like.

Refrigerate the gingerbread dough for about 30 minutes before baking so that it’s firm.

Baking and prepping

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (10)

Step 11 Preheat your oven to 325 F (while the dough is chilling).

Step 12 Bake the cookies. The rolled out dough should fit within a half sheet baking pan. Make sure that the dough is placed on a parchment paper or silpat. You can either bake the gingerbread without removing the scraps, and then cut out the shapes after (Image 26),

OR, you have the option of removing the scrap dough, and baking just the shapes you need (Image 27).

There are pros and cons to both methods as discussed below.

Baking the cut out cookies

  • The baking time will be a little shorter here. Since the cookies are already shaped, you only have to cut out the windows and doors.
  • You have dough scraps leftover to re-roll and cut into more shapes and cookies if you like.
  • However, the cut outs have a tendency to spread a little as they bake, so the edges may not be as straight. The edges may also be slightly darker in color.

Cutting out the cookies after baking

  • The cookies will have a more even color to them, and the edges are not darkened either.
  • The cutouts have a straighter and neater edge because they are cut from the baked cookies.
  • However, the baking time is slightly longer as the entire cookie is larger than individual cut outs.
  • Once the gingerbread is baked, it takes longer to cut out the shapes. This should also be done fairly fast before the cookies cool down and harden.
  • The scraps are also baked, so you cannot make extra cookies. Unless extra cookie shapes were pre-cut before baking. But you could use the baked cookie scraps to make gingerbread truffles.

Bake the gingerbread (maximum of 2 trays at a time), for about 15 – 20 minutes (cut out pieces) or 20 – 25 minutes (without removing scrap dough).

The gingerbread should just start to darken at the edges, and then you know it’s done.

Step 13 While still warm, cut out the shapes out for the gingerbread house, including the doors and windows (Image 29).

Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.

If there are any edges that are not straight, don’t worry! You can use royal icing to fill and straighten the edges, or you can use a micro planer to carefully shave off excess cookie on the sides (Image 28).

Set all the cooled gingerbread cookies aside until ready to use (Image 30). Place them in an airtight container if you want to store them for longer.

Royal icing for gingerbread house

How to make it and store it

You will need two types of royal icing when making the gingerbread house.

The first type is the thick royal icing that’ll be used as the “cement” to hold the cookies together and to glue candy and other gingerbread house decorations onto the house.

The second type of royal icing will be a little thinner, and will be used to decorate the finer details on your gingerbread house.

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (11)

Step 14 Preparing the egg white base. The first step is to whisk the meringue powder and water together until there are no lumps, and it’s frothy. Add the cream of tartar as well and whisk until you have a foamy mixture.

If you’re using egg whites, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until you have a foamy mixture (Images 31 and 32).

Step 15Using a paddle beater, or a hand mixer, add the confectioner’s sugar to the meringue base and mix. Add the sugar a little at a time, on the lowest speed, to prevent the sugar from flying off while mixing.

Mix until you get a smooth, thick royal icing mixture (Image 34). The correct consistency should be spreadable but stiff, so that the royal icing will not “run” or spread, but still easily pipeable (Image 35).

Step 16Storing the royal icing. Place the royal icing in a large piping bag or a ziploc bag (Image 36). Seal the opening of the piping bag or ziploc bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Exposure to air will cause the royal icing to harden.

Gingerbread house construction

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (12)

Step 17 Assembling the side walls of the gingerbread house. Choose the base on which you will build the gingerbread house. A cake board works well, but you can also use anything else that is food-safe and flat for a flat surface.

Snip off the end of the piping bag (about ½ cm opening) with royal icing. Pipe a line of royal icing on the base to stick the wall (Image 37).

Pipe more royal icing on the base to stick the front (or back) of the house, perpendicular to the wall (Image 38).

Once two pieces are stuck to the base, pipe icing along the border where they join, to cement the two pieces together (Image 39).

Once all the walls are “cemented” on to the base, and to each other, pipe more royal icing on the inside to reinforce the joints (Image 40).

Allow the royal icing to completely set and harden before adding the roof (Image 41).

Stick together the parts of chimney separately, and let them harden.

NOTE – Royal icing will harden over time. It can take as little as 1 hour (depending on how thick the icing is). But if your kitchen is warm and is very humid, it may take longer.

My advice is to find a cooler part of your home and allow the icing to harden there. To speed things up, use a hair dryer on itscool setting and on high speedand use the cool air to dry out the royal icing.Do not use warm airas this will melt the royal icing.

Alternatively, you can use melted chocolate to stick the gingerbread house pieces together. Chocolate will harden faster than royal icing, but it might be a little more messy to work with.

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (13)

Step 18 Assembling the roof.Pipe royal icing along the top of the walls and top edges of the front and back of the house panels.

Place the roof pieces, making sure one edge is lined up with the top of the roof. There will be an overhang off the side of the wall.

If needed, place an item to prop up the overhang while the icing hardens and the roof sticks securely. Repeat with the other side of the roof and provide support as it dries as well.

Also pipe royal icing along the middle to join the two parts of the roof. Let the royal icing completely harden.

Now the gingerbread house is ready to be decorated!

Gingerbread house workflow

Day 1

  • Make the dough.
  • Roll out the dough.
  • Cut out the templates.
  • Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and place in the freezer. You can stack them as well.
  • Bake the cookie pieces and cut out the doors and windows and/or the whole templates (if you bake the whole sheet).
  • Let the cookies cool and store in an airtight container.

The work on day 1 can also be split into 2 days for convenience.

The dough can be wrapped and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Or once the cookie dough is rolled up, it can be stored in the freezer overnight (or up to 2 days if wrapped with plastic wrap).

Day 2

  • Make the royal icing.
  • Assemble the gingerbread house walls and let it dry (can take about 2 hours, but more if your kitchen is warm and humid).
  • Assemble the gingerbread house roof and let it dry.

Day 3 (or late day 2)

  • Prepare candy for decorating, and different-colored royal icing. Keep the royal icing in containers or piping bags or small ziploc bags, making sure that the icing is not in contact with any air.
  • Decorate the house with candy, either on the evening of day 2 or next day.
How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (14)

Easy gingerbread house decorations

This is the fun part! Just like regular houses, there are infinite ways to decorate a gingerbread house! And the best part is you don’t have to be an interior designer or landscaper to design your very own gingerbread house! 😊

You can “landscape” your gingerbread house by adding “grass” or “snow”, and stick gingerbread Christmas trees in the “yard”. Including little gingerbread people too!

Here, I used royal icing that was piped on top of each other to create 3D structures like these windowsill “baskets” and filled them with sprinkles. I piped 3D flower beds for the front of the house, and filled them with sprinkles too (can you tell that I love sprinkles?).

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (15)

Use your cookie cutters to make different shapes that you can also stick on or in front of your gingerbread house.

Royal icing can also be used to pipe “shingles” or roof tiles on the roof, and then sprinkle confectioner’s sugar to make it look like there’s a dusting of snow (or spread thick royal icing for a thick layer of snow).

I love to use candy to decorate the house and make it colorful.

Here are my favorite candies to use;

  • M&Ms or smarties – Can even be used to stick to the edges of the roof to look like Christmas lights.
  • Kit kat – Perfect to use as fence posts.
  • Candy canes – To use as fence posts or light posts. Or just to stick on the sides of the walls.
  • Gummy candy or sour candy – To stick to the walls or roof.
  • Rainbow sprinkles – For anything!
  • Licorice – Stick licorice along the edges to make the roof look pretty.
How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (16)

Pro tips for your Christmas gingerbread house recipe

  • Plan ahead! You can make this gingerbread house over 2 days, or plan the workflow to do it over 4 days if you don’t have enough time.
  • If the gingerbread house is going to be left out for 4 days, then I recommend wrapping the house with plastic wrap carefully and thoroughly. Reduce as much contact with air as possible.
  • The cookies will be baked to be on the crispy side. It’s very important that the gingerbread for a gingerbread house be nice and crisp. It might seem too hard at first, but the texture of the cookies will be perfect after assembling the house.Softer gingerbread cookies will become soggy, and not be able to hold up the roof and candy decorations.
  • Make sure the royal icing is properly stored. Otherwise, it’ll harden before you can use it.
How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (17)
How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (18)
How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (19)

Frequently asked questions

How long does this gingerbread house last?

The more your gingerbread house is exposed to air, the more stale it becomes.

Provided you keep the house covered well (after the royal icinghardens), the gingerbread house should stay fairly crisp and taste good for about 1 week.

Once exposed to air, it will become stale within 3 – 4 days.

If the cookies are completely covered with royal icing or chocolate, this will also extend the shelf-life as the coated cookies don’t go stale as quickly.

Is it OK to eat gingerbread house?

Absolutely! Why else would we go to all that trouble? 😊

Just make sure the gingerbread, frosting, and candy are properly handled with clean hands, and the house was covered while being completed. It’s also crucial to use meringue powder to make royal icing. Raw egg whites don’t have a great shelf life.

This is why my recipe for royal icing for gingerbread house uses meringue powder. It’s more shelf-stable and safe to eat even after a few days at room temperature.

What candies do you put on the gingerbread house?

Any type of candy can be used to make gingerbread houses! Honestly, just use whatever candies you like to eat.

I don’t like licorice, so I don’t use it, but it can be used to decorate the house. Larger candy bars might be harder to incorporate, but you can use fun size candy bars for your house too.

Can you make a gluten free gingerbread house?

Unfortunately, I haven’t tried to make a gluten free gingerbread house, but it is possible!

I recommend following a gluten free gingerbread recipe, so that good results are guaranteed, rather than trying to adapt this recipe to be gluten free.

Can you make a dairy free gingerbread house?

Substitute the butter with a vegan butter (suitable for baking). However, this dough may need a little extra flour to get the same consistency, if the vegan butter is softer than regular butter.

Looking for more recipes?Sign up for my free recipe newsletter to get new recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing more inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

5 from 16 votes

Gingerbread Dough and Gingerbread House Recipe

Author: Dini K.

Yield: This recipe is enough to make 1 gingerbread house with extra small cookies, with about 18 servings.

Cuisine: European, North American

A tried-and-true, easy Gingerbread House Recipe with a well-tested gingerbread house template, and lots of tips on how to construct and decorate it. Best of all, the gingerbread house cookie is delicious to eat, with all the warming spices, and it's not overly sweet.

Intermediate While the gingerbread house recipe is very simple, the process of assembling and decorating the house is long and may need some patience and familiarity.

This recipe takes multiple days to set up. Please read the blog post for the timeline and all the helpful tips. Here's the link to the gingerbread house template.

This recipe is enough to make 1 gingerbread house, with about 18 servings.

Prep: 3 hours hours 30 minutes minutes

Chilling and drying time (minimum): 5 hours hours

Cook: 2 hours hours 10 minutes minutes

Total Time: 10 hours hours 40 minutes minutes

Difficulty:Intermediate recipes

Servings: 18 for 1 Gingerbread house & smaller cookies

Print Rate

Ingredients:

  • 1.1 kg all purpose flour 39 oz / approximately 8.75 cups (spooned and leveled)
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon 14 g
  • 6 teaspoons ground ginger 15 g
  • 1.5 teaspoons allspice 6 g
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt 10 g
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda 9 g
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves 3 g
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 4 g
  • 285 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature, 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups butter or 10 oz)
  • 300 g dark brown sugar light brown can be used too (about cups)
  • 150 g eggs about 3 large eggs
  • 360 g fancy molasses 1.5 cups
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract 2 tsp

Dusting flour

  • 60 g all purpose flour about ½ cup
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Royal icing (minimum amount needed to assemble the house – make more to decorate the house)

  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (or the amount required for 2 egg whites)
  • 60 mL water ¼ cup. Skip this if you're using egg whites instead of meringue powder
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar or 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 500 g confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar) sifted (it's important that it be sifted) about 4 ½ cups (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 drops vanilla or any other flavoring (optional)

To decorate

  • Your favorite types of candy
  • gel food coloring to color royal icing

Instructions:

  • Separate 100 g of the flour and set it aside.

    1.1 kg all purpose flour

  • In a large bowl, sift the rest of the dry ingredients. Add the salt and whisk to make sure all the ingredients are combined well. Set aside.

    1.1 kg all purpose flour, 5 teaspoons cinnamon, 6 teaspoons ground ginger, 1.5 teaspoons allspice, 1.5 teaspoons salt, 1.5 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

  • You will need a stand mixer for this as there is a large amount of dough to handle. You can easily halve the recipe if you wish to make it with a hand mixer (or even with the stand mixer).

  • With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium high speed for about 5 – 10 minutes until fluffy and pale in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway to ensure even mixing.

    285 g unsalted butter, 300 g dark brown sugar

  • Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between the addition of eggs.

    150 g eggs

  • Add molasses and vanilla, and mix until well incorporated.

    360 g fancy molasses, 10 mL pure vanilla extract

  • On stir speed (or low speed), add flour in increments. Pulse the mixer (on and off) to initially mix in the flour to prevent the flour from flying everywhere. Mix on low speed until the flour is almost incorporated. Add the next increment while you can still see some white streaks in the dough. This helps to prevent overmixing.

    Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl from time to time.

  • Once all the flour is added, mix on low speed until a dough is formed. If the dough is very wet, add the 100 g of flour that was reserved earlier until the flour is mostly incorporated.

  • You may need to use your hands to knead the dough at the end to make sure it's well-mixed. Remove the dough from the bowl and gently knead it a few times to form a smooth ball (dust the work surface with flour if necessary).

  • Divide the dough into 4 portions. To make sure the portions are equal, weigh the dough and portion by weight. Lightly dust each portion and form it into a disc. Either wrap each portion with plastic wrap, OR place the dough inside a sandwich-size ziploc bag. Seal the bag 80% of the way and then flatten the dough to fill the sandwich bag and to remove excess air. Then seal the bag completely.

  • Chill all the discs of dough for at least 1 hour in the fridge, up to 2 days.

Dusting flour

  • Mix the flour and spices together and use this to dust the surface you will be rolling the cookies on. You can make more of the dusting flour (you will need more) as needed (optional).

    60 g all purpose flour, ½ tsp ginger, ½ tsp cinnamon

Prepare and bake the cookies

  • While the dough is resting, prepare the gingerbread house template.

  • Print the template and stick the print outs onto cardboard. Then, using a craft knife or scissors, carefully cut out the pieces needed (1 x Front, 1 x Back, 2 x Side walls, 1 x Roof, 4 x pieces for chimney).

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F / 170°C.

  • Remove one dough disc from the fridge, and remove the cover. Place the dough on a lightly floured (with dusting flour) parchment paper and flour the top of the disc. Place another parchment paper on top, and roll out the dough with a rolling pin.

    Make sure to check on the dough and flip the dough over as needed to get a smooth surface. Pinch/press the dough together if any cracks appear.

  • To ensure that you achieve an even thickness throughout the dough, use two 5 mm dowels on either side of the dough (or you can use thickness guides or rolling pin rings). The rolled out dough should be able to fit inside a half sheet pan.

  • Place the dough (while it's between two pieces of parchment paper) back in the freezer for 30 minutes to let it harden. This will make it easier to cut the templates.

  • Remove the dough from the freezer. Then place the template pieces on the dough and cut out the shapes. Do not remove these cut out pieces from the dough.

    1st portion – The front of the house + 1st side wall of the house.

    2nd portion – The back of the house + 2nd side wall of the house.

    3rd portion – Half of the roof.

    4th portion – Other half of the roof.

  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the leftover scraps of dough.Cut the windows and doors from the gingerbread house pieces, but do not remove them (this is because the dough expands slightly as it bakes). I prefer to cut them out after they are baked.

  • OPTIONAL – You can remove the scraps around the cut pieces of the dough, re-roll the scraps and cut more cookies if you like. OR you can bake the cookies without removing the scrap dough.

    The cookies will expand more if you remove the scraps before baking, so the edges may not be as straight. However, you will also need to work quickly to cut out the cookies if you bake first, before removing the scrap dough (i.e. before the cookies cool down and harden).

  • The dough scraps – lightly fold over the dough scraps to form a rough disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and re-use.

  • Place the gingerbread dough on a half sheet baking pan (lined with parchment paper). If the cookies are being baked without the scrap dough around it, then leave about 1 ½ inches of space between the cut out cookies. Transfer to the freezer for another 10 -15 minutes, or the fridge for 30 minutes.

  • Bake in preheated oven, for 15 – 20 minutes for larger cookies, or about 20 – 25 minutes for the entire dough sheet. Less that 15 minutes for smaller cookies. The time can vary, so bake the cookies in the oven until the edges of the dough JUST start to brown.

  • Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven. Carefully transfer them onto a cutting board, and using a very sharp knife or craft knife, quickly cut out the cookies from the baked dough while it's still soft. Also cut out the windows and doors. You can also use a cookie cutter to cut out windows and doors from the baked gingerbread.

  • Then transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • If the edges of the cookies expand and are not straight – You can either straighten them using a micro planer once the cookies are cooled and hardened, or just cover it up with royal icing when you stick the cookies together to build the house.

  • Store the gingerbread cookies in an airtight container until you're ready to assemble the gingerbread house.

Royal icing

  • Make sure to use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, or mixer attachment of your hand mixer to mix in the powdered sugar when you make this royal icing. You do not want to incorporate too much air.

  • Place the meringue powder and water together in a bowl. Whisk together to dissolve the meringue powder. Add the cream of tartar and whisk the mixture until it becomes foamy.

    1 tbsp meringue powder, 60 mL water, ½ tsp cream of tartar

  • Add the sifted confectioner's sugar (⅓ at a time to prevent a sugar storm!), and mix on low until all of it is incorporated. Mix on medium-high until the royal icing becomes thick and glossy.Keep mixing until the royal icing forms stiff peaks, where it's spreadable and pipeable, but will hold its shape too.

    500 g confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)

  • Add vanilla or other flavoring if you like, but this is not required. If the royal icing is too runny, mix in more confectioner's sugar. If the royal icing is too stiff, add a little bit of water (a little at a time) to get the right consistency.

    Place the royal icing in a pastry bag and twist the top closed. You can also place the royal icing in a ziploc bag and remove as much of the air in the bag before sealing it. Or keep the royal icing in a bowl and cover the surface completely with plastic wrap to avoid crusting.

    2 drops vanilla

  • Snip off the end of the piping bag or ziploc bag, and use it to pipe the icing where you need it to stick the gingerbread cookies together.

  • To color royal icing – portion the royal icing and mix in a few drops of the color(s) you prefer.Gel coloring or powdered coloring is the best way to color royal icing without thinning it out.

  • You will only need between 400 – 600 g of royal icing to assemble 1 gingerbread house. To decorate the gingerbread house, you will need to make twice the amount.

    This thick but pipeable consistency is best to use as cement and to stick candy to the gingerbread house and to the base.

    For more intricate decorations, thin out the royal icing with water to get the consistency you need.

Assembling the gingerbread house

  • Use royal icing or melted chocolate to stick the pieces of the house together. If you use royal icing, you will need to leave it to dry for at least 8 hours at room temperature, until it completely hardens up. I usually keep it for 24 hours.

  • Choose a base that is big enough to assemble the gingerbread house, and will be sturdy enough to hold and carry the gingerbread house safely.

  • Pipe a thick line of royal icing on the board and stick one of the gingerbread side walls to the icing. Use a glass or box to prop up the cookie. Pipe another line of royal icing on the base to place the front or back part of the house perpendicular to the wall. Then use the royal icing to stick both parts to each other along the side.

  • Repeat with the other two parts of the gingerbread house (other side wall and back). You should end up with the four base walls of the gingerbread house glued together (and to the board) with royal icing.

  • To reinforce the walls / joints, pipe the royal icing on the inside of the house where the cookies join together.

  • Allow the cookies to set for at least 2 hours, or until they're mostly hardened. This time can vary depending on the ambient weather and temperature.

  • Next, pipe more royal icing along the top edges of the wall and front and back panels to stick the roof. Use an object to prop up the roof from the side of the house, so that it does not slide down before hardening. Finally, pipe the royal icing along the top of the roof to connect the two roof panels. Allow the entire house to completely harden and set up before decorating.

  • Once the frosting has hardened, cover the cake with plastic wrap to prevent the cookies from going stale.

  • Now the gingerbread house is ready to be decorated with your choice of candies, chocolates, and colored royal icing.

    Your favorite types of candy, gel food coloring

Tips & Tricks

Recipe notes

If you’re using liquid egg whites instead of meringue powder, use 65 mL of egg whites (or 65 g), which is 2 egg whites.

The amount of royal icing in this recipe is enough to assemble the house. Please make more royal icing to decorate the house.

Make sure to keep the house covered with plastic wrap and /or a box to keep it from going stale. This will prolong the shelf-life of the cookies.

If you’re using raw egg whites, this will shorten the life span of the royal icing.

Instead of royal icing, you can also use melted chocolate to stick the cookies together.

The gingerbread can be consumed if the cookies are not stale and the royal icing was made with meringue powder. It should be good for 7 days if properly stored. Store pieces of the gingerbread house in an airtight container once you break down the house to eat it.

Work flow suggestions

Day 1

  • Make the dough.
  • Roll out the dough.
  • Cut out the templates.
  • Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and place in the freezer. You can stack them as well.
  • Bake the cookie pieces and cut out the doors and windows and/or the whole template (if you bake the whole sheet).
  • Let the cookies cool and store in an airtight container.

The work on day 1 can also be split into 2 days for convenience.

The dough can be wrapped and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Or once the cookie dough is rolled up, it can be stored in the freezer overnight (or up to 2 days if wrapped with plastic wrap).

Day 2

  • Make the royal icing.
  • Assemble the gingerbread house walls and let it dry (can take about 2 hours, but more if your kitchen is warm and humid).
  • Assemble the gingerbread house roof and let it dry.

Day 3 (or late day 2)

  • Prepare candy for decorating, and different-colored royal icing. Keep the royal icing in containers or piping bags or small ziploc bags, making sure that the icing is not in contact with any air.
  • Decorate the house with candy, either on the evening of day 2 or next day.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 488kcal (24%)Carbohydrates: 110g (37%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 65mg (22%)Sodium: 316mg (14%)Potassium: 430mg (12%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 31g (34%)Vitamin A: 444IU (9%)Vitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 82mg (8%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”

Course:Baked Desserts, Desserts

Cuisine:European, North American

Did you make this?Tag me on Instagram!I love seeing what you’ve made! Tag me on Instagram at @TheFlavorBender or leave me a comment & rating below.

The original gingerbread house that I shared in 2014. I’ve made many more gingerbread houses over the years!

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (21)

More Recipes You'll Love...

  • Cajun Seasoning Recipe

  • Cheesecake Stuffed Gingerbread Cake

  • Bourbon Gingerbread Truffles

How To Make A Gingerbread House (Recipe & Template) (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Emmett Berge

Last Updated:

Views: 5855

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Emmett Berge

Birthday: 1993-06-17

Address: 787 Elvis Divide, Port Brice, OH 24507-6802

Phone: +9779049645255

Job: Senior Healthcare Specialist

Hobby: Cycling, Model building, Kitesurfing, Origami, Lapidary, Dance, Basketball

Introduction: My name is Sen. Emmett Berge, I am a funny, vast, charming, courageous, enthusiastic, jolly, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.