How to Make a Gingerbread House

How to Make a Gingerbread House

Publish Date October 14, 2022 3 Minute Read

The holiday season is in full swing, filling our days with happy homecomings, joyful reunions and cozy nights in. What better way to honor home sweet home than with a home made of sweets? If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate, a DIY gingerbread house is the perfect place to start. Creating a simple gingerbread house combines some of our favorite holiday traditions, like baking, decorating and snacking, to create a festive testament to the whimsy and wonder of the season and the comfort of being home for the holidays.

DIY Gingerbread House

Making gingerbread houses can be a fun family project, or a perfect centerpiece to a cookie table with endless decoration options.

Planning Your Cookie Construction

Whether you’re starting from scratch or using a store-bought kit, our guide has you covered with step-by-step instructions for planning, assembling and decorating the ultimate DIY gingerbread house. Starting with the basics of cookie construction, you’ll need 4 walls and a roof. This is where the cookies come in. When it comes to your building materials, you have a few options:

• Make Your Own Materials

One option is to bake your own gingerbread from scratch. This method gives you the most creative freedom, allowing you to build a quaint cookie cottage or a merry mega-mansion, and everything in between.

If you decide to take this route, you’ll need to start with a blueprint, which you can create by printing out a template or even hand-drawing one. Once you have your template, you can cut out the exact shapes you’ll need and shape the chilled dough to match the predetermined pieces before baking.

When planning your gingerbread house, keep in mind that you’ll want to bake some extra gingerbread to have on hand when you’re assembling the house. This will come in handy in the event that any pieces get broken or your house needs extra support. For the extra gingerbread, you can bake a solid sheet of dough and use a serrated knife to cut out your desired shapes.

• Purchase a Prefab

If you’re a beginner baker looking for a leisurely evening activity, you can purchase a gingerbread house kit to simplify the process. These kits come with pre-cut shapes to build your house as well as icing and some decorative candies.

• Use Graham Crackers

If you’re recruiting happy little helpers to build your gingerbread town, graham crackers are a simple substitute for a more kid-friendly take on this classic holiday activity.

Next, you’ll need a way to hold everything together. Royal icing is perfect for securing the walls and mounting any candy decorations by acting as a sweet, edible glue for your cookie crafting.

Finally, you’ll need to select a foundation. A flat, sturdy base is best for building a house that can be safely moved and stored. Cake and serving platters are great options that you probably already have on-hand.

Assembling the House

Once you have all your materials ready, it’s time to get building. To begin, transfer the royal icing to a piping bag. Pipe icing along all 4 sides of your first wall, then hold the wall onto the base until it begins to stick. Next, ice the edges of another side of the house and attach it to the erected wall, holding the pieces until the icing partially dries. This part may take a few minutes. Repeat these steps with the remaining sides of the house, using the icing to fill all seams.

Once the house walls are constructed, gently add the roof pieces. To build the roof, run a thick line of icing along the inside edges of 1 of the roof pieces, then secure it to the walls, holding it in place until it sets. Repeat with the second roof piece. Use icing to join the 2 roof pieces together. Let your finished building rest for a few hours to set completely.

Once the icing is dry, and the structure of the house is firmly in place, you can begin adding your decorations.


Gingerbread House Decorating

To make your gingerbread house a gingerbread home, you’ll need an assortment of decorative confections. Turn your dessert into eye candy with colorful gumdrops, chocolates, candy canes and peppermints for a build that’s picturesque and practical. Leftover icing can be used to draw details, like roof shingles and windows, and to secure pieces of candy to your house. Some other popular gingerbread house decorations include sprinkles, marshmallows, cereal pieces, pretzels and licorice.

Gingerbread House Ideas and Inspiration

While a classic cottage is tradition, the design of your gingerbread house is limited only by your imagination. Need a bit of inspiration to get started? Here are some clever concepts to explore:

• Magical Minty Mansion

Decorate your gingerbread house with festive red and brilliant white icing, and adorn the exterior with candy canes, pinwheel mints and red gumdrops to create a vision of peppermint perfection.

• Rustic Pretzel Log Cabin

Create a rustic log cabin by stacking thick pretzel sticks horizontally and securing over each wall. Add a splash of greenery to mimic a woodsy landscape, using rosemary sprigs as trees. Dust the entire display with powdered sugar for a finish that’s as fresh as the first snow.

• Presents Piled High

Create gingerbread boxes and finish them with icing bows or licorice twine to create a delicious display.

• Gingerbread Dollhouse

Create a gingerbread dollhouse using 4-6 gingerbread rooms. Arrange the rooms to resemble a dollhouse and secure them to a cardboard backing. Allow your structure to dry horizontally before turning upright. Then, use larger sheets of gingerbread, strips of cookie siding or bite-size cookie bricks to cover the exposed cardboard. Add windows, a front door, a roof and chimney to create the home’s exterior. Use candy decorations to create festive scenes in each room, and place your finished dollhouse on a rotating tray so it can be admired from every angle.

• Gingerbread City

Use longer gingerbread pieces, cut in various lengths, to create gingerbread buildings. Create a dazzling and dimensional display by clustering your baked buildings to create a festive city skyline.

• Gingerbread Town

Invite friends and family to build their own homes, cabins or gingerbread storefronts. When everyone has finished, arrange the town on a platter or table.

• A Letter Home

Skip the doors and windows and fill the walls with warm holiday wishes. Using an extra fine food marker or piping tip, try writing holiday-themed greetings, wishes or favorite memories. You can even use this space to write your letters to Santa. Fill in any blank spaces with loose drawings of snowflakes, trees and bells.

• Cookie Curb Appeal

For a truly impressive display, don’t stop at just the house. Use candies to create a path into your home, adding cookie steppingstones or peppermint pavers. Recreate fresh snow with a sprinkle of shredded coconut or powdered sugar.

Gingerbread House Decorations