Gingerbread House Recipe

The best construction gingerbread house recipe. Super strong, great for cutting out intricate templates and does not spread when baking. This recipe is enough to make three gingerbread houses using the gingerbread house template included 
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Print Recipe
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Serves: 3 gingerbread houses
gingerbread house recipe

Gingerbread House Recipe That Is Super Strong Plus Free Gingerbread House Pattern

Have you ever wondered how those amazing gingerbread houses are made? Seems pretty impossible considering most kits fall apart the second you put the frosting on. Not this recipe! This gingerbread house recipe is SO strong! I made my house three weeks ago and it’s still standing strong.

gingerbread house recipe

I’ll let you in on a little secret, not all gingerbread is created equal. You might be surprised to find out that the gingerbread that is used to make those amazing houses are made with something called “construction gingerbread” meaning it’s not meant to be eaten and is really only for building.

So if you try to build a gingerbread house from regular yummy gingerbread cookie dough, you might find your cookie dough spreading or cracking when you try to assemble the house.

gingerbread house fail

This is the gingerbread house recipe that I got from my friend Christophe Rull who is the head pastry chef at the Parky Hyatt Aviara in San Diego. We used this recipe to build a gingerbread house that was over twelve feet tall! Granted we had a structure underneath because the house had to be on display for over a month but still, it was the best structural gingerbread I’ve ever used!

gingerbread house display

Christophe has graciously shared his recipe with me so I can give it to you guys! So you can make some amazing gingerbread houses too!

How To Make Construction Gingerbread

First we need to get all our ingredients together to make the gingerbread house recipe. You probably already have all the ingredients you need in your pantry but check for molasses since that isn’t used very much anymore and you’ll need quite a bit. Molasses actually gives the gingerbread that nice dark gingerbread color.

gingerbread house recipe ingredients

This gingerbread house recipe also uses shortening so make sure you have that on hand. Since we’re not eating this gingerbread house, you could really skip all the spices but they add a nice color and scent to the house that looks and smells really nice!

Next you need to melt your vegetable shortening. I do this in the microwave. We’re not looking to make the shortening really hot, just get it melted. Then mix the shortening with the molasses and the sugar and then add in your egg. I like to do this in my kitchenaid with the paddle whisk attachment.

Now you can combine the rest of your dry ingredients together and add them into the bowl. Switch to the paddle attachment and mix until you form a ball of dough. Don’t over mix it.

gingerbread house recipe

Now I usually divide my dough in half because it makes quite a bit. I roll the first half of my dough out to 1/4″ thick directly on top of a silicone baking mat. I like using a silicone mat instead of parchment because I like to make sugar windows later and they stick to parchment. You can use parchment but you’ll need to move your pieces onto silicone if you want to pour in sugar for the windows later.

how to cut gingerbread house templates

After the dough is rolled out, you’ll want to put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This just makes cutting out the templates a little easier and helps them to hold their shape. I try to keep my pieces pretty close together without being TOO close or they might touch during baking. This recipes doesn’t spread but it does puff a tiny bit. Keep your leftover dough for later.

Gingerbread House Pattern

I have a gingerbread house pattern that you can use to make your own gingerbread houses. I know it SEEMS very small but once it’s assembled, its actually the perfect size for an individual gingerbread house to decorate. One gingerbread house recipe will make three gingerbread houses.

gingerbread house pattern gingerbread house pattern

Take your chilled dough from the freezer and lay your gingerbread house pattern on top. Don’t put them too close together or they will touch when they bake. If you want to add a brick texture, now is the time to press it into your dough, BEFORE you cut. I used a x-acto knife to cut mine but any small knife works. Just don’t cut through your silicone mat!

gingerbread house pattern

Peel away the excess dough and set it aside to roll out for the other houses. Bake the pieces in an oven at 300ºF for 50-60 minutes. Let cool fully before picking up to avoid cracks. Use your leftover dough to make the third gingerbread house.

gingerbread house recipe

How To Make A Brick Texture On Your Gingerbread House

For one of my houses I used a brick impression tool. I like this one in particular because it has nice sharp edges and doesn’t distort the gingerbread cookie dough when you push it in. I got mine from Nicholas Lodge.

I just pressed the embossing tool into my cookie dough before baking to get this awesome brick texture on my gingerbread house walls! I love how it turned out!

brick texture on gingerbread house

How To Assemble Your Gingerbread House

If you’ve ever tried to put together a gingerbread house, you know it can be a bit challenging! The main thing you need is some THICK royal icing and some patience. First I recommend making up a batch of my royal icing. The stuff they sell in the kits is too soft!

royal icing for gingerbread house

Place some of the royal icing into a piping bag and cut off the end to make a small hole or use a #2 piping tip. Pipe a line on the sides of the front and back piece right along the edge. Don’t be skimpy with your royal icing!

Attach the side wall and place it on a flat surface. Now attach the other side wall. Then you can put on the back piece. Wipe off any excess royal on the outside but the inside should have lots. Even add more if you want! I let this dry for an hour or so before adding the roof just to be safe.

how to assemble a gingerbread house

To add the roof, I pipe some royal along the top edge of one side of the house then add the first part of the roof. Then I pipe royal to the second part of the house and along the top edge of the first piece of the roof and add the final piece of the roof. Let this baby dry overnight before you start adding candy so that it’s rock solid.

gingerbread house roof

Once your gingerbread house is assembled you can start decorating with all kinds of candies and colored royal icing! I LOVE this gingerbread house by Freed’s Bakery and will some day attempt something like this. I’m in love with all the colors of the icing and the creative use of candy. If you want more gingerbread house ideas check out my 25 best gingerbread house ideas post.

gingerbread house assembly

How To Make Gingerbread House Windows

You definitely don’t HAVE to put windows in your gingerbread house but if you’re extra like me (which I feel like you might be) then you’re going to want to make some awesome windows for your gingerbread house! lucky for you it’s SUPER easy!

gingerbread house windows

All you need is some hard candies but the trick to windows that stay nice and clear is to use sugar free candy. Sugar free candy is made with something called isomalt and is actually more resistant to clouding than traditional sugar.

sugar free candy

For my windows I used sugar free jolly ranchers and hard candies in pink, blue and green. I broke them up into smaller pieces with a mallet inside a plastic baggie so the pieces wouldn’t go flying.

sugar free candy for gingerbread house windows

Then all you have to do is put a few pieces of each color into the cut out of your cooked gingerbread. Don’t be afraid to fill it up because it thins out a lot once it’s melted.

how to make gingerbread house windows

I put the candy into the cutout areas during the last 5 minutes of baking. If they aren’t completely melted then you can do another minute but don’t leave them in too long or they will burn. Let your cookies completely cool before removing the silicone baking mat from the back. Voila! Super pretty gingerbread cookie windows! And so easy!

how to make gingerbread house windows

If you want clear windows you can use clear sugar free candies or you can use isomalt. I like to buy mine pre-cooked and ready to melt from simi cakes and confections. Or you can make your own isomalt from raw granules by using my clear isomalt recipe.

clear gingerbread house windows

How To Decorate A Gingerbread House

To decorate my gingerbread house, I used a combination of a bunch of candies like M&M, hard candies, candy canes, miniature starburst candies and chocolate bars. You can use whatever candies you like, just mix and match and have fun!

I used my stiff royal icing to attach the candy to the gingerbread house and let it dry overnight before I lifted it up to put the battery operated tea lights underneath. These little houses look so cute on our bookshelf and make the best decorations for the holidays!

gingerbread house recipe

Gingerbread House Recipe Without Molasses

Did you run out of molasses? That’s ok! You can replace the molasses in this gingerbread house recipe with a few things. You can use dark corn syrup, honey, maple syrup or even brown sugar in place of molasses. Make sure you use the same amount by weight, not by volume (cups).

I honestly have not made a lot of gingerbread houses but I feel like I could do some legit complicated designs based on what I have learned with this gingerbread house recipe and making a couple practice ones. I can’t wait to decorate these this weekend for friendsgiving!

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
gingerbread house recipe

Gingerbread House Recipe

The best construction gingerbread house recipe. Super strong, great for cutting out intricate templates and does not spread when baking. This recipe is enough to make three gingerbread houses using the gingerbread house template included 
5 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Chilling: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Serves: 3 gingerbread houses
Calories: 112kcal

Ingredients

Gingerbread House Recipe

  • 30 oz (850 g) AP Flour
  • 3/4 tsp (3/4 tsp ) cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp (1/4 tsp) ginger
  • 1/2 tsp (1/2 tsp) nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp (1/4 tsp) cloves
  • 3/4 tsp (3/4 tsp) salt
  • 7 oz (198 g) vegetable shortening
  • 6 oz (170 g) granulated sugar
  • 16 oz (454 g) molasses
  • 1 Large (1 Large) egg
  • 5 crushed jolly ranchers or isomalt for the windows

Stiff Royal Icing Recipe

  • 16 ounces (454 g) powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 ounces (57 g) pasteurized egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with paddle and whisk attachment
  • Piping bag and tips

Instructions

For The Gingerbread House

  • Sift your dry ingredients together, set aside
  • Microwave vegetable shortening (or melt on stovetop in pot) until liquid but not hot
  • In a stand mixer, whisk shortening, sugar and molasses together. Add the egg and mix until combined
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and add your dry ingredients. Mix on medium/low until a smooth ball starts to form, do not over mix
  • Roll out dough onto parchment paper or a baking mat to 1/4" thick. Try to make the dough as even in thickness as possible. 
  • Freeze dough for 20 minutes (optional) 
  • Cut shapes out using your templates. Remove excess dough (can be used to re-roll out and make more pieces)
  • Bake in an oven set to 300º F for 50-60 mins until very firm
  • Once gingerbread is done, remove from the oven and let fully cool before moving. Your gingerbread is now ready to be assembled. 

For The Royal Icing

  • Combine your egg whites, sifted powdered sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attached. 
  • Mix on low to get the ingredients combined then bump up to high for 1-2 minutes. Add in your vanilla extract and whip until it's white. No need to mix for longer than 5 minutes. 
  • Place the royal icing into a bowl or container with a lid. Your THICK royal icing is now ready to be thinned down to the consistency you desire. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1oz | Calories: 112kcal (6%) | Carbohydrates: 19g (6%) | Protein: 1g (2%) | Fat: 3g (5%) | Cholesterol: 3mg (1%) | Sodium: 32mg (1%) | Potassium: 129mg (4%) | Sugar: 8g (9%) | Vitamin A: 5IU | Calcium: 19mg (2%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

The best gingerbread house recipe! Super strong, no-spread dough, free gingerbread house pattern, how to make sugar windows for gingerbread houses and more!

64 comments on “Gingerbread House Recipe

  1. Can you please convert the recipe to cups/spoons or direct to a website that can? I do not have a scale to measure the dry ingredients.
    Thanks!

    1. All my recipes use a scale for accuracy. Scales are very inexpensive and insure that you do not waste precious ingredients like expensive vanilla and butter 🙂 You can get them at your local grocery store or online.

      1. If you start using a scale you’ll never measure any other way. King Arthur Flour website has a section you can print that gives the weights over everything and you can print it.

  2. Thank you for the recipe and fantastic tips for making gingerbread houses!

  3. Hi Liz, first of all thank you for sharing. I just love your work and recipes. So just to be really sure about this. This recipe CAN be eaten? I want to make a few gingerbread houses for a bunch of school kids and I want them to be able to eat of it.
    Thanks and greetings from Curacao.

      1. Just curious Liz. Do you weigh all your ingredients when baking cakes as well? I have never done this before. I can see where it makes more sense and will be much more accurate.
        Now if I can only find my food scale! ????

    1. How easy is to cut this gingerbread once is baked? In case some adjustments are needed.

    2. Can I make the dough a few days ahead of rolling and cutting?

      1. Thank you so much. I will get started now I’m so excited to finally have found a real doe that will hold up

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing:) Just in time to make these for my granchildren.

    Have a wonderful holiday season:)

    1. You’re welcome! I love this gingerbread recipe for making gingerbread houses for the kids! Make them ahead of time and all they have to do is decorate 😀

  5. I want to make a ginger bread house but have no scales. How much is 30 oz of flour in cups?

    1. I’m so sorry but all my recipes require scales for accuracy. Better to weigh your ingredients then to waste them with inaccurate cups measuring.

    2. Will you please share the icing recipe since you said store bought icing is too soft? Thanks!

  6. Wow! Perfect recipe for building a gingerbread structure!! Dried super hard!
    Thanks so much for sharing this:-D

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Liz!

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. It was very successful, which I’m grateful for because the last time I attempted this, my pieces basically melted. I have a question though – my gingerbread turned out SUPER dark compared to your pics. I didn’t even think much of it until I happened to come back on my laptop the next day and the tab was still open. Mine almost looks like a dark chocolate cookie! It wasn’t the baking, because it was dark prior to baking – not this nice light brown color. The only thing I did was use half granulated sugar and half brown sugar, but I doubt that would’ve caused such a stark contrast difference. I also weighed in grams, converting from the listed ounces, but the conversion should have been fine since the recipe turned out. Was it the type of molasses I used I wonder?

    1. Could be the molasses if it was a darker kind or just maybe a bit more baking than what I did but it really doesn’t matter, I love the dark color 🙂

  8. We tried the recipe 2 different ways but the smooth ball won’t seem to form and we don’t have paddle bits. Are they a necessity and is there anything we can do?

    1. 5 stars
      Can I make this dough a few days ahead of time I’d like to make it tonight and then have the kids roll and cut out their houses on the weekend would it hold up okay?

  9. hi
    can i use dark bron sugar instead of white sugar?

  10. hi
    can i store the leftover dough on room temperature ?
    if so how many days?

  11. Love your recipes, Liz!! 2 questions– 1) can I substitute some corn syrup, like 1/2 molasses 1/2 corn syrup because of cost and color? Molasses is more than twice the cost of corn syrup here and i am making a Large house, the house from the Home Alone movie to scale! 2) I want a red brick (not bright, but rust color). I am thinking to tint the dough and maybe dust or paint highlights if needed. What are your thoughts on that? I’m worried all molasses will make it too dark. Thanks!

  12. Hello thnx for the recipe. since the shortening is melted anyway, couldn’t oil be used instead? or does it result in an inferior dough/cooked product?

      1. Could unsalted butter be used instead of the vegetable shortening?

      1. I’m having issues with this measurement. I used the grams version of the recipe as most packaging here is in grams so it was easier for me to deal with. I don’t have a scale so I’m using google to convert to cups- not as accurate, I know but it’s what I’ve got. The grams measurement converts to 6 and 3/4 cups of flour. I get a super crumbly dough I have to add a considerable amount of shortening into to get to any sort of smooth consistency. When I switch the recipe back to oz and convert google tells me that 30oz of flour is 3 and 3/4 cups. This seems to be the only measurement in the recipe that comes up different when converted?

      2. I’m not sure why it’s converting to that large of an amount. The google amount isn’t correct either. I suggest using a scale only because it’s the best way to get accurate measuring and google never get’s it right. Check out this video on using a scale if you’re interested. According to my calculator, the amount should be 5 cups. 1 cup of flour (weighed properly) is 6oz
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKNPkeoGxx0

      3. You said 6 cups in another comment above. Is it 5 or 6?? I converted and it came up 3 3/4. ?

  13. Hello! Thanks for sharing this recipe, im wodering if i could make the royal icing few days ahead. Could i keep it in a piping bag or something to keep it soft or would it separate or get hard? thakyou!

    1. You can put it in a piping bag without the tip cut off to keep it airtight (tie off the top of the bag as well) and leave it at room temperature

  14. Can I use gluten free flour? My granddaughter gluten intolerant. Thank you

  15. Can I use lard instead of vegetable shortening.

  16. This looks fantastic! What are the rough measurements of the pieces of your template? I have another pattern I am going to use and I am trying to figure out how many times I need to multiply the recipe (I am making 14 houses!). Thank you!

  17. This is my first time attempting to make my own gingerbread house. We usually just buy a kit from the grocery store and every single time I get annoyed at it falling apart. So far I’ve only cooked the pieces of the house but I definitely got 3 houses out of it and it has all baked up nicely. Tomorrow I’ll do the assembly and then the next day we’re going to decorate. Thank you so much for the gingerbread recipe!

  18. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your recipe! So I made three houses with your recipe. However they baked really dark @ 300 for 55 minutes. I’m not sure if it because of how dark the molasses I used is or if they’re actually burnt! Such hard work to go to the garbage haha. May I ask what brand of molasses you use? Thanks a bunch for your tips & guidance.

    1. Oh I’m so sorry you threw it away. It should be dark and we are not eating this recipe. It is meant to be dark and hard so that it stays strong all month and does not collapse.

      1. Why wouldn’t you eat it? Reads like a nice cookie recipe. Everything in there is edible.
        BTW, what can I use instead of molasses? I cannot get them around here. What about honey/agave syrup/glucose/corn syrup? (listed from easier and cheaper to get to rarest and most expensive)

      2. You can definitely eat it but it’s very hard/crunchy so I don’t recommend to eat it. The point of the house is to be a decoration mainly. You can replace molasses with dark corn syrup. If you use honey or glucose the color will be very light.

      3. Just finished baking! I used light corn syrup bc I didn’t want it too dark, came out quite nice! And the windows so pretty! (to anyone reading: do use a lot of crushed candy, It disappears!). I prepared the dough, rolled it out on the parchment paper in the baking trays and kept it in the fridge till next day, then took the trays out of the fridge one by one, cut the shapes and bake.
        It took less then the time stated here, and my oven is not very powerful, maybe mine was thinner? I baked 40 minutes total (35+5 for the windows). I tasted one defective piece and it’s really crunchy but nothing a good dunk in coffee can’t fix XD
        I have a good quantity of dough left that I don’t think I’ll be needing, what do you think I could add to it to make it less crunchy and turn it into cookies? More fat? (I used butter) Extra egg? I’ll definitely up the cinnammon :p

      4. This recipe is for a sturdy gingerbread house, if you make the dough softer it could potentially collapse 🙂 The crunchy texture is normal.

  19. Hi thanks for sharing all those amazing recipes. Can i use 8 or 10 oz of molasses for example to qet a lighter cookie color, or how can i get a beautiful classic gingerbread color. Thanks again. Merry christmas.?

    1. This a standard gingerbread recipe, if you feel it’s too dark you could bake for a little less time but the cookie may not be as strong.

  20. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I had to make a huge house so i tripled the recipe and it worked so beautifully! It was so Easy to roll, cut, bake and assemble, this was my first gingerbread house from scratch and it turned out so great!! Thank you!

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