Gingerbread House Icing

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If you are building a gingerbread house for Christmas this year, then you have to try this recipe for Gingerbread House Icing. This royal icing holds the cookies together so well that you can make the best gingerbread house ever and have lots of fun while doing it!

Decorated gingerbread house pieces and decorated gingerbread men.

The Best Royal Icing for a Gingerbread House

This gingerbread house icing recipe is by far the best “glue” I have ever used to build a gingerbread house! It’s easy to use, has the perfect consistency and dries quickly. The worst part is not having a good icing. No one wants all of their hard work to fall apart or for the decorations to slide off. 

Only 4 ingredients are required to make this frosting recipe. While I don’t mind using raw egg whites, you can also use pasteurized from the carton. I recommend this if you have kiddos who like to snack while they’re building. Plus, it makes for a tasty treat later! One of my favorite things to do is separate some of the gingerbread house icing into a piping bag with more detailed attachments. You can decorate the outside with “snow”, candy canes, sprinkles and other pretty accents.

Of course, you will need a recipe to make the cookies as well. Try this Gingerbread House cookie recipe for the yummiest and sturdiest ones ever.

Key Ingredients You’ll Need

We love recipes that call for minimal ingredients. This is an affordable icing that works amazingly!

Ingredients measured out for Gingerbread House Icing.
  • Powdered Sugar 
  • Egg Whites: Pasteurized or unpasteurized can be used (see more below.)
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Vanilla Extract

How To Make Gingerbread House Icing

In 2 simple steps, you will have the perfect royal icing for your gingerbread house.

  • Add Ingredients. To a large mixing bowl, add powdered sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla.
  • Whip. Beat with an electric mixer on low to incorporate the ingredients. Switch the setting to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form. I like using my stand mixer for this to really get everything mixed together well.
  • Use or Store. This icing is ready to use immediately. To store, place in an airtight container and cover with plastic wrap before adding the lid.
Royal Icing on a whisk.

How to Build the Gingerbread House with your Kids

Once you have your Gingerbread House pieces baked in the oven and dried out, you can make your gingerbread icing and start building! 

Undecorated gingerbread house pieces on a light wood background.
  • Build a Platform. Cover a cutting board or broken-down cardboard with aluminum foil for your platform.
  • Decorate the Sides. Using the gingerbread icing, decorate all of the walls of your gingerbread house. Allow them to dry completely before building. 
  • Start with the Back. Choose two cookies: one for the back of the house and one for a side. Pipe the icing along one of the long and short edges and place on the platform. Hold for a couple of minutes or until the icing dries. Use a glass to keep it upright. Pipe icing all the edges of the side piece that are going to be touching the back. 
  • Finish the Base. Repeat this process with the remaining sides to complete the base of the gingerbread house.
  • Let Dry. Allow the gingerbread house icing to dry for a minimum of 1 hour before adding a roof.
  • Build the Roof. Pipe a generous amount of icing in a line along the backside of the house where you will be attaching the roof pieces. Assemble the roof and hold it in place for a few minutes so the icing sets.
  • Dry and Enjoy. Let the gingerbread house dry for a minimum of 2-3 hours before enjoying it.
Decorated Gingerbread House

Tips and Tricks

  • Do not consume raw egg whites. Replace with pasteurized egg whites so it is safe to eat. It will not interfere with the integrity of the gingerbread house. Meringue powder is another alternative, I just prefer the flavor of this recipe over other royal icing recipes.
  • Prepare this gingerbread icing recipe up to 3 days before constructing the house.
  • Use as much icing as needed to make the gingerbread house.
  • Double or triple the recipe depending on the number of gingerbread houses you are planning to make.
  • Remember to decorate the pieces before assembling the house for best results.
  • Dust the house with powdered sugar after it’s constructed for a fun snow effect.
  • If you want to color the icing, you may add a little gel food coloring. Keep in mind that it will make it a little runny.
  • This icing also works perfectly with graham crackers if you are short on baking time and need a quick alternative.

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Gingerbread House Icing

If you are building a gingerbread house this year, then you have to try this recipe for Gingerbread House Icing. It holds the cookies together so well that you can make the best gingerbread house ever and have lots of fun while doing it!
Servings: 1 house
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes



  • In a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, combine powdered sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract.
  • Whip on low until all ingredients are incorporated then turn the mixer to medium-high until soft peaks form.
  • Use immediately to decorate your gingerbread house recipe or store with plastic wrap on top of the icing and sealed completely.

Last Step:

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To Build a Gingerbread House…
  1. Build a platform to create your gingerbread house. You can use a broken-down box or even a cutting board. I used a cutting board and covered it in aluminum foil for my platform.
  2. Decorate all of the sides of your gingerbread house before you assemble. You will need to let decorated pieces dry before you start.
  3. Start with the back of the house piece and one of the sides. Pipe a generous amount of icing on the long edge and one short edge of the side of the house and place on your base. Hold in place for a few minutes to allow the icing to start to dry. Prop that piece up with a glass or something sturdy while you work on the second piece.
  4. Pipe a generous amount of icing on the bottom and side that will be touching the side piece of gingerbread house that is already attached to the base.
    Continue to do the same thing to the other remaining pieces of gingerbread house base. Use as many glasses or other items to help prop up the sides of the gingerbread house.
  5. Once your base has been assembled, pipe as much icing as needed to fill any voids in the gingerbread house.
  6. Let the gingerbread house base dry for an hour before attaching the roof of the gingerbread house.
Then you will want to pipe a generous amount of icing on the backside of the gingerbread house in a line to where it will line up with the front and back pieces. Assemble the roof onto the house, you will have to hold pieces in place for a few minutes to give the icing time to dry slightly. Let the gingerbread house dry for 2-3 hours then you are all done and enjoy!
  • This icing has raw egg whites in the recipe, it is not safe to consume but it does make great icing to help glue gingerbread houses together.
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before being used to construct a gingerbread house.
  • Use as much as necessary to help “glue” the gingerbread house together.
    This recipe can be doubled or tripled if you are decorating several houses.
  • Decorate your pieces before you assemble the gingerbread house.
  • I used powdered sugar after the house was all decorated and put together to lightly dust the top of the gingerbread house.
  • You can add gel food coloring to the icing but just a warning it will make it a little bit runny.
  • If you want to be able to consume icing, you can use pasteurized egg whites for this recipe.


Calories: 3564kcal | Carbohydrates: 897g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 399mg | Sugar: 871g | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg


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2 comments on “Gingerbread House Icing”

    1. Hi Mary Grace. There is no water. Definitely shouldn’t be lumpy. You’ll have to mix on medium-high until soft peaks form.