A fun activity that you can do with your kids during the holidays is make a Gingerbread House. This homemade gingerbread house recipe provides you with a structurally sound house that tastes good, too! You will want to make it every Christmas.
Christmas Gingerbread House
There is no better tradition than sitting down and making a gingerbread house with your kids. It’s so much fun watching them decorate (and snack) on the gingerbread cookies and candies. I remember making one every year with my mom and siblings. It was one of the things that we all looked forward to most during Christmas time. We would listen to Christmas music and enjoy each other’s company. Since then, I have carried out the tradition with my children too.
This recipe is a super simple one, but it works perfectly. It has the best gingerbread flavor and holds up so well that you can guarantee your house will stay standing long enough to get some pictures before it’s eaten. Who wants to wait, right? I promise that this no-fail recipe will be one that you will keep around and make every Christmas.
Need a royal icing recipe? No problem! This recipe for Gingerbread House Icing is perfect to pipe with these cookies so you can create the best Christmas cookie house this year.
What You’ll Need
The spices and molasses are key to making the best-tasting gingerbread. It helps that your whole house smells amazing while they bake, too!
- Butter: Allow the butter to soften at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to incorporate it into the gingerbread dough properly.
- Molasses: this gives the cookie house and wonderful gingerbread flavor.
- Shortening: The addition of the shortening helps with the structural integrity of the gingerbread house.
- Flour: you need all-purpose flour.
- Spices: Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger and Nutmeg
- Baking Soda
- Gingerbread House Icing: you’ll need this for decorating.
- Cookie House Cutters: this is optional. You can also cut out a template if you wish.
How to Make a Gingerbread House
These step-by-step instructions will help you achieve the most successful gingerbread house base.
- Step 1. Add butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and cream until fluffy using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Step 2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add egg, molasses, and shortening. Continue to beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
- Step 3. Whisk flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda; your dry ingredients in a separate large bowl.
- Step 4. Pour the flour mixture into the wet mixture one half at a time, mixing until smooth.
- Step 5. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Step 6. Line your counter with parchment paper and place the dough on top. Place another piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll with a rolling pin until it is ¼ inch thick.
- Step 7. Cut out the shapes using Cookie House cutters (or template) and dough cutter. Transfer the cookie cutouts to a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Step 8. Place the cookie dough back in the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes.
- Step 9. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
- Step 10. Remove the gingerbread dough from the refrigerator and bake for 15 minutes.
- Step 11. Allow the gingerbread cookies to cool completely on the pan and then overnight at room temperature to dry out. This will ensure that they will be stiff enough to build the house.
Tips and Tricks
- If you can use a dough cutter, I highly recommend it. It was much easier to cut straight lines. However, you can also use a sharp knife if you prefer.
- Use a little flour if the cookie dough is sticking to the parchment paper.
- This is the perfect make-ahead recipe! Make your gingerbread house up to 1 week before assembling.
Candies for Decorating a Homemade Gingerbread House
Our Gingerbread Icing Recipe post gives you all the details of how to decorate a gingerbread house. Here are some of our favorite candies to use.
- Gum Drops
- Candy Canes (original or mini)
- M&M’s or Skittles
- Mini Marshmallows
- Cotton Candy
- Swirly Lollipops
- Hard Candies
More Gingerbread Recipes
- Gingerbread Fudge
- Gingerbread Cheesecake
- White Chocolate Gingerbread Balls
- Pumpkin Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
- Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add in the egg, molasses, and shortening. Beat until mixture is well blended.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the molasses mixture until well combined, then add the other half of the flour mixture and mix until smooth and well mixed.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Place parchment paper on the countertop and then place dough on top. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough. Roll out the dough to ¼ in thick.
- Using a template and a dough cutter, cut out the shapes needed for the gingerbread house. Using the parchment paper, transfer the cutout dough for the gingerbread house to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, this helps to prevent dough from spreading while baking.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Bake the gingerbread house for 15 minutes.
- Allow the gingerbread pieces to cool and sit at room temperature overnight until dried out. You may need to allow the pieces to dry longer at room temperature before decorating. This will help it be easier to build your gingerbread house.
- Decorate with Gingerbread House Icing.
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- You can use a sharp knife to cut the gingerbread dough to the template, but I found it was easier to use a dough cutter to make nice straight lines.
- If you want, you can lay cooled gingerbread pieces on a paper towel to help the gingerbread house dry out overnight.
- If the paper is sticking to the dough, use a little flour to help it keep from sticking. You can also cut out the template using parchment paper.
- Baked gingerbread pieces can be baked up to 1 week ahead of time.