How to Make a Gingerbread House

Impress everyone you celebrate with this season by showing off your master building skills thanks to step-by-step photos and easy-to-follow directions for a gingerbread house of your very own.

How to Make a Gingerbread House

Bring out the child in everyone when you place this adorably cute and deceptively simple Hansel & Gretel-style Gingerbread House in the center of your table. It truly is a home for the holidays

While this gingerbread house is easy to build, just like with any project, proper planning will make things run much more smoothly. After you’ve baked the pieces according to the Gingerbread House recipe directions, follow these plans for decorating and assembling.

Before starting, you'll need to print and cut out the pattern pieces from our downloadable PDF. You'll also need to find a large platter, a baking sheet, or even a piece of plywood to use as a base, then build the gingerbread house on it. Once the house is assembled, you won’t be able to move it unless you’ve done so on a sturdy base.

You can make, bake, decorate, and assemble this gingerbread house in stages over the course of several days.

Tips for Gingerbread House Success

Follow these tips for the sturdiest, best-looking gingerbread house possible.

  • Apply any decorations to the front, back, and side pieces before assembling.

  • Allow any additions attached with royal icing to dry before moving.

  • Set a scene with landscape elements, like sugar cone trees, pine boughs, or cinnamon stick log bundles.


How to Build a Gingerbread House

Step 1: Prepare Gingerbread Dough

Gingerbread-Cottage-Step1 Prepare gingerbread dough according to Gingerbread House recipe instructions. Divide dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, then chill 3–4 hours. Roll one dough half on floured parchment paper to ¼-inch thick.

Step 2: Cut Out & Bake Pieces

Gingerbread-Cottage-Step2 Preheat oven to 375°.

Arrange two pattern pieces on dough, with at least ½-inch between pieces, then cut around patterns with a sharp knife. Remove, cover, and chill excess dough.

Slide parchment with dough cutouts onto a large cookie sheet.

Bake cutouts until firm in center, 8–10 minutes. Repeat process with remaining dough and scraps until all six pieces are rolled, cut, and baked.

Step 3: Trim Baked Pieces

Gingerbread-Cottage-Step3 Arrange matching pattern pieces on top of baked cutouts, then carefully trim with a sharp knife for straight, even edges. Remove pattern pieces, then return cutouts to oven until dry and lightly browned, 2–4 minutes more. Transfer parchment with cutouts to a rack to cool completely

Step 4: Decorate the Windows, Door & Trim

Gingerbread-Cottage-Step4 Pipe windows and door on front and side pieces on a flat surface in white icing with a small straight tip.

Add pretzels and candy trim using white icing as glue.

Split wafer cookies in half with a knife, trim to fit, and press onto both sides of each window for shutters. (Outer shutters may not be flush with walls.)

Step 5: Decorate the Chimney

Gingerbread-Cottage-Step5 Pipe chimney on back piece on a flat surface in white icing with a large straight tip, making it wider at the bottom. Press mixed nuts into wet icing for stones.

For garland, pipe green icing into swags with a small star tip on front and back pieces. Let all icing dry before beginning assembly, about 2 hours.

Step 6: Assemble the House

Gingerbread-Cottage-Step6 To assemble line up front of cottage and one of the sides, so the side meets just behind the edge of front piece. Pipe a bead of white icing along inside edge of front piece and attach edges to form a corner. Hold pieces in place with heavy mugs until dry, 1–2 hours. Repeat piping with other side, then attach back cottage piece.

Step 7: Add Roof & Shingles

Gingerbread-Cottage-Step7 When walls dry, attach roof pieces with icing beads. (Bottom edge of roof will hang over.)

When roof pieces are dry, pipe or spread white icing over only half of roof surface. While still wet, start at bottom edge, and top with shredded wheat cereal pieces, staggering them and using cut pieces at row ends. Repeat until roof is covered.


Love baking? Check out all of our holiday dessert recipes, here!

Tags: How-to

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