The ULTIMATE Gingerbread House Guide

biscuits christmas Dessert gingerbread recipe

Introducing our BEST foolproof guide to making a gingerbread house, from proper spicing to meringue-style icing.

Gingerbread houses: arguably the best Christmas crowd pleaser and well worth the effort to make from scratch.

If you’re planning on grabbing a shop bought kit this winter, we plead you to PLEASE reconsider. Whilst they’re mighty convenient, they won't compare to home-baked ones. If you’ve bought one before, you may be familiar with the stiff, liquorice-tasting biscuit which is made to keep for several months in the box. This recipe makes for a beautifully spiced, sturdy, yet chewy gingerbread which we promise is worth the extra time.

This is a great bake to make with others, especially if you can lure them in to help you assemble it. Though, be warned, your sweets may disappear before you get round to decorating.

Please note: the hour prep time is made up of both the preparation and decorating time however it does not include the time to chill the dough (which should be at least 5 hours). We recommend you start baking in the afternoon, make dinner while the dough is chilling and then bake and assemble the house in the evening. This will allow it to set overnight (making it nice and sturdy) ready for you to decorate the next day.

[[ recipeID=recipe-8lsbny5vy, title=The ULTIMATE Gingerbread House Guide ]]

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The ULTIMATE Gingerbread House Guide


Keywords: Cookie, Gingerbread, Christmas, Festive, Holiday, Sweets

  • Prep Time: 1 hours 0 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hours 20 mins




For the house

  • 375 g plain flour
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 85 g softened unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 125 ml black treacle
  • 1 large egg

For decoration

  • 600 g icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • Lots of sweets and sprinkles
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract


Gingerbread House

  1. Mix plain flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon.
  2. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar together (using an electric mixer or whisk) until smooth. Then mix in the eggs, black treacle and 1 tsp of water gradually but whilst on a high mixer setting.
  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet on a low whisk setting to create a firm dough. You may find it easier to use your hands at this stage to combine the dough and avoid it sticking to the whisk).
  4. Divide the dough into three and flatten into discs (approx 2 fingers in height), cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This allows the dough to chill, making it less likely to spread in the oven so you have a nice, even structure.
  5. Meanwhile measure and cut the templates below onto paper.
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line at least two baking trays with baking parchment - you may need more depending on the size of your trays.
  2. Remove each disc from the refrigerator and roll between two sheets of baking paper to about 6-7mm thick. With other types of biscuits you may be used to flouring the surface but this mix is quite sticky so to avoid making it dry by using too much flour, use baking paper.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut each of the gingerbread house templates precisely. If you have any left over you could make a tree or person.
  4. Arrange the gingerbread house pieces onto the baking trays and spread them out as far as possible. Make sure to carefully transfer them onto the tray, use another person or as much as your hand as possible to avoid the pieces stretching.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly browned and leave to completely cool down on a flat surface. It’s important to let them cool down completely as they will firm up in the process, so don’t be too worried if they still look a little bit squidgy when you take them out the oven. The smaller pieces may take a shorter amount of time to cook so place them nearest to the door and keep checking when they’re done (most likely around 5 minutes less than the bigger pieces).
  6. Note: at this point you can store the biscuits at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week if pre-preparing, but they taste better relatively sooner. They can also be frozen for up to two months. 


  1. Make the icing by whisking the egg whites, sugar and lemon juice on a low speed for 5-10 minutes or until fairly stiff. The mixture should resemble semi-stiff peaks, such that it dries and holds the house in place.
  2. Transfer the icing to a piping bag with a basic round nozzle and construct the house on a large plate or cake base. Ice along the sides of the pieces and use a friend or kitchen utensils to help prop up the walls for a couple mins until dry.
  3. Once stable, ice along the tops of the walls and apply the roof pieces (depending on the exact consistency of your icing, it may be helpful to pop in the fridge for 30 mins-1 hour).
  4. After the house has been assembled, ice the chimney together separately and add to the roof when stable enough to do so. Wait for the house to dry completely before decorating, ideally overnight. Tightly cover leftover icing and put in the fridge until ready to decorate (max 1 day). 
  5. Use a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice, the leftover icing and sweets to decorate the house. We recommend gum drops, smarties, chocolate buttons, peppermint swirls and candy canes as the best for sprucing up your house.