How to Make a Gingerbread House from Scratch

A gingerbread house is a wonderful way to decorate for the holidays and is fun for the whole family. There’s nothing like the warm, sweet smell of molasses, ginger, and cinnamon baking in the oven to remind us of the magic of the season, surrounded by family and friends, celebrating together. 

The true joy of cookie houses is in the making. So have fun creating some wonderful memories. Or, how fun would it be to host a do-it-yourself gingerbread house party and let everyone make their own!

Cookie Houses

Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Gingerbread Cookie House

Never made a cookie house before, or maybe you’ve decided it was too difficult? No worries, we’ve made making cookie houses a piece of cake. No more rolling out the dough to get the walls and roof the same size and thickness. With our silicone cookie molds, just press the dough in the mold, bake, assemble, and have fun decorating!

Instead of buying a new gingerbread house kit every time you want to make one, that only lets you make one house and uses preservative-filled cookies and candies of unknown origin, let the whole family make their own using your own ingredients. Just start with a basic cookie house mold and get decorating!

Christmas Cookie House
Christmas Cookie Mold

Gingerbread House Dough Recipe

When making gingerbread cookies from scratch, you’ll want to use a Gingerbread Dough recipe which that is sturdy enough to support lots of decorations, but still tastes delicious. Use any remaining dough to make other fun shapes to match the season. It’s best to chill the dough for 30 minutes before pressing into the molds.

Or, you can use an easy gingerbread recipe that comes together in minutes using refrigerated sugar cookie dough found in most grocery stores. You’ll add some spices and flour to make the dough firmer, better for constructing a gingerbread house.

To plan ahead, you can make your dough a week before your planned decorating day and keep in the fridge. You can even freeze the dough for up to a month if it’s wrapped in plastic wrap.

After you press the dough into the molds, place them on a cookie sheet for stability. After baking, set the molds on a cooling rack for 12 minutes before removing the cookies from the mold. Let cool completely before assembling the house.

gingerbread dough
Gingerbread Dough

Assembling the Gingerbread Cookie House

Use a cake board, cake plate, or platter for the foundation. Or, you can cover a sheet pan with brown paper. Another idea is to use a Lazy Susan to construct and easily decorate the house. After the gingerbread pieces are completely cooled, fill a pastry bag with Royal Icing. The icing dries very quickly, so cover with a damp towel when it’s not being used.

1. Start With the Front Door Piece and Left Side First

Pipe icing on to all the connection points. Gently press together and hold for about a minute, or until icing sets. You can decorate the pieces before assembling, just make sure the decorations are completely set.

2. Continue Until All Four Sides Are in Place

build four walls next

3. Add the Roof Pieces One at a Time

If you are icing the roof or placing a lot of decorations on the roof, you might want to decorate first to avoid adding pressure when in place. Once all pieces are in place, fill in any gaps in the seams with additional icing. Let the icing completely dry before decorating.

Just for Show

If you want to make a cookie house to use as a decoration only and not to eat, use a glue gun instead of icing to build the house and attach the decorations. This way you won’t have to wait until the icing hardens before moving or transporting. Our test kitchen team took a cookie house on the road from Illinois to Ontario, Canada using this trick and it stayed together and still smelled great!

Decorating Your Cookie House

Now comes the fun part! The only rule for decorating is to use your imagination.

Tip: If you plan on eating your gingerbread house, do so in a couple of days. The longer it sits out, the more dry and flavorless it will become. If you plan on keeping the house on display longer, surround them with homemade gingerbread cookies decorated with softer icing for everyone to eat.

Some Ideas for Christmas Cookie Houses

Add candy cane pieces, jewel-toned gumdrops, red and green candies, red licorice, spice drops, sprinkles, confetti, jelly beans, or your favorite candy. Lay a path using crushed candy canes or pretzel sticks and top with powdered-sugar snow. To add a skating pond, spread out some blue icing or cut a blue fruit roll-up to make a circle. You could also flatten blue gummies with a rolling pin. Or even a small mirror. For some added cheer, make cookies in fun shapes like snowmen, reindeer, and presents and place around the house.

Christmas Cookie House

Some ideas for Halloween Cookie Houses:

Attach black and orange candy, candy corn, black licorice, mini marshmallows, or shredded cereal using icing as the glue. Lay a path to the front door with flattened candies, black jelly beans, or crushed cookie gravel. Add some cookies in fun shapes like skeletons, trees, tombstones, cats, spider webs, and pumpkins. Surround your house in pretzel-stick fencing or add pretzel sticks across the windows.

Halloween Cookie House
Cookie Houses

Glowing “Glass” Houses

And now for something completely different. How about a “glass” house that twinkles made from fruit-flavored hard candies like Jolly Ranchers®.

You’ll need 18 pieces for each side of the roof, 18 pieces for the front and back walls, and 16 pieces for the side walls. We used all the same colors but you can mix and match.

  1. Put the unwrapped candy pieces in the mold. Place the silicone molds on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F (176°C) for 12 minutes.
  2. Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. As the candy cools, it will harden. Because of the flexible silicone, you can easily pop out of the mold.
  3. Assemble using icing in the same order as a gingerbread house (above).
  4. Let the icing completely set then place battery-operated tea lights in the house for a glowing effect, or use flickering lights for a twinkling effect. A small flashlight propped up also works great.
Holiday House Made of Candy

55 Responses to How to Make a Gingerbread House from Scratch

  1. Bobbie Brown September 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm #

    Sure the Deluxe Cooking Blender is great, but this is my favorite product in the new fall line 🙂 I love you all on the product development team! Keep all those fantastic ideas coming!

    • Lisa December 21, 2019 at 12:43 pm #

      How do you get the bubbles out of the melted jolly ranchers?

  2. Cindy Lyons September 4, 2019 at 1:27 pm #

    I don’t care for the taste of gingerbread. Would sugar cookie work just as well? Be sturdy enough?

    • Dana September 19, 2019 at 1:07 pm #

      You can use this recipe and omit any ingredients you don’t like. https://www.pamperedchef.com/recipe/Desserts/Easy+Gingerbread+Cookies/1335021

    • Terry Metayer September 22, 2019 at 8:26 am #

      If you use store bought sugar cookie dough just add about 3/4 cup of flour to create a sturdier dough and you should be fine. ?

    • Maureen Kluever October 3, 2019 at 1:06 pm #

      You can use corn syrup instead of molasses and keep out the ginger, add a flavor you like instead. My family loves cinnamon and apple so that’s what I use. I’ve also put in half of the ginger for a milder flavor and that is what I love.

  3. Martha September 17, 2019 at 8:58 am #

    Yes, I want to know if sugar cookie dough would work, as well. Do you have any other cookie recipes that adapt to this set? It’s soooo cute!

  4. Cathy September 24, 2019 at 1:14 pm #

    If I make the hard candy house in a convection oven, I think I should turn off the fan. Does this sound right?

  5. Darby October 6, 2019 at 9:49 am #

    Would shortbread cookies work? Never tried to build from scratch.

  6. Carla October 8, 2019 at 10:05 pm #

    Can you clarify the candy pieces. Is it 18 pieces for each roof, 18 foe each front and back, and 16 for each side walls??

    • Pampered Chef October 9, 2019 at 8:56 am #

      Yes, that’s right. 18 pieces of candy for each roof piece.

  7. Carla Burlamaque October 10, 2019 at 10:52 pm #

    okay, in addition to the roof, please clarify the piece count for each set,as originally asked. It is not clear as to how many pieces per each tray is needed. A clearer recipe for each house piece would be greatly appreciated in order to advice customers who are asking. I would also like to create this display for parties and for persona use. Thank You

    • Pampered Chef October 11, 2019 at 10:34 am #

      Roof piece #1: 18 pieces
      Roof piece #2: 18 pieces
      Front of house: 18 pieces
      Back of house: 18 pieces
      Sidewall #1: 16 pieces
      Sidewall #2: 16 pieces

      Total pieces: 104

      • Kim October 20, 2019 at 11:29 am #

        We used only half the amount in each. It looks like it would overflow if you used the full amount above. Has anyone else tried it with the full amount of candy?

        • Brenda October 22, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

          How well did it work with half?

        • Natalie October 30, 2019 at 5:37 pm #

          How did half the amount of Jolly Ranchers work out for your house?
          Were the walls still stable?

        • Joyce O'Connell March 10, 2020 at 1:53 pm #

          Yes, I used the suggested amount and didn’t have any overflow.

      • Cathy October 26, 2019 at 7:55 am #

        I was misunderstanding the directions and did half. My house sunk in on itself after two days. I guess the walls were too thin.

        • Jodi Pipes November 27, 2019 at 6:23 pm #

          What is the dimensions of the houses when done ?

        • Marci December 16, 2019 at 9:01 am #

          Love these!! Made the candy houses and now I’m going to try the gingerbread. Has anyone used melting chocolate for a chocolate house? I wonder how that would come out!!

      • Debbie Lee December 14, 2019 at 7:47 pm #

        Does it take a full Royal icing recipe for each candy house?
        I’m making 12 of these for my grandkids ?
        That’s a lot of icing!!!

      • Maryanne January 14, 2020 at 9:35 am #

        For the glass house – do you grease the mold first?

        • Anita February 7, 2020 at 6:42 pm #

          the molds are silicone. It’s not recommended to use sprays or grease them.

  8. Kristin October 14, 2019 at 4:57 pm #

    Has anyone tried using jolly ranchers in the holiday molds? Curious how it turned out.

    • Rene October 20, 2019 at 6:25 pm #

      I’m still at a loss on how to keep the jolly rancher house pieces together, other than making the icing. Glue gun? It may slide off like the glue did lol

    • mary October 28, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

      Yes. We crushed the jolly ranchers first…. kids loved that part! Filled the molds, baked at 350 in convection oven 10 minutes, cooled and they came out great. Have not put the house together yet, as I have not made the royal icing frosting. But they are beautiful! So fun!

  9. Julie Remer October 16, 2019 at 5:21 pm #

    Does the easy gingerbread recipe make enough to fill a house mold?

    • Wendy Higham October 24, 2019 at 6:30 am #

      You would still use royal icing

    • Jamie December 4, 2019 at 5:34 pm #

      Yes I just made the easy recipe and it’s the perfect amount to make a complete house – just enough I might add!

  10. Kristy R Pitchford October 17, 2019 at 3:30 pm #

    Getting ready to try this recipe and wondering does the gingerbread dough recipe make enough for the house and the Halloween mold or do you have to double a recipe?

    • Jenn October 23, 2019 at 6:03 pm #

      Double the recipe to make sure you have enough for fun character cookies. The single recipe makes enough for the house only.

  11. Becky Casaccia October 23, 2019 at 5:53 am #

    Made our first house last night! The recipe for dough had enough to do the house, all the extra pieces, and still had some left over!

    • Natalie October 26, 2019 at 10:12 am #

      Was that just the recipe, as is, or doubled?
      I plan on making a house with the Halloween extra mold pieces, just wasn’t sure if I should double the recipe.

      Also, do I just press the dough into the molds or roll it out first?

  12. Keri Horn November 9, 2019 at 5:26 pm #

    I experimented today with my ginger bread mold I made a sugar cookie house a chocolate chip cookie house all with premade dough I also made a sugar cookie house with stain glass windows using jolly ranchers and I also made a jolly rancher house all came out amazing

    • Debbie November 13, 2019 at 4:56 pm #

      What size is the finished house?

    • Lisa December 7, 2019 at 7:15 am #

      Did you just use the premade dough as is or did you add flour? I am ready to put my jolly rancher houses together with the Royal icing so our cookie ones are next. We don’t like gingerbread so I am going to experiment with sugar cookie dough. Any one have any tips?

  13. Penny Kearney November 15, 2019 at 8:11 pm #

    As 100136 & 100134 come with two house molds, is the gingerbread recipe is enough dough to make two houses?

  14. BONNIE WALTON November 16, 2019 at 4:25 pm #

    I have an old recipe to make hard candy and flavor any way you like. We called this Glass Candy as a kid. Was wondering if this recipe would work in the molds? Candy is cooked to the “Hard Crack” stage.

    • Gina Luerding-Looten November 24, 2019 at 12:52 am #

      I was wondering this too. I think I will try it if the Jolly Rancher house turns out as well as I expect it too! 🙂 Would be so much better than sorting and unwrapping all of these … not to mention the obligatory eating of the unused Jolly Ranchers! LOL

  15. Heidi November 17, 2019 at 9:31 am #

    has anyone tried any other candy besides jolly ranchers?

    • TERESA JEAN December 10, 2019 at 2:25 pm #

      I used the butterscotch disks for my pumpkins in the Halloween mold. They turned out really cute.

  16. Theresa November 21, 2019 at 2:48 pm #

    What temp and for how long do you leave the gingerbread house in the oven? I’ve never made it before and I don’t see anywhere that gives time & temp. Recipe doesn’t either.

  17. Lisa M Coontz November 22, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

    Theresa, the directions for the Ginderbread house say 350 for 25 minutes.

  18. Robin J Doyal November 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm #

    Would the Jolly Rancher idea work with the stone molds? I’m thinking of putting them in for the windows and gingerbread for the rest. Do you think that would work with the stone mold?

  19. Kathy Monington November 25, 2019 at 8:39 am #

    This was so much fun! I made the Gingerbread men and reindeer by melting Werther’s candies in the molds!

  20. Julie November 26, 2019 at 9:54 pm #

    Pampered Chef, how many batches of the gingerbread recipe would I need to make 1 house and 1 tray of the christmas cookies that came with the house?

  21. Roger L December 2, 2019 at 5:45 am #

    I made only 1 gingerbread recipe to make the Christmas tray and the house. I still had 4 oz left to make a few more cookies.

  22. Katie December 4, 2019 at 2:52 pm #

    I’m a little confused on how to use these. Do I press the dough into each space and then back in the molds or do I roll out the dough and press the molds into the dough and then remove the molds? I want to try this with my daughter but want them to turn out right 😀

    • Katie December 4, 2019 at 2:52 pm #

      Bake* not back

    • Kristine Brown December 12, 2019 at 3:49 pm #

      I put a ball of dough into each mold and used my rolling pin to roll it all out flat, removing the extra to use again. Then I popped them out of the molds and baked them. I needed to make a lot so by the time I got one going (all the pieces fit perfectly on a large pan), I would use the mold to continue. Made 4 whole houses last night and plan to try the glass house one tonight.

  23. Angela December 5, 2019 at 7:48 pm #

    Does the easy gingerbread recipe make only one house per roll of sugar cookie dough??

  24. Carol December 6, 2019 at 8:07 am #

    Warning…do not put the jolly rancher houses anywhere near the oven when you are cooking. Mine was beautiful and my son moved it off the table to keep the grandkids from playing with it. He put it on the counter next to the hot oven and it warped and fell apart lol.

  25. Pat Stivers December 17, 2019 at 9:35 pm #

    The side of the candy mold piece that is against the mole is cloudy and it’s the side that goes to the outside. Did I do something wrong or is there a way to make it shiny like the other side??

  26. Carla Dyer February 27, 2020 at 9:20 pm #

    You can use white almond bark instead of royal icing. Dries fast and keeps the house rock solid for little ones to decorate. Been doing that for years w my grands. We assemble the houses in advance- use muffin tins to hold candies and other decorations- invite the grands and have a party! Can’t wait to use my new molds this year,,

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