How To Make A Gingerbread House

18th November 2022
How To Make A Gingerbread House

Does anyone else think that if Christmas had a smell, that smell would be of gingerbread? There’s something so festive and comforting about that standout scent - let alone how good actual gingerbread tastes!

Gingerbread houses are a really fun activity to make at Christmas - if you can get the children to glue the sweets to the house and not eat them all while they make it 😁. It’s also a lovely way to get the kids baking and creating – and off that Xbox!

In this blog I’ll share my full recipe for some amazing gingerbread, along with cut-out shapes and a TOP TIP on gluing the pieces so they instantly stick, rather than having to wait half an hour for icing to set or having bits sliding off the rooftop!

But first I wanted to share with you a little bit of history on these sweet little houses, as I was curious as to why we make them. I always thought Gingerbread houses came from Scandinavian counties (maybe because I have Swedish relatives and that’s where I first saw them) but in fact they originate in Germany. So I fired up good ol’ Google and did some research….

Gingerbread certainly has some fancy origins - in the 17th Century only bakers who were in the professional baker’s guild were allowed to bake gingerbread; the only exceptions were at Christmas and Easter during which time anyone was allowed to bake it.

You can’t think of the classic fairy-tale ‘Hansel and Gretel’ without thinking of gingerbread and in the 1800’s it became tradition to bake gingerbread houses in Germany after it was featured in the Brothers Grimm story. Many German markets sell fully made houses decorated with sweets just like the story when Hansel and Gretel came upon the sweet edible house and started to eat it.

As I was researching the tradition I also learnt that a town in Norway built what is claimed to be the world’s largest Gingerbread city - called Pepperkakebyen - so I wasn’t far wrong in my first thoughts, it is a big traditional in Scandinavian countries too.  At the moment it’s not a large part of our British traditions but you do often find kits in the shops at this time of year. If you don’t want to bake your own gingerbread, my top tip can be used on pre-made kits too!

Let's Get Baking Our Gingerbread House

You can purchase my Bake It for Santa Gingerbread Jars, which will have almost everything you need to bake Gingerbread. All you will need to add to these is a little butter and an egg. You can order these at or find me on Instagram and Facebook to place an order with me from the 1st December.

Recipe For The Gingerbread House

  1. Mix together all the dried ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers until it forms the consistency of breadcrumbs. You can do this in a food processor if you have one.
  3. Mix the egg and golden syrup together and add to your mix, bringing it together with a spatula until it clumps together. If using a food processor do this on the pulse setting.
  4. Once the mixture has formed a dough ball, remove from the bowl onto a floured work surface and knead together, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 12-30mins.
  5. Roll your dough out on a floured work surface to a thickness of 6mm and cut your shapes out carefully. You should have two ends, two sides, & two roof pieces. Re-roll any offcuts to ensure you have the correct number of shapes.  If your dough has warmed up a little too much place the cut shapes in the fridge to harden up again before baking, this will prevent the dough from spreading while in the oven.
  6. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden brown. Leave on the tray to cool completely before moving off the baking sheets or the shapes may crack.
  • 125g Butter
  • 175g Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Preparation time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 10 mins
  • Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Gingerbread House Plan
Gingerbread House Elevation Plan
Gingerbread House Plans

The Build of Your Gingerbread House - This Is My Top Tip

  1. In a frying pan, melt ½ a cup of sugar (no need to measure this part a rough measurement using a normal coffee cup is all you need), keeping the heat low so as not to burn the sugar. Keep stirring at all times. Be very careful as melted sugar can cause bad burns. I advise not allowing children to do this stage or be highly supervised by an adult.
  2. Once the sugar is melted, pick up one house side and dip the narrow side into the sugar, immediately place onto the house end, it should set very fast as the sugar cools. Repeat this step for all sides and the roof (see photos).
  3. Once set and cooled dip the whole house in the sugar to cover the bottom edges, place straight onto your cake board and allow it to set firmly before decorating.
Making A Gingerbread House
Building A Gingerbread House
Constructing A Gingerbread House

Decorating Your Gingerbread House

  1. Mix up some royal icing and pipe along the top edge of your house to create the look of snow, you can pipe along all the edges of the house if you wish, be creative.
  2. Why not add chocolate buttons to the roof to create the look of roof tiles. Add sweets and treats where ever you wish using the royal icing as glue.  Please know that royal icing does take some time to set so make it quite thick to help stop your sweets from sliding off your house.

As you can see below my own little Hansel & Gretel (aka Charlie and Lottie) love to make a house each year and then destroy it in seconds.  For me, it’s a joy to stand back and watch them bond whilst being creative together.

Decorating A Gingerbread House
Decorated Gingerbread House
Eating A Gingerbread House