Hey friend, I'm Tessie! Along with my family, I'm in the process of renovating a 100 year old historic home. I'd love to share the process with you!
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For the past 15 years or so, our family has been making gingerbread houses every Christmas. It is one of our favorite family traditions and leaves our house smelling amazing for weeks afterward.
Each person in the family gets there very own house to decorate (we must keep our artistic freedom ha!) and we spend an afternoon listening to Christmas music and bedazzeling our houses with candy.
Making gingerbread houses takes a bit of planning but it is so worth it. I always think of it as a two day project. It is way too exhausting to make the gingerbread and decorate the houses in one day so I always dedicate one day to baking and one day to decorating.
My recipe makes 2 (7 inch) houses. To make 6 houses for our family I always triple the recipe.
I can only fit one batch at a time into my kitchen aid. So I mix up one then start on the next.
Once the dough is all mixed up it is important to refrigerate it for a couple of hours. I separate each batch of dough into two rectangles of saran wrap and pop them in the fridge.
Once the dough has been chilled, I roll it out onto a lightly floured counter and start cutting around the house templates.
My best helper is always Emma. She loves to make her own mini house.
It takes a couple of hours to bake all the pieces but I love the rhythm of rolling out the dough, smelling all the delicious smells and listening to Christmas music 🙂
Usually by the time all the dough is finished baking, I am completely tuckered out and ready to be done with gingerbread for the day. I let the gingerbread sit on the counter overnight then do the assembling and decorating the next day.
To assemble the houses it is important to use Royal Icing (recipe below). It is a great consistency for piping and hardens fairly quickly. It is important that when you are making your icing that you beat it until stiff peaks form. That means that the little peaks don’t bend over when you lift out a spoon.
To create the bases for the houses to sit on, I cut squares from an old cardboard box and cover them with tin foil.
I find that a larger round tip works great for putting the houses together. I usually use a #11 size tip.
Below is a little video of me putting together one of the houses. Now keep in mind this was filmed by my 8 year old, Emma, ha! The cinematography is lacking a bit but hopefully it will give you an idea of how I put them together. The most important thing to remember when assembling the houses is that once a piece has been placed try hard not to mess with it.
Pictured below I am using an actual pastry bag but you can use parchment triangles or disposable pastry bags too. I bought these bags this year and they worked like a charm.
The American Girl Doll getting in on the action 🙂
It’s almost time!
While I am putting together the houses, I usually have the kids get the candy ready by putting everything into bowls.
Now the fun part! Decorating time!!!
For the actual decorating of the house I like to use a smaller round tip #4 or #5.
Here is a short little clip of our family this year.
The finished product!!! 7 little houses all in a row on our dining room table.
Our houses from last year…
1 batch= 2 gingerbread houses (7”)
*Recipe Originally published in Family Fun Magazine November 2006
If you end up making these houses I would LOVE to hear about it! And remember sharing is caring so please remember to pin on Pinterest and share with your friends if you loved this post.
Please reach out with any questions and I hope you have the Merriest Christmas ever!!!
Whether you're sprucing up a closet or tackling an entire room, I designed this workbook with you in mind. I know fixing up a room can be overwhelming, but this workbook will give you a head start in organizing your thoughts and gaining confidence to dive head first into decorating your space.
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Thank you for this post! I was a little intimidated at the idea of making homemade houses. But, you kept the instructions simple. The pictures and the video were very helpful. I followed the directions exactly and they turned out perfect!!! And honestly weren’t that difficult nor as time consuming as I expected. My kids now want to do this every year.
I am so happy to hear that Kristi!!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and I am so glad it went well. It has been a much loved family tradition for our family for many many years 🙂
We had a blast making this recipe this year! This was our first time as a family making a homemade gingerbread house as well. It was a blast 🙂
Thank you for making it so easy to follow and having a very yummy gingerbread recipe!
Julie, I am so happy to hear that you had such a great time making the gingerbread houses! They have been a much beloved family tradition for our family!
I just made these and they turned out perfect! Can’t wait to start a family tradition. Thank you!
I’m so happy to hear that Linda!
Hello. For some reason I am unable to get the pattern to print properly off the Pinterest site. Would you be able to send it to me as a PDF? You can send it to email@example.com
We are hoping to have a large gingerbread village ready to be made by Sunday evening! Thank you so much and advance.
Does the recipe for the icing make enough for 2 houses?
Yes it does!
Confused… does (t) mean tablespoon or teaspoon?
Little t is for teaspoon and big T is for Tablespoon
I am making 6 houses. Will one batch of icing be enough? Should I double or triple it?
I would double it! If you like lots of icing you may need to triple it
I’m going to be making 8 of these houses! Do I need a batch of icing per house? Or 3 or 4 batches?
How fun! My guess would be to triple the icing recipe. But you might want to have supplies on hand to whip up some extra if needed 🙂
Do you omit the baking soda when making your houses?
The 2nd ingredient says 1 tsp baking soda
I did see that but some recipes say to omit it so the dough doesn’t rise when baked when making for gingerbread houses.
I always leave the baking soda in, but I’ve never heard of omitting it
Started a new tradition with my 2 1/2 yr grand daughter and 2 yr old grandson making ginger. Read houses this year. Love the recipe. Never made gingerbread before. They had a great time.
That is wonderful to hear Sue!
Can I make the icing ahead of time or does it need to be done the day do assembly?
Honestly, I always make it the day of decorating so I’m not quite sure. I think it should be ok to make ahead but would need to be covered and sealed well 🙂
Hi there. I am busy making this recipe & I couldn’t find molasses in the stores here so I I used muscovado sugar instead. I’ve just finished making the dough and it’s very crumby and not really sticking together. It sticks when I squeeze it between my hands but breaks very easily. Is this the correct consistency? Please help
Hi Lindsay! No, the dough should not be crumbly at all. It should be soft and moldable. You may need to try again. I’ve never made it without molasses so I’m not sure what to suggest as a substitute. Maybe try honey, corn syrup or maple syrup?
Thanks Tessie. I ended up making own molasses so will give the recipe another try. Not sure what to do with the dough that failed though.
Instead of refrigerating for 4 hours can i freeze it for 2?
I’m not sure! I’ve never tried that but please let us know if it turns out. I worry about the dough getting too cold in the freezer. It does get very hard to roll out if it’s too cold 🙂
How many 5 inch houses does 1 batch make?
Hi Jessie! I’m not exactly sure… I would guess 3
Can I cut the recipe in half to just make one ginger bread house ?
Yes, you can!
Hi! The houses came out great!! But I’ve made the icing twice and it’s so soupy. It does harden, but is sooo messy to work with. Please help!
Oh no! The icing definitely shouldn’t be soupy. I’m guessing you didn’t beat the egg whites long enough. They need to be beaten with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. You can test it by putting a spoon in and pulling it straight up. The peak of the frosting should not bend over at all, but stand straight up. Good luck!
I will try again. Thank you so much! Happy holidays!
Thanks so much for your template! I’ve only made tiny gingerbreadhouses before, this year it’s the first time I’m making larger houses with my girls. Happy Holidays! With love from The Netherlands
Thank you so much for posting this. Just what I wanted. I will try this soon and let you know how they turn out.
Hello from India….the recipe looks awesome …just one question before I start making it …is there any othe recipe than this royal icing which uses egg whites ..since it’s not cooked..don’t want to use it …please help
Hello! If you don’t want to use egg whites you can use meringue powder instead 🙂
Hi there! I was wondering how far in advance I could bake before I decorate. Would it be ok if I would bake a week or so before decorating? Thanks for your post! Can’t wait to try 🙂
Yes! Absolutely. You can definitely bake a week ahead of time and they’ll be just fine!
Hi ….I really want to try this recipe and send it across for my cousin …but little confused regarding the royal icing as will it stay for that long or should I try icing sugar icing instead … and what is the measurements of the walls , base, windows ,..I’ll try cutting them out on a hard paper
HI Khen! The royal icing dries very hard and lasts for a super long time. I’ve never used icing sugar so I can’t speak to it. The templates make a house that is 7 inches tall or a house that is 5 inches tall.. If you want specific measurements for the walls, I would suggest printing out the template and measuring them. As for the base, you can make it any size you please! I always eyeball it 🙂 Just make sure the base is VERY sturdy because the houses can get quite heavy. I always repurpose shipping boxes for this. Good luck!
Thank you for this post! I have come back to it every year since I found it! The icing holds well, the gingerbread is strong and tastes amazing!
My only question is that I can’t seem to find the link to the template this year … I usually just come here and re-print it each year. Will you please help!?
Okay, weird. When I posted the comment, it showed up right above the comment boxes. I promise it wasn’t there before :D.
Thank you again for your recipe and templates!
I’m so glad you got it figured out Lara!