DIY Gingerbread Houses: A Fun and Festive Christmas Craft

Looking to start a new holiday tradition or engage in a fun Christmas activity with your kids? Look no further! We have a fantastic and easy-to-follow recipe for DIY gingerbread houses that your kids will absolutely love. Not only do we provide free printable gingerbread house templates, but we also share step-by-step instructions on how to create these adorable treats. Get ready for a delightful experience that will surely bring the Christmas spirit to your home!

Why Choose this Recipe

We genuinely believe that this is the ultimate gingerbread house recipe. We have recently updated it to include a free printable gingerbread house template for your convenience. If you don’t have access to a printer, don’t worry! We also provide the measurements of the template pieces, allowing you to draw them out yourself. Our gingerbread house crafts are far superior to those made with graham crackers. Our recipe guarantees sturdy and durable walls and roofs that will withstand even the most enthusiastic decorating. Plus, we offer detailed step-by-step instructions to ensure your gingerbread house assembly goes smoothly.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

To achieve the perfect consistency and taste, it’s important to follow our ingredient guidelines. Please note the following:

  • Shortening: Do not substitute butter or coconut oil for the shortening. Shortening is essential for providing the necessary sturdiness to your gingerbread.
  • Molasses: You have the freedom to choose from various types of molasses, depending on your preferred flavor intensity. Whether you opt for dark or light molasses, the choice is yours.
  • Ginger: Surprisingly, our recipe does not require ground ginger. You won’t miss it, as the other flavors truly shine.
  • Vinegar: White distilled vinegar is our recommended choice, but if you only have apple cider vinegar on hand, it will still work perfectly fine.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour for the best results. Self-rising flour is not suitable for this recipe.
  • Royal Icing: For the best outcome, we highly recommend using our fail-proof Royal Icing recipe.

Gingerbread House Template Printable

For your convenience, we have prepared a free pattern that you can download and print. It is preferable to use card stock, but regular paper works too. Keep in mind that regular paper may become greasy from the cookie dough more quickly. After printing, simply cut out each piece along the solid lines. The door on the front-back piece does not need to be cut out unless you specifically want it removed. If you don’t have access to a printer, worry not! We have included the measurements you need to draw out your own gingerbread house patterns.

How to Make Step-by-Step Instructions

Now comes the fun part—making your gingerbread houses! Follow these simple steps:

  1. Print out and cut out the gingerbread house pattern.
  2. Prepare the cardboard or cake board you plan to use by covering it with foil. Set it aside.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray them with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar using hand beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  6. Add the molasses, vanilla extract, and vinegar, mixing well at medium speed.
  7. Gradually add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and 3 cups of flour.
  8. Mix in the water, followed by the remaining flour, at a low speed.
  9. Once the gingerbread dough is mixed, you can either chill it for later use or roll it out immediately.
  10. Roll out the room temperature cookie dough to a ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface with a rolling pin.
  11. Lay the templates you’ve cut out on the rolled-out dough.
  12. Using a sharp knife, cut out two side pieces, two roof pieces, and two front/back pieces for each gingerbread house you want to make.
  13. Use a large spatula to transfer each dough piece onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch between each piece.
  14. If you live in a hot or humid area, we recommend refrigerating the pans of dough for 20 minutes before baking to prevent excessive spreading.
  15. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes per pan. The edges should be browned and may appear overbaked, but this ensures they are hard, dry, and sturdy.
  16. Allow the gingerbread house pieces to cool completely on a wire rack while you prepare the royal icing.

How to Assemble Your Real Gingerbread House

  1. Decide where you want the back of your house to be and pipe a line of royal icing onto it. Set the back piece on the icing.
  2. Repeat the process for a side piece, piping the icing and attaching it to the back piece.
  3. Pipe icing between the side edges of the back and side pieces to secure them together.
  4. Apply additional royal icing to the inside and outside edges of the walls to ensure their stability.
  5. Add the second side piece by piping icing and attaching it to the back and first side.
  6. Pipe icing to glue the second side edge to the back wall edge.
  7. Pipe a line of icing for the front piece and attach it carefully.
  8. Secure the front piece by piping icing in the inside corner edges.
  9. Reinforce the edges and corners, both inside and out, with extra icing.
  10. Allow the structure to stand for 3-4 minutes to let the royal icing set slightly before adding the roof pieces.
  11. Pipe icing along all the edges where the roof pieces will rest.
  12. Carefully place the first roof piece on the house, holding it in place briefly to allow the icing to set.
  13. Pipe more icing and add the second roof piece, holding it securely.
  14. Lastly, pipe icing and attach the door wherever you desire.

Expert Tips

To ensure the smoothest experience possible, we’ve prepared some expert tips for you:

  1. Tip 1: Use a large spatula to transfer the large pieces of dough onto the baking sheet.
  2. Tip 2: If you fancy a door on the front of your house, cut it out from one of the front/back pieces. Bake the door cut-out along with the other pieces.
  3. Tip 3: If you live in a hot or humid area, consider refrigerating the pans of dough for 20 minutes before baking to prevent excessive spreading.
  4. Tip 4: Always start building with the back piece of the house to avoid underestimating the required space for the entire structure.
  5. Tip 5: Fill disposable frosting bags with a small amount of royal icing, secure the tops with rubber bands, and let your kids go wild with decorating.
  6. Tip 6: Leave the candy wrapped to maintain its freshness and enhance the appearance of your gingerbread house.


Building and decorating gingerbread houses is an enjoyable and memorable holiday activity that the whole family can engage in. With our DIY gingerbread house recipe, you can create beautiful and durable structures that will impress your loved ones. So, gather your little ones and embark on a delightful journey of creativity and fun. For more amazing recipes and exciting ideas, visit BDK Restaurant, your ultimate culinary guide!

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