3 Ways to Create Stunning Gingerbread House Windows without a Candy Thermometer!

Every Christmas, my family and I indulge in the delightful tradition of making a gingerbread house. However, we don’t settle for just any ordinary gingerbread house. Year after year, we challenge ourselves to come up with new and exciting designs, dedicating an entire week to bring our creation to life.


In our second year of crafting gingerbread houses from scratch, I decided it was time to explore the art of making stained glass windows. There are numerous techniques out there, some quite complex, but I have narrowed it down to three easy methods that require minimal skill. Safety is important, so remember to keep these tips in mind before you begin:

  1. Protect your skin from the scorching heat of melted sugar. This is a task better suited for adults, as it requires caution and expertise.
  2. Keep an eye on the sugar while it cooks. It can quickly transition from “ready” to “burned” if left unattended.
  3. Cut the windows out of your gingerbread before baking it. This will ensure clean cuts without any breakages.
  4. Expect your glass to have an amber color rather than clear white. Achieving clear glass requires skill and a candy thermometer. If you desire more color, add food coloring before pouring the glass.
  5. Don’t worry if your cookware or utensils end up coated in hardened sugar. Simply fill them with hot water and let them soak overnight. The sugar will dissolve.
  6. Choose an LED light for the inside of your gingerbread house to avoid melting the sugar and icing.

3 Ways to Make Sugar Glass Gingerbread House Windows

Melted Candy – The Easiest Method

This technique requires the simplest ingredients and no special tools.


  • Hard Candy (Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, Butterscotch candies) – choose candies with colors, transparency, and texture that match your vision
  • Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil
  • Ziploc Bag


  1. Place your pre-baked gingerbread face up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Put the hard candies in a Ziploc bag and crush them using a rolling pin or meat mallet.
  3. Sprinkle the crushed pieces into the window openings. Use more than you think you’ll need as they will melt down during baking.
  4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for approximately 5 minutes, but keep a close eye on it as baking times may vary.
  5. The windows are ready when the glass surface appears smooth without any lumps.
  6. Allow the gingerbread house to cool before removing it from the baking sheet.

Melted Sugar (Stovetop) – Simple and Effective

This method requires only one ingredient – sugar – and doesn’t necessitate any special tools.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden or metal spoon for stirring (avoid plastic)
  • Food coloring (if desired)
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil


  1. Place your pre-baked gingerbread face up on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Put 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan.
  3. Stir the sugar over medium heat until it melts completely. The sugar should turn into a deep amber color.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in food coloring if desired.
  5. Carefully and quickly pour the melted sugar into the window openings. As it cools and hardens, it may not pour evenly. Remember not to fill the openings to the top to allow light to shine through.
  6. Let the gingerbread house cool before removing it from the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Microwave – The Easiest Method of All

This is my personal favorite – quick, simple, and almost foolproof!


  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup Karo (corn) syrup
  • Large Pyrex or other microwave-safe glass measuring cup with handle
  • Wooden or metal spoon for stirring (avoid plastic)
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil
  • Food coloring (if desired)


  1. Place your pre-baked gingerbread face up on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Mix together the sugar and Karo syrup in a large microwave-safe glass measuring cup with a handle.
  3. Microwave the mixture for 5 minutes.*
  4. Remove the cup from the microwave using the handle and stir. Continue microwaving in 30-second intervals until the mixture turns a light amber color.*
  5. Stir in food coloring if desired.
  6. Pour the mixture into the window openings.
  7. Allow the gingerbread house to cool before removing it from the parchment paper.

*Microwave wattage and performance vary, so keep a close eye on the sugar. Pay attention to avoid overcooking and avoid accidents.


Gingerbread Window Video Tutorial

For a more visual guide, check out the video tutorial below:

BDK Restaurant


  • Tips for Making Your Own Gingerbread House Without Losing Your Mind
  • The Best Frosting for Homemade Gingerbread Houses
  • Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses with Easy Icing


With these three uncomplicated techniques, you can create beautiful gingerbread house windows that will add a touch of magic to your holiday season. So gather your loved ones, let your creativity flow, and enjoy the joyous tradition of crafting gingerbread houses together!

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