Simple gingerbread house

Simple gingerbread house

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(62 ratings)

More effort

Makes 1 house
Use this gingerbread recipe to get the kids in the kitchen and create some magical memories

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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    For the gingerbread

    • 250g unsalted butter
    • 200g dark muscovado sugar
    • 7 tbsp golden syrup
    • 600g plain flour
    • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

    • 4 tsp ground ginger

    To decorate

    • 200g bag flaked almond
    • 2 egg white
    • 500g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
    • 125g pack mini chocolate fingers
    • generous selection of sweets of your choice, choose your own colour theme
    • 1 mini chocolate roll or a dipped chocolate flake
    • few edible silver balls


    1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large bowl, then stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough. If it won’t quite come together, add a tiny splash of water.

    2. Cut out the template (see below to download). Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough to the thickness of two £1 coins. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on its baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have two side walls, a front and back wall and two roof panels. Any leftover dough can be cut into Christmas trees, if you like.

    3. Pick out the most intact flaked almonds and gently poke them into the roof sections, pointy-end first, to look like roof tiles. Bake all the sections for 12 mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Leave to cool for a few mins to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave to cool completely.

    4. Put the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, then stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together. Use a small bowl to support the walls from the inside, then allow to dry, ideally for a few hours.

    5. Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on. The angle is steep so you may need to hold these on firmly for a few mins until the icing starts to dry. Dry completely, ideally overnight. To decorate, pipe a little icing along the length of 20 mini chocolate fingers and stick these lengthways onto the side walls of the house. Use three, upright, for the door.

    6. Using the icing, stick sweets around the door and on the front of the house. To make the icicles, start with the nozzle at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a pea-sized blob of icing. Keeping the pressure on, pull the nozzle down and then off – the icing will pull away, leaving a pointy trail. Repeat all around the front of the house. Cut the chocolate mini roll or dipped Flake on an angle, then fix with icing to make a chimney. Pipe a little icing around the top. If you’ve made gingerbread trees, decorate these now, too, topping each with a silver ball, if using. Dust the roof with icing sugar for a snowy effect. Lay a winding path of sweets, and fix gingerbread trees around and about using blobs of icing. Your gingerbread house will be edible for about a week but will last a lot longer.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Comments (152)

    sarahhardy27's picture

    Hi, was wanting to make a dairy free version of this. Was wondering if using a butter replacement , such as coconut oil, or margarine would work ? Has anyone tried this ? Thanks

    Indi71's picture

    The recipe was really good and the biscuit tasted great! But I would advise that if you are in a humid climate (like Australia) than to put the house together at night when it is cool, because the icing will just melt. Another solution to this problem could be to use a stronger icing then the recipe uses.

    Lexiec's picture

    My children aged 13 and 10 have just finished making this, pretty much on their own. They are absolutely delighted with the finished result. It looks brilliant! My son is allergic to dairy and egg so we used Tomor kosher hard margarine (although I think any hard marg would do). For the icing and to glue it together, we just made quite thick water icing (no egg) and it has stuck together without any problem at all. I trimmed the pieces with a sharp knife when they came out of the oven so that it all still fitted together. Oh yes, and the offcuts we tried tasted delicious too! Thank you, BBC Good Food.

    liensirch's picture

    Have made many of these gingerbread houses and have had no problem with them and everyone that has received them have loved them.
    Stop icing drying out by putting a damp teatowel over the bowl.
    Prop the walls up with bean tins or anything else until the icing has dried enough. Its almost like building a house of cards.
    Piped scollops on the roof instead of using nuts, it was easier.

    Joesyjo's picture

    Followed this recipe exactly and it worked perfectly. It was a real struggle to get all the bits stuck together, even when using toothpicks as suggested in other posts. We got in complete mess with icing everywhere, but we had fun anyway. Although our house does not look anything like the one in the photo!

    fionaclaireporter's picture

    Followed the recipe closely (except for skipping the flaked almonds) and it worked really well! Baking time was about right too.

    cdjones's picture

    I made this at Christmas, and it went perfectly! I just stuck on white chocolate buttons for snowy tiles on the roof when decorating, rather than baking with flaked almonds. Very easy to make and looks fabulous!

    Gurlmail's picture

    I cant download the template either - it just slides when I click on click here

    Fidra's picture

    I've just made this! Be very careful to use plain flour, and I'd recommend putting it on the bottom shelf of your oven, it will take more than 12 minutes, I'd say 15 to 20, I've just made it into biscuits, next year I'll try making a gingerbread house. Taste is wonderful! Easy to make, (probably easier to eat...)

    Claire Thomas's picture

    I can't download the templates, please can someone help ... !

    laevans's picture

    Well, I made the dough using a GF flour but had to leave it overnight in the fridge so am hoping it will bake ok today! Thanks to all the previous comments I know to use cocktail sticks as supports whilst the icing sets and I shall be using a different template as the one on this page steadfastly refuses to make an appearance!

    Claudia15's picture

    same for me :(

    cassu33's picture

    The pdf won't open for me?

    Nichola_123's picture

    I found this recipe easy enough to do. I made it dairy and gluten free by substituting the flour for Doves Farm Plain GF flour and the butter for Pure dairy free sunflower spread. Due to using the spread the dough was a bit oily but a couple of spoons of flour in to the bowl dried it out a bit. I added about a tea spoon of xanthan gum but not sure if it made a difference. Unfortunately I broke the roof but I think it was due to my heavy handedness rather than the recipe as the 4 sides turned out great. I'm going to make the dough again next week as a castle to decorate with my niece (avoiding the roof!). I had some dough left over for gingerbread men.

    moose1906's picture

    The gingerbread house was very hard to construct.
    We found that the walls and roof didn't stick together very well - partly because it rose in the oven and was thicker than it should have been. The recipe suggested using a bowl as a support which was very awkward. My daughter Pippa came up with a brilliant idea of using wooden skewer sticks and sticking them through the adjoining walls to hold them together until the icing had set. This was much easier.

    Fiona bake's picture

    It was my fist gingerbread house and I found the recipe worked very well and tasted delicious. The template downloaded and printed too small so I had to resize it in a word document using the dimensions given in a helpful previous post. I used packet royal icing instead of making my own with egg whites and this worked well. I cut out a door and added chocolate buttons to the roof instead of baking with almonds. I also added candy canes, jelly beans and mini marshmallows! I slipped shot glasses under the roof to stop it sliding off and let it set overnight. There was enough mixture left for biscuits so I added snowmen, trees and a Santa to the garden. It looked and tasted fab so I will use the recipe again!


    Questions (7)

    Karry04's picture

    How long will the gingerbread house keep for ?

    goodfoodteam's picture

    Thanks for your question. The gingerbread will stay fresh and crisp for about a week but if you're not planning to eat it, you can make it as far in advance as you like.

    wendolenek's picture

    I can't download the template :(

    samilou1989's picture

    Can someone quickly tell me how long I can leave this before eating? Thanks x

    goodfoodteam's picture

    Hi samilou1989 the gingerbread is ready to eat once it has been baked and is cool enough to handle and will be fine to eat for 1 week. Any longer and it should just be used as a decorative item and not eaten.

    sjms's picture

    Quick question!! Can the dough be frozen??

    last edited: 10:28, 18th Oct, 2013
    goodfoodteam's picture

    Thanks for your question, this dough should be fine to freeze, just defrost overnight in the fridge before using.

    Tips (1)

    ceeayebee's picture

    I make these every year, and due to losing my notes I used this as a basis ( I like a bit more spice and some fresh ginger in mine). It was just fine creating quite a hard biscuit, that softens up nicely after a week or so. Anyway some points I find helpful after much trial and error:

    1. When the gingerbread cooks it obviously rises and misshapes a bit. Some of the joints need to be quite precise, eg walls and roof. Therefore you have to trim them to the template after cooking too. If you do it as soon as it is cool enough to handle it will cut really easily. If it has cooled then you need a serated knife. For this reason it makes sense to just do a couple of pieces at a time.

    2. If you want windows with coloured glass in them ( looks pretty when you pop a candle in), then precut the windows, and put broken up boiled sweets in the gap. This will set into the gingerbread like a clear piece of glass. two things: makesure you cook it on baking paper. Overcut the windows a bit because the holes shrink, and be prepared that they will be a bit rustic (ie not straight edges).

    3. For icing I use royal icing. Ie with egg white powder ( some people are funny about raw egg white) and a tsp of lemon juice this apparently prevents over whipping so you can have the confidence to give it a really hard ziz with the machine ( you can look up the instructions in google/ back of the packet). If it is drying too fast/not fast enough as many comments say then just add a drop more water/icing sugar, to get the thickness required. My experience is icing doesn't really dry out quickly if you tie off the bag without air in it, it seems to lasts hours. Equally, if you trim it correctly ( ie flat surfaces to flat surfaces) then it should stick to each other just fine. Another trick if the above doesn't work is to cut 'foundations' in the base piece. At a minimum I always use some spare straight off cuts to reinforce the base on the inside and give it two right angle surfaces to stick to. (For me the outside is more important than the inside...nobody will see it).

    4. My biggest problem/worry is the roof sliding off. I tackle this by engineering cross beams ( just the off cuts rolled straight), I then cut a small hole in the roof which fits onto the beam like a peg would. But I love the idea of using cocktail sticks. (I guess you have to work fast to get them stuck in though? How do you get them out? / Avoid people eating them?) The beams also allow you to fill the loft/roof area with sweets and still be able to have the candle twinkling though the coloured windows.

    5. The templates are just guides, for me the fun is in designing it myself!

    6. For the snow, icicles, water icing ( just icing sugar mixed with water) works well, especially if sticking things like grated coconut for snow. In my head the glaze makes it keep longer too.