The BEST Gingerbread House Recipe and Printable Gingerbread House Templates

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This is the BEST gingerbread house recipe around.  We've made thousands of gingerbread houses over the years, and I even competed on the Food Network's Holiday Gingerbread Showdown.  This is the gingerbread recipe you want.  It's rigid enough for construction, but still absolutely delicious and tender enough for eating.  And I even have free gingerbread house template printables for you, too.

Make an amazing gingerbread house this holiday season with the BEST gingerbread house recipe and free printable templates.

I know it's not quite yet Thanksgiving, but I have GINGERBREAD HOUSES on the brain already!  

A frame Gingerbread house decorated with royal icing and candies.

I love gingerbread time!  And since I make north of 100 gingerbread houses each year, I need to start early.

The BEST Gingerbread House Recipe 

(You can find a printable, one page version of this recipe, or a version by weight instead of volume, at the end of the post.)

  • 2 Cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 6 Cups flour

In a heavy duty stand mixer (I couldn't live without my Kitchenaid Mixers--yes, I have more than one!) , combine shortening and sugars.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition.  Add the molasses, salt, soda, ginger, and cinnamon.  Mix completely.  Add the flour, one cup at a time.  This is a stiff dough, but even so, you might not need quite all six cups if you're in a very dry climate.  Use your judgment.  If the dough is starting to crumble and not hold together, no more flour!

Do you have to chill gingerbread house dough?

Not with this recipe!  You can make the dough one day and keep it wrapped in cling wrap in the fridge overnight, but let it come back to room temperature before rolling it out.  Gingerbread dough is a stiff dough, and when it's cold, it's pretty much impossible to roll out.  It's easiest to work with in the few hours after you make your dough.

gingerbread house dough rolled out on parchment paper

Roll the dough to an even 1/8" thickness and cut out the shapes for your gingerbread house.   There are gingerbread house templates at the bottom of the page, or you can use your own design.

How to Cut out Gingerbread House Shapes

Have you ever rolled out your cookie dough on the countertop, then used a spatula to lift the cookies to your cookie sheet, only to have the shape of the cookie get deformed as you tried to transfer the dough?   If so, you might look at the LARGE cookie dough shapes for gingerbread houses and wonder how it's even possible to make precise shapes necessary for gingerbread house construction!  But here's a tip that will change your gingerbread-making (and any cookie-making) life:  you don't roll out the dough on the counter and then move the pieces; you roll out the dough directly on the pan or on parchment paper, then lift away the excess.  

Gingerbread house dough being cut into shapes for making gingerbread houses.

The cookie dough cut into gingerbread house shapes doesn't get moved off its base until it's baked and rigid!  That, my friends, is how it's done.

If you liked that gingerbread house making tip, please check out my my new gingerbread e-book, Gingerbread for Beginners.  

I'm writing the basic recipe and instructions for making gingerbread houses in this post, but've compiled all my best tips, tricks, and techniques in Gingerbread for Beginners.  

Gingerbread for Beginners ebook image

It's essential reading for anyone attempting to make a gingerbread house this year!  Seriously.  You will kick yourself if you don't use the techniques we've developed over decades of experience and thousands of gingerbread houses.  The right gingerbread techniques make the project SO much easier.

Gingerbread house pieces stacked on baking sheets.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool and construct the gingerbread house.  

A frame gingerbread house being assembled with royal icing.

Assemble the gingerbread house using royal icing (edible gingerbread house glue).  Royal icing is the ONLY kind of icing to use for constructing gingerbread houses.  It dries hard (but not inedible--it's still delicious!), so it actually holds a gingerbread house together, unlike store bought frostings or buttercream icings.

I used to cut my own cardboard bases and cover them with freezer paper, but a few years ago, I realized that it would be WAY easier to use cardboard cake rounds.  The 8" size is perfect for the small A-frame gingerbread houses.

Pink and white A Frame gingerbread house.

I'm a big advocate for the A-frame style gingerbread house.  Especially if you're making a bunch of houses.  It's easy and fast to construct--much more so than a traditional 4-walls-and-a-roof style house.  And it has a quaint, Germanic charm that's perfect for gingerbread houses.

To make things even easier for you, this year I've prepared printable templates that you can download and use to make your own A-frame gingerbread houses.  I am definitely not gifted at using Adobe Illustrator, but though not elegant, these gingerbread house templates will get the job done for you.  And look at least as good as the original templates I cut out of a paper grocery sack many years ago.

Printable Gingerbread House Templates

These printable gingerbread house templates are free for personal use.  They are not authorized for commercial use, either in the original form or for creation of a derivative work.

A frame gingerbread house decorated with royal icing and red and white candies.

Small A Frame Gingerbread House Printable Template

Navigational image leading reader to printable gingerbread house template for a small A frame gingerbread house.

Large A-Frame Gingerbread House Template

Navigational image leading reader to printable gingerbread house template for a large A frame gingerbread house.

Printable Gingerbread House Recipe

Want a printable, one page version of this gingerbread house recipe?  I have two versions for you:  one with standard American volume measures, and one with weights. 

Gingerbread House Recipe (by Volume, American Measurements)

Navigational image leading reader to printable, one page Gingerbread House recipe using American volume measurements.

Gingerbread House Recipe (by Weight)

Navigational image leading reader to printable, one page Gingerbread House recipe using weight measurements.

Are you planning to make a gingerbread house this year?  I'd love to see your creations!  Share the photos on the Tikkido Facebook page.

Gingerbread house decorated with royal icing.

 I posted the chalet shape gingerbread house templates (like the photo just above) here.

More Gingerbread House Ideas

Want even more gingerbread house templates (along with lots of other tips, tricks, and advice)?  Check out my e-book, Gingerbread for Beginners:

Navigational image leading reader to Gingerbread for Beginners ebook

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Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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