Wendy’s festive gingerbread house

This recipe makes enough for at least five small gingerbread houses, plus lots left over for festive shapes . Before you start baking, make sure you have:
One batch makes this much gingerbread

– a very large bowl
– a decent rolling pin
– a piping bag/cylinder and nozzles
– baking paper
– sweets (jelly tots, Smarties, licquorice etc.)
– extra icing sugar, in case you run out
– cardboard for the templates (see below)


500 grams butter
750 grams (2 cups) golden syrup/treacle
500 grams (2 cups) sugar
2 eggs
4 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ginger
1.25 kilograms (10 cups) plain flour


2 egg whites
800 grams (about 4.5 cups) pure icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


Place butter, treacle & sugar in a heavy-based pan and stir slowly over a low heat until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Cool for at least 10 minutes, then transfer the mix to a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together.

In another separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vinegar until just combined. Add this mix to the cooled butter mix and beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Add all the sifted dry ingredients gradually to the butter mix. The gingerbread should now be thick enough to form a soft ball. Leave mix in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight, before rolling. The cooler the mix is, the softer the gingerbread will bake. For crispy gingerbread, roll straight away.

On a well-floured surface, take a chunk of gingerbread and roll it into a ball. If a little soft, knead the gingerbread with extra flour until it’s thick enough to roll. Roll the gingerbread to a thickness of approximately 1/2 centimetre. Take your cardboard templates (see measurements below) and use a non-serrated knife to cut around the templates. If the surface isn’t well floured, the gingerbread may stick, causing stretched shapes.

Place the shapes onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius) for approximately 12-15 minutes. Check during cooking because if the oven heat isn’t even, the shapes will burn.

Once baked, remove from oven and leave the gingerbread on the tray for five minutes. Take the pieces off the tray and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully before icing.

Icing method

Beat the egg whites until combined. Add the sifted icing sugar until the mix is quite firm. Add the lemon juice (this will give the icing a slight shine).

Download this image to print out and use

House Template

Cut your own using the following measurements:
Roof: 10cm x 11.5cm
Sides: 9.5cm x 5cm
Front & back: 10cm x 4.5cm x 9.5cm (the diagonal)
Chimney pieces: 1.5cm x 5cm, 1.5cm x 3cm, then two more with a diagonal cut (see diagram)

…0r just download the PDF version here or JPG version shown here. UPDATE: This template gets downloaded thousands of times per year, but nobody has ever let me know how the recipe/template worked for them. Please do leave a message below!

House Construction

Cover a large plate with foil. Spoon a small amount of icing onto the plate in the shape of the gingerbread house foundations (a rectangle). Using a piping bag, pipe some icing on the short ends of the two house sides (the small, rectangular pieces). Place the un-piped sides on the plate, parallel to each other but far enough apart for the house front and back edges to rest on the piped sides. You should now have a rectangle base for the roof to attach to. Give the structure a few minutes to “glue” together. You can add the door to the front of the house and start working on the chimney (fiddly) while you’re waiting.

Pipe down the edges of the front and back sections from the top tip to where they meet the sides. Take each roof panel and place on each side – simultaneously if possible – so that they meet at the top.

Decorate with sweets and icing. Allow a few hours for the icing to harden before wrapping in cellephane or covering.

House construction - chimney in two separate parts Stick icing on bottom of chimney Attach chimney once rest of house is set Decorate with sweets Enjoy, or wrap up to resist tucking in


I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

Posted in Recipes
28 comments on “Wendy’s festive gingerbread house
  1. Angelica says:

    Thanks!!! for sharing n_n.

  2. adelle says:

    I used this template last year and I’ll be using it again this year.
    Although I think I will make it a little smaller this year…
    We never actually EAT all the gingerbread!

    Here’s a link to some pictures and some tips!


    Anyhoo.. thanks for a great template!

  3. Taryn says:

    I’m excited to try this with my boys and their friends this year. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  4. Catnip says:

    We used your template to make gluten free vegan gingerbread houses. I’ll try to upload a photo to my blog soon.

  5. Freckles says:

    Thanks for the recipe and template.

    The recipe makes a lot of dough, far more than I needed for the 5 houses using the template, though that is not a complaint since it’s easily freezable to use later. The gingerbread biscuit is a nice hard crunchy one, excellent for gingerbread house making.

    The templates and instructions were excellent. I didn’t use the chimneys because I thought they’d be too fiddly.

    Everyone enjoyed the assembling and decorating.

  6. Wendy says:

    Ah, the biscuit will be crunchy if you don’t refrigerate the mix before cooking. The butter temperature doesn’t cool down which means it gets really hot in the oven, causing more liquid loss. For a chewier/softer biscuit, refrigerate over night!

    I’m pleased everyone has enjoyed this so far. Very keen to see the gluten-free vegan version!

  7. Elise says:

    Used the template first time this year…already had recipe and dough made…works really well, though my son commented he thought it should be bigger, so will have to up the size for the next one πŸ™‚

    As I can see comments & feedback, can you perhaps delete your note on the template about same and perhaps leave this website as the place to submit feedback….would think it useful and time saving…

  8. mrsmouthy says:

    I’ve used your template for several years in a row–it fits together perfect and is such a cute design. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  9. Hi Wendy,
    I downloaded your gingerbread house pattern and used it this year, I wanted a classic pattern with a chimney. Thank you for providing one; it was perfect. It was my first gingerbread house made in years and I really enjoyed it. Also it was my first gingerbread made on my own as an adult, so…I made it with totem poles, a pond, and ninjas! Here is my blog address http://thealinnemeier.wordpress.com
    I’ve posted pictures of the house so you can finally see one of the houses you made possible : )
    Thanks again,

  10. I used your template to make Gingerbread Houses for my art class here in Chuncheon, Korea. The kids absolutely loved it, and I had a fun time preparing the houses for them and helping them to decorate. I used a different recipe for the dough, since some of your ingredients are a bit hard to find here, but your template was the absolute best that I could find. Thanks so much!

  11. Sara McCourt says:

    This is the 4th or 5th year we have used this pattern for our houses. It is perfect. Every year we invite friends over and they all build houses.

  12. Wendy says:

    I’m so happy to hear from you all and to see the photos of your houses, and especially happy to hear of new annual traditions with friends and family too. I’m starting mine late this year – this afternoon!

  13. Sabby says:

    Hi, thanks for the recipe, it looks so easy to follow and all of the ingredients are obtainable compared to others I’ve seen. I’ve never made a gingerbread house before but I’d like to make one for my brother and sister in laws housewarming party. Was tempted to buy a ready kit but I’m going to brave it after seeing your recipe. Very nervous about the gingerbread losing it’s shape during baking though so any tips or tricks for that would be great help! Also, is there a way of baking hard boiled sweets in the mix to make stained glass windows where the hole is? Ahh and if I print the template straight off the PDF will it be to scale for correct sizes? Sorry for all the questions, I’m in a gingerbread fix!

    Thanks in advance πŸ™‚

    • Wendy says:

      Hi Sabby, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes well for you with the gingerbread house.

      Make sure you refrigerate the gingerbread for at least two hours (preferably overnight) as that will ensure it holds its shape better in the oven, and will also stop it from being too crispy. Even if the pieces are slightly wonky, you can use the icing sugar like cement to make everything stay where it should. If you’re worried, you can use a sharp knife while the gingerbread is still hot (either still on the pan, or as soon as you move it to the cooling rack) and straighten any edges.

      For the hard-boiled sweets, I use about half a sweet in the hole and that makes a nice glass window. No need to break it up even!

      The PDF is not full scale as it wouldn’t fit on a single A4 sheet. However, you’re best using a sturdy cardboard, like a cereal box cardboard, and measuring out the pieces (paper is a bit flimsy to use for cutting the gingerbread). I made the template mostly because I’m a visual person and I like to be able to see all the pieces required when I’m making a template like this.

      Lastly, this recipe makes a *lot* of gingerbread. You might want to halve it as you will still get 2-3 houses out of it, or lots of gingerbread men or other shapes you might wish to place around the house. Read the full instructions and go through the comments section too, as there are a variety of tips from me and others along the way. All the best!

  14. Sabby says:

    Wow, thank you so much for your reply Wendy! You’ve made me feel a lot less nervous about getting stuck in and I can’t wait to try it.

    Thank you very much πŸ˜€

  15. laura says:

    is there a printer friendly version of the recipe?

    • Wendy says:

      Hi Laura. Thanks for getting in touch and I hope you like the recipe and template provided. I’m afraid I haven’t had time to put together a separate version, but the print option of your browser shouldn’t do too bad a job. Cheers, Wendy.

  16. Irina says:

    Thank you so much for this template! It worked out perfectly! Linking your template on my blog and sharing pics of my house!

  17. Wendy says:

    Thanks for letting me know, Irina, and thanks for the link! I’m looking forward to seeing the results. πŸ™‚

  18. Paula says:

    Hi Wendy! I used your template with my sugar cookie recipe, it turned out very pretty! Thank you for sharing, here’s a photo of my house: https://www.instagram.com/p/BDnjEDygzs7/?taken-by=thecookieshop

  19. Wendy says:

    Wow, Paula, thank you for sharing your sugar cookie house photo! It’s absolutely gorgeous – so much attention to detail and such a steady hand to get that detail! Thanks again for the photo.

  20. christine says:

    thank you for the template it worked a treat

  21. John Dale says:

    This is our 2nd year to use your gingerbread template. Our video from last year is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HURim3u0cRA

    Thanks for posting this!

    The Dale Tribe (on YouTube)

  22. Ramona Kecman says:

    I’ve been using this template for four years now. Just pulled this year’s batch out of the oven. Absolutely love it!!! Thank you.

  23. Stephanie says:

    Used this template last year for my kids’ gingerbread houses. They worked out great, so I’m back again! Thanks!

  24. I doubled the dimensions of this template to make a large house and it worked out great in the end! Though the larger bits did break a bit a managed to patch them up with royal icing, satay skewers, and candy canes. I also had to load-bear the roof with a nougat log. I am certain it was because I didn’t bake the cookies for long enough (I used a recipe off taste.com.au), and that I double-batched the recipe and size. It worked out great in the end!

    Here’s a pic: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iqSy3W7JBIBuykFhMI2aPHGCfNFzPm3i/view?usp=sharing

    Main tips:
    – Bake small house
    – Bake sheets for long enough to be quite hard but as not to be brittle
    – Ideally, leave the gingerbread to go hard by airing it for a while.
    – Thick royal icing (egg whites with icing sugar, not mixture) is a lifesaver, plus candy canes!

    • Wendy says:

      Thanks for your comment, Aurora. That’s a very colourful gingerbread house! I’d suggest something different to make sure the gingerbread stays hard:
      β€’ make sure your dough is very cold: refrigerate for at least two hours, but preferably longer, before rolling out to bake;
      β€’ let cool on a cooling rack;
      β€’ seal in a container until construction so the gingerbread does’t absorb the humidity from your kitchen (which causes it to soften);
      β€’ after construction, wrap up in cellophane to prevent further humidity.
      I live in the Alps where the air is dry, but the houses and biscuits still soften over time from the humidity we generate in the house. With my gingerbread recipe, I’ve been able to double the size of the house without any problems (but I prefer the small ones as they’re easier to deliver!). All the best for next year’s!

  25. Carley says:

    I used your gingerbread house template and I made the most wonderful gingerbread house with it! Everyone was so impressed and it was my very first time making one. I printed it out at 150% to get the perfect size for what i wanted, and it prints perfectly on two A4 sheets. Merry Christmas from Australia! (Where it never snows at Christmas time but we still like to make winter decorations!!

    Gingerbread house
    Gingerbread house
    Gingerbread house

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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