German Swiss Chalet Gingerbread House Dough (Lebkuchenhaus)

Little girl making a gingerbread house
Little girl making a gingerbread house

Emely / Cultura / Getty Images

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
879 Calories
21g Fat
162g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 879
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 28%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 452mg 151%
Sodium 1351mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 162g 59%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 18g
Calcium 546mg 42%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This gingerbread dough recipe for a German Swiss Chalet Gingerbread House (Lebkuchenhaus) is considered "structural" gingerbread because it dries into a very hard cookie, suitable for construction. The walls and roof are cut out while the cookie is still warm using a template that you make.

You will need to make two batches of this dough to create the house shown in these step-by-step gingerbread-house instructions, but make each batch of dough separately for best results. In other words, don't double the recipe—make two single-batch doughs.


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter (or margarine)
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel (dried, ground or fresh lemon peel)
  • 1 lemon (or lime, juiced plus water to equal 1/4 cup)
  • 5 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks (divided; reserve the whites for the frosting glue)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Grease a 12x17-inch jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with a 1/2-inch lip.

  3. Mix the sugar, honey, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for several minutes. (The sugar will not dissolve, but the mixture should be light yellow in color and well-mixed.) Remove from heat, add the orange peel or lemon peel and lemon juice-water mixture, and stir until fully incorporated. Let cool slightly.

  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Remove 2 cups to a separate large mixing bowl, add the slightly cooled sugar mixture from the saucepan and beat together until smooth.

  5. Add 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time.

  6. Adjust the consistency of the dough. (You should be able to handle the dough with your hands easily.) Add water or flour, if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time to reach the consistency of refrigerator cookie dough.

  7. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured board (almost no flour) to almost the size of your jelly roll pan. Transfer it to the pan and press or roll the dough into the corners, keeping the thickness even. If you are following the step-by-step guide for the Swiss Chalet house, roll one batch of dough into long ropes and lay side by side. Use the extra dough to make fascia and fence posts. Lay them on another cookie sheet.

  8. Mix the second egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and brush over dough. Place decorative nuts on the dough, if you are using.

  9. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and cut into shapes using a template before it cools completely. Don't forget to cut doors and windows as desired. You have about 1/2 hour to do this. If the sheet of dough cools, you will need to use a jigsaw for further cuts or bake another batch.

  10. Enjoy!


  • You can grind dried orange peel in a clean coffee grinder and add it to the sugar mixture. By the time it rehydrates and bakes, it feels and tastes a lot like candied orange peel.

Recipe Variation

  • You may use a product called Lebkuchengewürz, or gingerbread spice, from Germany which consists of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander, mace, nutmeg, anise seed, pimiento, and lemon peel. Use 1 tablespoon and omit the other spices in this recipe.

Here is more information on building a gingerbread house with templates and a recipe for royal icing, the mortar that holds the house together.