Sturdy Gingerbread House Dough

Baked gingerbread house pieces ready to be assembled
Gingerbread House Dough

The Spruce 

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Rest Time: 30 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yields: 2 gingerbread houses
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1144 Calories
30g Fat
208g Carbs
15g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 200mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 208g 76%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 99g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 222mg 5%
*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.)

Making a gingerbread house from scratch is a fun family project for the holidays. Not every gingerbread recipe will work, though. While you can eat it if you like, this gingerbread house dough recipe is designed to be structural. It has no leaveners that would make it puff up and distort the shapes, and the corn syrup makes it firm so the house can support lots of decorations.

This recipe makes enough dough for two average-sized gingerbread houses, including four walls and two pieces for the roof of each house. However, this is determined by the size of the template you choose. For perspective, during testing three walls fit on a standard baking sheet. The extra dough is then rolled out for another set of pieces. For more or larger houses, make more dough; when you want a single house, cut the recipe in half.

It's a good idea to bake the pieces one day and assemble the house the next day. This allows the walls and roof to "cure" so they're a little stronger. If you're pressed for time, you might want to use an easy gingerbread cookie dough recipe to speed the process along.

Once you have the pieces baked, it's time to assemble the gingerbread house. To stick the walls of the house together, you will need to use a piping bag and royal icing. It can also be made a few days in advance and will harden when it dries so your gingerbread house won't fall apart.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups light corn syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 1/4 cups margarine

  • 9 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Before you begin the actual recipe, print out a pattern. Cut it out and transfer to light cardboard and cut again.

     The Spruce
  3. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat corn syrup, brown sugar, and margarine until the margarine has melted and sugar has dissolved completely. Stir until smooth.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Add the syrup-sugar-margarine mixture, making sure it's cool enough for the kids to squish the dough until it's smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Don't skip this step. The dough needs to relax so it's easier to roll. This is a good time to wash up the dishes and get your baking pans, rolling pin, and pattern pieces ready.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. If the dough is too hard or unmanageable, you can microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds.

  8. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  9. Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick onto a sheet of parchment cut to fit your baking pan. Edgeless pans or those with only one edge are the best.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Lightly flour the cardboard patterns and place them, floured-side down, on the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1-inch space between pieces.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  11. Try to fit as many as you can without crowding.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
    The Spruce 
  12. For clean edges, cut with a pizza wheel.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  13. Remove and reserve excess dough.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
    The Spruce 
  14. Grab the opposite edges of the parchment paper and transfer to the baking sheet.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  15. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until pieces are firm and lightly browned around the edges. Cool completely before removing from pans.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  16. Re-roll dough scraps for the remainder of the pieces.

  17. Assemble and decorate your gingerbread house as you see fit.

    Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
     The Spruce
  18. Enjoy!

Tips

  • This dough is pretty dense; using a stand mixer can make mixing it easier.
  • Use the parchment to move the pieces before baking; handling them individually will distort the shapes.
  • To store them before assembling the house, wrap the baked pieces in plastic or foil and keep at room temperature in an airtight container or bag.
  • This recipe can be increased​ if you want to make it a project for several kids by doubling or even tripling the ingredients. Instead of measuring out the flour, for a double recipe, use 1 (5-pound) bag plus 1 cup flour. For a triple recipe, use 2 (5-pound) bags plus 2 cups flour.

Recipe Variation

  • You can change the color of the dough with two key ingredients. The light corn syrup and brown sugar make a light-colored house. For a darker house, switch to dark corn syrup and dark brown sugar.
  • Molasses may work as a corn syrup substitute and result in a dark-colored house.
  • If you prefer, use butter in place of the margarine.

When Should You Make a Gingerbread House?

Gingerbread houses can keep for a very long time and definitely through the holiday season so you can make it as early as you like. Take your time building the house to ensure it's structurally strong: Let the baked pieces harden for a day and allow the icing that holds them together to set for at least 3 or 4 hours (8 hours is better) before decorating. Once complete, display your gingerbread house in a cool, dry place. Tenting it with plastic wrap at night will keep out moisture and dust so it continues to look great. Spraying it with clear lacquer will preserve it as well though the gingerbread then becomes inedible.