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The holiday season is filled with baking and eating tasty desserts, and one of the most fun ways to get in the festive spirit is by building and decorating a gingerbread house. Gingerbread houses are decorations and desserts all rolled into one, and they make a great activity for adults and kids alike. Baking and building one from scratch can be quite time-consuming, however, and you'll need some serious pastry skills. That's why gingerbread kits have become so popular—all you have to do is assemble.
There are gingerbread kits for all levels of bakers and decorators, including some houses that come completely premade, and ones with special themes for everyone from the dog lover to the gamer. Some kits come with everything you might need and some involve a little more work on your end—read the packages carefully. Gingerbread kits tend to sell out quickly each year, though, so be sure to make your selection early.
To really get into the spirit of things, we tested some of the most popular gingerbread kits of the year side by side in the testing kitchen of our product testing Lab. We assembled each out of the box and rated them all on ease of assembly, kit quality, and taste. Because gingerbread kits can be quite subjective, we also sent a few to an at-home tester for even more insights.
Here, the best gingerbread kits in a variety of categories, according to our testing data.
Best Overall: Hasbro Candy Land Gingerbread House Kit
Super easy construction
Good selection of candies for decorating
Mild, pleasant taste
Pastry bag not included
Only one color of icing
Relive this favorite childhood game with a fully edible Candy Land gingerbread house set. Adults and kids alike will love the fact that the kit has everything you need in it to make a fun and colorful gingerbread house, although there is no piping bag included for the icing.
The kit does include prebaked gingerbread house walls and roof, premade icing to help decorate and keep everything together, and candies that come in different shapes and colors, like jewels, stars, sprinkles, fruity gummies, and swirled mints. This one is definitely easy enough for a child to build and decorate. Our Lab testers also thought the end result was exactly how a gingerbread house should look: festive, fun, and completely decked out in candy.
The only real qualm we had in our Lab test was that we wished there had been more royal icing, a point our at-home tester mentioned as well. You'll have enough to make sure the front of the house is pretty, but the sides and back didn’t get much more than basic decorating with the icing supplied in the kit. Luckily, that's an easy fix—just buy or make more of your own. After building and decorating in our Lab test, we were pleased with the end result but think you could always add more candies—since that is the theme.
Our home tester found the gingerbread cookie pieces to be mild and pleasant (great for kids who may not want strong ginger flavor) and the icing had a slightly buttery flavor in addition to the vanilla. The spice drops had a nice flavor and the mint candies were standard peppermint, but the sprinkles, balls, and stars were just colored and flavored sugar.
Includes: pre-baked gingerbread panels, icing, candies, gummies, sprinkles, paper cutouts, and tray
"For the price of this kit, I'd consider it a good value and fun for any age." — Rachel Lee, Producer
Best for Pet Lovers: Wilton Gingerbread Corgi Doghouse Kit
Super cute doggie decoration
Simple to assemble
Needs more white frosting
Piping bags not included
Have a love for pets? Build this delicious doghouse for your four-legged confectionary friend. A fun experience for both adults and kids, this easy gingerbread house kit contains six prebaked gingerbread house panels, white and green ready-to-use icings, lightbulb sprinkles, and a corgi dog icing decoration, as well as an easy-to-follow instruction sheet for assembling the animal's abode. Of course, this isn't safe for dogs to eat, but the gingerbread, vanilla icings, and candy pieces are completely edible for humans to enjoy.
This kit was beloved by all our Lab testers for its sweet design and smaller build. The instructions only include assembly so the decoration is entirely up to you (we copied from the box but it would have been nice to see the back of the house). Our testers found that shaving off the sides of the cookie pieces with a knife to make sure they were as straight as possible helped in the assembly, and the icing seemed to stick better that way, too. They did wish for more white frosting, however.
We found the taste to be about on par with most gingerbread houses. You aren't getting the taste of homemade cookies, but we think the fun is really in the decorating. The candies tasted as you'd expect—sugary and delicious.
Includes: 6 pre-baked gingerbread house panels, white and green ready to use icings, lightbulb sprinkles, and a corgi dog icing decoration
"A child could definitely do this. It might actually be better for smaller fingers to handle the tiny candies because mine were too large to get a good grip and place them on the house without sticking my fingers in the frosting and ruining the aesthetic." — Taylor Rock, Associate Editor
Best Village: Wilton Welcome to Christmas Mini Gingerbread Village
Includes everything you need
Plenty of cute candies and decorations
Cutting house pieces apart can be tricky
Could use more detailed decorations/diagrams
With four miniature gingerbread houses, you can put this kit together yourself or turn it into a group activity. The set includes everything you need to make the tiny buildings. The four mini gingerbread homes are about 3 to 4 inches high, so the walls and roofs may be a bit delicate, but even if the pieces break, they can be glued back together pretty easily with icing.
This kit also comes with four types of candy and icing to decorate, and you can always add on more candy to your liking. Our Lab testers didn't wait the recommended 1 hour to let things dry and everything still held up well. Besides one roof piece breaking slightly, we found the cookies very sturdy. Our Lab testers wished for more detailed instructions, and we definitely think an adult would need to be involved to set up the houses. The smartest thing to do would be to build the houses the night before and have the child decorate the village. The fun of this kit really comes with decorating and not necessarily the building stage.
Both our Lab testers and our at-home tester wished for more icing (and the fondant was more annoying than anything else—it will stain your hands!). There is enough icing to make sure the fronts of the houses are pretty, but the sides and back won't get much more than basic decorating with the icing supplied in the kit. Luckily, that's an easy fix—just buy or make more of your own. As far as taste goes, our at-home tester found the spice flavors obvious, with a hint of molasses. The cookies weren’t overly sweet on their own, which worked out since the decorations added more sweetness. However, we'd still recommend this more for the craft aspect than the dessert aspect.
Includes: 4 sets of gingerbread house panels, 3 types of candy, green fondant, red and white ready-to-use icing, 2 decorating bags and tips, and instruction sheet
"The decorations the kit provided were really fun: There were mini gingerbread people and fun sprinkles and candy to use." — Julia Warren, VP, Commerce
Best for Gamers: Wilton Build it Yourself Super Mario Gingerbread Castle Decorating Kit
Ready to assemble
Sturdy and easy to stick on candies
Limited candy decorations
Fondant is difficult to work with
Why build a house when you can build a gingerbread castle? And not just any castle, but the famous castle from the classic Nintendo game Super Mario. This kit comes with a little bit of everything, so you can build the castle of your video game dreams. Of course, there are prebaked pieces to build the structure of the castle, as well as a gingerbread mushroom cookie decoration, three different types of candy, white and black icing, and red and green fondant.
You’ll need some tools and basic ingredients to assemble the castle, such as granulated sugar, cornstarch, confectioners' sugar, a rolling pin (for the fondant), parchment paper, and a few other items that you likely already have in your pantry. However, this set does include piping tips, a sturdy cardboard base, and a decorative base to make your Super Mario castle look just like the one from the game.
In our Lab test, we found that assembly of the castle was fairly easy. We appreciated that the white icing it comes with had a good consistency that was quick to dry. As noted with other options on this list, a couple of the pieces arrived broken—an unavoidable risk with shipping—but we were able to glue them back together with icing with no noticeable seams in the end. A child would undoubtedly have fun decorating the castle with the gold coins and stars, precut Mario candy, and gumdrops, however, measuring and shaping the fondant for the door and windows proved quite tricky for anyone without some serious pastry skills. It would have been nice to have some precut molds to help with the shapes.
The taste was similar to most Wilton options on the list. It might not be the tastiest gingerbread cookie you've ever tried, but we didn't feel it ruined the experience. We did wish for a few more gumdrops, though!
Includes: pre-baked gingerbread castle pieces, gingerbread mushroom cookie, 3 types of candies, Super Mario and mushroom icing decorations, white ready-to-use icing, red fondant, green fondant, black icing tube, colorful presentation board, plastic decorating tip set, cardboard base, and a helpful instruction sheet
"Any fans of Mario will get a kick out of creating this gingerbread castle and I appreciated that it wasn't too difficult to replicate the design on the package. I think adding some of your own candies could really take it over the top." — Mary Kate Hoban, Senior Editor
Best Value: World Market Woodland Holiday Barn Gingerbread Kit
Clear, easy-to-follow instructions
Includes lots of candy for decoration
Not enough included icing
Roof pieces needed significant trimming
This rustic-looking gingerbread barn would make a great addition to a winter village, but it also makes a fun decoration (and sugary treat) on its own. The kit comes with everything you need to assemble the barn, including the prebaked cookie panels, candy for decorating, icing, connector clips for the base, and cute animal cutouts that really help set the scene.
In our Lab test, we found that the cookies were sturdy and the connector clips made it easy to assemble the base of the house. The assembly required shaving down the pieces significantly, so it might be difficult for a child to master this one without adult help. One thing to note: When we transferred the icing from the packet to the piping bag it was very clumpy and liquidy (almost oily). However, the texture improved the more mixed it got. Like several of the kits we tested, we thought this one could use more icing. Our testers did appreciate that there was more than enough candy for decorating, though.
When it came time to taste test, the gingerbread cookie was easy to chew and tasted slightly cinnamony. The icing was sweet and the candy had a fruity taste.
Includes: pre-baked gingerbread panels, gumdrops, candy lights, white icing, 3 icing pens, connector clips, piping bag, and paper cutouts
"Even with a few glitches, I loved how the end product turned out and would be pleased to display this in my home (before eating it!)." — Alice Sungurov, Producer
Best Traditional : Create A Treat Pre-Built Gingerbread House Kit
Great for all ages
Includes plenty of icing
Candy wasn't the highest quality
This pre-built gingerbread house is what you think of when you think of the classic holiday decoration and sweet treat that has become so popular over the years. Plus, you don't have to be a pastry chef to create a masterpiece—it's perfect for all skill levels and no baking is required. The kit comes with everything you need including more than enough icing (something most other kits can't boast) for decorating.
After some serious decorating in The Lab, we gave this kit the highest marks in both ease and quality. We did think it left a little to be desired in the taste department, but we think this gingerbread house is more about the visual of the finished product anyway. It's definitely kid-approved, too. The larger tube of icing means a kid can even waste some and still have plenty left over for all the decorations.
Includes: gingerbread house, icing, candy decorations, 2 decorator bags, 1 star decorator tip, and 1 round decorator tip
"I wasn't worried about cracking and the icing was excellent for decorating." — Siobhan Wallace, Editor
Best Tasting: Sensitive Sweets Gluten-Free & Vegan Gingerbread House Kit
Almost tastes homemade
Basic version doesn't include candies for decorating
Sensitive Sweets Bakery specializes in desserts that are allergy-friendly, and this gingerbread kit is vegan and free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, oats, and sesame. It's also the gingerbread kit we ranked highest in taste in our Lab test. We found most gingerbread kits offer just average taste, but this one really wowed us—in fact, it tasted homemade.
Everything you should need comes with the Deluxe kit, but note that the Basic version is missing the frosting and candies. The quality of the kit itself is outstanding. Our testers thought the pieces were heavy, but that said, the kit provided adhesive frosting that was very efficient. It dried quickly, too. We only had to wait about 10 minutes before moving onto the next side.
The directions are easy to follow and contain helpful tips to help you succeed, particularly the idea of having mason jars on deck to hold up the heavy gingerbread sides as you go so the house doesn't collapse. Our Lab testers never worried about the gingerbread sides actually cracking because the gingerbread cookie consistency was closer to that of a soft cookie rather than having a hard exterior. None of the sides needed trimming either so this is a kit we would recommend for kids and adults.
Includes: gingerbread cookie walls and roof, icing mix for connecting walls, plastic holiday trees, and rings for decoration
"The taste was amazing! During our final portion of the gingerbread testing day, all of our testers couldn't get enough of this one because the ingredients taste like real ingredients. Most people assumed the softer-textured gingerbread sides were gingerbread cookies homemade that morning, however, I had to spill that it came in a boxed kit!" — Collier Sutter, Review Editor
Best for Homemade Baking: Nordic Ware Gingerbread House Bundt Pan
Includes detailed instructions
Difficult to clean
If you really want to go all out on your gingerbread house this year, and you are determined to build the whole thing from scratch, this bundt pan is the perfect option. It comes with a set of instructions with some handy notes such as the type of cooking spray or fats to use for easy releasing and a sample recipe.
For our Lab test, we used our own gingerbread house dough recipe and doubled it, filling up the pan about 3/4 of the way full. After baking, we let it cool for 3-4 hours because it's so dense and we wanted to be sure it had cooled thoroughly. Our gingerbread released easily and then we got to decorating. We were impressed with the end result—both in looks and taste.
Includes: bundt pan, instructions, sample recipe
"The bundt cake came out quite easily after significant cooling time!" — Felisia Tan, Test Kitchen Assistant
How We Tested
Our editors researched this year's selection of gingerbread kits in a variety of categories—from classic to whimsical—and then spent a day in The Lab building, decorating, and taste testing. We then collected all the data, and used insights from an at-home tester, to rate the gingerbread kits on design, ease of use, and taste. Finally, we compiled all our data to give you the best option for every category of gingerbread house enthusiasts.
What to Look for in a Gingerbread Kit
Gingerbread kits come in all different varieties. Some come completely prebuilt so all you have to do is decorate with the included frosting and candies. Some require only basic assembly, and others require shaping and trimming of cookie pieces to get the exact fit. If this is going to be an activity for younger kids, you'll want to check out how much measuring and precision is involved.
Be sure to note what comes with your kit. Some require you to supply your own icing, for example. Others suggest having some basics like confectioner's sugar or a piping bag. It can be fun to get your own candy and extra decorations for your house, but if you're looking for simplicity, some kits have everything you need in one package.
Most gingerbread kits tend to focus on the assembly and decorating process, and the taste of the actual cookie pieces can be just average. If you really want homemade taste, you can always buy a cake mold to make your own from scratch. That being said, there is quite a variety of options out there these days and some kits come with some pretty tasty gingerbread. You can also find options for special diets, like vegan or gluten-free.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Mary Kate Hoban is a Senior Editor at The Spruce Eats. After spending months researching the best gingerbread kits, she also went to The Lab for a full day of testing them side by side. She finds it tough to pick a favorite but the Wilton Gingerbread Corgi Doghouse Kit was almost too cute to eat.