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Cooler weather and family time means staying inside and spending quality time with one another, and that also means warm fires, hot cocoa, and fun activities to keep everyone entertained and full of the holiday spirit. One of the best ways to indulge in a little holiday fun is by building a gingerbread house! Not only can you build and decorate the house of your dreams, but you can eat it, too!
Kiana Washington, the pastry chef for The Hope Farm in Fairhope, Alabama, says she usually bakes her own gingerbread when she's giving it as a gift that's meant to be eaten, but when it comes to store-bought houses, she recommends Wilton's selection. "The Wilton brand makes for a sturdy nice house, and I usually make my own royal icing and buy my own candies—the kit is just for the house!" Washington says.
Here, we tested and rated some of the best gingerbread houses available on the market so that you can have all the knowledge you need for when the holidays come around.
Best Overall: Williams Sonoma Gingerbread House Kit
Available in a variety of sets
Easy to assemble
Limited candy decorations
Relatively expensive for what's included
For a classic gingerbread house kit that includes everything you need, you can't go wrong with the Williams Sonoma Gingerbread House Kit. It comes with pieces of freshly baked gingerbread, as well as a tray to build on, icing to use as glue, and a variety of candy for decorating, such as gumdrops and holly-shaped pieces.
Each kit yields one gingerbread house that stands around 7-1/2 inches tall, and you can also buy sets of two, four, or six houses—in case everyone in your household wants to make their own.
Best Village: Wilton Welcome to Christmas Mini Gingerbread Village
Includes everything you need
Christmas light-shaped candies are adorable
Cutting house pieces apart can be tricky
No candy canes
Basic colors only
With four miniature-sized gingerbread houses, you can put this kit together for yourself or turn it into a group activity! The kit includes everything you need to make the tiny buildings. The four mini gingerbread mansions are about 3-4 inches high, so the gingerbread walls and roofs may be a bit delicate, but even if the pieces break you can still enjoy the sweet treat. During our testing, we experienced the gingerbread pieces being rather hard to cut, but it could be made easier if using a serrated knife.
It also comes with four types of candy and icing to decorate the houses to be as festive as you like, and you can always add on more candy to your liking! The manufacturer recommends making the houses and allowing the icing to set overnight so that the buildings stay sturdy. This edible little village is perfect for a fun holiday activity and makes small holiday centerpieces.
"The flavor was better than I expected from a kit that was meant more for decorating than for putting on the dessert tray." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Funny: Crafty Cooking Kits Ninja-Bread Cookie Kit
Easy to use
Almost everything is included
Cookie cutters are reusable
Cookies were hard, not crisp
Colors aren’t very festive
Flavor was just fair
While this kit may not be the standard gingerbread house, it’s super cool and unique because it actually includes all sorts of fun gingerbread ninjas! These fighting gingerbread men are taking back Christmas, one deliciously funny ninja at a time. The kit includes a gingerbread mix and plastic molds so that you can create your own custom scenes, but our reviewer notes that the mix requires the addition of softened butter and honey, along with a little water.
The kit includes all the standard fixings like icing, piping bags, and candy beads. These kits make between 10 and 20 ninja-bread men, so everyone in the family can have their own custom silly cookies, and because the molds are reusable, you can make these funny ninjas all year round and with different cookie doughs if you want!
Best Non-Edible: LEGO Creator Expert Gingerbread House
Reusable for years to come
Not recommended for those under 16 years of age
If you’re ready for a challenge this year or are a serious LEGO lover, this kit is the one for you! It’s not edible whatsoever, but with almost 1500 pieces, it would still work for a perfect holiday centerpiece, and at over 8-inches high, it's definitely a great conversation starter. This large LEGO block set comes with all kinds of props to make the house feel more like a home, like an entire gingerbread family, a snowblower, furniture, a holiday tree, gifts, and fake candy decorations! This set is recommended for people ages 16 and up, but it is sure to be a great activity for the entire family to use to get into the holiday fun.
Best Scene: Wilton Build-It-Yourself Gingerbread Scene Decorating Kit
Fun alternative to a classic gingerbread house
Sells out quickly
Reviewers don't recommend eating it
Wilton is the go-to brand when it comes to gingerbread houses, and this build-it-yourself kit is perfect for creating the quintessential holiday scene. It comes with pre-baked and embossed gingerbread panels, icing, candy, decorating tips and bags, and a cardboard base.
Wilton's gingerbread houses and villages sell out quickly each year, but there are plenty of options to choose from for a variety of skill levels and interests. No matter which kit you go with, Kiana Washington has a simple recommendation: "Have fun and do not stress while making it. It’s a craft! It’s meant to be fun and bring people together!”
Best Town: Wilton Build-it-Yourself Holiday Town Gingerbread Decorating Kit
Makes eight houses
Includes plenty of decorating options
They are meant to be miniature
Cookie pieces are not pre-cut
More gingerbread kits seem to be leaning into having multiple houses in one convenient box, but the Wilton Build it Yourself Holiday Town kit takes the cake (or gingerbread)! It features eight 4-inch gingerbread houses, making a huge town big enough for everyone over for the holidays to partake in. It has some unique add-ons like green fondant, four types of candy, red, green, and white icing, and piping bags. It also has some seriously adorable gingerbread people and icing signs to make your gingerbread town look more realistic and lively.
You can always add your own pantry snacks to make the town even more festive, or use the fondant, icing, and candies to make super cool decorations like Christmas trees, stained glass windows, and anything else your holiday heart can think of.
Best for Gamers: Wilton Build-it-Yourself Super Mario by Nintendo Gingerbread Castle Decorating Kit
Ready to assemble
Pre-cut cookie pieces
Limited candy decorations
Not as festive
Not safe for those with dietary restrictions
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 pre-baked 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 a few tools and basic ingredients to assemble the castle, but nothing you don’t already have at home or couldn’t easily find. However, the set also includes piping tips, a sturdy cardboard base, and a decorative base to make your Super Mario castle look just like the one from your childhood.
Best Cookie Cutters: The Fussy Pup Gingerbread House 3-Piece Christmas Cookie Cutter Set
Cuts into dough well
Made in USA
Dimensions are quite small
Doesn't include gingerbread dough
Of course, there's always the option to bake your own gingerbread and build houses from scratch! If you go this route, you'll need a set of cookie cutters to make gingerbread pieces that will fit together perfectly, and that's exactly what this kit from the Fussy Pup includes.
You'll get three heavyweight copper cookie cutters—one for the walls, front, and roof of the house—all of which are made in the United States. The finished houses made with these cutters will be around 4-1/2 inches tall, so you'll likely be able to get multiple structures out of every batch of gingerbread dough.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Amethyst Ganaway is a 10+ year restaurant veteran who’s worked every position from waitressing to bartending to cooking on the line and running restaurant kitchens. While researching for this guide, she got firsthand opinions and read through hundreds of reviews to make sure the best items were picked for each category so that you can have the sweetest gingerbread house to bring in the holiday festivities!
Kiana Washington is the pastry chef for The Hope Farm in Fairhope, AL. She has many years of experience in the restaurant industry and loves to bake her own gingerbread houses and jazz up kits!