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This recipe is classed as intermediate

Rating 3.43 / 5 (417 votes)

Prep time:
1 hr 30 min
Cook time:
40 min
Makes one gingerbread house

Put some time aside to indulge in Rachel Allen's impressive, sweet gingerbread house. Click here for the template.


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. Melt the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and treacle in a large saucepan.

3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon together, add the melted butter and sugar mixture and stir well until it comes together like sticky dough.

4. On a floured surface flatten the dough into a 2cm thick round, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. To make the gingerbread boys and girls: Roll the dough on a floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out 6 or 8 shapes using boy/girl cookie cutters, transfer to the prepared baking trays and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

6. To make the icing: Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the water a little at a time, beat until you have a spreading consistency.Using a palette knife dipped in hot water, spread the icing over the gingerbread shapes. Spoon the icing into a small piping back to add details such as faces or hair. Leave to set.

7. To make the gingerbread house: To make the gingerbread house, first make templates with paper to the following dimensions - front and back panels 12.7 x 17.7cm. Two side panels 12.7 x 15.2cm. Two roof panels 11.4 x 17.7cm with a gable end (see template). Download a PDF template at the bottom of this recipe

8. Place a piece of parchment on a work surface dust with flour and roll out a quarter of the remaining dough to 5mm thick. Place one of the paper templates on top and with a sharp knife cut around. Repeat the process with the other templates using the remaining dough and rolling up the trimmings – until you have a front and back wall, two side walls and two roof panels.

9. Carefully move the pieces on their baking parchment to baking trays and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven and allow stand for a few minutes to firm up. Cut out a door on the front wall and windows on the side walls and reserve the cut-out pieces for later. Place on a wire rack for a few minutes, then turn over and peel off the paper and allow to cool completely.

11. To make the icing ‘glue’: Place the egg whites and sift in the sugar, stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a small star-shaped nozzle.

12. To assemble the house Pipe generous lengths of icing along the vertical edges of the gingerbread walls. Using a bowl to support the walls from the inside – prop up the walls and hold the sides gently in place with your hands until the icing is dry. Leave the roofless house to dry for at lease 30 minutes until the icing is set.

13. Once dry remove the supporting bowl and pipe a line of icing along one long side of the roof piece and along the top edge of all the walls. Stick the two roof sections at an angle and set the two pieces on top of the house. Leave to dry for 30 minutes.

14. While the roof is drying attach the door to the doorway with icing so it looks slightly ajar. Stick a small piece of ‘flake’ chocolate into the roof as a chimney.

15. Pipe icing around the windows and stick sweets around the door and on the front of the house. To make icicles start with the nozzle at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a pea-sized blob of icing, pull the nozzle down and then pull away leaving a pointy trail of icing.

16. Using the icing stick the chocolate and sugared buttons on the roof to make tiles and the gingerbread boys and girls around the house, scatter the board with sugar strands.

Click here to download the template.

For a no bake alternative Christmas house, try our rice krispie house recipe


For the icing for the gingerbread boys and girls

  • 175 g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp boiling water

For the 'glue' icing for the house

  • 2 egg whites
  • 500 g icing sugar

For decorating the house

  • hundreds and thousands
  • chocolate buttons
  • dolly mixtures, silver balls, etc

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Latest Comment


Looks great, hoping to make this before Christmas for my family.
I'll upload a photo once I'm finished!

CerysG873 CerysG873  Posted 17 Dec 2013 2:20 PM

Hi Samantha, I'm afraid nothing would work as well as an airtight container, but you could try putting it in a bread bin but it won't keep as long.

Anna -Good Food Anna -Good Food  Posted 24 Oct 2013 5:29 PM

If I don't have a big enough container what would be the next best thing. Thank you again

SamanthaE25583 SamanthaE25583  Posted 18 Oct 2013 10:11 PM

Hi Samantha, thanks for your comment - it will last as long as biscuits, so best to keep it in an airtight container if you're not going to eat it straight away. Enjoy!

Anna -Good Food Anna -Good Food Posted 14 Oct 2013 11:31 AM

how long will the house last for once made? im hoping to do some for Christmas but unsure on best way to keep it

SamanthaE25583 SamanthaE25583 Posted 10 Oct 2013 2:56 PM

Hi Joanne, thanks for your comment - we have fixed the bug and you'll be able to download the template now.

Anna -Good Food Anna -Good Food Posted 28 Jun 2013 4:02 PM

The link for the template is faulty/empty.

JoanneN41263 JoanneN41263 Posted 25 Jun 2013 11:55 AM

Hi Jess, sorry to hear it's not working for you this time round - what do you think you could be doing differently? I would recommend trying a different shelf in the oven or cooking the gingerbread for a little longer and leave it to cool completely before starting on construction.

Hope it works out for you, good luck!


Anna -Good Food Anna -Good Food Posted 20 Dec 2012 10:52 AM

i made this last year and worked a treat i tried making it again this year but for some reason the ginger bread coming out very soft so when i try and put the roof on it just sinks in and its has now just finally broken in to many piece unsure whats gone wrong :( need some help and i'm making this for a friend

JessicaH13469 JessicaH13469 Posted 19 Dec 2012 2:35 PM

I love this recipe and i have used it for about 2 years now and i think making the windows have a stained glass effect is really interesting. although the books templates were wrong on my first try the websites one is right, although it didn't make much difference.
once you get the hang of it, it is quite an easy task to do! especially when you have family helping out!

ZairaI88177 ZairaI88177 Posted 02 Dec 2011 8:11 PM

I made it and it took me 3 trys

BlissG71745 BlissG71745 Posted 19 Dec 2010 1:04 PM

I made this a couple of years ago for Christmas and Im going to buy the ingredients to make again this year, now my daughters a little bit older to appreciate it!
It keeps really well and the egg whites and icing sugar produce a fantastically tough glue (almost akin to 'no nails'!)
I would however reccommend finding something on which to balance the walls whilst you are piecing together, like a small cardboard box, which will eventually have to stay inside the house (but dont worry no-one will see it until you crack the thing open). Hope that helps everyone! I also remeber getting a little stressed out when glueing together but the results are worth it...and I also remember being a little on my creative high horse, not wanting anyone else to decorate it, quite rightly I wanted all my hard work to look tasteful rather than tacky...that was the fun bit!!!
Last tip I got off of River cottage: When cutting out the shapes for the sides of the house cut out some windows and once on the greaseproof paper ready to go in the oven crush some boiled sweet and fill in the window holes before going in the oven, it should leave a fantastic stained glass effect when out of the oven! Doing ours tomorrow - cant wait!!

Tits Parker Tits Parker Posted 17 Dec 2010 8:06 PM

i have just made this house it was not the easiest thing i have done but it tastes nice im donating it to my church fayre tomorrow so should raise a £ or 2

nikki-jane nikki-jane Posted 17 Dec 2010 12:56 PM

Gonna give this a try!!

DeirdreK31559 DeirdreK31559 Posted 17 Dec 2010 9:42 AM

Can anybody tell me how long this will keep and the best way to store it... new to this and want to make one for a childrens Christmas party... ideally i'd like to do what I could two days before and assemble the day before... Thanks in advance for your help.

SteveA19610 SteveA19610 Posted 04 Dec 2010 1:22 AM

How lovely Eyesparkle, why don't you upload your picture when you make it this year (there is a button above), we'd love to see the results!

Celia Good Food Celia Good Food Posted 05 Nov 2010 3:51 PM

I have made this gingerbread house for the last 3 years for my children's school fayre. I donate it for the raffle prize and it always gets lots of attention and comments after it has been eaten! really nice soft chewy gingerbread. Very easy to make.

Eyesparkle Eyesparkle Posted 02 Nov 2010 12:50 PM

omg i hope i can make this tomoz
from amber
jos daughter

joH57210 joH57210 Posted 19 Dec 2009 1:47 AM

Sorry forgot to give it a rating. Having made gingerbread houses for about 50 years I do have my own favourite but I give this recipe 3 out of 5

Majsan Majsan Posted 17 Dec 2009 6:04 PM

Instead of making "icing glue" I always melt sugar until light golden in colour. First pick up one side-piece and dip the edges and base into the caramel then stick the bottom edge to the board. Hold on to the first piece whilst taking one gable end and dipping sides and bottom edge. Firmly press the gable end to the side end and board. You now have one side and one gable end up at right angles to each other. They should how stand up on their own. Take the second side piece, dip into the sugar as before and stick to the other edge of the first gable end. Do the same to the last gable end. You should now have all sides and gable ends stuck together. Doing it this way stops all the problems of supporting the pieces until the icing has dried.
You can then use the royal icing to stick the roof on. That works - as long as you hold on to the roof for about one minute.

Majsan Majsan Posted 17 Dec 2009 6:02 PM

Looks great and taste great.

smollie smollie Posted 12 Dec 2009 7:43 PM

i made this last xmas from the Bake book and measurements for the roof panels are incorrect very disappointing a total waste or time and ingredients but made it this year using the downloaded template turned out lovely

joanneW79117 joanneW79117 Posted 09 Dec 2009 9:03 PM

Really fun to make! Though it can be a whole day baking session, its worth it in the end!

IrishStew1065 IrishStew1065 Posted 03 Dec 2009 4:56 PM

corky5 I made this House it was lovely

corky5 corky5 Posted 18 Jan 2009 2:50 PM

I made this houe and the mesurements were complicated but i was staisfied with the taste!! mmm

BethanP51820 BethanP51820 Posted 08 Jan 2009 4:54 PM

she dosn't metioned anything about freezing in her book but it says you shouldn't keep it longer than a week Smile

charlotteP48724 charlotteP48724 Posted 03 Jan 2009 12:18 PM

does anyone know if the dough would freeze ok? i want to use it to make gift biscuits some to be given this week, others next week???

JudeM89077 JudeM89077 Posted 18 Dec 2008 7:56 PM

I have made this sweet little house today but the measurements for the side panels are incorrect. The measurements given are for a rectangle the same height as the front and back panels whereas the side should be a gable end.

Gail41 Gail41 Posted 14 Dec 2008 2:45 PM

Hey Jane,

This won't keep any longer than normal gingerbread - two to three days maximum - any longer and keep it just as decoration. Remember what happened to Hansel and Gretel!

Nora R Nora R Posted 11 Dec 2008 11:57 AM

I live in Spain and find it difficult to get golden syrup, can I substitute with honey? Can't wait to make this gorgeous little house for my spanish teacher who will adore it.

Gail41 Gail41 Posted 10 Dec 2008 8:16 AM

Great recipe I'm going to do, but I was wondering how long it'd last before going stale, and, is there any way of keeping it fresh?

Jane Faulkner Jane Faulkner Posted 09 Dec 2008 3:10 PM

Fab recipe - nice and simple especially when you have watched it on the programme first. I have made it for by children's primary school raffle. Mum's are very impressed. Thank you for a great recipe.

Eyesparkle Eyesparkle Posted 09 Dec 2008 1:15 PM