{The BEST} Gingerbread House Glue

A gingerbread house is only as good as it’s glue!

And that is why I have been on the search for the absolutely best gingerbread house glue recipe ever.

We’ve all been there…graham crackers ready, icing ready, kids ready.   They start to assemble their  creative  masterpieces, and then….

no fail recipe for Christmas "Gingerbread Glue" - it will make it easier for kids to build

Disaster.

A collapse of epic proportions. All that hard work down the drain!

This often results in meld-down central.

Gingerbread House Glue

The best way to avoid Gingerbread-Sadness is to start with a strong, quick drying icing.   Kids don,t want to wait, and frankly, you don’t want to sit there and hold each piece for five minutes either!

Our Cub Scout boys made Gingerbread Houses this week and I was excited to find a glue that worked perfectly…it’s simple but made ALL the difference in the world.

Super-Duper Strong Gingerbread House Icing Glue Recipe

3 Tablespoons meringue powder (available wherever cake decorating supplies are sold)

1lb powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)

4-6 Tablespoons cold water

In a glass bowl, combine the dry ingredients.   Add 2T water.   Mix well.   Add more water as necessary to reach a very thick consistency.   When you drag a knife through it, you want to see a clean path left.

If it’s too thick, add a tiny amount of water, mix, and pull your knife through again.

If it’s too runny, add more sugar.

Put icing into a zip-seal baggie & cut off a corner.   I found a slightly large hole worked best (my icing came out about as thick as a squirt of toothpaste).

What I love about this Super-Duper Strong Gingerbread House Icing Glue is how quickly it dries!   If you get a nice, thick consistency, there is no need to hold each piece in place forever (about 10 seconds will do).

 

 

 

no fail recipe for Christmas "Gingerbread Glue" - it will make it easier for kids to build

So, no more tears this year (from Mom or kids!).

Give our glue a try and I promise you’ll be much happier!

{The BEST} Gingerbread House Glue

Best Gingerbread House Glue - Graham Cracker

The best way to avoid Gingerbread-Sadness is to start with a strong, quick drying icing.Β This Gingerbread House Glue is exactly that!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons meringue powder (available wherever cake decorating supplies are sold)
  • 1lb powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
  • 4-6 Tablespoons cold water

Instructions

In a glass bowl, combine the dry ingredients.   Add 2T water.   Mix well.   Add more water as necessary to reach a very thick consistency.   When you drag a knife through it, you want to see a clean path left.

If it’s too thick, add a tiny amount of water, mix, and pull your knife through again.

If it’s too runny, add more sugar.

Put icing into a zip-seal baggie & cut off a corner.   I found a slightly large hole worked best (my icing came out about as thick as a squirt of toothpaste).

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Best Gingerbread House Kit

So what about those cute gingerbread kits that you see in the stores?  Last year they were literally EVERYWHERE!

Putting a gingerbread house kit together with kids is one of my favorite family activities.

The result doubles as decoration for the rest of the season.*

*In my experience you need to set an “expiration date” for the gingerbread house.  I once visited my mom’s house in February and saw my gingerbread house still on display…NOT ACCEPTABLE! πŸ™‚

gingerbread house kit from Target

But Really, What is the BEST gingerbread kit?

This was the Gingerbread House Kit we did on the Ultimate Challenge Show last night:  Wondershop at Target Classic House Gingerbread Kit.

It was absolutely amazing.  And the reason for that goes back to what we have been talking about here…the need for super strong gingerbread house glue!

Target Christmas Gingerbread House parts

The icing came in an icing bag that had a tip that could be cut to the desired size.  I cut mine a little too big which is why you see the detail work on the house is a little messy.

But the icing also tasted delicious…a combination of marshmallow fluff and sugar.

And the Wondershop Gingerbread Kit dried surprisingly quickly.  At no time was I holding things in place for hours!  In fact, what you see in the picture is NO HOLDING.  Yes, if I had held it at times, things wouldn’t have slipped, but the structure held strong.  For excited decorators, this is the most important thing!

Target Gingerbread House

Target also carries a pre-built version that is a little more architectural than the one we created also made by Wondershop.  Unless you are really adverse to building it yourself, I would recommend the one we did!

Oreo Holiday Chocolate Cookie House

Not technically a gingerbread house. But! This classic cookie favorite is popular every single year! It is available on Amazon! 

Oreos are a delicious alternative for those who may not enjoy the flavor of Gingerbread.

Frozen II Sugar Cookie Castle Kit

This is the one my daughter requested, this year! She has never liked Gingerbread, so this is an amazing option for her! She’s super excited to build it, together! 

Wilton Super Mario Gingerbread Castle

 

This is the gingerbread castle kit that my sons requested to build, together! It has cute mushroom decorations and Mario himself.


 

The Easiest Gingerbread House Kit

 

Though not a house, Santa’s Workshop is super easy to make, and still beautiful. It is a blessing when working with tiny, impatient hands.


 

How To Make A Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

The entry project for becoming a full-blown gingerbread house obsessed builder is graham cracker gingerbread houses!  It is such an easy (and inexpensive) DIY gingerbread house kit!

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

What you need to make a graham cracker gingerbread house:

  • Graham crackers
  • Super-duper Strong Gingerbread House Glue Icing (recipe above)
  • Paper plate
  • Assorted candy for decorations
  • Plastic bags for the icing

Making a Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

This is much more about process and fun! We spread the graham cracker gingerbread house supplies down the middle of the table and place a paper plate and pre-prepared baggie of the super-duper strong gingerbread house glue at each place.

Then each gingerbread builder can create their gingerbread vision!

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Built by Kids

The amazing thing is you will give the same building supplies to a group of kids and they will all come up with something completely different.  It is a great group or family activity!

How to Make a Gingerbread House

There are just a few basic things that you will likely need for any gingerbread house project.  We have covered the best recipe for the icing above, but what about the other things you might need?

Gingerbread Recipe for Creating a Gingerbread House

We found a few recipes that we recommend if you are going to start from scratch…

Gingerbread House Recipe - rolling out dough

Gingerbread House Recipe from The Food Network: This recipe is rated as EASY (super important to us here at Kids Activities Blog) and will take you about 1 1/2 hour to prep.  The cooking time is 15 minutes.  The ingredients include: butter, brown sugar, light molasses or dark corn syrup, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, baking soda, flour and water.

Gingerbread House Dough Recipe from The Spruce Eats: I like this recipe because it is even easier than the one above. It will take you about an hour.  The prep time is 15 minutes and the baking time is 20 minutes.  The ingredients include: light corn syrup, light-brown sugar, margarine, flour, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves. The overall appearance of this house is a lighter color than a lot of gingerbread, but it is warm and lovely.

Gingerbread House Recipe from Epicurious: Here is one more I found that is a traditional recipe for gingerbread that is a little more complicated.  I like the addition of cadamom.  The prep time will be a little longer on this one and it requires chilling. Baking your gingerbread house parts will take about 13 minutes.  Ingredients include: flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ground cardamom, solid vegetable shortening, sugar, eggs, dark molasses and baking soda.  This recipe also encourages the use of parchment paper for baking which I think is a really good idea to make sure you don’t go through all the baking process and are left with dough stuck to the pan.

Candy for Gingerbread Houses

Oh let me count the ways!  There are so many creative uses for candy when it comes to decorating your gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House Candy

Some favorite Gingerbread House Candy: candy canes, starlight mints, red hots, red licorice, gummy ribbon, gumdrops, gumballs,M&Ms, mints, shaped candy, lollipops, chocolate kisses, crystal candy, chocolate malt balls, jelly beans, candy confetti, holly candy, candy lights, gummy worms, holiday mints, gummy raspberries, nerds, lemon drops, caramel crunch, pearls, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and whatever else you can find!

Non-candy decoration ideas: pretzels, cereal, coconut flakes, powdered sugar and for some cookie inspiration, keep reading…there are some cute gingerbread house ideas below.

Gingerbread House Ideas

I thought it would be fun to find some pictures of gingerbread houses and include them here for inspiration.  There are so many creative ideas for your next gingerbread house!

Best Gingerbread House Glue - Graham Cracker

A Frame Gingerbread House Idea

What I like about this gingerbread house is that it is so simple.  While this one is made out of traditional gingerbread, this could easily be recreated with graham crackers or sugar cookie dough.

Gingerbread House with frosted roof

Frosted Roof Gingerbread House Idea

This is adorable. The pink frosted roof sets this apart from some of the other gingerbread house ideas that I have seen.  Creating the frosting grid on top of the roof might take some skill, but even unskilled builders could do a layer of frosting or a different color to create this effect.

Consider separating some of the super-duper strong gingerbread house icing glue recipe into another plastic bag and adding a few drops of food coloring.

Tiny Gingerbread House Idea

Tiny Gingerbread House Idea

Size can change the entire gingerbread house! I liked this because it could be the inspiration for a one-square graham cracker gingerbread house.  Simply start with a stack of graham crackers snapped in half.

What if you took it even further and used just 1/4th of the graham cracker?

The use of the balls from the holly candy as a delicate decoration.

Tiny gingerbread house in a glass

Here is a tiny gingerbread house that was placed in a glass for a snow globe look. How cute would a series of these lined up across a table or fireplace mantle be?

Gingerbread House Ornament Idea

Tiny Gingerbread House Ornament Idea

While we generally think of building gingerbread houses in 3D, this simple flat home makes a lovely and nostalgic ornament for a tree.

A simple square graham cracker could be the base for a frosted version of this.

Gingerbread House covered with cookies idea

Gingerbread House Covered with Cookies Idea

This gingerbread house is covered with cookies.  My favorite is the use of rolled wafers on the edges.  I also really want to find that lattice cookie they use for windows!  That is so cute.

So instead of spending all your time on the candy aisle when shopping for your next gingerbread house, try cookies!

Gingerbread House Gift Idea

Gingerbread House As A Gift Idea

You know those people that your kid wants to give a gift to, but you don’t know exactly WHAT?

This is the perfect idea. Simply wrapped the gingerbread house in a clear bag tied with a colorful ribbon.  Be sure to let the house completely dry before wrapping!

What is a LEGO Gingerbread House?

I have three boys so there are literally millions of LEGO bricks in my house.  It is a little insane. 

When I mentioned building gingerbread houses to them, there was a chorus of “Let’s build a LEGO gingerbread house!”

huh?

So I did a little research and found that there IS SUCH A THING.

But don’t be sad because they are not edible.

There is the Gingerbread Man and then the traditional brick LEGO Gingerbread House.

LEGO GINGERBREAD HOUSE

The good news about making this gingerbread house is there is no expiration date!  You could use it every holiday season or enjoy it throughout the year.

Shopkins Gingerbread House Kit

If you have a Shopkins fan in your house, you will be excited (and relieved) to know there is a Shopkins Sweets Shop Gingerbread House Decorating Kit:

Shopkins gingerbread house

The reviews are mixed on this product with the main complaint being it arrived broken or stale. When it did arrive in one piece, people who have made it reported it was fun, the kids needed just a little assistance, but the final gingerbread house is a bit smaller than expected.

Gingerbread House Templates

There are a million different ways to construct a gingerbread house, but if you are looking for some templates that can help you, here are some we found:

Gingerbread House Template

Traditional Gingerbread House Template from The 36th Avenue: Y’all know how much we adore 36th Avenue, but she has outdone herself on this one.  It is a simple, doable gingerbread house template that is easy enough to get the entire family involved.

Building a Gingerbread House Template from King Arthur Flour:  This template is super simple and would be easy to follow. There are also instructions from start to finish to create a really awesome gingerbread house from scratch.  I would substitute our super-duper strong gingerbread house icing glue recipe instead of what they suggest.

Gingerbread House with Windows Template from The Flavor Bender: This gingerbread house has just the right amount of tradition and whimsy.  The template can make it something completely doable!

Walmart Gingerbread House

Gingerbread house kits are available everywhere these days.  And Walmart is no exception.  Each year they will feature different selections, but this year they have a huge selection from Wilton plus some other favorites.

Walmart Gingerbread House Village from Wilton

This is the ultra-cute Wilton Build-it-Yourself Gingerbread Mini Village Decorating Kit from Walmart.  The price is a very reasonable $8.97.

Walmart Gingerbread House Kit from Wilton Traditional

If you want something a little more traditional, then this Wilton Read-to-Decorate Gingerbread Townhouse is a good option and is also at Walmart.  It is also priced at $8.97.

Walmart Gingerbread House Wilton mansion

Create the gingerbread house of your dreams with Walmart’s Wilton Build-It-Yourself Gingerbread Manor Decorating Kit.  Getting an entire estate for just $17.97 doesn’t seem too bad!

Walmart Wilton Gingerbread House camper trailer

My favorite of Walmart’s gingerbread kits is the Wilton Build-it-Yourself Gingerbread Camper.  Your holiday “vacation” will be super cheap at $4.88.

Gaudi Gingerbread House in Barclona

Last year we traveled to Barcelona and saw the amazing real-life gingerbread house created by the master artist, Gaudi.

Gaudi Gingerbread House Barcelona

While completely inedible :), this was such an amazing thing to see up close.  The rock and tile mosaic work is mind-blowing.  Sitting at the edge of Park Guell, it is so whimsical and unexpected.

Let your next gingerbread house project channel your inner Gaudi!

DIY Gingerbread House

I hope all this information about gingerbread houses has you inspired to create your own with your kids. It really is a perfect holiday project.  You get to spend some quality time together and have a festive decoration in the end…no matter how they turn out!

If you are looking for other holiday activities for kids – we have you covered! Or Christmas crafts for kids? We got ’em!

46 Comments

  1. happycampers says:

    I must have tried ten versions of icing through the years and I never have any luck! This version was the first one I have ever seen made at home that worked well!

  2. We just use the stuff that comes in the kids and unfortunately have come to expect that at least one wall will collapse during the process. It is SO frustrating! Kids all excited to make house and you hold the crazy walls up forever and they still come down. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  3. About time someone figured out how to keep them intact without the tears!! πŸ™‚

  4. We used this last year as well and it was great!!!

  5. Crystal Rasmussen says:

    I use melted white chocolate to assemble the house. I let it cool a tiny bit and put it in a zipper bag like frosting. Holds super strong and hardends quickly.

  6. Kelly, we love all your recipes and I can’t wait to try these! We just made your red veelvt cake this weekend for a party and everyone loved it couldn’t believe it was made without eggs!Quick question for you is there an easy icing recipe for these cookies? Is it just confectioners sugar and milk with food coloring? Thanks so much for sharing all of your recipes, it is so very appreciated!!!! We love your cookbook!!

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  8. How far ahead can you make it and still work with it? I have a Sunday school project for about 30 kids. How many times should I multiply this recipe by? Really need an answer soon! Thanks!

  9. It should keep for about 2 weeks – however, it can get crusty on the top if it is not completely air sealed (we store ours in a ziplock baggie). I have no clue how much you’d need for 30 kids. Sorry – it sounds like fun though!!

  10. How many gingerbread houses can I “build” with this amount of frosting?

  11. Alexa Horne says:

    I’ve used cheap frosting from the store for 25 years. The trick is to form the houses around the little milk cartons from school. I have cafeteria staff save them from lunch and wash them and dry them well. For some reason the chocolate milk stays smelly. I cut off the top and it’s a perfect graham cracker size. The kids help build using the frosting and milk cartons a day or two before the decorating day. I’ve never had one collapse during craft day.. Easy Peasy and my kinders are happy. Only time one broke was when Patrick dropped it heading out the door. He’s 34 now (did it when I taught 3rd grade). He stops by now and then during gingerbread house building.

  12. Joy Moran says:

    After many collapse experiences, we started “gluing” the gingerbread slabs together with melted table sugar in a large skillet. You have to watch the temp closely or the sugar will burn, but it sets up INSTANTLY! Just dip an edge in the liquid sugar, let excess drip off end, attach, hold about 10 seconds. Adults only, I don’t even allow kids in the kitchen while I’m doing this.

  13. I am having my first, Ginger bread decorating house party this year,, last year we used the caramelized sugar glue, and i burnt my hand. that stuff is really hot, so i am looking forward totrying this icing recipe, Super glue and burn free hands. A winning combo for me

  14. I love all the stuff you have linked up at the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I am following you on Pinterest! Thanks for linking up, and I am pinning this to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

  15. With an engineer for a hubby, we both agree that the best gingerbread house is one that stands up as you eat it piece by piece πŸ™‚ This version works great to keep the house standing as you eat it little-by-little. Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop.

  16. Wow! Thanks SO much for sharing this “glue” recipe. That will save me a lot of frustration in the future! A few of my bloggy friends and I will be hosting a Christmas-themed link-up party for 5 weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s starts November 22nd and I’d love for you to come link-up all your winter holiday related posts each week! Hope you enjoy the rest of your week πŸ™‚

  17. This is so good to know about. Have pinned to my Christmas Crafts and Food board.

  18. So simple, who would have though? I must try this when we make gingerbread houses this year.

  19. Found you on Friday Flash Blog 44 and I LOVE THIS! Our gingerbread houses ALWAYS fall apart. When we build ours next weekend I am trying this recipe! Thank you!

  20. We use a similar, if not the same, recipe and love it! It has never failed πŸ™‚

    I have a link up on my blog to link your favorite holiday traditions, I’d love for you to link up some of your Christmas posts!

  21. Oh, and I found you from Family Fun Friday πŸ™‚

  22. Great post! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays! x

  23. carol booth says:

    I have made a variety of sizes of gingerbread houses over the last 30years – with my kindergarten or preschool classes. What I have found, and I learned this trick from a professional candy maker, is to make it on a high pressure. Somehow, low pressure (ie rain snow and sometimes even just a cloudy day) affects how well it sets.

  24. I taught kindergarten for 31 years and to avoid the collapsed houses, we used graham crackers–low fat coz they don’t crumble as easy– and hot glue. Mom volunteers constructed the houses and glued the houses to thick paper plates. I toldthem not to eat the house– just the icing and candy. The fun is in decorating the houses anyways!

  25. Shannon Corbin says:

    Should this be refrigerated for storing?

  26. I am making a cardboard house and frosting it and then putting on candy….will this frosting work / the house is already glued together

  27. How many small-standard sized houses were you able to assemble with this recipe? Excited to try it at the Public Library – only I have to submit purchase request for ingredients 2 weeks ahead of time and need to estimate how must to buy. Thanks!

  28. Thank you so much for this recipe. It worked perfectly and no more crying over collapsed gingerbread houses!

  29. How much to make for 15 houses?

  30. Thanks.
    Just used this at a Daisy meeting and it worked so well.
    We used sugar cubes and graham crackers and all kinds of leftover candy from Halloween.
    The sugar cube door one group made is like a brick wall.

  31. How many gingerbread house can you get with this recipe?

  32. Love your ideas! thank you for sharing. my kids will love this.

  33. About how many houses can you make with this icing recipe? I need to have enough for 15 kids, so I am trying to figure out how much I need.

  34. Great question and it really is going to depend on how large the houses are and how much icing the kids will use. My guess would be that this would be good for 2 houses so you might want to do 8 recipes or so. If you have the ability to mix up more at the event, that would be optimal.

  35. Muhammad Hassan says:

    Great Article and your content is informative and it helps me a lot.These pictures attract me and force me to read your content.I myself have fascination for blog reading.

  36. karen mauger says:

    I follow the recipe in Patricia Layman’s book, and make royal icing just like your recipe. A mystery is that soon after the house is dry, decoration begin falling off. I “glue” them back with new royal icing and within a weeks time again, pieces begin falling off. Any suggestions to rectify??? Been doing this for many years and this is a new thing in the last three years or so…Same recipe!!!! Yikes…wish I could figure this out !!

  37. My mother did a huge gingerbread house and kept it for several years. She spiffed it up each year with new snow aka powdered sugar. She just covered it with foil and kept it in a safe place in the closet. It was not edible but after all that work made a great decor piece!

  38. Tried this today and we’re not sure what happened – the icing didn’t set very quickly. Definitely not super glue. Maybe too thick? Not sure what the bit about a “clean knife” meant? Can you elaborate a little please?

  39. This reminds me of one of the cartoons, looks like some fairy tale house for sure.

  40. Alexandra says:

    Once again, I followed your guide and everything is perfect thank you.

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