12 Gingerbread House Kits, Ranked

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So many wonderful decorations spring up at the end of the year, from beautifully lit menorahs to dazzling Christmas lights and trees cloaked in nostalgic ornaments. In many homes, including the White House, making the annual gingerbread house is a beloved tradition, and in our home, it's no different.

Curious to find the very best gingerbread kit, we assembled a small town's worth of gingerbread houses ─ a mixture of purchases and samples we requested from stores. Along the way, we learned that there is a certain art and logic when it comes to assembling these sweet confections. Before you even begin, you should decide how and when you'll construct it. Some gingerbread houses do well with a construction process using the included frosting and then decorating the standing house, but others demand decoration, dry time, and only then finishing the assembly.

Since we assembled several gingerbread houses, we also learned that some companies excel at producing cookies that will not break, while others have ultra crumbly cookies. That's why, in addition to having plenty of wipes and paper towels on hand, we always kept a glue gun handy to fix any broken cookies or help assemble the houses we weren't planning to eat.

In the end, there were some gingerbread houses that we absolutely wanted to love but didn't quite pan out the way we hoped, and others that pleasantly surprised us. When deciding our favorites, we considered a combination of candy options, quality of frosting, ease of assembly, and overall standard of the kit.

12. Sweet E's Gingerbread Candy House

Williams Sonoma sent over a gingerbread house from Sweet E's Bake Shop, and the gingerbread house had an absolutely incredible smell right out of the packaging. As soon as we opened the cellophane, the scent of gingerbread filled the room, indicating it had been freshly baked. Unfortunately, that was where the glory ended.

Although there were delicious-smelling cookie pieces and absolutely fun candy, which really made it unique compared to other houses we tried, the biggest pitfall with this gingerbread house was that it simply wouldn't stay together. The way the gingerbread cookies were cooked fresh made them soft and ultra difficult to assemble. In many cases, the gingerbread was just too moist to adhere to the pieces, and the frosting wasn't sticky enough, taking far too long to dry. 

We wanted to love this one, but we were lucky enough to capture a picture of what we were able to create, which, if we're being honest, was unfortunately not very much. With such high hopes for this gingerbread house, we were deeply disappointed because it just didn't work. We even went in with hot glue as a backup, and even that didn't work with the softness of the cookie. 

11. Williams Sonoma Gingerbread House

The beautifully packaged Williams Sonoma gingerbread house was a definite improvement over the Sweet E's version, mainly because we actually got it standing and thoroughly decorated. Its packaging was our favorite, resembling a beautiful gingerbread house on the outside.

The pieces also had an absolutely delicious smell. However, the ultra-loose and very runny frosting made it difficult to assemble, even with the interlocking pieces, ultimately leading to a pretty big mess on our counter. But, once the frosting hardened, it created a fun snow-like texture that we found very endearing. This gingerbread house also came with a great deal of candies, a feature we liked. Yet, this didn't completely compensate for the messy assembly process.

Unfortunately, we noticed that as it sat for a bit, the candy leached color into the frosting, resulting in brightly colored areas surrounding the candies. Despite these issues, it was still a more favorable experience compared to the Sweet E's house. 

10. Bee Prebuilt Gingerbread House

A common trend we've seen becoming more prevalent is prebuilt, ready-to-decorate gingerbread houses, like the Bee Prebuilt Gingerbread House Kit from World Market. These eliminate the headache of assembly, making them ready for decoration as soon as you open the package. We love this option for families with small kids, or even holiday decorating parties, because it skips the waiting process between opening the box and decorating. However, for decorators who enjoy the entire process, a prebuilt gingerbread house might not be as appealing.

On the plus side, we found the frosting on these prebuilt houses behaved very well, adhering perfectly to the house. Surprisingly, we even sensed some gingerbread-house smell with this one, despite it being preassembled. One downside was the lesser amount of frosting provided and the pretty basic candy inclusions. We would have liked more, but given that you don't have to assemble the house yourself, it makes sense that there would be less frosting needed in the box.

9. Paw Patrol Gingerbread Pup House

If you have kids who enjoy the television show "Paw Patrol," they'll be absolutely thrilled with a Paw Patrol-themed gingerbread house from Walmart. This charming set even includes Paw-shaped candies, which are absolutely adorable.

However, when we opened the package for the PAW Patrol gingerbread house, we were surprised to find that the cookie pieces were actually burnt on the sides and edges. This was a first in our gingerbread house experiences, and it was quite unexpected. We're disappointed that these pieces would be deemed acceptable to use since they were burnt, but on a positive note, this gingerbread house emitted a very nice vanilla smell, distinct from other gingerbread houses.

Assembling the house was enjoyable as it came with puzzle-like pieces, making the process much easier and not requiring a hot glue gun. The frosting behaved well but became a bit droopy when we started assembling the candies on the house. The design of the roof was unusual, making it tricky to determine how best to decorate it. This left most of the decorating to the front and sides. We wished the roof had a more traditional gingerbread design to avoid missing out on decorating space. Despite these issues, this gingerbread house is an ultra-fun find for any Paw Patrol fan in your home.

8. Candy Land Gingerbread House

If board games are a frequent pastime in your home, a Candy Land-themed gingerbread house from World Market would be a super fun addition to your holiday decorations. We were impressed by the variety of toppings included with this one. However, compared to another gingerbread house made by Cookies United, the company making this gingerbread set, we found the frosting to be quite a bit runnier in this instance.

That said, the gingerbread pieces themselves were constructed quite similarly and had plenty of shingles for us to add using our icing. The kit included little Candy Land people that you could cut out of the box and arrange beside the house, or even on it, for a little extra flair. These cutouts really elevated the gingerbread house into a Candy Land-themed creation. Without this decoration, it would be tough to discern the theme as being specifically related to Candy Land. 

7. Great One Cookie Company Gingerbread House

Among the gingerbread house options we tried from bakeries, this one, sold by Williams Sonoma and distributed by the Great One Cookie Company, stood out more than Sweet E's. These cookies were a unique dark-brown color, distinctly different from our other gingerbread houses, and it was evident that they had been freshly baked.

What set this gingerbread house apart was its lack of predefined windows or doors, allowing for a very freeform decorating experience. This aspect let us decorate to our heart's content, offering a canvas for creativity. However, we found the frosting a bit on the runny side, even after a good deal of massaging, though it became easier to work with over time.

The simplicity of this gingerbread house was admirable. We particularly liked that the company provided a few different colors of icing, aiding in the decoration process. Another plus was that the included sprinkles successfully adhered to the frosting, which isn't always true with gingerbread house kits.

In addition to the missing indentations for doors and windows, it also didn't have a cardboard base, which made it challenging to move around. We ended up resorting to using a spare cardboard piece from a box to display this one and unstick it from the counter.

6. Elf on the Shelf Gingerbread House

The Elf on the Shelf gingerbread house, available from Michaels, is a must-have if your family participates in the Elf on the Shelf holiday tradition. Much like the Candy Land gingerbread house made by the same company, this one included cut-out Elf on the Shelf characters on the back of the box, adding to the theme and bringing the whole concept together.

The frosting packaging for this house was unique and different from others we've tried. Instead of a traditional piping bag, this kit featured a frosting pack with a built-in spigot. This design made determining where to cut for optimal use easy, which we appreciated.

However, we found that assembling the house required hot glue for stability. We enjoyed that this gingerbread house came with an easy-start plastic structure for the base, aiding in the assembly process, even for those who might not want to use hot glue.

On the downside, we were disappointed with the amount of candy provided. We found the quantity to be quite limited, which didn't match our expectations for such a themed gingerbread house. More candy would have enhanced the decorating experience, especially considering the playful Elf on the Shelf theme.

5. Favorite Day Illuminated Manor Gingerbread

Target, host of the Favorite Day brand, offers quite a few gingerbread house kits. Among them, the Favorite Day Illuminated Manor is one of the most unique we've made, with more pieces and rather intensive instructions than we are accustomed to.

Interestingly, we first needed to crush the little golden candies that came in the kit, then bake the front of the house with these pieces in the windows so they melted and created candied windows. These windows allow light to shine through, living up to the illuminated aspect in the name. You can add a flameless light to the back of the gingerbread house, which shines through these pieces. The kit also included shutters for the windows, a gable for the roof, and some of the most interesting candy and frosting pieces we've encountered.

We love the design of this one. However, the frosting was finicky to work with, and we ultimately wished we had decorated the front of the gingerbread house before fully assembling it. The structure seemed a little too breakable, given that it started in so many pieces. Unfortunately, we also had to do a bit of hot glue gun work to reassemble all the pieces that had broken during the shipping process. Despite these challenges, we really loved this gingerbread house for its creativity and the unique feature of being able to illuminate it. 

4. Barbie Cookie Dreamhouse

In the year of Barbie, creating a Barbie Dreamhouse out of cookies seemed like a lovely way to wrap up the year. This house from World Market was a completely different style compared to others we tried, resembling a mid-century modern home with a sloped roof and detailed windows on the front. There were also instructions for stairs for the front door, but we didn't love how that looked, so we ended up nixing that step.

While many gingerbread houses encourage creativity in decorations, we felt compelled to closely follow the picture on the box for this one. The windows were so intricately detailed that precise frosting placement was necessary to achieve a decent look. We also chose to decorate the front of the house while it was flat, allowing it to dry before assembling any other parts. Without this step, achieving the detailed window look would have been nearly impossible.

We found using a butter knife to spread out the blue frosting for the window panes very handy. The frosting on this kit hardened ultra-quickly, which was a bit challenging. We wished for more diversity in the candy and additional opportunities to personalize the house, however the detailed windows on the front somewhat limited our creative freedom.

In the end, the Barbie Dreamhouse gingerbread house, with all its Barbie colors, was definitely a bright and unique spin on the classic gingerbread house design. We loved the final look, despite some limitations in the decorating process.

3. Adults & Crafts Gingerbread House

Michaels offers a gingerbread kit from Adults & Crafts, and this was definitely our favorite among the more traditional gingerbread houses. Unlike the usual kits with prebaked cookies and ready-to-use frosting, this kit required us to make our own frosting from a powder. The directions were clear and straightforward, involving the mixing of seven teaspoons of water, added slowly and stirred thoroughly, to create the frosting. We were initially a little intimidated, but it worked perfectly.

The result was a bright-white frosting that was, by far, our favorite to work with among all the gingerbread houses we've tried. We were impressed by how brilliantly white it turned out, and how it retained its color even as the gingerbread dried and everything adhered.

The included candies were on the simpler side, but they made the house look quite pretty. This kit is a fabulous choice for anyone looking for a simple yet elegant gingerbread house for the season.

2. Publix Super Market Gingerbread House

Publix, known for its tasty pub subs, baked goods, and impressive cheese selection, also has a great overall vibe. This was perfectly showcased when the company created a gingerbread house in the form of a Publix store. These kits sold out quickly at our local stores, but we managed to get one before they were all gone.

The gingerbread construction for the Publix store was quite complex, requiring a lot of frosting application. This kit didn't leave much room for creative interpretation; it was more of a create-what-you-see-on-the-box kind of project. Nonetheless, we loved the final outcome.

We followed our approach of decorating the pieces while they lay flat, and then allowing them to dry before assembly. This step was crucial for getting the frosting to look just right. We particularly enjoyed creating the little string of lights across the front using ultra-skinny black frosting.

The kit included the typical thick, white frosting we're accustomed to with gingerbread houses, but it also came with black, red, and green frosting in smaller packages. We were initially skeptical of these frostings due to their size, but we ultimately had more than enough for our design and assembly. It's important to massage these packets well before use and to cut a very small hole, as the frosting is more gel-like and comes out quickly. Despite the challenges, creating the Publix gingerbread store was a fun take on the classic house.

1. Crafty Cooking Kits Mid Century Modern Gingerbread House

Though World Market sent us a few gingerbread houses to try, the mid-century modern gingerbread house was our favorite of any kit we assembled and decorated this year. This one, in our opinion, offered the most creative color palette and unique decorating opportunities. It didn't feel overly rigid in terms of how we needed to decorate it, but we aimed to closely replicate the image on the box because we loved the example so much.

The kit also included sugar topping with a glistening look, adding a neat touch to the overall house. The only challenging part was getting the candy cane pieces to work as pillars. In this case, we found hot glue to be helpful in positioning those pieces accurately.

This is an outstanding option if you're looking for a gingerbread house that's fun to design and a bit different from the typical offerings. This kit came with premade white frosting, as well as blue and pink. Additionally, it included a green powder for us to mix into some of the white frosting. This was the only house that required such a step, and we were initially unsure how it would turn out. However, much to our satisfaction, the green frosting looked just as good as the blue and pink.

Overall methodology

Our gingerbread house kits were a mixture of purchases and samples we requested from stores. When we assembled each kit, we took into account the candy options offered in the pack, the quality of frosting and how it set, how easy the houses were to assemble, and the overall quality of the kit.