Looking for a fun, holiday activity to keep the kids busy? Try your hand at building the ultimate gingerbread house this holiday season. Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Foodease and Foodlife Partner & Executive Pastry Chef Yasmin Gutierrez is the expert who is here to walk you through how to build the perfect gingerbread house. Read on to learn more!

Prefer to have Chef Yasmin school you in person? Join her on December 15 at Foodlife for a special hands-on Gingerbread House Workshop. Click here for more info and tickets!

Gingerbread house with gingerbread house ingredients to make it

First, here’s what you need:

  • Gingerbread dough (store bought is fine, the holidays are busy!)
  • Cardboard cakeboard
  • Candy and chocolate decorations
  • Frosting
  • Piping bags
  • Scissors
  • A big, clean space
  • Christmas music (not required, but highly suggested)

Start by making that sweet, sweet gingerbread cookie!

  1. When baking the cookie, be sure to bake it all the way through. The cookie should be crispy- we don’t want any houses collapsing or breaking!
  2. After the cookie is ready, and the pieces are cut, make sure all sides of the gingerbread house are even.

Icing, Icing, Baby!

  1. Once the cookies are ready to go, and the kitchen fully smells like Christmas, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part: the icing. PRO TIP: make sure that the icing is not runny so that the cookies stick together. Need to make it thicker? Add more powdered sugar! Here’s a link to an easy recipe for royal icing from Chef Yasmin.
  2. Once the icing is made, put it in a piping bag and snip a hole at the end. The bigger the hole, the more icing that will come out.

Little girl putting icing on a gingerbread cookie

Let’s Build a House.

  1. Start with icing a side wall and the front of the house together. *It is important you start with these two pieces to give the house structure and ensure it does not collapse.
  2. Hold these pieces for at least 10 seconds, and then move on to the other side wall, and then the back of the house.
  3. All gingerbread men need a roof over their heads, so grab your last two pieces and get building. Use the icing to first border the top of the house, and then place the two roof pieces together.
  4. Pipe a straight line of icing down the center to the seal the roof.
  5. Let the house dry for at least three hours before decorating.

little girl decorating gingerbread house cookie

Time For a Sugar Rush.

  1. Now on to the (really) fun part! Grab your favorite toppings & decorations to give your house some festive flair. (See below for Chef Yasmin’s favorites!)
  2. When applying the icing, do a little bit at a time so that the icing doesn’t dry out too quickly.
  3. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Mother and daughter decorating a gingerbread house
Esmeralda Torres, Office Manager at Foodlife and her daughter show us how it’s done

What does Chef Yasmin top her gingerbread house with?

  • Mini M&Ms
  • colored sugar
  • holiday wrapped chocolates
  • frosted mini wheats
  • crushed candy cane
  • gumdrops

Voila! You now have a beautiful, edible centerpiece for your next holiday get together!

Decorated gingerbread house

Looking for things to do this holiday season, here are our December holiday happenings.

What are you doing this Christmas Eve? Check out who is open and which restaurants are offering special holiday menus in Chicago.

Not into doing the cooking this Christmas? Here are our Chicago restaurants open on Christmas Day.