The best build-your-own gingerbread house kits

Updated on 29 November 2021 | 0 Comments

We put four different build-your-own gingerbread house kits to the test. Here's how they fared.

If you're not confident at building a gingerbread house from scratch, there are several do-it-yourself kits that can come to the rescue. We've tested out five different gingerbread house kits, from bake to build, and here's how they fared:

Waitrose Gingerbread House Kit, £5.95

Waitrose gingerbread house 2021
Waitrose & Partners

What's in the kit? Dry gingerbread mix, white royal icing sachet, red writing icing pen and boiled sweets as well as stencils for the shapes needed to build the house. You just need to add butter, golden syrup or honey, and water for the icing.

What's great about it? The gingerbread dough takes minutes to make – all you have to do is combine the dry gingerbread mix with golden syrup and melted butter. The dough is easy to work with and there's enough left over after cutting out the house shapes to make a few additional biscuits.

The kit comes with boiled sweets that are placed in the cut-out heart shapes before baking – an innovative idea that delivers a great final result, looking like stained glass.

What could be improved? The gingerbread didn't keep its shape that well during baking, so the house was difficult to put together. It would've been easier with a base, but you could make your own with the leftover dough.

The icing comes out far too runny, even if you add just a little bit of water and you might need additional icing sugar to make it thicker or maybe even substitute the icing mix with homemade royal icing. The decorations are quite simple and there's not much room for improvisation unless you add your own sweets.

What does it taste like? The flavour of the gingerbread is wonderful with a touch of slight pepperiness. It's crunchy on the outside and a little soft in the middle, and stays surprisingly fresh for a couple of days.

Final verdict: The gingerbread is delicious and if you're more into baking rather than decorating, this is great. But you'll need a lot of patience if using the icing mix provided.

Waitrose gingerbread house finished 2021 Karlina Valeiko

Sainsbury's Make Your Own Gingerbread House Kit, £4

Sainsbury's gingerbread house kit 2021

What's in the kit? Dry gingerbread mix, royal icing powder mix, piping bag, silver crispy balls and stencils for the shapes you'll need to bake. You'll have to add butter and golden syrup as well was water for the icing.

What's great about it? The gingerbread mix is easy to make and roll, and after the house shapes are cut out, there's still enough dough to make either individual gingerbread biscuits or improvise and use the roof stencil to cut out a gingerbread base for the house. While baking, the gingerbread fills the kitchen with the most amazing aroma – perfect for getting into the festive spirit.&

What could be improved? After it's rolled out once, the dough becomes quite crumbly and is hard to bring back together and roll again without tearing. The gingerbread itself didn't hold shape so you might have to trim the edges a little bit to make sure the pieces fit together. The silver balls are a touch too heavy for the icing but if you let it set a little first and then add the decorations, they should hold in place a bit better.

What does it taste like? The gingerbread is quite peppery, more than in any other kits, but the overall flavour is lovely. Although the pieces came out of the oven quite firm, the gingerbread goes soft overnight.

Final verdict: A really simple and easy-to-use kit if you're after a fun family activity that doesn't take hours to make.

Sainsbury's gingerbread house finished 2021
Karlina Valeiko

IKEA Vintersaga gingerbread house, £2.95

IKEA gingerbread house kit 2021IKEA

What's in the kit? Pre-baked shapes for the house. You'll have to make your own icing, ideally royal icing, for which you'll need egg whites, lemon juice and icing sugar.

What's great about it? The instructions are very straightforward and it's immediately clear how the house has to be put together. The pre-baked gingerbread has handy imprints along the roof and on the outside of the windows and doors, showing you were to pipe. You'll need quite a small nozzle for your piping bag to achieve such a delicate look as on the packaging.

What could be improved? As is usually the case with IKEA, the design is very minimalistic. You might want to add some extra decorations or different food colourings to your icing for a more flamboyant look.

What does it taste like? The gingerbread has lovely flavour and great texture with the right snap when broken in two. The sharpness and pepperiness of the ginger and spices, and the warming sweetness of the golden syrup, really come through.

Final verdict: Perfect if you want a fuss-free gingerbread house (as long as you have a steady hand for piping the icing!). You can make it even more festive by placing a lit tealight inside.

Ikea gingerbread house finished 2021
Karlina Valeiko

Lakeland traditional gingerbread house kit, £12.99

Lakeland gingerbread house kit 2021

What's in the kit? Gingerbread house pieces, icing sugar, piping bag and decorations, including fruit gums, chocolate buttons, hundreds and thousands, and fairy-tale folk. You'll need one egg white and lemon juice or white wine vinegar to make the icing.

What's great about it? It's easy to put together and thanks to the cuts in the base, the house is pretty sturdy and holds together well. Decorating the house is really good fun and there's lots of different sweets already provided to play around with if you'd rather create your own design.

What could be improved? After securing the bigger pieces for the house in place, the instructions suggest thinning the icing a little bit with water so it's more suitable for decorating – be careful to not add too much otherwise the heavier pieces, like the fruit gums, won't stay on.

What does it taste like? The gingerbread is quite soft but the flavour is nice – you can taste both the spicing and the golden syrup. Great for those who prefer thicker and softer gingerbread.

Final verdict: A really fun and easy-to-use kit that's all about the decoration.

Lakeland gingerbread house finished 2021Karlina Valeiko

Our favourite: M&S Gingerbread House Kit, £5.50

M&S gingerbread house kit 2021

What's in the kit? Gingerbread house pieces, white icing tube with three different nozzles for piping, jelly sweets, sugar decorations and sugar snowflakes as well as a plastic tray to help put the house together. You don't need any additional ingredients.

What's great about it? It's easy to put together thanks to the plastic tray that helps hold the house up while the icing stiffens up. The icing provided is perfect consistency for both building and decorating, and keeps its shape nicely without dripping or sliding.

The decorations are plentiful and you can either follow the image on the box or come up with your own design. There are helpful indentation in the pre-made gingerbread pieces to guide you where to pipe for a neat and pretty finish.

What could be improved? The gingerbread itself is a little crumbly especially around the edges so be careful when unboxing as to not break any pieces.

What does it taste like? The gingerbread is quite soft and the flavour is rather peppery with not much other spice coming through. It's reminiscent of a soft biscuit.

Final verdict: It's really fun and relatively easy to put together – absolutely perfect for a festive family activity.

M&S gingerbread house finished 2021Karlina Valeiko

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