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Gingerbread house kit review

Find out which DIY gingerbread house looks and tastes the best, and is the easiest to build.

gingerbread house kits lead
Last updated: 09 December 2021
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Building and decorating a gingerbread house for the holidays is a fun activity for the whole family. 

But if you don't have the time or inclination to bake the gingerbread pieces from scratch, you don't have to miss out on the festive fun, as most supermarkets or department stores have a DIY kit on offer. But which is best? 

To find out, we bought, built and tasted six gingerbread house kits from Aldi, Big W, Coles, IKEA, Kmart and Woolworths – and assessed them on how easy they are to build, as well as how good they look and taste.

If you build it, they will come…

We review gingerbread house kits from Aldi, Big W, Coles, IKEA, Kmart and Woolworths.

Overall verdict

The kits ranged in price from $6 to $14 and in size from 300g to a whopping 1kg. Although I did prefer one slightly more than the others, overall they were all very fun to build and I was pleasantly impressed with how well they turned out. 

That said, none of them blew me away in terms of taste – so if this is important to you, you might be better off baking your own gingerbread house from scratch.

big w gingerbread house built

Big W Make Your Own Gingerbread House (630g).

The best gingerbread house kit

Big W Make Your Own Gingerbread House (630g)

  • Price: $10
  • Price per 100g: $1.59
  • Health star rating: 0.5 stars
  • Country of origin: Made in China from at least 29% Australian ingredients.
Contains
  • 6 pieces of gingerbread house cookies
  • 3 types of lollies
  • Piping bag pre-filled with icing
  • Plastic base.
Extra ingredients needed

None.

Verdict

Overall, this was my favourite gingerbread house to build, decorate and eat. 

The instructions were clear, and told you to ice and decorate the pieces before constructing the house. I was a bit dubious at first, thinking it would get ruined when it was time to put the whole thing together, but it worked well and meant there was no risk of the lollies sliding off while the icing dried. 

The icing itself was quite thick, and I had to really squeeze the piping bag to get it out, but it glued everything together nicely and didn't take long to set. I also really liked the variety of included lollies – this was the only kit that came with candy canes to really sell the festive look. 

This was the only kit that came with candy canes to really sell the festive look

Once it was decorated, building the house was quick and easy, and really just a matter of slotting the house into the plastic base and attaching the roof. I only needed to hold the pieces together for a few minutes before it set nicely. 

The completed house looked cute and colourful, and the gingerbread itself had a nice golden colour. I also enjoyed the flavour. It had a firm (but not hard) texture and a subtle gingerbread smell and flavour – just enough to feel Christmassy without being overpowering. 

How the other kits performed

Here's how the other five gingerbread houses fared, listed in alphabetical order.

aldi gingerbread house built

Aldi's Kringle and Co Pre-built Gingerbread House (650g).

Aldi's Kringle and Co Pre-built Gingerbread House (650g)

  • Price: $12.99
  • Price per 100g: $2
  • Health star rating: 2 stars
  • Country of origin: Made in Germany.
Contains
  • Pre-built gingerbread house and base with tree and gingerbread man 
  • Piping bag pre-filled with icing
  • 2 types of lollies.
Extra ingredients needed

Optional: A base board is useful because the kit's gingerbread base isn't very firm.

Verdict

If you're worried your children may not have the dexterity to construct their own house, this could be the kit for you. It comes pre-fabricated, meaning you can skip straight to the fun bit – decorating. 

It's a bit tricky to get out of the box – you'll either need to tear the box open or gently flip it upside down to remove it – but the house has plenty of grooves baked in and arguably the tastiest of lollies (gummies and candy coated chocolate buttons). 

I liked the house's A-frame design too – A for Aldi, perhaps?

Decorating the house was easy, and although the icing was easy to pipe and set nicely, I would have liked more of it. I used up the entire bag, but it still felt a bit sparse compared with the other kits. I liked the house's A-frame design too – A for Aldi, perhaps? And the lollies looked colourful once it was all put together.

The gingerbread was soft, chewy and slightly cake-like in texture, with a gingerbread smell and flavour so faint they were barely there. Not terrible, but you might prefer to stick to the lollies.

coles gingerbread house built

Coles Festive Gingerbread House Kit (1kg).

Coles Festive Gingerbread House Kit (1kg)

  • Price: $14
  • Price per 100g: $1.40
  • Health star rating: 1 star
  • Country of origin: Packed in Canada with ingredients from multiple origins.
Contains
  • 7 pieces of gingerbread house cookies
  • 1 gingerbread man
  • 1 gingerbread snowman
  • 1 gingerbread tree
  • Plastic base
  • Piping bag pre-filled with icing, plus nozzle
  • 4 types of lollies.
Extra ingredients needed
None.

Verdict

The instructions were straightforward, and the house slotted nicely into the grooves of the plastic base board. But the icing took longer to set than for the other kits, so I had to hold everything together for longer so that it didn't fall apart. But, once assembled, it was structurally sound. 

Once assembled, it was structurally sound

The slow-drying icing also proved a problem when decorating, as the heavier pinwheels kept sliding off (the smaller, lighter lollies adhered easily). 

The baseboard was quite large and flimsy, but overall I liked the look of the house – there was a nice variety of lollies and the addition of the gingerbread tree, snowman and man was a nice touch. 

Taste wise, the biscuit was aromatic with a mild gingerbread flavour and firm in texture. 

Ikea gingerbread house built

IKEA Vintersaga Gingerbread House (300g).

IKEA Vintersaga Gingerbread House (300g)

  • Price: $6
  • Price per 100g: $2
  • Health star rating: None shown
  • Country of origin: Made in Sweden.
Contains
10 pieces of gingerbread house cookie.

Extra ingredients needed
  • Icing (IKEA includes recipe in the instructions, using 250g icing sugar, 1 egg white and 5mL lemon juice/vinegar)
  • Piping bag
  • Lollies
  • Base board.

Verdict

IKEA claims that this is "probably Sweden's most iconic Christmas decoration". So I couldn't help but feel sorry for Swedish shoppers when I realised this DIY kit doesn't come with any icing or lolly decorations. 

But it does come with a simple recipe for icing. Once I'd made up a batch, the house was surprisingly easy to build, in stark contrast to some of the furniture giant's other products, and didn't take long to set.

The house was surprisingly easy to build, in stark contrast to some of the furniture giant's other products

Decorating the house was relatively simple – the gingerbread comes with decorative grooves baked in to give you a design guide – and although you can supply your own lollies, I tried to mimic the style on the packaging and was pleased with the more minimalist look. 

The gingerbread itself was dark golden brown in colour and had a much stronger aroma and flavour than the other kits' gingerbread. But when I bit into it, it did crumble more than the other 'firm' biscuits. Not a dealbreaker, though. 

Kmart gingerbread house built

Kmart Gingerbread House Kit (830g).

Kmart Gingerbread House Kit (830g)

  • Price: $12
  • Price per 100g: $1.45
  • Health star rating: Not stated
  • Country of origin: Made in Ukraine.
Contains
  • 10 gingerbread house pieces
  • Icing sugar
  • 1 type of lolly.
Extra ingredients needed
  • 1 egg white
  • Optional: A base board is useful as the kit's gingerbread base isn't very firm.

Verdict

As with the IKEA version, you need to make the icing yourself for this gingerbread house – although the kit does give you enough icing sugar to make up a batch (just add one egg white). 

Constructing the house was straightforward, but the bendy, cake-like texture of the house meant I had to be extra careful so it wouldn't break. The instructions also suggest using some of the icing to make a glaze, and painting the house with it to stop the gingerbread from going stale. Great in theory, but I wasn't quite sure how much water to add, how thick the glaze should be, or how generous I should be with the 'paint'. 

I really liked that the finished product had more of a 'grown up' winter cabin look

Happily, there was no confusion when it came time to decorate: the pre-baked grooves worked as a bit of a template and I really liked that the finished product had more of a 'grown up' winter cabin look. 

On the downside, I was a little disappointed that the only lolly option was light blue sugar sprinkles – I would have preferred a bit more variety – but it fit the wintry theme, as they did look like snowflakes.

Because the gingerbread was soft, it was very easy to pull off a section to taste. I found it very similar in smell and taste to the Aldi version – pleasant, but with only a very mild gingerbread flavour. 

woolworths gingerbread house built

Woolworths' Bailey & May Gingerbread House Kit (719g).

Woolworths' Bailey & May Gingerbread House Kit (719g)

  • Price: $10
  • Price per 100g: $1.39
  • Health star rating: 1.5 stars
  • Country of origin: Packed in Canada.
Contains
  • 6 pieces of gingerbread house cookies
  • Pouch with pre-made icing (snip to squeeze)
  • Plastic base
  • 3 types of lollies.
Extra ingredients needed
None.

Verdict

This kit comes with clear instructions and is very straightforward to build, although the icing does take longer to set than for some of the other kits. 

There were quite a few similarities between this house and the Coles version: the gingerbread pieces were of a similar size, the lollies were similar (although this kit didn't have pinwheels) and it even tasted near identical, with a firm texture and mild gingerbread flavour.

I really liked that this kit added a bit more detail to the gingerbread, in particular the stonework grooves

But I really liked that this kit added a bit more detail to the gingerbread, in particular the stonework grooves that were etched into the walls, although I did find those sections difficult to decorate once the house was built. 

Regardless, I was really happy with the finished product and thought it looked festive and colourful.

Tips for building a gingerbread house

Plan your design

Generally, the icing starts to set as soon as you've piped it, so there's not much room for error once you get started. Sketch out a rough plan before you start, or replicate the image on the packaging if (like me) you're not much of a designer.

Choose a kit with a piping nozzle

Snipping the end off a plastic piping bag does work, but I found a piping nozzle makes a big difference in how easy and how neatly you can apply the icing. 

Decorate layers first

The Big W kit was the only one that suggested doing this, but I found it much easier to fix lollies to a flat surface than a vertical one. Then, once they're dry, you can build the house without ruining your design.

Make or buy extra icing

One of the benefits of buying a DIY kit is that, in most cases, it comes with pre-made royal icing. But only you know if the amount included will be enough for your design, so if you think you might run out, add an extra packet of readymade royal icing from the baking aisle of your local supermarket. 

Alternatively, make a large batch from scratch by whipping two egg whites and gradually adding in 450g of icing sugar with two tablespoons of lemon juice.

leo smashing decorated gingerbread house

Smashed it – whichever gingerbread house you choose, it's sure to be reduced to rubble.

How we tested gingerbread house kits

We bought readily available gingerbread house kits from supermarkets and discount department stores. (Note: Target is advertising a $20 kit on its website, but we were unable to find it instore or online.)

As we built each gingerbread house, we recorded how easy each one was to build and decorate, how happy we were with its appearance, and how similar it looked to the picture on the box. 

Once we'd finished building, we tasted the gingerbread from each house and made notes of its aroma and flavour. 

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