How to make the best vegan gingerbread house with vegan royal icing! Everything you need to know to build your own dairy free, gluten free, STURDY, vegan gingerbread house for the holidays with a video tutorial!
One of my favorite holiday activities is making a gingerbread house! We used to do it every year as kids, and then my friends and I continued on the tradition, even when we were in college and came home from break!
Like making sugar cookies, gingerbread houses are such a classic way to get into the holiday spirit, and they’re really for anyone and everyone.
This year though, I wanted to make sure that there really and truly were options for everyone, which is why I created a gluten-free and vegan gingerbread house! This vegan gingerbread house is full of lovely aromatic spices, such as ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and cloves, and is easily made gluten-free as needed.
Now, making a gingerbread house isn’t as complicated as it seems- you will need patience and a good sense of humor (because things fall occasionally, and that’s okay!), but it’s truly such a joy.
How to make vegan royal icing
So if you’re like me, you’re probably freaked out by regular royal icing.
I know that egg whites really cement everything, but the thought of putting something raw into icing sort of gave me the heeby-geebies- anyone else?
So that’s why I really prefer vegan royal icing instead.
I’ve typically done vegan royal icing with just powdered sugar and a dairy free milk, but that won’t help your gingerbread house stay up! You need that cement-like additive to it.
So I chatted with one of my good friends, Yuki from Foodie Yuki, who suggested that I try aquafaba, or chickpea brine.
What a lifesaver this was! I’ve heard of people using aquafaba before, but I tried it once before…bought the salted chickpeas accidentally…and let’s just say that salted aquafaba does not make for a good vegan meringue haha!
But unsalted aquafaba does. So for the vegan royal icing, all you’ll need is:
- Unsalted aquafaba
- Powdered sugar
That’s it! And to make it? Even simpler. You will need a hand mixer or stand mixer, so make sure you have one of those handy.
Another note, I suggest baking the gingerbread house before you make the frosting. But you’re going to need the vegan royal icing before you assemble your gingerbread house so that’s why I’m talking about it before we make our gluten free vegan gingerbread house! Simply:
- Beat the aquafaba in a large bowl until it starts to peak like egg whites. This should take a few minutes.
- Incrementally add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until it’s a thick frosting. It should still be slightly running, but drop in “gloops,” as I like to call it.
- Spoon the icing into a piping bag and assemble!
Now let’s move onto the assembly of our new ginger villages! 🙂
How to make a vegan gingerbread house (VIDEO!)
As I mentioned above, make sure that you make the vegan gingerbread parts before you make the icing. Once that’s made you can begin to assemble the house.
I’ve used Sally’s Baking Addiction’s template for a gingerbread house and Sugar Geek Show before and love them both. I’ve also used Taste Of Home’s (which is the current photo of the gingerbread house).
This year, I actually purchased gingerbread house cookie cutters. I’ve found the process so much easier too, and it will be much easier if kids are involved in helping decorate!
Personally, while I love the look, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to make a really big gingerbread house and double the dough.
I’ve also decided it’s best to assemble this gingerbread house in two days. Day 1 is spent just making the dough and assembling the house. Then Day 2 is more relaxed, you can have fun decorating and play some holiday tunes!
Day 1: Baking & Assembling
The first step to creating a homemade sturdy gingerbread house from scratch is baking an incredibly resilient gingerbread house cookie. We’re using my favorite gingerbread recipe that creates a crisp gingerbread house that’s nice and sturdy.
Then we’ll assemble!
Making the dough + cutting out the house pieces (total time: 1 hour)
- First you’ll make the gingerbread dough. I explain that in depth down below in the recipe card. It’s really easy and simple, and it’s a recipe that yields a really strong and sturdy house structure.
- Once you’re chilling the dough, make sure that your gingerbread house cardboard pieces are cut out. That 30 minutes while you chill the dough is a perfect time to do that.
- Once your dough is ready to be rolled, roll the dough to about 1/4″ thick.
- Next, use the gingerbread house cutters or your own homemade gingerbread house pieces from cardboard. I’ve linked the cookie cutters I’ve used in the recipe card below.
- Carefully move the pieces to a baking sheet and space them 1 inch apart (you may need an additional baking sheet). I suggest rolling everything on parchment paper so that you can easily transport it to the baking tray.
- Chill the dough for 10 minutes in the freezer.
- Then bake everything for at least 15 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly tough.
- Immediately after removing from the oven, I press the cookie cutters back onto the cookie cut outs to even out any edges that spread.
- Let cool for 15 minutes and then place into the fridge to completely chill before icing.
Okay, now that our dough has been made into gingerbread house pieces, it’s time to assemble the house!
I recommend using Isomalt, which is vegan (and linked in the recipe card!), or a homemade sugar syrup that hardens. This will ensure that your gingerbread house will stand without falling apart, and the process goes much faster. You’ll make a vegan royal icing batch for decorating the house after the house has set.
Assembling the house (total time: 1 hour+)
Here’s how to assemble your gingerbread house:
- If you’d like to do stained glass windows in your gingerbread house:
- You’ll need to make them before assembling the house! Melt the isomalt and pour into the window panes. Let the isomalt set for 30 minutes.
- Assembling the gingerbread house walls:
- Once you’re ready to assemble, make sure you have a cup for support near by and start by heating the isomalt until it’s melted. Gently pour or brush the isomalt onto the edges where you’ll place a house wall at a right angle. Place the gingerbread piece where the isomalt is and press gently. Lean it against the support cup if needed after a few seconds. Give the piece about 10 minutes to set fully, and then you should be able to remove the support cup.
- Placing the roof on top:
- Once you’ve assembled the walls, and the house is standing, next, to assemble the roof using isomalt as well. Gently place the roof pieces on the top of the house and lightly hold for 2-3 minutes. Please note that isomalt does not do well in the fridge! Leave the house at room temperature to set. This is different than the video tutorial, in that I mentioned using royal icing, which can be placed in the fridge. However, isomalt is much sturdier. Place a cup underneath the bottom of the roof for light support as it dries.
Day 2: Decorating (total time: 1 hour)
Now that your gingerbread house has completely set (it should feel as solid as a rock at this point!), you can have some fun and decorate!
I recommend making batch of vegan royal icing, this time on the thinner side, and pouring the icing into a piping bag, snipping the end, and having some fun!
There are some great design ideas on Pinterest that I highly recommend checking out.
You can also use some vegan candies to decorate and add some color to your house! I used my vegan gingerbread people to decorate as well.
What candies are vegan to decorate a gingerbread house?
Unfortunately, the traditional candies aren’t always vegan friendly. If you’d like to add some color to your house, I recommend checking out the health aisle at your local grocery store or Whole Foods.
Some candy suggestions I have are:
- Unreal colored chocolate gems (vegan)
- Sweetapolita Vegan Sprinkles
- Candy canes
- Homemade gumdrops using agar-agar
You can also add some vegan food coloring to your royal icing to make it even more colorful!
I hope you have the best time building your vegan gingerbread houses! It’s such a fun holiday activity, and makes for a great decoration around the house 🙂
If you try this gingerbread house, let me know in the comments section below, and be sure to give this house a rating so that others may find it.
Happy gingerbread house decorating
More vegan Christmas cookies:
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How to make the best vegan gingerbread house with vegan royal icing! Everything you need to know to build your own dairy free, gluten free, vegan gingerbread house for the holidays!
Vegan Gingerbread House:
- 3 1/2 cup gluten free 1-to-1 flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup vegan butter or coconut oil, softened
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 4 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups isomalt (for assembling the house and creating stained glass windows)
- 1 batches vegan royal icing, for decorating
- Vegan candies for decorating (check blog post for recommendations)
- 1 recipe of vegan buttercream frosting
Please note that the video is slightly different than the video- the video uses royal icing to set the walls of the gingerbread house, while the newly updated recipe below uses isomalt, a much sturdier setting.
- For the cookie template, I suggest either purchasing gingerbread house cookie cutters, or using Sally’s Baking Addiction, or Sugar Geek Show.
- I also recommend baking and assembling this gingerbread house in 2 days total. Day 1 will be baking and assembling, day 2 will be decorating.
- Day 1: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and sea salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the vegan butter or coconut oil and sugar until combined. Add in the molasses and ground flaxseed, and continue to beat until completely combined.
- Add wet ingredients into dry and combine into a stick dough. Round dough into a ball, and wrap with plastic wrap. Place the dough into the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
- During the chilling time, you can cut out your cardboard pieces for the house if you’re not using a cookie cutter set.
- When the dough is chilled, lightly flour a clean surface (I suggest parchment paper so that you can easily transfer the cut pieces to a baking sheet) and rolling pin, and roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick (it doesn’t have to be exact!).
- Gently cut out two of each gingerbread house pieces (two walls, two sides of the house, and two roof pieces) from the dough.
- Carefully move the pieces to a baking sheet and space them 1 inch apart (you may need an additional baking sheet). I suggest rolling everything on parchment paper so that you can easily transport it to the baking tray. Chill the dough in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake everything for at least 15 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly tough. Once done baking, immediately press the cookie cutters into their respective pieces for any sides that have spread. This will ensure that your gingerbread house has even sides!
- Let cool for 15 minutes and then place into the fridge to completely chill before icing.
- If you’d like to make stained glass windows: Pour melted isomalt into the window panes of your gingerbread house while on the parchment paper. Set aside to set for 30 minutes.
- Once you’re ready to assemble, melt the isomalt again either by microwave or stove top, until bubbling and clear. Make sure you have a cup for support near by and start by pouring or brushing the melted isomalt onto the sides of the front of the house.
- Place the two wall sides of the house immediately where you brushed the isomalt and hold for 2-3 minutes. Place a cup or two next to the walls to make sure that it has support. Then brush isomalt on the back side of the house, and place the backside of the house onto the walls.
- Next, to assemble the roof, brushing isomalt onto all four sides of each roof piece.
- Gently place the roof pieces on the top of the house and lightly hold for 2-3 minutes. Place a small cup underneath the bottom of the roof for light support as it dries. Allow this to set for 30 minutes or overnight if decorating the next day.
- Day 2: When the gingerbread house is set, make the batch of royal icing. Decorate the sides of the house as well as the roof. There are many design inspirations on Pinterest. You can also use vegan candies to add some fun color to your house.
- Allow the gingerbread icing to set and decorate as you’d like!
Keywords: vegan gingerbread house, vegan royal icing, gluten free gingerbread house, gingerbread house, gingerbread house recipe