I Tried 12 Gingerbread House Kits — These Are the 3 Worth Buying

updated Nov 24, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Whether you’re gaga for gingerbread houses or a first-time builder, you likely have one thing that stands out as a priority when choosing a kit. Maybe it’s the flavor, or the simplicity, but whatever it is that tops your list, there’s something out there for you. I covered a lot of gingerbread real estate and ranked the houses in a wide range of categories to help you find your sweet spot this holiday season.

Credit: Melissa Knific
Quick Overview

How I Tested the Gingerbread Kits

Before I began my house hunt, I decided on several categories that made sense for novices and experts alike. The three big ones were taste, kid-friendliness, and unexpected design. (I included a few niche categories as well for those with particular desires.)

Once I laid the foundation, I could then determine which kits to review. It was important to me that the kits were widely available, whether at nationwide retailers (Target, World Market) or online (King Arthur, Dylan’s Candy Bar). I made sure to cover a variety of price points, too. And while there’s nothing wrong with buying a kit from a predictable store or site, I dug deep for some unexpected options.

Finally it was time for construction. Yes, my son and I actually made the kits (and yes, this took hours)! But how else can you accurately review gingerbread kits without doing the legwork — and, of course, tasting the results?

Credit: Melissa Knific

Best-Tasting Gingerbread House: King Arthur Gingerbread Cake Mix and Duet House Pan Set

Hands-down, this was the best-tasting gingerbread of the bunch. I realize this isn’t the most traditional choice, but if you’re going to actually eat a gingerbread house, it shouldn’t be prefab. King Arthur teamed up with Nordic Ware in 2022 to create the perfect holiday scene: a village of miniature cake gingerbread houses. The company’s 2023 version is pared down to a duet set that looks cozy and festive. Just add an egg, butter, and water to the box mix, and you’re set. (You’ll also need butter and flour for dusting the pan.) 

The warm spices make the house smell like Christmas, and the cake comes out fluffy, moist, and super flavorful. (The majority of the houses I tested came pre-baked, which made for a sturdy structure but didn’t really deliver on the taste front.) On the back of the box, there are directions for both cake and cookies, so you can also use the mix to create a classic gingerbread house. The kit doesn’t include icing, so I left the houses undecorated, but you can buy an icing mix from King Arthur or easily whip up a batch of your own. However, the intricate design is pretty enough — you could always dust the houses with a little powdered sugar to simulate snow.

Gingerbread not your thing? Deck out this decadent chocolate house instead. The kit comes with pre-baked chocolate cookies, icing, candy decorations, and two Godiva chocolate hearts. No judgment here if, once built, you immediately disassemble and consume.

Credit: Melissa Knific

Most Kid-Friendly Gingerbread House: Dylan’s Candy Bar Candy Cabin Gingerbread House

I’m not sure if my 3-year-old son or I loved this kit more. Keeping a toddler’s attention is tough, but this kit makes it easy. The house comes assembled, which is clutch in this situation. (If I’m being honest, the most frustrating thing about gingerbread houses is building the structure.) The kit also has pretty much everything else you need to decorate the house, minus a piping bag and tip (you could use a resealable plastic bag in a pinch), and the only prep is mixing the icing and unwrapping the candies. 

And speaking of candies, Dylan’s lives up to its “Candy Bar” name here — the quality and variety, including Sixlets, gumdrops, starlight mints, and various holiday-themed milk chocolates, are better than any other kit I tried. Bonus: It’s packaged in the most adorable box that my son is now using as a garage for his trucks. I feel like whoever designed this kit must have toddlers of their own.

Runner-Up: Favorite Day Holiday Log Cabin Gingerbread Kit

The popular Wilton Log Cabin Gingerbread House Kit that was a hit last year is no longer available for 2023, but Target is selling a very similar version. This kit comes with icing mix and piping bags, and the house pieces have some details already baked in for easy tracing.

Credit: Melissa Knific

Most Unexpected Gingerbread House: Craft Cooking Kits Woodland Mid-Century Modern Gingerbread House

The majority of gingerbread houses out there have the same aesthetic, so I appreciate that this mid-century modern design thinks outside the box. While the house doesn’t come assembled, it is super easy to put together: The cookies are pre-baked and there are connector clips to keep the walls in place. I was also pleasantly surprised by what is included in the kit — everything down to the piping bags. 

One thing to note: If you’re trying to follow the box design to a T, it’s nearly impossible. The candies and icing are fairly accurate, but the actual house is much smaller. That aside, this was a welcome departure from the traditional gingerbread house, and one that I wouldn’t mind displaying on my table all season long.

Skip the candies altogether and grab a paintbrush! I love this tiny gingerbread house that’s decorated using a stencil and edible paints. Note: While this kit comes with the tools to cut out the cookies and design the house, you will need to make (or buy) your own dough.

Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For?

Here are a few more suggestions for builders with very specific requests.

For Nostalgia-Lovers: PEZ Gingerbread House Kit

If you’re into vintage candy, this is your kit. And if you’re a PEZhead (yeah, it’s a thing), you’ll want it for the mystery PEZ dispenser alone.

For the Time-Strapped: Williams Sonoma Holiday Gingerbread House

This house comes with the heftiest price tag, but you don’t have to do a thing. Just unwrap and display! You can even have it personalized for an extra five bucks.

For the Full Experience: King Arthur from Scratch Gingerbread House Kit

In the mood for a project? King Arthur provides the cookie cutters and the mixes for the cookies and icing, but leaves the rest up to you, including gathering your favorite candies for decorating.

Did your favorite make the list? Tell us about it in the comments.