This Pop Tart gingerbread house is so fun to decorate and perfect for the holidays! Once you make a gingerbread house out of Pop Tarts you’ll never go back to graham crackers again. I’ll share tips and tricks for decorating your gingerbread house with candy and royal icing. This post contains an affiliate link.
You might also like our gingerbread cookie Christmas countdown!
Watch our step by step video!
I think we all knew that when we made Pop Tart haunted houses earlier this year that a holiday version would make its way to the site. Seriously friends, once you switch to Pop Tarts you’ll never go back to graham crackers.
It all started when I couldn’t find chocolate graham crackers at the store to make haunted gingerbread houses. My husband suggested using chocolate Pop Tarts. I was skeptical but bought a box to humor him. They turned out awesome! Sturdy, easy to work with, and fun to decorate.
Why are Pop Tarts Better Than Graham Crackers?
- They are bigger than graham crackers so you get a bigger house.
- They are easier to cut than graham crackers and don’t crumble as easily, but can still break if you aren’t careful. TIP: Use a serrated knife, and saw through the Pop Tart instead of cutting or putting pressure straight down on the knife.
- They come in so many colors and flavors.
- They are sturdier than graham crackers and look more like a boxed gingerbread house kit.
- They are frosted so it gives them a fun texture and decorative look.
You’ll need 6 Pop Tarts. I used strawberry because it already had red and green sprinkles on the frosting.
You’ll also need a variety of holiday candies and royal icing.
Easy Royal Icing for Frosting Gingerbread Houses
My recipe is simply a mixture of powdered sugar and water. It dries hard and works well.
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons water
Mix sugar and water together until it reaches the consistency of craft glue. You don’t want it to be too runny.
Can You Use Store-bought Frosting in a Tub?
One reader shared that they made these on Zoom with the 8-11 year olds at their church. She said they delivered boxes of pop tarts, candy, sprinkles and store-bought icing (plain ol’ vanilla that you use for frosting cakes) to the kids and it worked out great! She said, “everything stuck great, almost no wait time. Even the heavy candy went right on and stayed put.”
So there is another option. Easy for kids, holds the heavy candies on well. May not dry as hard as royal icing, but works great!
Gingerbread House Candies
We all have our favorite holiday candies to use for gingerbread houses. My go-to candies are mints and chocolate candies in holiday shapes—like Santa, trees or snowmen.
Tips for Assembling Pop Tart Gingerbread House
- Follow my instructions at the end of the post for cutting your Pop Tarts. ONLY USE A SERRATED KNIFE to cut the Pop Tarts. A paring knife will not work. Gently saw as you cut and you’ll end up with nice clean lines.
- Add a bead of icing to the Pop Tarts and use your hands to hold the 4 walls into place for a minute or two. After that, the icing is tacky and will hold it on its own.
- Repeat for the roof, holding it in place for a minute or so before letting go.
These houses are pretty sturdy once the royal icing has had a chance to set. This takes about 15-20 minutes, but waiting at least 30 minutes before decorating is recommended.
For even sturdier houses, assemble them the day before you plan on decorating them to allow the pop tarts to dry out a bit.
If you do this you shouldn’t have any issues with your house falling apart.
Tips for Icing and Decorating Pop Tart House
Make sure to watch our video to see how we assembled and decorated our house.
Obviously lightweight candies like Necco wafers are easier to work with than M&Ms and starlight mints, but don’t let that stop you. I’ll share a few tips for working with heavier candy. That being said, if you are making these with a group of children, I’d go for lightweight candy and sprinkles to avoid little ones getting frustrated.
- To add heavier candies to the trim (see M&Ms in photo):
- Add a bead of royal icing to the house and let it sit for a couple of minutes before adding candy. This allows the icing to begin to get tacky. Add the candy, then adjust as necessary if you see any drooping. The icing will harden and hold everything after 10 minutes or so.
- To add heavy candies to the roof, you have two options:
- 1: Decorate the roof pieces before assembling the house and let them dry. Then assemble the house.
- 2: Use the tip above for heavier candies, adding a bead of icing, let it sit for a minute or two, then adding the candy and adjusting as necessary until it is firm.
- Decorating the walls:
- If you’re only adding a couple of items (like I did) you can add them at the end. Easy.
- If you’d like to add a bit of decoration to the walls of your house you can do that BEFORE assembling the house. Let it set up and dry then build your house. This is an easy way to make sure gravity doesn’t pull the candy down.
Pop Tart Gingerbread House Tutorial
Pop Tart Gingerbread House
- serrated knife
- plastic sandwich bag
- 6 pop tarts
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons water
- Place 6 pop tarts on the cutting board.
- You will be making cuts on 4 out of 6 of the pop tarts. The 2 that aren't cut are the roof pieces. You can set those 2 pop tarts to the side if you'd like.
Front and Back Walls
- Take 1 pop tart and place it on its side, right next to another pop tart.
- Cut on a diagonal from the corner of the pop tart that it on its side, to the center of the middle pop tart. Repeat on the other side.
- You should now have a pop tart that looks like a house. Repeat this step so that you have 2 house-shaped pop tarts.
- Remember that pop tart that you turned on its side? Go ahead and stand it up again. Place it next to one of the house-shaped pop tarts, lining up the corners, and cut horizontally across. Repeat.
- You should now have two roof pieces (un-cut), 2 house-shaped pieces, and 2 wall pieces.
- Combine powdered sugar and water to make a royal icing glue. Add water 1/2 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved (2 1/2 teaspoons works well for me). Spoon icing into a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off. Glue the 4 walls together with icing and hold in place for a minute or so.
- Add the roof pieces and hold in place for a minute or so.
- Let houses stand AT LEAST 30 minutes before decorating. If making these with kids, assemble the houses the day before you want to decorate them to allow the pop tarts to harden a bit.
- Dip decorations into icing or pipe icing onto houses to decorate.
- Icing should be the consistency of craft glue.
- When cutting pop tarts, use a serrated knife and gently saw. Don't press down hard with the knife.
- To add heavier candies to the houses, like M&Ms, add a line of icing to the house and let the icing stand for a couple of minutes before placing the candy on it. This will allow the icing to dry a little and become tacky.
- You may need to hold the candy in place, or readjust the candy that starts to move as you wait for the icing to dry.