The crown jewel of holiday food displays, gingerbread houses are the perfect combination of challenging construction, sugar rushes, and creative interpretation. From the most miniature of cottages to the grandest of holiday palaces, the only limit is your imagination (and physics … or really good royal icing). Here are just a few of the cookie creations throwing down the gauntlet on Instagram right now:
With a dusky rose and robin’s egg blue paint-job, this gingerbread house is as polished and elegant as it gets.
Whimsical swirls of royal icing, paired with perfect drips of snow — and a side balcony — make this gingerbread house stand out.
When your house designs just aren’t big enough or grand enough.
Why assemble the house in 3D, when you can line the pieces up to create a cozy street front? (Bonus: Try it when the pieces don’t match up after baking.)
Who needs a cathedral when you can have a palace? Royal icing and fondant give these Russian-inspired onion domes their show-stopping look.
It’s all in the details (just look at those icicles … and the brick chimney).
Level up here with a special window treatment. Caramel windows (!) give this cozy home an extra-special finish.
Use foam cake dummies to create a hilltop town. Bonus: You can spend more time on the decor, and less on structural support.
The golden windows, backyard solarium and patio make this royal-icing dressed house completely enviable.
Less grand — but still completely adorable — are these cute winter cottages. Bonus: They’re perfect for small condo holiday decor.
Complete with a balcony-topped, snow-topped wreath and perfectly stacked gingerbread trees out front, this house is perfect for any winter wonderland setting.
A Suessian five-side tower that leans just the right amount! A quirky and festive take on the gingerbread house.
Level: Expert. Large, icicle dripped windows, candy cane pillars and a wraparound porch make this beautiful house shine.
Christmas Eve Delivery
Including Santa’s sleigh, complete with miniature presents!
A rustic country barn to dream about escaping to for the holidays.
Watch: How to make gingerbread cookies