Fans are convinced Reese Witherspoon’s gingerbread house ‘masterpiece’ was made from a kit, but a pastry chef thinks the actress really did make it from scratch

reese witherspoon kids

  • Reese Witherspoon shared a photo of her family's gingerbread house to Instagram on Wednesday.
  • Fans quickly fell in love with the gingerbread house and wondered if the display came from a kit.
  • Chef Penny Stankiewicz told Insider that Witherspoon likely made the dessert from scratch and used a cookie cutter set.
  • Stankiewicz said personal touches included by Witherspoon and her family added to the gingerbread house's "charm."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Reese Witherspoon got into the holiday spirit this week in a very delicious way.

On Wednesday, the "Big Little Lies" actress delighted her 24 million Instagram followers by sharing her family's picture-perfect gingerbread house — although the gingerbread house more closely resembled a mansion with its gum drop-lined picket fence, high ceilings, and shingled roof designed with icing.

"One of my favorite things about this time of year is decorating gingerbread houses with my kids, well … ok … we mostly just eat the candy," Witherspoon, 44, wrote in the photo's caption.

People loved the gingerbread house, but wondered whether Witherspoon built it with a kit 

Fans couldn't stop complimenting Witherspoon's display, with one person calling it a "masterpiece" and fellow actress Olivia Munn describing it as "the prettiest." 

"So cute!" one Instagram user wrote. "Did you buy the house or make the house? It's nice and big. Some of the kits that are sold have a small house."

Another commenter called Witherspoon's dessert a "beauty" and asked "do you have a gingerbread house kit or do you make all those from scratch? If you buy a kit, which one is it?"

"I hope it's a kit because if she made that from scratch I'm going to cry," a different fan wrote. "The perfection of this woman kills me."

According to a professional pastry chef, Witherspoon likely built the gingerbread house from scratch with the help of a cookie cutter set

Chef Penny Stankiewicz, of Sugar Couture in New York City, told Insider that "there is no kit that is just like that, that I'm aware of."

While cookie and cake chefs have begun making kits for holiday lovers to use, Stankiewicz said Witherspoon's gingerbread creation wasn't from "a kit that you can just get on Amazon or Williams-Sonoma."

"What does exist like that is a cutter set and I'm pretty sure that that's what she used," said Stankiewicz.

One tell-tale sign that the gingerbread house was made from scratch is the finished color.

"The color of the gingerbread is nowhere near the color that you would usually get from a kit," Stankiewicz said.

"The kit colors are usually very lightly colored, like a light amber color. This is much darker, so that means she probably used dark corn syrup in it rather than light syrup. And it was probably baked from scratch."

Getty images

Stankiewicz also pointed out what appeared to be personal touches Witherspoon and her three children added to the house, including the shutters, a front gate, and picket fence.

"That cutter set, as far as I know, doesn't have the shutters. I think she did that herself," she said.

Stankiewicz applauded Witherspoon's baking skills as "well-advanced," but noted that the personal touches of the gingerbread house are what make it so special.

"I do think that this is completely in her wheelhouse, but respectfully it's nowhere near perfect, nor should it be, right?" said Stankiewicz.

"Perfection is not what you're going for. If you look super, super close, you can see the brick is a little unevenly piped, but that's part of its charm!"

Although Witherspoon is best known for being an award-winning actress, she's also made a name for herself in food and lifestyle

Witherspoon revealed her favorite fall cocktail in October – a Fizzy Apple Cider – a few months after she showed off the green breakfast smoothie she's made every day for the last nine years back in May. 

In September 2018, she published her first book, "Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits." 

"This book gave me an opportunity to reflect on growing up and all the traditions that I learned from my friends and family in the South," Witherspoon shared on Instagram in 2018. "I'm so humbled from the experience of it all and honored to share it with you." 

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