Gingerbread man
Place of originEngland
Main ingredientsGingerbread

A gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made from gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human being, although other shapes, especially seasonal themes (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.) and characters are common too.


A gingerbread man, with icing decoration
Freshly baked gingerbread men with a variety of decorations

Gingerbread dates from the 15th century and figurative biscuit-making was practised in the 16th century.[1] The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests which brought the human shape of the gingerbread cookies.[2][3]


Gingerbread man (styled after The Gingerbread Man from Shrek) with his wife and dog in front of a gingerbread house
Gingerbread salesman (1902)

Most gingerbread men share a roughly humanoid shape, with stubby feet and no fingers. Many gingerbread men have a face, though whether the features are indentations within the face itself or other candies stuck on with icing or chocolate varies from recipe to recipe. Other decorations are common; hair, shirt cuffs, and shoes are sometimes applied, but by far the most popular decoration is shirt buttons, which are traditionally represented by gum drops, icing, or raisins.

In world records

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's largest gingerbread man was made by the staff of the IKEA Furuset store in Oslo, Norway, on 9 November 2009. The gingerbread man weighed 1435.2 pounds (651 kg).[4][5]

In fiction and popular culture

This section may contain irrelevant references to popular culture. Please remove the content or add citations to reliable and independent sources. (November 2023)


  1. ^ 300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles, Linda Campbell Franklin, 4th edition [Books Americana: New York] 1998 (p. 183)
  2. ^ "A History of Gingerbread Men". Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  3. ^ Donald F. Lach (2010). "Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume II: A Century of Wonder. Book 3: The Scholarly Disciplines, Volume 2". p. 442. University of Chicago Press
  4. ^ "Largest gingerbread man". Guinness Book of Records website. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  5. ^ Sands, Ali (24 December 2013). "Gingerbread House Takeover". Tailgate Fan. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2014.