Gingerbread man

Gingerbread man
Type Biscuit
Place of origin Medieval Europe
Main ingredients Gingerbread
Cookbook: Gingerbread man  Media: Gingerbread man

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


Gingerbread dates from the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced 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.[2][3]


Gingerbread man and his wife
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 (651kg).[4][5]


  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. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
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