Gingerbread man

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

Gingerbread man
Place of originEngland
Main ingredientsGingerbread


A gingerbread man, with icing decoration
Freshly baked gingerbread men with a variety of decorations
A half consumed gingerbread man, with icing decoration and Smarties as buttons

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 and his wife and dog with 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]

  • "The Gingerbread Man" is a fairy tale about a gingerbread man who comes to life, outruns an elderly couple and various animals, and is devoured by a fox in the end.
    • Gingy is a talking gingerbread man character in the Shrek series of animated movies. He is derived from the fairy tale "The Gingerbread Man".
    • The Jasper Fforde comic detective novel The Fourth Bear features a more-than-human-sized gingerbread man who is a psychopathic serial killer that likes to pull off his victims' limbs. The difficulties in catching him are a reference to the fairy tale.
  • In Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker (1892), the eponymous hero leads an army of gingerbread men against the Mouse King and his fellows.
  • The Gingerbread People are the main characters in the game Candy Land (1945).
  • The Gingerbread Men were featured in The Muppet Show. In the "Don Knotts" episode, the Gingerbread Men sing the song "Sweet Gingerbread Man" as the opening number. The lead Gingerbread Man is a hand-rod Muppet performed by Frank Oz while the full-bodied Gingerbread Men were performed by Jim Henson, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, and Jerry Nelson.
  • In the film The Brothers Grimm, a nightmarish twist on the Gingerbread Man appears. A young child is splashed with mud and the mud steals the child's eyes, nose and mouth. It then forms a small mud body with the child's stolen features for a face. The creature grabs the child and absorbs her into itself. It runs off yelling, "You can't catch me; I'm the Gingerbread Man!"
  • The first game in the Cookie Run series, Ovenbreak, is a runner game that puts players in the role of GingerBrave, a gingerbread man running to escape from the Witch's Oven. Subsequent games would introduce numerous other "Cookies", iterations of gingerbread men based on different combinations of ingredients and character archetypes.
  • In the Christmas special A Fairly Odd Christmas, Timmy and Crocker encounter a quartet of gingerbread men named GingerFred, GingerEd, GingerNed and GingerJed, but Crocker eats one of them, which causes them to chase them along with their friends.
  • There was a stop motion in the 1990s called The Gingerbread Man.


  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.
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