Deutsch: Lebkuchen / Español: Pan de jengibre / Português: Pão de gengibre / Français: Pain d'épices / Italiano: Pan di zenzero

Gingerbread refers to a variety of baked goods, typically flavored with ginger, cloves, nutmeg, or cinnamon and sweetened with honey, sugar, or molasses. Gingerbread is often associated with certain shapes and decorations, particularly during the Christmas season, and includes items ranging from soft, moist loaves of bread to crisp, firm cookies.


Gingerbread comes in many forms, from thick, cake-like breads to thin, crunchy cookies. One of the most popular manifestations of gingerbread is in cookie form, often cut into shapes such as gingerbread men and decorated with icing and candies. Gingerbread houses, elaborately decorated with a variety of candies and icings, are also a festive tradition in many cultures during Christmas.

Application Areas

Gingerbread is used in various ways across culinary traditions:

  • Cookies and Biscuits: Shaped into gingerbread men or other festive forms and often decorated with icing.
  • Loaves and Cakes: Served as a spiced, moist cake, especially popular in Northern Europe.
  • Decorative Houses: Constructed from cookie walls "glued" together with icing, decorated, and used as edible decor during the holiday season.
  • Craft and Educational Tools: Used in schools and crafts for children, teaching them about baking, architecture, and storytelling through activities like making gingerbread houses.

Well-Known Examples

Some iconic gingerbread forms include:

  • Gingerbread Men Cookies: Often decorated with a simple icing for faces and clothing.
  • Gingerbread House: A holiday tradition that involves elaborate decoration with candies and icing to mimic the appearance of real houses.
  • German Lebkuchen: Similar to gingerbread, these cookies are softer and typically use honey as the sweetener.

Treatment and Risks

Gingerbread is generally safe to consume with a few considerations:

  • Allergens: Contains common allergens such as wheat (gluten) and eggs. Recipes with nuts are also common, which can be a concern for those with nut allergies.
  • Sugar Content: Typically high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation, especially by individuals managing their sugar intake.


Here are simple recipes for making traditional gingerbread:

  • Simple Gingerbread Cookies:
    • Ingredients: 3 cups flour, 1 ½ tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp salt, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 1 ¾ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 6 tbsp unsalted butter, ¾ cup dark brown sugar, 1 large egg, ½ cup molasses, 2 tsp vanilla.
    • Method: Mix dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses and vanilla; continue to mix. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Roll dough and cut into shapes. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 7-10 minutes.
  • Gingerbread Loaf:
    • Ingredients: ½ cup sugar, ½ cup butter, 1 egg, 1 cup molasses, 2 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp ground cloves, ½ tsp salt, 1 cup hot water.
    • Method: Cream together sugar and butter. Add egg and molasses, mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, and spices; add to the creamed mixture alternately with hot water. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 60 minutes.

Similar Terms

  • Spice cake
  • Christmas cookies
  • Holiday baking
  • Molasses cookies
  • Pfefferkuchen


Gingerbread is a beloved treat known for its rich spices and versatility in forms, from cookies to cakes. Whether enjoyed as a holiday decoration, snack, or dessert, gingerbread adds a festive, aromatic flair to any occasion.


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