In traditional medicine, several medicinal plants or their extracts have been used to treat diabetes. Zingiber officinale Roscoe, known commonly as ginger, is consumed worldwide in cookeries as a spice and flavouring agent. It has been used as the spice and medicine for thousands of years. The present study was undertaken to investigate the potential protective effect of Zingiber officinale Rosc. in a model of oxidative damage to pancreatic β cells. The free radical scavenging activities and composition of the isolated n-hexane and ethanolic extracts were confronted with their protective, antioxidant and cytotoxic effects in INS-1E β cells. Unlike the n-hexane extract (exerting, paradoxically, stronger antiradical capacity), both low cytotoxicity and remarkable protective effects on β cell viability, followed by lowering oxidative stress markers were found for the ethanolic extract Zingiber officinale Rosc. The present study is the first pilot study to assess the protective potential of Zingiber officinale Rosc. in a model of cytotoxic conditions imposed by diabetes in β cells.