The homegrown jihadi is expected to die in jail after being handed the record-breaking term by Mr Justice Jeremy Baker for the plot, which killed 22 people and injured hundreds of others.
Abedi, who was under 21 at the time he orchestrated the atrocity in 2017, was sentenced after he was found guilty of 22 murders, attempted murder and conspiring to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
While the minimum term was set at 55 years, Mr Justice Baker added that the defendant “may never be released”.
The judge aid he would have imposed the most severe punishment, but Abedi, now 23, was under 21 at the time he orchestrated the bombing in 2017.
He said in his sentencing remarks that a whole-life order would have been a “just sentence” in the “exceptional circumstances”, bearing in mind the young age of the targets attending the Ariana Grande concert and how many were killed.
He told the court: “I have no doubt that if the accused, like his brother, had been 21 years of age or over at the time of the explosion at the Manchester Arena, then not only would the appropriate starting point have been the imposition of a whole-life order but, despite such mitigation as would have been available to the defendant including his relatively young age, this would have been the just sentence in this case, bearing in mind the exceptional seriousness of his offending, including the young age of many of the intended targets and the large number of those both killed and very seriously injured.”
The judge said the issue of whole-life sentences was a matter for parliament to legislate rather than for judges, who are bound to sentence within the existing law.
Previously, the longest minimum term imposed on a terrorist in Britain is believed to have been 50 years in the case of David Copeland.
He was given six life sentences for targeting Brick Lane, Soho and Brixton in 1999 in a 13-day nail bombing campaign that left three people dead and 139 injured.
In February 2014, Michael Adebolajo was given a whole-life term and Michael Adebowale was jailed for a minimum of 45 years for murdering Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Two years later, the Finsbury Park mosque attacker was jailed for life with a minimum of 43 years.
Darren Osborne had been convicted of murdering Makram Ali, 51, after deliberately driving a van into a crowd of Muslims.
The Old Bailey heard he wanted to avenge the death of his father in Iraq and was “disappointed” when the bomb only partly detonated in a huge fireball, injuring 51 people.