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What Does Lingonberry Taste Like? Find Out Here!

Have you ever heard of lingonberries? Are you curious – what does lingonberry taste like? Well, this food guide will get you acquainted with lingonberries and offer all of the info you need to know!

Lingonberries are unique and delicious red berries that can be enjoyed fresh, frozen, or dried. They offer many health benefits and have been used as a traditional medicine for centuries. The tart taste and bright red color of lingonberries make them a great addition to salads, smoothies, and desserts.

The only way to really find out if you will like the lingonberry flavor is to try it. Everyone’s tastes are different, but many people enjoy this particular flavor due to its sweet and sour taste.

table settings with fresh Lingonberries in the bowl and lingonberry jam next to it

What Are Lingonberries?

Lingonberries are round berries that have hard skin and soft flesh. With a diameter of roughly about 5-8mm, they are smaller than cranberries.

They are red in color, but their red hue turns darker as they ripen. This means a bright red lingonberry means that it is not ripe just yet.

They belong to the Ericaceae family, the same family as cranberries and blueberries. They are not commercially grown, so you’ll have better luck finding them in the wild or specialty stores. Finding fresh lingonberries in stores is rare; frozen ones are more popular. Dried lingonberries and lingonberry powder are also available for purchase.

Lingonberries are special for a few reasons. Firstly, they boast an intense flavor that is a combination of sweet and tart. This makes them versatile enough to incorporate into both savory and sweet recipes. Secondly, lingonberries are incredibly nutritious. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and key nutrients.

Lingonberry Origin

Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) is a small, tart wild lingonberry that is native to boreal forests and alpine tundra in the Northern Hemisphere. It prefers acidic soil and grows wild in nordic countries.

They are most commonly found in Scandinavia, where they are widely cultivated and popular in traditional cuisine. They can also be found in parts of the UK, Germany, France, and Russia.

The low-lying evergreen bushes have bright green leaves and produce small, dark red fruits in late summer and autumn. The berries are typically ready to pick between mid-August and mid-September.

Despite its popularity in northern parts of the world, wild lingonberries are still relatively unknown in other regions. It has only recently started to gain traction in other parts of Europe, North America and beyond. Fortunately, more people are beginning to recognize the health benefits of this unique berry, so it can be found in many stores now.

What Does Lingonberry Taste Like?

Regarding flavor, the lingonberry taste is a bit sour, very much like cranberries. It has the slightest hint of sweetness, along with a bitter flavor.

This is why eating raw lingonberries is not recommended.

The taste of lingonberries is linked to cranberry and red currants. These fruits are also not commonly eaten raw.

What Does Lingonberry Jam Taste Like?

One of lingonberry’s most popular uses is in making jam. A jam made from these berries and added sugar is tastefully sweet.

The tart flavor of lingonberry will still be there. Yet, the sugar’s sweetness will mask its bitterness.

This jam is thick, with bits and pieces of ripe berries. Moreover, it pairs well with yogurt and pancakes, and Swedish meatballs.

If you have ever had a chance to visit Ikea stores, you know that their meatballs are usually served with lingonberry jam. The sweet-tart jam flavor perfectly compliments the savory flavors of the meatballs.

Do Lingonberries Taste Like Cranberries?

The answer is yes! Some describe lingonberries as a cross between raspberries and cranberries. Similar to cranberry, a lingonberry is also sour.

Yet, unlike cranberry, lingonberries have a bit of sweetness in them. Both of these berries need to be sweetened to be more palatable.

Nutritional Benefits of Lingonberries

Lingonberries have a long history of use as traditional medicine by many indigenous peoples. They are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties.

In recent years, scientific studies have started to explore the potential health benefits of lingonberry consumption.

Lingonberries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

  • They contain high levels of vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system, as well as important minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.
  • Lingonberries also have a low glycemic index, meaning they will not cause spikes in blood sugar when consumed.
  • Lingonberries are particularly high in antioxidants. They have flavonoids and anthocyanins, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. These berries also contain Vitamins A, B5, C, and K.
  • The berries are also high in dietary fiber, which can help improve digestion and keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time.

All these nutritional benefits make lingonberries a great addition to any healthy diet.

How to use Lingonberry in recipes

Lingonberry is an incredibly versatile fruit that can be used in a variety of recipes. This berry is commonly found in Scandinavian cuisine. They can also be added to cakes, pies, and tarts, as well as savory dishes such as soups and stews. Lingonberries can be used fresh, frozen or canned, depending on the recipe and preference. Here are a few ideas for using lingonberry in recipes.

Eat Lingonberries raw

You can eat raw lingonberries, but you won’t find them appealing. Their sour flavor can throw most people off. However, you can appreciate the lingonberry flavor more when pairing whole berries with honey or sugar.

Make Lingonberry jam

The most popular use of these berries is for making jam and preserves. lingonberries are tart and sweet, making them great for jams, sauces, preserves, and jellies.

Simmer equal parts of sugar and lingonberries over medium heat until the mixture thickens and becomes jammy. Stir occasionally and mash the berries with a wooden spoon. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Make Lingonberry Sauce

Use the same process, similar to making cranberry sauce. Serve it with meats, fish, or vegetables.


Incorporate lingonberries into your favorite cake recipe by folding them in with the dry ingredients. You can also top cupcakes with a lingonberry cream cheese frosting for a special treat.

Stews and Soups

Add fresh or frozen lingonberries to chilis, stews, and soups for a sweet and tart flavor. They also pair well with root vegetables, pork and game meats.

gluhwein with lingonberries

Yes, you can make gluhwein with lingonberries! Lingonberries have a tart flavor that pairs well with the sweet and spicy flavors of traditional gluhwein. To make this delicious drink, start by adding equal parts sugar and water to a pot along with your desired spices, such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, and orange peel. Heat the mixture until it comes to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Add in your lingonberries, stir everything together, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain out any solids before adding in your red wine and heating the mixture up again until it’s warm but not boiling. Serve with a slice of orange.

More Recipe Ideas

Like other fresh berries, they are good when added to smoothies and yogurt.

Lingonberries also make excellent pie fillings.

These berries are also great for making fruit juice and wine. Wine made from lingonberry pairs perfectly with smoked fish and cheese. You can also add concentrated lingonberry juice to cocktails.

They can also be candied and used as an ice cream flavoring.

Lingonberries Fun Facts

1. Lingonberries have tons of other names. 

Lingonberries go by different names, including the following:

  • Cowberry
  • Wolfberry
  • Whortleberry
  • Whimberry
  • Partridgeberry
  • Foxberry
  • Moss cranberry
  • Rock cranberry
  • Dry cranberry
  • Mountain cranberry
  • Shore cranberry
  • Lingen
  • Lingenberry

2. They are direct substitutes for cranberry.

Lingonberry and cranberry have their differences. Yet, they share lots of similarities, too. That said, they can be substitutes for each other in almost all recipes.

3. Their antioxidant content is higher than other berries.

This sour berry has double the amount of antioxidants of cranberries. It even has 4x the amount of antioxidants of blueberries.

4. You can use them to preserve food.

These berries contain benzoic acid and pectin. These are natural preservatives. Adding lingonberries to food can help inhibit mold and bacteria growth.

How To Store Lingonberries


As mentioned, lingonberries have natural preservatives, so they keep well. This is true even when they are not refrigerated.


The shelf life of lingonberries can even be extended when they are stored in the fridge. Refrigerated lingonberries last for 8-12 weeks.


When frozen, lingonberries can last for several years.


Dried lingonberries should be kept in a cool, dry place. Stored this way, they can last for a year.

Where Can You Buy Lingonberries?

You can buy fresh lingonberries in the market if you live where they grow. However, in most states, you can buy them dried and frozen in specialty grocery stores. Lingonberry jams and powders are also sold there.

Where Do Lingonberries Grow?

Lingonberries grow in places where there is a cool climate. They grow in Northern Europe, Northern China, and Japan. In the US, lingonberries grow in Alaska, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Do Lingonberries Have Caffeine?

No, lingonberries don’t have caffeine. What they have are tannins, which are also present in coffee and tea.

Is Lingonberry The Same As Cranberry?

No, lingonberries are not the same as cranberries. They are two different fruits, even when they share the same appearance and taste. After all, they belong to the same family, the heath family or Ericaceae.

Wrap Up

So, now you know about lingonberry – what does it taste like? For the most part, lingonberries taste like cranberries. Their flavor is also similar to raspberries and red currants. They are sour and bitter, especially when raw.

Yet, when sweetened, lingonberries taste more delicious. The added sugar overpowers their bitterness, making them more appealing to many.

Using lingonberries in your recipes will make your meals more nutritious, too. They have lots of antioxidants on top of an abundance of vitamin content.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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