Lingonberry Sauce

4.86 from 7 votes
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Making lingonberry sauce is easy: It’s just lingonberries and sugar – and time. Sugared lingonberries are a versatile Scandinavian condiment.

A small bowl of lingonberry sauce with a spoon in it.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

If you are not familiar with them, lingonberries are tiny cousins of the cranberry. Super tart, full of vitamins, and a little tough to eat off the bush.

They are a berry of the far north, rarely appearing in the Lower 48, although they can be found in secret places in Wisconsin, Minnesota and the northern parts of New England. Lingonberries are circumpolar, however, so they appear throughout northern Russia and Scandinavia.

I found my lingonberries while hunting ptarmigan in Alaska. My inspiration for this lingonberry sauce, however, is pure Scandinavian.

Calling this lingonberry sauce is something of a misnomer, because it’s really just sugared lingonberries.

That’s right: Sugar + lingonberries + time = lingonberry sauce.

First thing to know is that lingonberries (and cranberries) are practically indestructible. They contain a natural preservative that means you can keep them in the fridge, submerged in just plain water, for more than a year and they’ll be fine.

They are already high in acid, so sugar is the only lacking ingredient. What covering lingonberries in sugar does is soften them, tame the tartness and sweeten them. It’s really the perfect condiment to so many things.

Now if you are going to make sugared lingonberries, you will need to start them several weeks before you eat them because the sugar needs time to penetrate the berries. They don’t ever really go bad, at least in the fridge, and they are ripe around September in Alaska.

Quick Lingonberry Sauce

If you want to speed things up, add heat. And a little water.

Simply put the lingonberries in a pot, add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot by about 1/4 inch, get this simmering, then start stirring in sugar. How much is up to you.

You can get away with just a small amount, but taste as you go. I normally go something like 4 parts berries to 1 part sugar.

And yes, you can use honey. I prefer white sugar because it doesn’t alter the color of the lingonberry sauce.

Overhead view of a bowl of sugared lingonberries.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

What to Serve with Sugared Lingonberries

Christmas is lingonberry time. Not only do they look festive, but lingonberries go alongside so many game dishes, which are equally at home in the holidays.

The obvious choice is Swedish meatballs, which are almost always served with lingonberries alongside.

My recipe for duck with beer sauce needs a tart berry, and a spoonful of sugared lingonberries works nicely. British mincemeat pies are much, much better with lingonberries, too.

But honestly? I love a dollop of lingonberry sauce next to simply cooked game.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

A bowl of lingonberry sauce.
4.86 from 7 votes

Lingonberry Sauce

This is also called sugared lingonberries. What follows is the quick version. The traditional way to make lingonberry sauce is to simply macerate the lingonberries in sugar in a cool place for a few weeks. I prefer that version, but it does take longer.
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Servings: 20 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 pound lingonberries
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)


  • Mix the lingonberries, sugar and a little water — just enough to come up about 1/4 inch — in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook gently, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Cool and keep in a jar in the fridge. It lasts forever.


You can do the same thing with cranberries, too. 


Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 0.05g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 0.1mg | Potassium: 0.2mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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  1. Next spring I am moving back to my home state in Wisconsin- Oshkosh. I may try to find the lingonberries up north. I am getting very very exciting about all my old foraging and fishing activities up there. Here in Mexico I have enjoyed experimenting with nopal. I pick purslane, amaranth, plantain sometimes here. Some of the tropical fruits Ive encountered are wonderful. But as far as that lifestyle, Wisconsin for me, far supercedes. I’d lived up there for 40 years, but never tasted Lake Winnebago sturgeon caviar. While caviar in general is not big with me but I always am committed to trying new foods. Saludos!

  2. I ate liggonberries while moose hunting in Norway. Loved them with everything. even found a liquor made in Denmark. (not any more) The Berry world and the animal world coexist. Thats why together they are so delicious. Might be interesting to sweeten them with a natural sugar like maple or birch sap, or honey instead of cane or beat sugars.

  3. While I don’t have lingonberries in Western NY, I do keep a jar of lingonberry preserves in my fridge at all times as I absolutely love them with all sorts of things. One favorite of mine is salmon or brown trout, grilled on a cedar plank, lightly slathered with a mix of lingonberry preserves and grass fed butter (70/30). A little salt and pepper doesn’t hurt. Amazing. I guess my point is that lingonberry works really well on fatty fish – especially when you get a little smoke from the cedar too. Thanks Hank!

  4. A friend helped us to differentiate lingonberries from bearberry in a recent camping trip in the boreal forest of Saskatchewan .. and a handful of promptly went into a pan sauce for the white tail leg roast that I had cooked on the fire. We then made a quick jam (lingonberries + sugar + campfire) which we’ve been enjoying for the last weeks.

    I’m hoping to go ‘camping’ (read: grouse hunting) on the Thanksgiving weekend – October 9 is Canadian Thanksgiving, as opposed to Yanksgiving, in November 🙂 . I intend to pick a lot more lingonberries!

    Thanks for this – so timely!

    Hank, if you get bored of Minnesota, non residents can hunt grouse in Saskatchewan, with limits of 10 per day / 20 possession. Last October, the spruce grouse were plentiful and … well matched to my hunting skill (e.g. DUMB).

  5. I am lucky to have a few patches of them here in the Poconos. I tried your recipe and they turned out really well. I normally do them by lightly crushing them, covering with vinegar overnight, { drain and save for vinaigrette ] add an equal amount of white sugar and refrigerate, stirring every day till it turns to syrup consistency, serve over chicken, pancakes, ice cream ,etc.

    1. Don’t have any lingonberries here in CA but I do have lingonberry preserves. That and cranberry sauce are good with so many things. Quite surprised to know they don’t go bad for a year: explains why a packet of cranberries was mostly ok 9 months later. Thanks for info and recipe