Lingonberry jam is delicious and goes great with many dishes. Both hot dishes and desserts. But also, pastries. But sometimes you may crave something else than lingonberry jam but still get that Scandinavian touch.
What can you substitute the lingonberry jam with?
There are several options that fit well as lingonberry jam substitutes. And all the while you won't have to sacrifice that Scandinavian taste!
We cover these alternatives: Cranberry jam, raw-stirred lingonberries, apple sauce, currant jam, pickled lingonberries, lingonberries in syrup, rowan berry jam, pomegranate molasses, cloudberry Jam + the bonuses apples and graded carrots. We include recipes for each.
Let's go through them in no particular order!
We got 9 substitutes and 2 bonus alternatives. We call the last 2 bonus alternatives, as they do not qualify for the list as a near perfect substitute, although close enough.
Table of Contents
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What is Lingonberry Jam Commonly Used For?
Lingonberry jam is very common in Scandinavia. You serve lingonberry jam to porridge or yogurt, but also to several Scandinavian dishes such as meatballs, pancake, potato pancakes, mashed potatoes and dumplings.
Lingonberry Jam goes well with meat and poultry dishes aswell. It's tartness and intense flavor balances especially well with the more robust and equally intense flavor of game/venison.
We've written an article about what lingonberry jam can do for you and what it's made out of. If you want to know more about the health benefits of Lingonberry Jam.
No. 1: Apple Sauce
Apple sauce is a jam that is widely used in Scandinavia. It is a good alternative to lingonberry jam.
If you don't want to make the apple sauce yourself, we recommend you buy this one with no added sugar on Amazon.
A homemade apple sauce is delicious and easy to do. Like the lingonberry jam, the apple sauce fits well with dishes like meats, pancakes or pastries and desserts. Apple sauce is as good to eat hot as cold.
A great advantage with apple sauce is that it's easy to freeze. I advice you to freeze the sauce in small plastic packages or small plastic bags.
It's a clever way to avoid wasting food. That way you can have apple sauce all year round. Especially because you don't want to add any additives, the durability will not be as long.
Apple sauce keeps all the benefits and nutrients from the apples. The sauce is full of antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins. It can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Research has shown that the fructose in the apples promotes the removal of toxins. The apple sauce is also good for digestion and can help to restore your appetite after being ill.
Recipe for Apple Sauce
Ingredients (about 18 oz / 5 dl)
- 8 apples
- 4 oz of water (1dl)
- For more flavor: powdered sugar
- Peel and cut apples into pieces. Remove the core.
- Put the pieces in a saucepan.
- Add water and boil until the apples are soft and tender, about 20 minutes.
- Change and flavor with sugar if you like.
One alternative is to add honey instead of sugar if you want a little sweetness to your apple sauce. Honey affects your blood sugar levels less than regular sugar. Honey is also anti-inflammatory and have antibacterial properties.
Please take care to not serve anything with honey to infants younger than 1 year. It can cause infant botulism. Read more at The World Health Organization.
You can also add cinnamon as a flavor. Cinnamon is not only good but also useful. It has been found that cinnamon can reduce blood sugar levels in the blood.
If you want a smoother sauce, you can take a mixer when the sauce is ready and run it until the sauce has the consistency you want.
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No. 2: Currant Jam
Currant jam is a nice alternative to lingonberry jam. You can find currants in three different varieties, red currants, white currants and black currants.
You can either make jam on only one type of the berries but you can also mix the berries in whatever way you want. The different currants have a little different taste, but all three have a slightly sour taste that fits well with dishes, pastries and desserts just as lingonberry jam does.
The absolute best Black Currant Jam I've tasted this far is actually not from a nordic country. It's from France and it's just absolutely amazing.
You can find it in 1-pack or 6-pack sizes online on Amazon if you wish to try it out. I can assure you, you won't be buying them one at a time after you've tasted it, but start with the 1-pack one as the taste of black currants is quite special.
Currant berries contain an acid that helps preserve the jam longer without additives. The acid also makes the jam suitable for freezing.
We have a whole section about Healthy Currants where you can learn more about currants and the fantastic health benefits they can provide.
Red currants have a fresh and tart taste.
There are thoughts on that red currants are good for your stomach and earlier, it was thought that currents could lower fever. The red currants also have an antiseptic effect.
Red currants contain C and K vitamins, and are rich in iron, copper and magnesium. They also contain pectin that helps keep blood sugar more even.
The white currants are sweet and mild in taste.
The white currants are a mutated variant from the red currant, it is the red dye that is missing. This makes the white currant good for people who are hypersensitive to colorants.
White currants contain C and K vitamins, and are rich in iron, copper and magnesium.
The black currants are sweet and flavoursome.
Black currants are the currants that contain the most nutrients of all the three berries. Black currants are one of all berries containing most Vitamin C. It also contains other vitamins and antioxidants.
Black currants contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is a dye that reflects blue light. This substance is also found in other berries, such as blueberries. Anthocyanin is very useful and has been shown to have a positive effect on eyesight and the eye itself.
We have an entire category for Healthy Currants if you're interested in learning more about what currants can do for your and your loved ones healthy living.
Recipe for Currant Jam
Currant Jam is delicious and can be made with just the right mix of black, red or white currants you want. It's easy to make as well!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (about 40 servings)
- 35 oz of mixed currants, red / white / black according to taste and availability (1 kg)
- 17 oz of sugar (500g)
- Mix the currants and sugar in a saucepan
- Place it on low heat so that the berries sap and mix with the sugar
- Boil for about 10 minutes. Foam in the meantime
- Pour the hot jam in hot jars and immediately seal the lid. That will keep it fresh for a long time
Remember that you can vary the mix of different colors until you find best one for you and your loved ones. Enjoy!
No. 3: Cranberry Jam
Cranberries have a tart and fresh taste, reminiscent of lingonberry, but less intense.
This makes cranberry jam a great alternative to lingonberry jam. Cranberry jam fits well with the same foods as the lingonberry jam. It is a perfect fit for different kind of meats and bird.
It's also fantastic for a Swedish specialty, saffron cheesecake. A dessert you often find on Swedish Christmas tables.
You can buy your cranberry jam on Amazon. We recommend this homemade brand which is actually made in Ohio. It has the perfect combination between sweet and tart.
There are several similarities between cranberries and lingonberries. Both have the red beautiful color that comes from the healthy antioxidant quercetin. Both also contain the substance tannin. The tannins are effective against urinary tract disorders.
Cranberries are easier to find in stores than lingonberries as cranberries are grown on a large scale. The largest crops are found in North America.
Recipe for Cranberry Jam (about 11 oz / 3 dl)
- 14 oz cranberries (4 dl)
- 6 tablespoons of water
- 5 oz cream sugar (1.5 dl)
- Pour the cranberries into a pan and pour on the water.
- Heat slowly and allow to boil for 15 minutes.
- Pull the saucepan off the heat and stir in the sugar. Stir occasionally until the cranberries are cold.
- Pour the cranberry jam onto hot, well-cleaned jar which you've boiled in water just before.
Remember to foam the cranberry jam well.
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No. 4: Raw-Stirred Lingonberries
Raw-stirred lingonberries come from Sweden and you can almost always find it on Scandinavian dinner tables. Especially if they're serving meatballs!
Raw-stirred lingonberries are a more healthy and delicious alternative to lingonberry jam. Raw-stirred lingonberries goes well with all the dishes that you use the traditional jam for.
Raw-stirred lingonberry has several advantages over lingonberry jam. For instance, less sugar is used when making it. There are several positive health aspects to eating less sugar.
One big advantage with raw-stirred lingonberries is that it requires no cooking. This means that all the nutrients are still present in the finished product.
It's easy to make a raw-stirred lingonberry jam yourself, but if you want to try a real Swedish brand I recommend you buy this one on Amazon. It's delicious and one of Swedens most bought brands.
Some of the nutrients found in lingonberries are sensitive to heating. Lingonberry jam is cooked, so there are fewer nutrients in ordinary lingonberry jam than in raw-stirred lingonberry jam.
If you're interested in reading more about this wonderful berry called Lingonberry, we have a whole section about it where you can learn about why it's a good idea to keep all the nutrients from this fantastic berry.
It is easy and quick to make raw-stirred lingonberries yourself if you have lingonberries. It does not matter if they are fresh or frozen. If you are using frozen lingonberries when making raw-stirred lingonberries, thaw them first to get the best results.
It's so simple that all you do with lingonberries is mash, stir and add sugar, no cooking, nothing else. Here's the super-easy recipe for making delicious raw-stirred lingonberries.
Recipe for Raw-Stirred Lingonberry Jam
Raw-Stirred Lingonberry Jam is both nutritious and easy to make!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (about 20 servings)
- 18 oz lingonberries (5 dl)
- 5 oz of sugar (1.5 dl)
- Mix sugar and lingonberry in a bowl
- Stir until sugar has dissolved
Let it rest for a while (About 15 minutes) before serving.
No. 5: Pickled Lingonberries
Pickled lingonberry is a great substitute for lingonberry jam that you can easily make yourself! If you have lingonberries but still don't want to make jam, pickling is a good option.
Pickled lingonberries have a distinct sweet taste. Fits well for dishes such as stews, steaks and Swedish meatballs.
Pickling is common in Scandinavia. Scandinavians have pickled berries and vegetables for a long time. It's a technique that conserves food and vegetables so they last longer.
Today, it's more common that you pickle berries and vegetables for the taste instead of conserving the produce for longer shelf time.
The chemical process used when pickling is called lactic fermentation. It's the lactic acid that gives the berry or vegetable the tart flavor, but also helps the body absorb various nutrients like iron, calcium and magnesium from the food.
This of course only makes the pickled lingonberries an even more healthier alternative to lingonberry jam!
Recipe for a batch of pickled lingonberries
- 5 cups of lingonberries (ca 1l)
- 5 oz acetic acid, 12% (1dl)
- 7 oz sugar (2dl)
- 11 oz water (3dl)
- 0,5 teaspoon of salt
- 1 piece of whole cinnamon
- 5 whole carnations
- 1 bay leaf
- Measure all ingredients except the lingonberries in a saucepan.
- Heat and boil for a minute. Then set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Pour the cool layer over the lingonberries and allow it to cool for about 8 hours before serving.
- Store in refrigerator.
No. 6: Lingonberries in Syrup
Lingonberries in syrup is a delicious alternative to lingonberry jam that works with most dishes except perhaps the most sweet deserts as it's quite sweet in itself.
In the past, the lingonberry jam was considered a common, ordinary household staple food and was used in many dishes.
Then a more luxurious alternative called "Sirapslingon" in Swedish or lingonberries in syrup in English was developed.
People considered this new way of eating lingonberries; lingonberries in syrup a luxury so it was mainly served on special occasions.
Why not try to make some yourself for the next special occasion?
Recipe for Lingonberries in Syrup
- 17 oz lingonberry (frozen or fresh) (500g)
- 2 oz water (ca 0.5dl)
- 5 oz syrup (ca 1.5dl)
- Possibly 2 pieces of dried bitter orange peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Rinse the lingonberries.
- Mix with the other ingredients and cook on low heat until the lingonberries become soft (about ten minutes).
- Remove the cinnamon stick and the bitter orange peel and foam off.
- Pour into a clean and dry glass jar and keep cold.
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No. 7: Rowan Berry Jam
Rowan berry jam is also a great alternative to lingonberry jam. Rowan berry jam has a sweet and quite a strong taste. It is both sour and sweet, and fits well with meat dishes.
If you have a hard time finding rowan berrys, you can buy a rowan jelly on Amazon. This jelly is hand made in small batches and put it nice hexagonal glas jar, that you can reuse.
Directly from the tree they taste very sour and bitter, but cooked they get a slightly different taste.
However, the sour taste tones down after the first frost so harvesting them in early winter can be advantageous.
The risk is, however, that there aren't so many berries left because birds are fond of these berries aswell.
It's enough to eat three fresh rowan berries a day to fill the need for vitamin C. Because they are so vitamin C rich; they are good for the immune system and may counteract colds.
Just as lingonberries and cranberries are full of tannins that counteract urinary tract infections, rowan berries have the same characteristics. It is also said that rowan berries can be good for alleviating rheumatism symptoms.
Rowan berries contain a lot of antioxidants, iron and carotene and is just like the lingonberry, a super berry. A great ability is that rowan berries can withstand both heating and freezing without losing its nutritional content.
The most common rowan berries are red, but there are varieties with white, pink and orange berries. In fact, there are also varieties of extra-large and sweet berries that can be eaten directly from the tree.
Recipe for Rowan Berry Jam
- 3,3 lb of rowan berries (1.5l)
- 17 oz sugar or jelly sugar (500g)
- 1 cup of water (ca 2dl)
- Clean the berries and rinse them well. You can freeze them for a few hours or overnight if they have not been frostbite and you want to get a little sweeter taste.
- Add the rowan berries together with sugar and water in a large saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes on the medium.
- Foam off the rowan berries.
- Pour the rowan berry jam on clean cans and seal them immediately.
- The rowan berry jam is best kept cool.
No. 8: Pomegranate Molasses
Pomegranate molasses is an attractive alternative to lingonberry jam. Pomegranate molasses has a deep dark red color, almost black.
Pomegranate molasses has a thick, viscous texture and a intense sweet-sour taste. It fits well with meat such as lamb and other meats, but also for desserts.
If you want to try a molass without making it yourself, I recommend you buy this 100% naturall pomegranate molass on Amazon. It has a great taste and there is no sugar added.
Pomegranate molasses is a syrup that comes from the Middle East. It's made mainly from concentrated pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate has several great health benefits. It contains a variety of protective antioxidants, especially of the flavonoids variety. Flavonoids are considered to provide protection from heart and vascular diseases.
Pomegranate juice has been shown in studies to be able to inhibit effects from high cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and more than double the amount of antioxidant in the blood.
Other studies have shown that pomegranate juice or extract has been able to inhibit prostate cancer and breast cancer.
Pomegranate belongs to one of the antioxidant richest fruits. There is an acid in the pomegranate, called ellagic acid. The ellagic acid in the pomegranate has anticancer properties and provides protection against heart disease.
There are also plenty of tannins and anthocyanins. Just like lingonberries and cranberries.
Recipe for Pomegranate Molasses
- 2 large pomegranates
- some tablespoons of lemon jam
- 9 oz sugar (2.5dl)
- Roll and knead the pomegranate to a hard surface before cutting it in half. That makes it easier to separate the kernels.
- Mix the kernels with a hand mixer, sip the seeds and cook with some tablespoons of lemon juice and sugar.
- Lower the heat and boil low heat for about 60 minutes.
- Allow to cool and pour into a jar.
No. 9: Cloudberry Jam
Cloudberry jam is a luxurious alternative to lingonberry jam. Cloudberry jam is not overly sweet, it has a nice balance between sweetness and sourness that fits well for dishes such as pork and other meats but also in desserts and pastries.
The jam is also perfectly suitable as a snack of biscuits with blue cheese. It's also a perfect fit for waffles or ice cream.
Cloudberry jam can be expensive, but worth it! If you want to buy cloudberry jam, we recommend this Swedish jam you can find on Amazon. It's priceworthy, low in sugar and taste absolut delicious!
Cloudberry is called "the gold of the forest" in Sweden and is considered a real delicacy. Their beautiful color, amazing taste and health effects make this little berry popular.
Cloudberries are very hard to cultivate so it's almost exclusively found in the wild. It is also harvested by hand. They grow in marshes, which further affects the availability of this delicious berry. This makes the berry of something of a luxury and can therefore be expensive.
Like lingonberries, cranberries and blackberries, cloudberries contain benzoic acid, so you can store it for a long time without adding extra preservatives.
Cloudberry contains up to four times as much vitamin C as an orange. 100 grams of cloudberries covers almost all of the day's needs. In addition, they contain fiber, vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, potassium and beta carotene.
If you're interested in reading more about cloudberries, we have a whole section about it where you can learn more about this "Gold of the Forest".
Recipe for Traditional Cloudberry Jam
A traditional Scandinavian recipe for a tasty cloudberry jam.
Prep Time: 120 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (about 25 servings)
- 2.2 lb cloudberries (1kg)
- 2.1 cups of sugar (500g)
- Possibly 1 pinch of sodium benzoate
- Clean and rinse the berries
- Put them in layers of berries and sugar in a pot. NOTE! Do not stir the pot, shake it back and forth every now and then
- Let the pot stand cool for 1-2 hours. If you use frozen berries, let them thaw just before you add the sugar
- Slowly cook on low heat under lid for about 10-15 minutes until the berries looks soft and finished. Stir and shake the berries in the pot while you're cooking it
- Remove the pot from the heat, leave for a while and remove any foam
- Cloudberries contain natural sodium benzoate but if you are planning to keep the cloudberry jam at temperatures higher than 50 degrees F (10 degrees C), i.e. not in the refrigerator, add 1 pinch of sodium benzoate when the jam is finished
- Pour the jam in clean hot jars, up to the edge, so that you minimize the air inside of the jar. Seal the jar immediately. Don't forget to clean and heat the lids aswell
Place the jars in a cool and dark place for storage. Enjoy!
Bonus Alternative 1: Mixing It Up With Apples
We've added two bonus alternatives to lingonberry jam on this list. The first of these alternatives is to mix apples in lingonberry jam.
This means that if you have plenty of apples and some lingonberry, you can still get a great lingonberry jam that tastes fantastic.
If you don't have plenty of apples, you can buy a whole apple fruit basket on Amazon! With organic apples that will vary from 30 diffrent types.
Adding just the perfect amount of apples to your Lingonberry Jam is a great way to soften the tartness in your lingonberry jam.
It's perfect for all the dishes, desserts and pastries you have ordinary lingonberry jam for. But this alternative is so tasty that you can even eat the jam just as it is for dessert. Try serving it with some milk!
Apples in lingonberry jam may not be an alternative to lingonberry jam since its added to lingonberry jam. But we mention this as an alternative if you by chance have lingonberry jam at home or perhaps you got lingonberries but not enough for a whole jam.
In those cases, this is a great alternative.
Recipe for Lingonberry Jam With Apples
- 4 cups of lingonberry (1l)
- 8 cups of chopped apple pieces (2l)
- 1 cup of water (2dl)
- 3.5 cups of sugar (8dl)
- Rinse the lingonberries. Peel and slice apples, remove kernels and possibly damaged pieces and cut the apples into pieces.
- Boil lingonberries, apples, and water under cover for about 10 minutes.
- Stir down the sugar. Boil and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the jam in clean, hot glass jars and immediately put on the lid.
- Keep cool.
Bonus Alternative 2: Replace Entire Notion Of Jam With...
The second alternative to lingonberry jam we think of as a bonus is raw graded carrots. This is no jam but if you make sure the carrots are fresh, it's a delicious alternative to lingonberry jam.
It fits well with meat dishes like meatballs or a stew.
If you don't have time to go to the store, you can easily buy carrots on Amazon. These are fresh and locally grown.
I often use raw graded carrots as an alternative to lingonberry jam. A common use of raw carrots in pastries is carrot cake.
Carrots are not only delicious but also very healthy. Carrots contain substances important for your health. For instance, carrots contain relatively much of beta carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Our body needs carotene to form vitamin A. The carotene also protects the skin against strong sun.
Carrots are also fiber rich, which is good for the stomach. Carrots also contain potassium that helps the body's cells to keep fluid and hormone levels in balance. In the carrot, you also find antioxidants that help keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. Antioxidants also protects your cells.
Grade very fresh carrots and sprinkle fresh lemon on top just before serving. That way the carrots keep very juicy and get a round sweet taste. Perfect for that stew.
Recipe for Raw Graded Carrots (4 servings)
- 1.8 pounds carrots (800g)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Peel and grade the carrots
- Mix in some freshly squeezed juice of lemon
- Let rest for a short while before serving
Conclusion: What We Use As Lingonberry Jam Alternative
When we need a substitute for lingonberry jam, we often use apple sauce. Our children love it. Apple sauce is perfect for thick ribs as well as pancakes.
Cloudberry jam is our favorite to ice cream especially if the jam is heated some. That sweet and sour taste is flavorsome and fantastic! When the hot cloudberry jam melts the vanilla ice cream, you'll be eating a piece of heaven with every bite! Our small children is not equally fond of the cloudberry jam, they think it is too sour.
The rowan berry jam is the one we use the least. We all think it is a bit too sour.
Graded carrots are something we wholeheartedly recommend! We eat carrots often. Graded carrots go well to almost everything. And who doesn't like carrots? Carrots are juicy and have a sweet, nice taste. Even if you have lingonberry jam or another jam to your meal, you can always add graded carrots!
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Frequently asked questions about Lingonberry Jam and Alternatives
What is the closest alternative to substitute traditional lingonberry jam with?
The closest substitute for traditional lingonberry jam, if you're comparing taste and texture is without a doubt cranberry jam. Raw-Stirred Lingonberries which are not cooked and have less added sugar is often chosen as a more healthy alternative.
What other alternatives are there to lingonberry jam except cranberry jam?
If your goal is to substitute lingonberry jam in for example a swedish recipe/meal you can always use raw-stirred lingonberries as it's made from the same berry. But apple sauce, currant jam, rowan berry jam or pomegranate molasses are also very much able to replace the lingonberry jam's role in a dish.
What other foods go as well with Swedish meatballs as lingonberry jam?
Apple sauce is absolutely amazing with Swedish meatballs. Another great combination with meatballs are juicy fresh graded carrots. Graded carrots work wonders together with lingonberry jam as well. So you can choose to have them both with your meatballs.
What dishes is lingonberry jam commonly used with?
Lingonberry jam is very common in Scandinavia and goes perfectly well with dishes such as meatballs, pancakes, potato pancakes, mashed potatoes and dumplings. But also with meat, poultry and game dishes.