7 Best Edible Spruce Tip Recipes for Delightful Desserts & Drinks

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Are Spruce tips edible? You bet, just make sure you have the right species. We forage edible spruce tips for all kinds of delicious recipes.


Below, we share some spruce tip recipes for holiday desserts and cocktails.


We will also talk about one guilty pleasure, sugared spruce tips, which is a fun ingredient to use in holiday baking and to rim cocktail glasses with.


What do Edible Spruce Tips Taste Like & Best Uses


Spruce tips are delicious when foraged at the right time of the year (early spring). The young, vibrant spruce tips taste bold with a beautiful citrus flavour. It’s a bit like a lemon with a woodsy note. We sometimes call them our “northern lemon.” 


edible spruce tips


Spruce tips are pretty versatile to work with. They can eaten raw right off the tree in the early, steeped into tea later in the season, and dried to make fun spices and sugared spruce tips.


We use edible spruce tips in several of our sustainably wild foraged foods and drinks here at Wild Muskoka, such as our Spruce Tip Sugar, Cranberry & Spruce Shrub, Wild Salt and Spruce-infused apple cider vinegar.  


Sugared Spruce Tips


Scroll to the bottom of the post to learn more about how to forage spruce tips and where to buy spruce tips and spruce tip products. 


7 Edible Spruce Tip Recipes for Deserts & Drinks


We love the beautiful citrus flavour of spruce tips in desserts. It also creates a conversation piece at holiday dinners. One of our favourite traditions is making spruce tip shortbread at Christmas and sitting around the spruce tree eating spruce shortbread. 


One of the best ways to use spruce tips is as a garnish  in desserts and cocktails. To do this, we dry the young tips in organic cane sugar; this way, it is easy to add to many recipes. The recipes below all use our Wild Muskoka Spruce Tip Sugar. You could also wild forage your own edible spruce tips and create to make sugared spruce or original creations. 

A few suggestions could include strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream sprinkled with spruce tip sugar, or top a vanilla lemon zest cupcake with a sprinkle of spruce tip sugar. You could also make your own homemade dark chocolate bark with toasted quinoa and yet again, sprinkle the top with spruce tip sugar. We also recommend using spruce tip sugar as a cocktail/mocktail rimmer – the bold zest of citrus pairs well with a refreshing summers drink. Stay tuned for more blogs regarding wild cocktail/mocktail suggestions!

Here are five great ideas for using our Spruce Tip Sugar as a dessert topping

    1) Edible Spruce Tip Brownies 

      For this recipe, take your favourite existing brownie recipe and garnish the top with spruce tip sugar before putting it in the oven.


      2. Cranberry Spruce Spritzer

      Looking to impress your friends during your next get together?

      Here is a fun and easy way to take your cocktail and mocktail game up a notch.

      If you have never rimmed a drink glass, you are missing out on a real treat. The video below will show you how to rim a class for both cocktails and alcohol-free mocktails.

      Using wild foraged ingredients also makes for a fun conversation as you sip your beautiful drink creation.

      Spruce tip sugar can be used on a variety of cocktails and alcohol-free mocktails beyond these recipes.

      Recipe Ingredients:

      ~ 1 1/2 oz Gin or Vodka (optional, leave out to make a alcohol-free mocktail)

      ~ 3/4 oz of Cranberry Spruce Shrub

      ~ 3 oz of Ginger Beer

      ~ Spruce Tip Sugar for the Rim

      ` Frozen Cranberries for Garnish

      3. Dark Chocolate Quinoa Bark Sprinkled with Spruce Sugar

      This is similar to how we use the sugared spruce tips in the brownie recipe, just sprinkle it on top. Here is a recipe for the quinoa bark.

      4. Strawberry Sumac Lemonade with a Spruce Sugar Rim

      Although it is delicious year-round, this one is pretty hard to beat on a hot summer day. Kids love it too when it is made alcohol-free.

      Recipe Ingredients:

      ~ 1 1/2 oz Gin or Vodka (optional, leave out to make a alcohol-free mocktail)

      ~ 3/4 oz of Strawberry Sumac Shrub

      ~ Top the Glass off with Lemonade

      ~ Spruce Tip Sugar for the Rim

      ~ Garnish with a lemon wheel and a fresh strawberry

      5. Fresh Whipped Cream & Strawberry Shortcake sprinkled with Spruce Sugar

      This is a quick and easy one as the shortcake, strawberries and whipped cream can be purchased ready to go at the grocery store. And again, just sprinkle the spruce tip sugar one top. See a theme here? ;)

      If you want to add to the foraging theme, consider using wild strawberries in the summertime.

      6. Spruce Tip Shortbread Cookies

      This one is a huge hit around the holidays. There is nothing quite like sitting around a spruce Christmas tree eating a shortbread cooking made with edible spruce tips.

      The spruce tips can be sprinkled on top or mixed into your favourite shortbread recipe.

      We have a fun blog post on how to make white-pine short bread with fresh pine needles. If you have never made shortbread before, you can follow this recipe but add spruce instead of pine. You can also use our spruce tip sugar instead of the fresh ones.

      7. Sugared Spruce Tips on Vanilla Ice Cream with Grilled Peaches

      And, we have possibly saved one of the best for last here. We love to sprinkle spruce tip sugar in vanilla ice cream. If you want a more hearty dessert, then put it on some grilled peaches.

      Benefits of Spruce Tips

      There are a number of benefits of spruce tips in cooking and drinks. First, they are very high in Vitamin C. Second, spruce often grows abundantly and thus it can be foraged sustainably. See the section on foraging spruce tips below.

      When you infuse the spruce tips into sugar or salt, it has a VERY long shelf life and is very easy to integrate into meals, desserts and drinks.

      Foraging for Spruce Tips

      As with any wild foraging, you need to ensure you have the right species for safety. If you are new to foraging, we suggest checking out our blog post on The 5 Rights of Wild Foraging.

      Here in the Eastern Woodlands of Turtle Island, we use mostly White Spruce although most varieties will work.

      The needles can be infused into tea year-round. But if you want to use them in cooking, sugared spruce and spices, it is best to harvest the young growth in the early spring when it is vibrant green and soft in texture.

      As to foraging spruce sustainably, we harvest only from the lower branches on the tree as these will self-prune over time anyway.

      We have a multi-part series of reels on how to sustainably forage spruce on the @WildMuskoka Instagram Account.

      You can also watch the shorts on the Wild Muskoka YouTube channel:

      ~ Part 1 - Foraging Spruce - Sustainably

      ~ Part 2 - Foraging Spruce - Ecology

      ~ Part 3 - Foraging Spruce - Pruning, Taste & Uses


      ** Thanks to Morgan Richter for providing the photography for these pics and helping write the original version of the blog.

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