Gallery: (Almost) All of the IKEA Food | Taste Test

  • Pannkakor (Pancakes)

    Dave Katz

    After a quick reheat, these frozen Swedish pancakes were actually quite delightful. They come pre-folded so you fork through the squishy layers, eggy and crepe-like with golden-brown, lacy tops. Unfortunately they don't get those wonderfully crisp edges after the microwave treatment, but you could probably finish them off in a pan. Best enjoyed with some preserves and/or maple syrup, or in Sweden, there's apparently a Thursday tradition where you eat them for lunch with pea soup (!). Shouldn't more countries have a Thursday pancake tradition?

    Sylt Lingon (Lingonberry Preserves)

    A sweet, slightly tart red goo that contains whole lingonberries and mashed berry bits. A spoon of this definitely elevated the frozen Swedish meatballs into edible territory. We'd also slather some on toast or a PB&LJ anyone? A nice addition to any jam collector's library. I'm looking at you, Carrie, who actually is way ahead of me and uses it in her recipe for lingonberry sandwich cookies.

    Kakor Havreflarn (Sweet Oat Crisps)

    You get a whole box of these crisps, and an added bonus: on the side flap, IKEA has translated "sweet oat crisp" into every language. OK, not every one, but if you ever find yourself stranded in Russia or Greece with nary an oat crisp and you so desperately need one (we've all been there), you could express such to a local. (I may never travel internationally without this box again.) Anyways, we really enjoyed them. Pleasantly crisp, almost cracker-like. Sweet and buttery in a shortbread way. Dippable in tea. They also make great ice cream sandwich ends. That definitely happened in our office.

    Paj Ost (Cheddar Cheese and Leek Pie)

    Dave Katz

    The back of the box gives you microwave (2-4 minutes) or oven (12-15 minutes) options and after experience with both, the oven is strongly recommended. That way the wheat-flour crusts bake up nicely with an eggy souffle-like, leek-scattered center and a browned cheddar-cheesey top layer. They're like mini quiches. Especially fun to eat with a fork and knife while pretending to be a lilliputian Swedish elf or fairy.

    Chocolate Covered Oat Balls With Coconut Sprinkles

    Dave Katz

    Oat balls? Could this be the sweet cousin of the Swedish meatball? We grabbed these from the freezer and immediately popped one on the car ride home. Very interesting. Outside the frozen bonbon there's a thick chocolate shell speckled with coconut flakes; inside, a coffee-reminiscent (but no coffee listed on the ingredients label) oatmeal cookie-like crumbly core. They're somewhere between gumball and Jawbreaker sized so you get a few bites' worth from each ball. A very enjoyable oat ball.

    Marzipan Dipped in Chocolate

    Dave Katz

    With that 1970s lime green shag carpet shade of marzipan happening, you can't help but be a little intrigued by these frozen sweets. Six to a package, they're very marzipan-strong, reminiscent of Amaretto liqueur. You have to really like marzipan to get into these. As with the oat balls, let them defrost first for a few minutes.

    Rösti (Potato Fritters)

    Swedish latkes. They cook quickly in the pan and turn out brown, crunchy edges with slightly still-raw, white centers. They're fine in the way fried potatoes are always pretty fine, but they're not going to be your Swedish bubbe's latkes. Salting and peppering is required.

    Potatischip Saltade and Potatischip Gräddfil & Lök (Salted and Sour Cream and Onion Chips)

    Medium-salty with brown potato skin edges around each chip. The Salted ones allow the potato flavor to be more front and center while the Sour Cream and Onions are laminated in all that finger-coating onion powder dust. The thickness is somewhere between Lay's and Kettle. Not bad potatischips.

    Knäckebröd Rag (Rye Crispbread)

    Dark rye flavor. Almost a boozy aftertaste, like there's a little shot of rye whiskey embedded in each crisp. Not complaining at all about that. And "crispbread" is accurate; it's airy-crisp but also thick enough to stand up to some gravlax on top.

    Finax Brand "Good For You" Muesli

    The only IKEA cereal offering, the muesli could be a snooze for some. Raw oats and some scattered dried papaya pieces—it doesn't quite excite the crowds like, say, Lingonberry Charms would. "Muesli is the healthy, more responsible older cousin of the reckless and life-ruining granola," noted Cereal Eats columnist Leandra in her column devoted to the IKEA muesli.

    Her tasting notes: dusty oats with some crunch from the rice crispies and a bit of chewy texture from the dried fruit. Not a whole lot of flavor, but that's pre-milk. And milk (or yogurt or some dairy addition) is required with muesli—unless you're actually a horse in a barn who prefers it raw. The moment the muesli comes into contact with dairy, it comes alive! Oats, flakes, and crispies become crunchy and toasty with slightly sweet bursts of papaya. The dairy sort of cooks the oats, y'know? It's like the ceviche of muesli.

    Dryck Lingon and Dryck Fläder (Lingonberry and Elderflower Drinks)

    It's hard to discern the lingonberry flavor in this dryckbox. It tasted like a generic mixed-berry blend with some cranberry coming to mind first. Slurpable enough, but not especially unique-tasting. The elderflower is, well, not for everyone. Very floral and a bit sweet with a perfumey essence. I'm picturing frilly parasols and elderflower cordials in a garden.

    Paj Rabarber (Rhubarb Crumble Pies)

    Dave Katz

    These mini pies come in a paper pastry cup, ready to bake. And, again, you should bake them instead of nuking them so the crust bakes properly. There's only about a teaspoon's worth of the rhubarb jammy filling underneath the doughy sweet crumbles, which is a shame. More rhubarb please, IKEA pajmakers! We'd appreciate more of its tartness to even out the sweetness here. Still, an adorable size if you're hosting a mini food party. (Please tell me someone reading this plans to do just that.)

    Te Med Rabarber and Vaniljsmak (Rhubarb and Vanilla Tea)

    I defer to our office's most serious tea drinker, Max. "Heavy on the vanilla, which tastes a little too rich for the tea. Bitterness should be cut with milk and honey. Vague fruit flavor that's sweet but not especially rhubarb. Decent with milk, tastes bizarrely creamy solo." So there you have it.

    Köttbullar (Meatballs)

    Ah, the meatballs. The centerpiece of the IKEA dining table LIATORP. We bought the frozen bag of bullars and frankly, we were disappointed. A little rubbery after the suggested microwave prep, they could practically bounce. We might recommend adding some oil or butter in the bowl to keep things juicy and fatty. They also demand some gravy or lingonberry preserves, or both, real bad.

    Smörgåskaviar and Pastej Krabba (Fish Roe Spread and Crab Spread)

    Smörgåskaviar and Pastej Krabba (Fish Roe Spread and Crab Spread)
    Dave Katz

    If umlauts had a flavor, they'd taste like some of this squirtable fishy spread, right? Those two dots hanging out above all those Scandinavian words are two fish eggs, yes? IKEA sells a few toothpaste-tubular fish pastes; we tried two. Smörgåskaviar contains cod roe, sugar, salt, and some mustard. Squeeze out a dime-sized dollop on some toast and you have yourself a salty, fishy mouthsplosion. Really high-definition salty and fishy. Same goes for the Krabba Spread, which has a smokier essence and some dill and tomato in the background. The Krabba is a little sweeter too. Even someone who has a high salty, fishy tolerance (me) found these severely pungent. These should be consumed in itty bitty squirts, or maybe I'm just not Scandinavian enough.

    Lax Gravad (Gravlax)

    A person can get a little gravlax-spoiled when they start getting used to the buttery, smooth, ethereal gravlax from Russ & Daughters in the Lower East Side. All gravlax strives to be this gravlax. This one, sadly, is not even close. Tough and chewy, the texture is not slippery and delicate. It's a little like gravlax Spam. The flavor is salty-fishy enough that once you get past the texture, it could be chopped up into small pieces and thrown it into an egg scramble.

    Fishy Smörgåsbord

    Andrew Strenio

    The fishpaste on toast triangles with herring and gravlax.

    Mashed Potatoes

    Hello salt! Super salty. Salty in a nearly inedible way. And not the finest aftertaste. Very synthetic tasting and far from real-potatoey.

    Pizzabitar (Pizza)

    Andrew Strenio

    IKEA's food court sells pizza (which Sliceman Adam Kuban reviewed), but this is not that. The frozen frenchbread-style pizza is long, barely fitting onto a baking sheet when placed diagonally (and one purchased at IKEA, just sayin!). To quote New York Times dining critic Pete Wells in his recent review of Nicoletta's pizza, "it's as thick as the September issue of Vogue." This pizza also has that thick blanket of bread density at its base. On top, cheese shreds and bits of multi-colored bell peppers, yellow carrots, and black olives. It has the same aroma and color palette as a Celeste pizza from the grocery store.