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Ikea Treasures

A new Ikea store just opened in our area, which is a big deal. I'm not in the market for any of their furniture, but have heard they have great finds in their housewares and cooking lines.

Does anyone have recommendations of what to look for? For example, on my wish list are a mandoline and a food mill. Any other finds I should seek out?


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  1. There are some good threads on specific items (dutch ovens, cutting boards). I, personally, but my plastic cuttingboards there because I need like 5 of them at any one time (meat, veg, etc). I also like their cheapie plastic tupperware type containers. Good tablecloths, napkins, and hanging baskets for fruits. Dish towel racks are great at Ikea.

    1. The plastic cutting boards are great, and cheap! We got a french press there, also inexpensive (about $15), and it's lasted us a while. Our favorite Ikea purchase ever is a wall mounted rack that has holders and cutters for various kitchen paper products. We keep paper towels, foil, and parchment paper on it and absolutely love it! They also have magnetized knife strips similar to the paper rack.
      On the flipside, the knives aren't so great, and we also bought a battery operated milk frother that ended up not working at all. I'd suggest sticking to basics, and remembering that there's a reason the stuff is so cheap.
      On a side note, watch out for the linens - style-wise they are really nice, but they don't hold up well in the wash. Enjoy!

      1. cheap everyday flatware - because with use the inevitable occurs, bent - who cares, lost a spoon - who cares. even stainless does stain eventually - who cares.

        1. Inexpensive wine glasses. If they get broken, who cares? Serving dishes. Candles. Smoked salmon. Swedish Fish. There's always something inexpensive there that you can find a use for. Re the mandoline: I think you're going to have to bite the bullet and buy one that's more on the expensive side; merely for safety sake. I don't know if they have a food mill there, I've never seen (or looked) for one.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mschow

            i 2nd the wine glasses. they come in a nice package with 6 all-purp red stem, 6 all-purp white stem, 6 small all-purp tumbler/rocks glass. buy 4 or more packages for party use, store in box under the bed.

          2. Bales of very good, plain cotton dish towels, which I use instead of paper for lots of kitchen stuff, since they won't fall apart just because they're wet. Yes, after wiping out the insides of chickens or the outsides of porks roasts they might get stained, but so what? Use the unstained ones for wrapping hot breads or lining fruit baskets.

            IKEA's household and kitchen-goods sections are some of my favorite places to impulse-shop, though I must say I'm glad to be semi-retired so I can shop midweek - weekends at my nearby store are when large families tend to show up with their utterly undisciplined children, who are for the most part simply let loose. On a Wednesday morning, though, it's a pleasant place, and the food in their cafeteria is delicious and fairly cheap.

            1. I love the Lingonberry Jam they sell there. Give it a try. It's really good. They serve it along with the Swedish Meatballs in the cafeteria area if you want to taste before buying.

              1. There super cheap plates are a must in our kitchen, and their small bowls. We have 30+ so we can do large dinner parties buffet style. They work just fine and are a great blank slate for food. Same with the flatware and kids dishes. And I don't care if one breaks... (but they have been super durable - we've only lost a couple in the 3 years we've had them)

                I went through a phase that I liked their Almondy tortes, but last time I got it I wasn't so thrilled. I think it was just dessert deprivation that made me love them, but others seem to really like them.

                1. (I may be shunned for saying this) I prefer my Ikea 365+ pots to my All-Clad pots.

                  The Swedish Jelly Rats are great too....and the Almond torte.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fmed

                    We have a 365+ set that has outlasted nearly everything else in our kitchen... great stuff.

                  2. One opened up here in my town last week and it was insane. People actualy camped out for days to get in. I could not wait to see what all the fuss was about. But, boy was I surprised when I finally got to check it out. What a bunch of junk!! Pressed wood furniture and awful meatballs. What a waste of a sunday afternoon. I wouldn't put that crap in my garage, not alone in my house!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Ranger05

                      The furniture is not the best, you really get what you pay for. It's good for college students and when you first move out of your parent's house. They do have some quality items, but they will cost you more and you have to really look for them. And no, IKEA is not worth it to camp out for, but what furniture is?

                      In terms of kitchenware, etc. the glassware/utensils/cutting boards/trivets are decent for everyday use. I bought a non-stick pan for eggs/omeletes/etc. that really doesn't work that great as a non-stick pan, but it was $1.99. I really like their potato chips also! Just make sure they're not expired.

                      1. re: mepm231

                        <<And no, IKEA is not worth it to camp out for, but what furniture is?>>

                        It's worth it when they're opening a new location and you get to meet celebrity guest Estelle Harris (aka George Costanza's mom) at 6:45 am! :P
                        As for that $1.99 non-stick pan, I bought one on the above-mentioned opening day for $.25, and I still use it years later. I like it so much, I bought another at the $1.99 price. Can't beat that with a stick. Regarding the food, I like the potato chips and most of the cookies (and the $1 cinnamon roll).

                      2. re: Ranger05

                        I have an IKEA desk chair that I bought about 15 years old for around $40. It survived a flood, and it's still comfortable and functional. Sometimes, it pays not to be a snob.

                      3. Ikea has a chocolate dipped crunchy cookie that is amazing. I think it has oats and whole wheat and comes in both dark or milk choc dip. The dark version is outstanding. Do not open in the car or there will be none left by the time you get home.

                        They also have wonderful ginger cookies in special Christmas tins. These are great to have on hand for those last minute gifts. The cookies are a little bigger than an inch, very gingery but not sweet.

                        Also the lingenberry syrup is wonderful on pancakes. Not horribly sweet like many fruit syrups.

                        Best kitchenware buys: cutting boards like everyone has said, round cork trivets, colanders, ramekins, paper napkins in wonder, wacky colour combinations, and kitchen shears. Also like the table linens because they stand up to washing and drying well, and every parent I know has the set of 4 plastic bowls for feeding kids. Mine have been through the dishwasher at least 400 times and are still great.

                        1. I haven't been back in years but I do love Ikea for specific things:
                          - plastic cutting boards in different colors for different things: I haven't found them cheaper anywhere else
                          - wooden spoons: cheap cheap cheap and if they get gross, I throw them out
                          - glassware: like the others said, if one breaks, who cares. I've had mine for at least 8 years and they still look great.
                          - plates and other dining ware: same as glassware - really cheap and who cares if one breaks
                          - I know some people really like the tupperware there but the ones I get seem to warp in size a little and the lids don't fit right anymore
                          - I also get lots of wrapping paper supplies there, throw blankets, and glass vases.

                          1. One more thing: if you're looking for a mandoline - check out some of the asian grocery stores. I have a $5 mandoline that works great. Problem is there's just a few shredding / slicing options (4 i think).

                            1. Thanks for the great ideas, everyone. I'll be checking it out over the next week or so.

                              1. In addition to the already mentioned flatware and cutting boards, I love Ikea for its space-saving items, since I live in a NY closet. They have a great 2-tiered dish drying rack that takes up so little space for all the dishes you can fit on there. They have great wall-mounted shelving and storage that helps save space too.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: corgette

                                  Yes! I needed a small wine rack for my teeny pantry and IKEA has little wood ones that are easy to put together and hold 9 bottles. I love it!


                                  Glasses are great, too. Sometimes they have really unusual ones. Nice way to build up a little eclectic collection without spending a fortune. My mom bought a bunch of wooden magazine holders for her bookshelves. I think they were $2.99 a piece. Love their basic bookshelves too.

                                2. I purchased a miniature (but not toy) set of Teflon type utensils - spatula, fork & spoon - for maybe a dollar or so. I have been amazed how much I've used them! The size is incredibly handy. Accent pieces for entertaining including little vases (I've used them as place cards/party favors) and much more.

                                  My closest location is smack in the midst of a 9 hour drive that I do several times a year. It makes for a nice break - revive with the cinnamon roll bargain & coffee, shop a bit, freshen up and start driving again!

                                  1. Pepper and spice grinders...ceramic wheels, outlasts anything else I've had...around $7-8 bucks. Out performs $30 buck ones.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ML8000

                                      I recommend IKEA kitchens and the online design feature. I have been critical for a number of years about their cheap look but now I think they have caught up with other kitchen manufacturers and features such as the drawers that ease up to the case and then quietly close are quite cool. I just installed one and am about to install another in an apartment. I will try to write back if the kitchens do not live up to expectations. By the way my men like installing them and I expect to pick up my next one on the day they want to install it- not two weeks after I place the order.

                                    2. I buy their martini glasses for times when I have parties and store them away until I need to use them (same for wine glasses). If one (or five) breaks, no tears....

                                      I bought a wisk set from them for like ($1) and use them more than any of my other ones. They are the right size and shape.

                                      My lime green espresso cups still look great after 6 years and 10 moves. For 50 cents per cup and saucer, that was a good deal.

                                      I have been searching for a little silver bowl like Ina Garten uses on her show for years, and haven't been able to find something food safe at that size, shape, and design. Ikea has a brushed stainless bowl that is perfect for about $3. I bought three and am going back for more because they are so useful.

                                      I also like their magnetic knife holders.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jazzy77

                                        ditto on the cheap magnetic knife holders!

                                      2. They have great muesli and I tried their Swedish rye bread mix..very easy and good!

                                        1. We went to Ikea Friday afternoon and did a major restock on some items that we've been meaning to replace -- cutting boards, old-fashioned glasses, that sort of thing -- and I picked up one of the $5.99 nonstick pans for a new egg pan: I find that the cheaper the nonstick, the better it is for eggs, because it's got that super-slick surface, and because it's so thin, it keeps me honest on keeping the heat low.

                                          1. Our $2 milk frother still works (I even almost made whipped cream with it once but I almost killed it then). Cheapo gadgets. Boiled potatoes & swedish meatballs with bad gravy and yummy lingonberry sauce in the cafeteria. What's not to love?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: twinkiefan

                                              I have to hit up IKEA again soon(need to get shelves for my bathroom.)

                                              Topic?I am all about the Swedish meatballs.Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.I love the lingonberry sauce,and the lingonberry soda is pretty darn terriffic too.