The Best Thing to Buy at IKEA Is Not the Furniture

If you’ve ever been to IKEA with an enthusiastic friend or partner, you’ll know the feeling that plagued me earlier this year. Two hours had ticked past since we’d stepped foot in the megastore, I’d lost the ability to orientate myself in the rabbit burrow–like aisles, and I was slumped in the sofa section while my S.O. continued on his home makeover high. The outlook was dire—I needed sustenance.

As I wandered toward the checkout aisle, I came across a section of the store that was strangely shopper-free: the Swedish food aisle. As a complete foreigner to Swedish cuisine, I balked at some of the items on the shelves: What are cloudberries? How do you cook with rhubarb syrup? And how is it that I’d never come across IKEA food?

A glance at food blogs and fan forums reveals I’m not the only one intrigued by IKEA’s most underrated section. There are countless YouTube videos and forums dedicated to experimenting with the unique ingredients. My IKEA fatigue gone, I left the store armed with curious ingredients to try at home. Here are the best foods to pick up on your next shopping trip, plus the recipes, hacks, and tips I learned to cook like a Swede. Trust me—if you only shop at IKEA for the furniture, you’re missing out.