16 Popular IKEA Food Court Menu Items Ranked

Picture this: You've spent the morning at IKEA, the Swedish-based home megastore, shopping for affordable and functional furniture galore. Your shopping cart is filled with Ömsesidig serving bowls, Vattenkar wall storage, and Dytåg pillow cases. But you've been here walking through the staging rooms for hours, and now you're starving. You can't just leave your things behind and meander to the nearest fast food chain. And then, in the corner of your eye, you spot your saving grace — IKEA's food court, which consists of a restaurant and bistro, both serving a variety of American and Swedish-inspired meals, sweets, and drinks. The day is officially saved.

But what are you supposed to get? The menus aren't too large, but some food items are definitely better than others. When we set out to rank IKEA's food court items from worst to best, we took a few factors into account: one, customer ratings and reviews. We scoured the web to see what people were saying and if a meal or snack was worth chowing down on. We also looked at price, ingredients, and accessibility, aiming to find something anyone can enjoy, regardless of any diet restrictions. 

Without further ado, look no further than our list of the best IKEA dishes you can snag at the retailer, ranked from best to worst. From iconic Swedish meatballs to surprisingly delicious frozen yogurt, you'll be set for your next IKEA journey. 

16. Veggie balls

We appreciate IKEA's attempt to have everyone enjoy their legendary Swedish meatballs, but the store's veggie balls are, for lack of a better word, a failure. According to HuffPost, they're made from chickpeas, carrots, peppers, corn, and kale, which all have strong individual tastes. Combined, the textures and flavors don't mesh well, which means that instead of tasting like a meat substitute or the same seasonings as IKEA's Swedish meatball meal, they're just really veggie-forward. 

HuffPost found that they fell apart pretty quickly, too, similar to other meat alternatives. We're unsure if they add any juice from the chickpeas (otherwise known as aquafaba), which can typically be used as a binder in meat substitutes. However, not all hope is lost for plant based-eaters. IKEA also has plant balls, another meat-free substitute for the Swedish meatballs, which have been reported to be a lot better. HuffPost wrote that they're "very similar to the original meatballs, though a touch more grainy."  

So, while we don't recommend the veggie balls, the plant balls are a much better option. According to IKEA, the plant balls are made with ingredients like pea protein, oats, potato, and apple and seasonings such as mushroom, tomato, and roasted veggies, likely pushing towards a more similar taste profile to the store's iconic Swedish meatballs. IKEA also claims that making their plant balls has a carbon footprint 20 times smaller than their regular meatballs.

15. Chicken tenders

We'll be the first to admit it — chicken tenders and fries are a solid meal. If they're crispy, seasoned well, and paired with the right dipping sauces (our bias leans towards honey mustard), there's really nothing to complain about. And we were really rooting for IKEA's chicken tender meal — unfortunately, it just fell short, with a Business Insider reviewer going as far as to say that they would never order them ever again. 

Their experience with these chickies was the definition of lackluster. They said the battered coating wasn't awful, but the chicken inside tasted as if it had been under a heat lamp for multiple days. This resulted in an odd shredded texture since it was too hard to bite. 

In terms of taste, there was definitely something left to be desired there, too. The seasoning wasn't anything to write home about, with the writer finding that it tasted like salt and breadcrumbs. The French fries and broccoli sides are nice additions, but they don't make this meal worthwhile, either. So, we'll go ahead and say that you can skip these the next time you're at IKEA. 

14. Veggie dog

People have mixed thoughts about IKEA's veggie dogs. For one, they cost just $0.75 per veggie dog, so that's a huge plus. Buyers really appreciate that they're the same price as the regular meat hot dogs, which isn't always the case at restaurants. According to reviews on Abillion, they're good, but mainly because of the dressing that automatically comes on top: ketchup, mustard, fried onions, and pickled purple cabbage. Yum. 

However, some folks found that the taste of the veggie dog itself wasn't the best. It doesn't really taste like meat substitute, and a few reviewers noted that the bun was pretty dry, meaning it didn't hold up the best throughout the eating process. When a VICE reporter tried it out, they asked about what they were made of. They received an ingredient list of water, kale, red lentils, quinoa, fennel seeds, and additives, including wheat protein. 

All in all, this isn't a bad option for plant-based eaters. As IKEA makes big efforts to offer more vegan and vegetarian meals to its patrons, it's clear that they have more to improve on, but this is a great starting point — especially since they specifically state that they believe sustainable meat alternative meals should cost the same as their meaty counterparts. 

13. Greek salad

If you're wondering if Greek salads were actually created in Sweden and that's how they ended up on the IKEA menu... Well, you're wrong. The Greek salad doesn't exactly fit in on the restaurant or bistro's menus, but based on Thrillist's review, it seems perfectly fine. Emphasis on the fine. 

Greek salads traditionally contain ingredients like tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, olives, and feta cheese. From the picture on IKEA's online menu, it looks like it has all of those things, though we can't be sure. (The description says that it has mixed greens, feta cheese, and a Greek vinaigrette.) 

In their own ranking of the best IKEA food court items, Thrillist said that it tasted pretty similar to what you could expect from a grocery store Greek salad, noting that the dressing was yummy, but they weren't positive it wasn't just Italian dressing. 

In short, the Greek salad is just okay. If you want to fuel up with something on the healthier side, this seems like a good option to go with, but you may be left desiring just a little bit more. 

12. Marinated salmon

Amidst IKEA's variety of American dishes are a few unique Swedish ones, including the marinated salmon. It comes with a healthy dose of dill and arrives on a bed of lettuce with a lemon wedge. If you're a salmon lover, there's a solid chance you'll like this; however, Time Out found it to have a really fishy taste, while the undisclosed sauce, which was akin to tartar sauce but thicker, didn't exactly serve a purpose. 

There isn't any information on how the salmon is prepared, but from pictures online, it's safe to assume that it's raw, presumably similar to sashimi (thinly sliced raw fish or meat). If that isn't quite your thing, this dish definitely isn't for you, either.

Overall, there aren't many highlights to IKEA's marinated salmon. Whether or not someone enjoys this will depend on their taste in food. If they're a big sushi eater, they may love it. But if the mere scent of fish makes them wrinkle their nose, they should opt for something completely different (we suggest anything found in our top five). 

11. Pizza

If you're a pizza snob, a) there's no shame in the game, and b) you may not be entirely thrilled with IKEA's offerings. That being said, if you're in a pinch and you're in the market to scarf down a greasy piece of pepperoni pizza, we don't think you'll be dissatisfied with your choice. 

On IKEA's online menu, they don't detail what types of pizza they have, instead just listing a "pizza slice," so this may depend on your location. Time Out found that IKEA's pizza had a "perfectly crisp crust and solid tomato sauce," noting that at $1.75, it wasn't too bad. 

However, in a review written by All Pizzaholic, reception was mixed. They said that the flavors were pretty plain, solely consisting of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, tomato sauce, and herbs on top. They wrote that the slices were generously sized, though, and the cheese and sauce combo seemed to be high-quality. 

At the end of the day, whether or not this pizza is good will likely depend on your personal bias, but it doesn't seem as though it's the worst option out there, especially given the affordable price point. Considering you could feed yourself or your family for just a couple bucks, we're not mad at IKEA's pizza offerings. 

10. Swedish meatballs

Affordable furniture, fun showing rooms, and Swedish meatballs — what more could you possibly ask for in a shopping experience?

IKEA's iconic Swedish meatballs obviously made our list of the best food court items from the store. And while they're not our absolute favorites, they're still pretty darn good. According to The Travel, these meatballs are made from all-natural ingredients like pork, beef, onions, and allspice, all of which work together to offer a cozy taste profile that effortlessly blends with the classic gravy. 

Lastly, what really pushes these legendary meatballs over the edge is the lingonberry jam. The flavors are pretty similar to something you'd find on Thanksgiving, but the fact that IKEA serves this meal any day of the year makes it that much better. Each Swedish meatball meal is topped off with sides of mashed potatoes and broccoli, ensuring that you have a hearty break between perusing bed frames and shelving units.

9. Hot dog

We know what you're thinking: Really, a hot dog landed itself in the number two spot? Well, yes. Let us explain why.

Between IKEA's restaurant and bistro, they offer different meals and snacks that are all over the gourmet spectrum of food. There are big breakfast plates, meatballs, sundaes, and traditional Swedish goods. It's debatable whether or not they have delicious food across the board, but what's not up for debate is how good their hot dogs are. According to The Travel, IKEA's hot dogs are small, but pack a great flavor. They note that they're not grilled, but the buns are slightly toasted and boast a subtle meaty taste. 

We even set out to figure out why shoppers love IKEA's hot dogs so much. In short, it comes down to the shockingly affordable price point of just $0.75 per hot dog, while the huge condiment section is an added bonus. Although the veggie dogs automatically come with dressings, these beef-and-chicken franks can be topped with mustard, ketchup, relish, fried onions, pickles, jalapeños, and more. 

8. Mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is one of the items that IKEA offers at several international outlets. The order includes classic elbow macaroni doused in a gooey, cheesy sauce. The dish is not amped with add-ons, but IKEA never skimps on the sauce, so expect a very saucy, sloppy dish. The reviews on the mac and cheese are pretty mixed, but most customers agree that this is not the best mac and cheese version or one of the must-tries at IKEA.

Sauce and pasta are the two constituent elements in a classic mac and cheese, so it's pretty disappointing to see that neither rates well among the customers. Some describe the sauce as too thick, possibly due to excess flour in the roux, which can also create that unpleasant chalk-like flavor. Pasta is criticized as being overcooked, which will instantly turn mac and cheese into a gloppy, unappetizing dish. However, some reviews complement the smoothness of the sauce and the generous serving, so if you are all about the sauce, this might be your idea of a good, cafeteria-style mac and cheese.

It's worth mentioning that IKEA features mac and cheese on the kids' menu, which also includes a serving of peas for a more wholesome option.

7. Pretzel

You'll find IKEA pretzels in the bistro section. This is a slightly atypical pretzel as it does not have the standard round and twisted shape but rather looks like an elongated braided roll. Usually, it comes served with a mustard-based dip. The pretzel has a glossy, golden crust and a good amount of salt sprinkled on top. Though it gets extra points for its appetizing appearance, this handsome pretzel gets mixed reviews for its flavor and texture.

Many reviews positively comment on the considerable size of the pretzel and the generous amount of salt sprinkled on top. Negative reviews mainly focus on the brittle and sometimes overly tough texture. Though this pretzel is supposed to have some crunch, it can go overboard, becoming almost unpleasant to eat. The textural issue might relate to the freshness of the pretzel, and you will most certainly avoid these issues if you grab a warm, freshly baked pretzel that has just left the oven.

The mustard served on the side has a nice texture and some kick to it, which adds a little more character to the whole combination.

6. Salmon filet

Salmon is generally well-represented at IKEA stores and restaurants, and this salmon filet is one of the staple dishes. The order always includes a strip of salmon filet, but the side dishes can often vary depending on location and season. Typically, there will be some veggies on the side, such as peas or broccoli, mixed veggies, mashed potatoes, or the signature vegetable medallion that also seems to have a lot of fans among the customers. As the final addition, salmon is usually doused in a creamy sauce that also often changes, but you can expect the classic lemon dill version, pepper sauce, or the currently available pea pesto.

The reviews on the salmon are pretty mixed. While some customers praise the soft texture, others believe that the fish was cooked for too long, so it lost all moisture, and some even question the freshness. Though the filet does not get rave reviews, the salmon and sauce combination is generally well-liked, presumably because the sauce provides some much-needed juiciness. Essentially, the salmon filet is a decent option at IKEA but not one of the best-executed dishes. However, in combination with veggies, it is one of IKEA's most nutritious and well-balanced options.

5. Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls are among the most popular foods at IKEA restaurants. They are one of the dishes that represent traditional Swedish cuisine, and you'll find them at most international outlets, mainly in the bistro section. For the biggest cinnamon roll fans, IKEA offers a frozen pack you can take home and just throw in the oven. Cinnamon rolls at IKEA are medium-sized, with an average amount of cinnamon filling. While the pre-packed, frozen version comes sprinkled with pearl sugar, the ones you'll find at the store are usually drizzled with icing.

The reviews on these rolls are mixed, which means that they have some potential but could use improvement. Complaints mainly refer to the firm and dense dough, which usually happens if the pastry sits out too long. Even if it started as tender and fluffy, it will probably lose some good qualities with time. This cinnamon roll is well balanced with sweetness and buttery flavors, and the cinnamon is equally distributed and has just enough intensity.

Arguably, this is an item that will score better if it's served warm or heated. If you're lucky, the cafeteria at your local IKEA might carry a microwave that you could use to heat the roll. The heat softens the dough and makes the filling moist and syrupy, immediately improving the whole dining experience.

4. Garlic bread / Garlic toast

Garlic bread is not hugely popular on online platforms, but customers seem to love this unassuming snack and generally speak highly of the taste and texture. The slices are pretty thick and large, obviously sliced from a regular loaf, so you'll find a slightly softer center and crust only on the edges. They are made from standard white bread, so do not expect a lot of complexity, but count on some of those light and airy white bread qualities. The slices are not overly toasted, and the seasoning evidently incorporates some herbs for an extra aromatic kick.

The reviews mention the flawless toasting technique that produces an equal amount of crunch and softness. Though it is perfectly crisp on the edges, the toast is not too brittle or difficult to tackle, and the center retains some pleasant chewiness. The garlic flavor is evident but does not overwhelm the whole thing. This bread has a touch of homey character, which you do not expect to find at a cafeteria-style restaurant, and that might be its winning quality. It can work on its own, but you definitely want to pair it with butter or serve it as an accompaniment to soup. It can also be a great vessel to stack those iconic meatballs and grab all the gravy.

3. Strawberry shortcake

As the name suggests, this is a classic shortcake built with a traditional strawberry flavor. The cake generally ranks high, though some issues prevent it from being the favorite among IKEA desserts. Strawberry shortcake consists of three light vanilla sponges topped with a layer of strawberry jelly and a thin layer of cream. The cake is tall, and the layers are visible, resulting in a visually attractive dessert.

Some customers love this cake and rave about its quality. They praise the light texture and the combination of flavors, mentioning that you could easily mistake it for a birthday cake. The sponge cakes are well-built and tasty but might seem a bit dry. However, the good amount of cream and the jammy strawberry provide enough moisture, so you do not get the sandy and crumbly mouthfeel. This cake goes for the refreshing factor and does not pack that much sugar, making it ideal after a heavier lunch.

Some criticism goes to the white layer — possibly involving buttercream or whipped cream –. Still, the biggest weakness is that the cake does not incorporate fresh strawberries, which could upgrade it to a whole different level.

2. Swedish apple cake

As you can guess from the name, the next item on the list is a hearty apple cake with a Swedish twist. Traditionally, the cake incorporates a buttery crust holding a spiced apple filling that is occasionally sealed with a thin pastry layer. The IKEA version mimics the classic and incorporates a thick pastry crust bottom topped with a thin layer of stewed, jammy apples. The dessert is finished with a crumbly topping that is tweaked to remain soft and tender. The cake is sliced into compact little bars not meant for sharing.

Judging by the reviews, this is a very well-built cake. It will not leave you speechless or fall into the category of the best dessert you've ever tried, but it is an excellent option for a cafeteria restaurant. The cake is buttery and tender, with a good balance of sweetness and nice fruity flavors reminiscent of a classic apple pie. This is the ideal option if you're looking for a toned-down afternoon treat to pair with coffee.

1. Daim cake / Chocolate almond cake

Caramel almond cake, also marketed as Daim cake in some countries, is one of the food favorites at IKEA. This is a thin, layered cake with two crumbly sponges coated in thick custard and caramel, all sealed with a crunchy milk chocolate layer. The cake was inspired by Daim, the legendary Swedish chocolate bar that consists of caramel and almond brittle coated with milk chocolate. As the cake mimics the candy, you can expect an intense cake with a medley of chocolate and caramel flavors partnered with a smooth, fudgy mouthfeel and some almond crunch.

Customers rave about the almond cake and love the well-balanced combination of flavors and textures. Each element has enough character to come through, but nothing seems too heavy to throw things out of balance. Despite the combination of dominant flavors, the cake does not come off as robust or overpowering. Though it is relatively small, the size seems ideal for the intensity, and as one review describes, "a little bit of it will definitely go a long way." As it's not your standard cake or something you can easily replicate, it also gets extra points for its distinctiveness.

If you are lucky, your location might even carry a frozen version that you can take home and indulge in any time you want.

How we chose and ranked IKEA Food Court Menu Items

To compile this comprehensive list of the best and worst dishes served at IKEA Food Court, we drew from personal experience and carefully studied the menu, concentrating on some of the most popular dishes. We then compared the items with customer feedback collected from various online platforms. This helped to identify clear favorites and those that don't rank well among customers. This list will reveal the true IKEA gems and some of the underdogs that deserve more attention next time you go furniture shopping.