When you think of IKEA, one thing comes to mind: furniture! Of course, you know you can also load up your cart with pillows, lamps, cutting boards, and more. You've probably also seen IKEA's big selection of cookware and wondered how well it performs. (Will it last longer than those inexpensive sofas?)
With prices ranging from $3.50 for a small pan up to $130 for a full set, IKEA pots and pans are definitely bargain-priced. But can they take the heat as well as the better-known brands? We tested a sampling to find out.
IKEA's Entry-Point Pots and Pans
The KAVALKAD and SKÄNKA lines, which start at $3.50 and $5 respectively, are pretty much like the kind of pots and pans you'd expect to pick up at the supermarket or big-box store. Made of aluminum, they're lightweight and have nonstick finishes and plastic handles. Nice features include thumb rests and, on Skanka, vent holes in the pot lids. Both heat up remarkably evenly for cookware in this price category. They'd be great options for a beach house, college dorm, or first apartment.
Go up in price a bit and you get the weightier IKEA 365+ and OUMBÄRLIG lines with opening price points of $20 and $15. The first thing you'll notice is that, like all things IKEA, they have Scandinavian styling — clean lines and classic shapes. Both are stainless steel with a layer of aluminum inside, which helps them heat uniformly.
On the frying pans, you'll find very durable nonstick surfaces, but when I tested them, I needed to add a bit of butter to help eggs slide out. The saucepans have vent holes and measuring marks, and the IKEA 365+ ones have glass lids and stack inside one another for space-saving storage. Think of these two lines as workhorses with practical features for everyday cooking.
IKEA's Top-of-the-Line Pots and Pans
The big surprise was the new SENSUELL collection of heavyweight stainless steel with a core of aluminum for even heating. Prices range from $40 for a 2 1/2-quart saucepan to $130 for a 4-piece set. For starters, with their highly polished surfaces, these pots and pans are just plain gorgeous. Before I used them, I held my breath, hoping their performance would be as good as their looks.
I'm happy to tell you the skillet browned perfectly evenly and the saucepan held a remarkably steady simmer — something few pots and pans can do. That means, when you're making pancakes, you won't have to rearrange them to get them all to color evenly and, when you're cooking tomato sauce, you won't have to constantly fiddle with the heat level to keep it from either boiling or just staying warm.
The riveted handles stayed cool to the touch, even when I cranked up the heat. The soft grip on the underside doesn't detract from the gleaming steel but definitely made maneuvering them around and on and off the stovetop more comfortable. Here, too, you'll find glass lids and measuring lines inside the pots.
Maybe the best news of all, after searing a steak, I found Sensuell much easier to clean than my usual stainless steel pan. Now I won't kid you — if you burn on splatters, which I did strictly as a test, you will have to scrub a bit. But using Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cleaner made it look new again.
Buy it: Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cleaner, $9
If you're looking for trophy cookware that you won't have to replace for a long time, SENSUELL's for you. It looks at least as good as All-Clad and can be had for a fraction of the cost.
What do you think? Do you have any IKEA cookware? How is it doing and holding up?