Are IHOP pancakes dairy-free?

International House of Pancakes, better known as IHOP, is a popular family restaurant chain known for its wide variety of pancake offerings. With dairy allergies and lactose intolerance becoming more common, many people wonder if the famous IHOP pancakes are safe to eat on a dairy-free diet.

The Short Answer

Unfortunately, standard IHOP pancakes are not dairy-free. They contain both milk and butter, two common dairy ingredients. However, IHOP does offer dairy-free pancake options made with almond milk and vegan butter.

Examining Standard IHOP Pancake Ingredients

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in regular IHOP pancakes:

  • Enriched bleached wheat flour – wheat-based, not dairy
  • Sugar – not dairy
  • Degerminated yellow corn flour – corn-based, not dairy
  • Leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate) – not dairy
  • Monocalcium phosphate – not dairy
  • Salt – not dairy
  • Modified corn starch – corn-based, not dairy
  • Dextrose – not dairy
  • Soybean oil – soy-based, not dairy
  • Dried egg whites – egg-based, not dairy
  • Natural and artificial flavors – could contain dairy
  • Nonfat milk – contains lactose/dairy
  • Butter – contains dairy fat

As you can see, standard IHOP pancakes contain both nonfat milk and butter, which means they are not dairy-free. The natural and artificial flavors may also contain some dairy-derived ingredients.

Why Are Milk and Butter Added?

Milk and butter are added to IHOP’s regular pancake recipe for the following reasons:

  • Milk adds lactose sweetness and protein to help pancakes brown.
  • Butter provides extra fat and richness of flavor.
  • Together they create IHOP’s signature fluffy, moist pancake texture.

Milk and butter are very common ingredients found in American-style pancake recipes. They help create the light and fluffy texture pancake lovers enjoy.

What About IHOP’s Other Pancake Options?

While original IHOP pancakes contain dairy, IHOP does offer some pancake options that may be dairy-free:

  • IHOP’s vegan pancakes are made with almond milk and vegan butter. However, they may be cooked on shared grills.
  • Buckwheat pancakes do not list milk or butter in ingredients, just buckwheat flour and water.
  • Silver dollar pancakes appear dairy-free, just made with Bisquick mix and water.

When ordering, double check with your server on the ingredients and food prep procedures. Cross-contamination is possible if cooked on shared grills.

Tips for Ordering Dairy-Free at IHOP

Here are some tips for ordering dairy-free meals at IHOP:

  • Ask about pancake ingredients each time to confirm if dairy-free
  • Request vegan or almond milk pancakes made without butter
  • Ask for dairy-free butter options like vegan butter
  • Choose plain potatoes or grits as a side, not cheesy hash browns
  • Order sausage or bacon instead of cream cheese-filled crepes
  • Ask for whipped topping instead of butter on top
  • Check dressings and dipping sauces for dairy ingredients

With some modifications, you can definitely enjoy tasty dairy-free breakfasts and meals at IHOP!

Are IHOP Pancakes Nutritious?

While IHOP’s pancakes may not be dairy-free, are they at least relatively healthy?

Here is a look at the nutrition facts of a standard IHOP pancake:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 260 13%
Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 4.5g 23%
Trans Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 115mg 39%
Sodium 460mg 20%
Carbohydrates 35g 12%
Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 12g
Protein 6g

As you can see, while tasty, IHOP pancakes are quite high in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They lack fiber and protein. The sugar content is also concerning at 12g per pancake.

The high refined carb content will spike blood sugar, while the saturated fat and cholesterol can negatively impact heart health. The lack of fiber, protein, and nutrients also make them more of an empty calorie food.

Overall, IHOP pancakes would be considered more of an occasional indulgent treat. While fine in moderation, they should not be a daily breakfast choice for optimal nutrition.

Healthier Pancake Alternatives

If you love pancakes but want a more nutritious option, here are some ideas for healthier recipes to make at home:

  • Whole wheat or oat flour pancakes – Use 100% whole grain flours instead of refined white.
  • Protein pancakes – Add extra protein powder, yogurt, eggs, or cottage cheese.
  • Fruit pancakes – Fold in berries or bananas for added nutrients.
  • Vegetable pancakes – Grate carrots, zucchini, or sweet potatoes into the batter.
  • Flax or chia seed pancakes – Adds fiber, protein, and omega-3s.
  • Buckwheat or millet flour pancakes – Contains more fiber and protein than white flour.

Making your own pancakes allows you to control the ingredients and nutrition. You can create fluffier, healthier pancakes at home fairly easily.

Are IHOP Pancakes Vegetarian?

Pancakes may seem like a vegetarian-friendly food, but are IHOP pancakes actually vegetarian?

The short answer is – it depends on the type of IHOP pancakes.

Here is a breakdown of whether common IHOP pancakes are vegetarian or not:

IHOP Pancake Type Vegetarian?
Original Buttermilk Pancakes No – contain eggs and butter
Harvest Grain ‘N Nut Pancakes Yes
Cupcake Pancakes No – contain eggs and butter
New York Cheesecake Pancakes No – contain cream cheese
Funny Face Pancakes No – contain eggs and butter
Protein Power Pancakes No – contain eggs and butter
Vegetarian Swedish Crepes Yes

As you can see, standard IHOP pancakes are not vegetarian due to containing eggs and/or butter. However, some varieties like Harvest Grain Pancakes and Swedish Crepes are egg and dairy-free, making them vegetarian friendly.

When ordering, always check with your server if a pancake variety contains eggs or dairy products. Simple buttermilk or chocolate pancakes likely won’t be vegetarian due to common use of eggs and butter.

Vegan IHOP Pancake Options

For vegans avoiding all animal products, the choices are more limited at IHOP. Here are some of the vegan pancake options available:

  • IHOP vegan pancakes – made with almond milk and vegan butter
  • Silver dollar buttermilk pancakes – no milk or butter listed
  • Harvest Grain ‘N Nut Pancakes – no animal products

Again, double check on prep procedures as cross-contamination is possible. Overall, vegans have fewer IHOP pancake choices, but can find some dairy and egg-free options.


In summary, here are the key takeaways on whether standard IHOP pancakes are dairy or vegetarian:

  • IHOP’s original buttermilk pancakes are not dairy-free or vegetarian. They contain milk and butter.
  • Some IHOP pancake varieties are available dairy-free made with almond milk and vegan butter.
  • Harvest Grain, Swedish Crepes, and Silver Dollar pancakes may offer egg and dairy-free options.
  • Always check with your server to confirm pancake ingredients and food prep procedures.
  • While tasty, IHOP pancakes are high in calories, fat, and sodium, and low in nutrients.
  • For better nutrition, make whole grain pancakes at home adding veggies, fruits, flax, etc.

While traditional IHOP pancakes are not suitable for dairy-free or veg diets, with some modifications, you can still enjoy their famous fluffy pancakes. Understanding the ingredients and nutrition information allows you to make informed decisions and customize orders at this popular pancake chain.

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