What to Eat at IHOP: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

IHOP pancakes

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Say the words “pancake” and “restaurant” and one popular chain restaurant probably springs to mind: International House of Pancakes, or IHOP. This long-standing chain has a history of over 60 years in the U.S., with locations in all 50 states (plus a handful of other countries). It’s one of America’s go-to spots for breakfast or brunch, offering traditional breakfast platters of eggs, bacon, hash browns, waffles, and—of course—lots and lots of pancakes. IHOP’s menu also contains numerous lunch and dinner items.

While you might think everything at IHOP comes slathered in syrup and laden with butter—and many items do—the chain does offer some healthier options. In recent years, IHOP’s menu has expanded to include selections aimed at helping diners eat lighter, and many of the regular menu offerings are not inherently high-calorie or full of sugar and fat. For an occasional weekend brunch (or even lunch or dinner) a meal at IHOP can fit in a healthy lifestyle.

What Experts Say

"Known for its pancakes, IHOP also serves up waffles, French toast, breakfast meats, burgers, French fries, and other fried foods. If you eat here regularly, stick to the basics instead, like house salads with grilled protein or vegetables omelets with whole grain toast, or opt for meals that don't contain a high amount of sugar, saturated fat, and calories."

Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDE

Navigating the Menu

Like many large chain restaurants, IHOP has an extensive menu, which may vary seasonally or by location. Breakfast items include a wide variety of grain- and meat-based choices, while sandwiches, soups, burgers, fried chicken, and other items are available for lunch or dinner. IHOP also offers not only a kids’ menu, but a section reserved for adults 55-plus. You can find general nutrition information on the restaurant’s website, but be aware that this may not include all items listed on every menu. 

Here are some good choices for healthier dining—and some less nutritious options to watch out for.

Most Nutritious Options

  • Original Short Stack Buttermilk Pancakes (Pancakes)

  • Belgian waffle (Waffles)

  • Original French toast (French Toast)

  • Egg white vegetable omelette (Omelettes)

  • Poached eggs (Sides)

  • House salad (Sides)

  • Seasonal mixed fruit (Sides)

  • 55+ Roasted Turkey Dinner (55-Plus)

Least Nutritious Options

  • Belgian Chocolate Pancakes (Pancakes)

  • Buttermilk Biscuits & Gravy with Sausage Gravy (IHOP Creations)

  • Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast (French toast)

  • Cheeseburger omelette (Omelettes)

  • Appetizer sampler (Appetizers)

  • Fisherman's Platter (Entrees)

  • Tropical Island Twist Splasher (Beverages)

 

Our take on the healthiest meal at IHOP? The egg white vegetable omelette or, for those who qualify, the 55+ Roasted Turkey Dinner. 

Pancakes

First up, let’s take a look at IHOP’s signature dish: Pancakes. This section of IHOP’s menu has a dizzying array of options for every sweet tooth—and it shows in the nutrition information. Most items in the Pancake section are extremely high-sugar and high-calorie, as well as surprisingly high-sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

Two original buttermilk pancakes clock in at just 310 calories, with 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 980 mg sodium, and 8 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

Stay away from sugary creations like Belgian chocolate pancakes. This dolled-up stacks will set you back 1,070 calories, 47 g fat, 32 g saturated fat, 2,040 mg sodium, and 21 g protein.

IHOP Creations

The IHOP Creations section boasts a number of breakfast items that fall outside the pancake category. Most of these options are built around meat and/or eggs, with examples like eggs Benedict, huevos rancheros, and corned beef hash. In this category, most meals are rather heavy, with very high amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and calories.

Most Nutritious Option

For healthy choices here, simple is best. The Southwest Scramble (alone, without sides like tortillas, pancakes, or hash browns) contains 660 calories, 52 g fat, 20 g saturated fat, 1,010 mg sodium, and 38 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

The Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy with Sausage Gravy is one of IHOP's least healthy menu items, with 1,410 calories, 102 g fat, 44 g saturated fat, 3,460 mg sodium, and 24 g protein.

Waffles

Unlike the vast selection of pancakes at IHOP, the restaurant’s waffle offerings are less prolific. In fact, IHOP’s website lists just three options: the Belgian waffle, Belgian waffle combo, and chicken and waffles.

Most Nutritious Option

Of the three waffles on the menu, the single Belgian waffle makes the smartest choice, with 590 calories, 29 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 740 mg sodium, and 11 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

Adding fried chicken to waffles definitely doesn't up the health factor in IHOP's Chicken and Waffles, which contain 1,060 calories, 54 g fat, 21 g saturated fat, 1,700 mg sodium, and 41 g protein.

French Toast

French toast and pancakes go hand in hand, so it’s not surprising that IHOP’s menu has a number of options for this bread-based breakfast. Although many of the optional syrups and toppings contain fruit (like glazed strawberries or bananas foster) they add significant amounts of sugar and calories. Instead, add a side of fresh fruit for extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Most Nutritious Option

Stick with the original French toast to keep sugar to a minimum. This item has 740 calories, 36 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 820 mg sodium, and 20 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

Steer clear of the Bananas Foster French Toast, which comes in at 1,000 calories, 49 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 1,140 mg sodium, and 20 g protein.

Crepes

IHOP goes European in its crepe section. These eggy creations are like thinner pancakes, sometimes stuffed with sweet or savory fillings. Watch out for crepes with fillings, however, as they make these menu items significantly less nutritious.

Most Nutritious Option

The Swedish crepes contain the least calories, fat, and sodium in this section, with 660 calories, 30 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 880 mg sodium, and 17 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

To make a healthy choice, avoid the Chicken Florentine Crepes. These pack 900 calories, 53 g fat, 22 g saturated fat, 1,680 mg sodium, and 58 g protein.

Combos 

Combos offer mix-and-match customizability, which can be used to make your order of eggs and meat more (or less) nutritious. When deciding on your choice of eggs, opt for the poached variety if you’d like to spare calories and fat. For meat, turkey bacon instead of pork bacon or sausage will also reduce these amounts–and still provide a respectable 10 g of protein.

Choosing between hash browns and pancakes? Hash browns contain marginally fewer calories, but quite a bit less sodium. Or, for even better nutrition, simply ask for whole-wheat toast.

Most Nutritious Option

To create the healthiest combo, make the 2 x 2 x 2 a mix of poached eggs, two turkey bacon strips, and two buttermilk pancakes provides 500 calories, 21 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 1,480 mg sodium, and 24 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

Watch out for the country fried steak and eggs combo. Hiding in this heavy meal are 1,370 calories, 87 g fat, 26 g saturated fat, 3,440 mg sodium, and 39 g protein.

Omelettes

On IHOP’s Omelettes menu section, you’ll find about a dozen options that all start with eggs. In and of themselves, eggs are quite nutritious. They offer plenty of protein and some vitamin D in a low-calorie package. But most of IHOP's omelettes contain a lot more than just eggs.

Most Nutritious Option

IHOP’s egg white veggie omelette is one of the healthiest choices on the entire menu, with 380 calories, 20 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 790 mg sodium, and 29 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

Other omelettes on the menu, however, are not so wholesome. In the Cheeseburger omelette, you'll find 1,330 calories, 96 g fat, 36 g saturated fat, 3,220 mg sodium, and 72 g protein.

Ultimate Steakburgers

It’s no secret that burgers don’t make the healthiest of food choices, and IHOP’s Ultimate Steakburgers prove this point. The majority of options in this part of the menu are very high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

The Classic Steakburger (without sides) is the best bet in this section of the menu, with 700 calories, 44 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 1,460 mg sodium, and 34 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

The Mega Monster Cheeseburger, the least nutritious steakburger, packs 1,090 calories, 74 g fat, 32 g saturated fat, 2,110 mg sodium, and 62 g protein.

Appetizers

Though they may be delicious, none of IHOP’s appetizer offerings offer much in the way of good nutrition, with greasy items that are extremely high calorie and high-sodium. If you elect to order an appetizer, try sharing it among the whole table.

Most Nutritious Option

The smallest of IHOP's appetizers is its best in terms of calories: French fries. This item contains 640 calories, 31 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 1,990 mg sodium, and 8 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

With 1,410 calories, 74 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 2,810 mg sodium, and 57 g protein, the appetizer sampler is best for sharing.

Sandwiches 

IHOP offers a standard variety of sandwiches, such as a BLT, roasted turkey, and grilled chicken.

Most Nutritious Option

The Turkey Avocado Bacon Wrap (750 calories, 39 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 2,100 mg sodium, 46 g protein) is the best of the bunch here—but be wary of its extremely high sodium content. 

Least Nutritious Option

The Chicken Clubhouse Super Stacker's 1,140 calories, 71 g fat, 25 g saturated fat, mg sodium, and g protein make it the least healthy of sandwich choices.

Sides

IHOP's sides offer a varied mix of items to accompany breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In this section are some of the menu's healthiest options—and a few to be wary of. 

Most Nutritious Option

For nutrition in a side dish, ou can't go wrong with a bowl of seasonal mixed fruit, at 50 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, and 1 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

If you've already ordered a large meal, you'll want to opt out of the grilled buttermilk biscuit, which contains 450 calories, 24 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 1,220 mg sodium, and 6 g protein. 

Salads

IHOP’s salads are not especially diverse, mainly based around chicken and greens. And though salad tends to be a clear choice when you’re looking to eat healthy, this isn’t necessarily the case at IHOP. The majority of salads featured have over 1,000 calories, with hefty amounts of fat and sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

The one exception to IHOP's high-cal salads: the house salad (25 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 15 mg sodium, 2 g protein), which consists of greens, fresh tomato, and red onions. Though this may not be enough for a stand-alone meal, paired with another side, it could satisfy for lunch or dinner.

Least Nutritious Option

For a healthy salad, the Chicken & Spinach Salad with Crispy Chicken doesn't make the cut, at 1,250 calories, 86 g fat, 27 g saturated fat, 2,660 mg sodium, and 56 g protein.

Entrees

Uncomplicated fare like fish and chips, fried chicken, and sirloin steak tips can be found in IHOP’s Entrees section. This section offers a a mix of heavy and light classics.

Most Nutritious Option

The 4-oz. savory pork chops are a best bet here, with just 310 calories, 19 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 460 mg sodium, and 35 g protein. (Just pay attention to the nutrition in any sides you may want to add.)

Least Nutritious Option

On the other end of the spectrum are fried, high-calorie items like the Fisherman’s Platter (1,340 calories, 93 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 3,710 mg sodium, 36 g protein).

Kids

Kid favorites like the Funny Face Pancake and macaroni and cheese round out this section of the menu for little ones, which has a few healthier items.

Most Nutritious Option

To help kids eat well, opt for the grilled cheese sandwich with applesauce. Not only does its sugar content come from applesauce (instead of chocolate sauce), but it has 420 calories, 23 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 730 mg sodium, and 12 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

On the other hand, use caution ordering the chicken nuggets combo (720 calories, 50 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 920 mg sodium, 18 g protein).

55-Plus

Kids aren’t the only ones who get their own portion of the menu at IHOP. A 55-plus section reserves certain traditional meals like chicken and fish dinners with vegetable sides, as well as several breakfast items, for older adults (typically at lower prices). Some of the healthiest options on the menu can be found here, so if you’re over 55, count yourself lucky!

Most Nutritious Option

The 55-Plus Roasted Turkey Dinner contains just 370 calories and a modest 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, and 740 mg sodium—but still packs 30 g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

Frying beef and adding sausage gravy adds up to major calories and fat in the 55-Plus Country Chicken Fried Steak Dinner with Sausage Gravy (960 calories, 68 g fat, 22 g saturated fat, 2,510 mg sodium, 31 g protein).

Beverages

Beverages at IHOP include coffee and tea, fountain drinks, juices, milk, milkshakes, and tropically-inspired mocktails called IHOP Splashers.

Most Nutritious Option

To minimize sugar and calories, stick to zero-calorie black coffee or tea, which allow you to control the amount of sweetener or milk you add. Of course, you can also always opt for water.

Least Nutritious Option

The Tropical Island Twist Splasher isn't a great choice at 270 calories, 30 mg sodium, and 69 g sugar.

Desserts

IHOP’s dessert section isn’t extensive (likely because pancakes are already sweet enough). Here you’ll find a small selection of ice creams, milkshakes, and dessert crepes.

Most Nutritious Option

As restaurant desserts go, the junior ice cream sundae (130 calories, 8 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 30 mg sodium, 1 g protein) is unexpectedly low in calories and fat, making it a top choice for ending your meal with a treat.

Least Nutritious Option

Hold off on the crepe and ice cream with blueberry compote. This one will land you 460 calories, 19 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 290 mg sodium, and 6 g protein.

Diet-Specific Options

IHOP offers plenty of options for people on gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetes-friendly, or low carb diets. Those on a low-sodium, low-fat, low-FODMAP, or vegan diet will have more trouble finding appropriate menu items.

Gluten-free

IHOP provides allergen information online, which highlights which dishes contain gluten. In a shared kitchen, however, cross-contamination may occur. Those who need to completely eliminate gluten may prefer to avoid IHOP altogether. Some menu items that are gluten-free include:

  • Southwest Scramble
  • C    age-free egg white veggie omelette
  • Cobb salad with grilled chicken
  • Hash browns
  • Eggs (any style)
  • Turkey or pork bacon
  • Ham steak

Low-carb

Is it possible to go low-carb at the world’s most famous pancake restaurant? Surprisingly, yes. Some low-carb options include:

  • Eggs (any style)
  • Avocado, Bacon, and Cheese Omelette
  • International Omelette
  • House salad
  • Seasonal mixed fruit, small bowl
  • Bacon or sausage

Low-FODMAP

Because so many of IHOP’s foods contain wheat, milk, and sweeteners, it will be tricky—but not impossible—for people on a low-FODMAP diet to find suitable choices. Ask your server if substitutions are possible to accommodate your needs. Or opt for the following:

  • Banana and brown sugar oatmeal
  • Build Your Omelette with tomatoes and peppers
  • House salad (without onions)
  • Pot roast

Diabetes-friendly

To manage diabetes, you may be looking for menu items that are low-carb, low-sugar, and lower calorie. Some ideas include:

  • House salad
  • Rustic Cheesy Tomato Soup
  • 55-Plus grilled tilapia dinner
  • 55-Plus grilled chicken dinner 

Low-fat

Though many of IHOP’s signature dishes contain a lot of fat, not everything on the menu is loaded with this macro. Try the following:

  • Minestrone soup
  • Roasted chicken noodle soup
  • Poached eggs
  • Ham slice
  • Banana and brown sugar oatmeal

Low-sodium

Unfortunately, IHOP’s menu items are consistently high in sodium. Ordering an entree will be difficult for those who need to limit sodium. Some exceptions include:

  • Poached egg
  • Hash browns
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Grits
  • English muffin with butter
  • Banana and brown sugar oatmeal 

Vegetarian

Vegetarians shouldn’t have a problem finding things to eat at IHOP. A few vegetarian menu items are:

  • Swedish crepes
  • Spinach and mushroom omelette
  • Original French toast
  • Original buttermilk pancakes
  • Eggs (any style)

Vegan

If you’re a vegan, you may find it tough to get a satisfying meal at IHOP, but you’re not entirely without options. You might ask if your meal can be made to order without animal products, or choose from available options like: 

  • House salad
  • Minestrone soup
  • Hash browns
  • Banana and brown sugar oatmeal
  • English muffin

Food Allergies and Safety

IHOP does provide information online about which of its menu items contain the top eight food allergens (plus gluten), but these are not included on in-person restaurant menus. The chain also makes a disclaimer that they cannot guarantee any menu item will be completely free of allergens since all food is prepared in a single kitchen.

If you suffer from food allergies or sensitivities, be sure to ask your server or restaurant manager how they might accommodate your needs when you eat at IHOP.

A Word From Verywell

As a pancake house, IHOP isn’t exactly known as a purveyor of health food. But equipped with the right knowledge, you can make menu choices that fit in the framework of nutritious eating. In addition to opting for the menu items highlighted here, feel free to build your own meal out of sides—or request a single entrée item made-to-order without high-calorie sides like hash browns and bacon. Since portion sizes run large at IHOP, you might consider splitting meals or boxing a portion of your meal as soon as it arrives.

Even if you indulge in something heavy, sweet, or extra salty at IHOP, it’s good to remember that healthy eating means a pattern of overall choices, not an isolated meal.

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