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

IHOP pancakes

Say the words “pancake” and “restaurant” and one popular chain restaurant probably springs to mind: International House of Pancakes, or IHOP. This chain offers 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 fear that everything at IHOP comes slathered in syrup and laden with butter—and many items do—the chain does offer some lighter fare. 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 vegetable omelets with whole grain toast, or opt for meals that don't contain a high amount of sugar, saturated fat, and calories."

Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

Navigating the Menu

IHOP has an extensive menu which may vary seasonally or by location. Breakfast items include a wide variety of grain- and meat-based choices. 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 nutrition information on the restaurant’s website, but be aware that it may not include all items listed on every menu. 

What to Order & Avoid at IHOP
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Original Short Stack Buttermilk Pancakes (World-Famous Buttermilk Pancakes & Crepes) New York Cheesecake Pancakes (World-Famous Buttermilk Pancakes & Crepes)
2 X 2 X 2 (Combos) Country Fried Steak & Eggs with Sausage Gravy (Combos)
Spinach & Mushroom Omelette (Omelettes) Colorado Omelette (Omelettes) 
The Classic Bowl with Bacon (Burritos & Bowls) Southwest Chicken Burrito (Burritos & Bowls)
Seasonal Fresh Fruit (Sides) Onion Rings (Sides)
Original French Toast (French Toast) Strawberry Banana French Toast (French Toast)
Belgian Waffle (House-Made Belgian Waffles) Belgian Waffle Combo (House-Made Belgian Waffles)
The Classic (Burgers & Chicken Sandwiches) Mega Monster Cheeseburger (Burgers & Chicken Sandwiches)
Ham & Egg Melt (Hand-Crafted Melts) Buffalo Chicken Melt (Hand-Crafted Melts)
Chicken & Veggie Salad (Apps & Salads)  Mozza Sticks (Apps & Salads) 
Grilled Tilapia (Entrées) Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch with Crispy Chicken (Entrées)
55+ Grilled Tilapia Dinner (55+ Menu) 55+ Rise 'N Shine With 2 Scrambled Eggs, Pork Sausage, Multigrain Toast & Hash Browns (55+ Menu)
Macaroni & Cheese (Kids Menu) Jr. Cheeseburger (Kids Menu)
Strawberry Milkshake (Milkshakes)  Oreo Cookie Milkshake (Milkshakes)
Unsweetened Iced Tea (Beverages) Hot Chocolate (Beverages)

Most Nutritious Option

Our take on the healthiest meal at IHOP? The Build Your Own vegetable omelette or, for those who qualify, the 55+ grilled tilapia dinner. 

World-Famous Buttermilk Pancakes & Crepes

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 pancakes and crepes section are extremely high-sugar and high-calorie, as well as surprisingly high-sodium.

✓ Original Short Stack Buttermilk Pancakes

A short stack of the original buttermilk pancakes (3 pancakes) provides 450 calories, 18g fat, 7g saturated fat, 59g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 11g sugar, and 1,560mg sodium. This pancake option is the lowest-calorie item on this part of the menu, and the smaller portion (a full stack has five total pancakes) gives you the sweet treat with fewer calories. However, these nutrition facts do not include syrup.

✗ New York Cheesecake Pancakes

New York cheesecake pancakes come topped with cheesecake bites, glazed strawberries, and whipped topping. This dolled-up stack provides 890 calories, 34g fat, 14g saturated fat, 126g carbohydrates, 22g protein, 49g sugar, and 2,220mg sodium.

Combos

Combos offer mix-and-match customizability, which can be used to make your order of eggs and meat more (or less) nutritious. Opt for poached eggs if you’d like to spare calories and fat. For meat, turkey bacon instead of pork bacon or sausage will also reduce calories and fat, while still providing 10g protein.

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

✓ 2 x 2 x 2

For a nutritious combo, order the 2 x 2 x 2 with two poached eggs, two turkey bacon strips, and two buttermilk pancakes. This plate provides 510 calories, 27g fat, 10g saturated fat, 41g carbohydrates, 25g protein, and 1,630mg sodium.

✗ Country Fried Steak & Eggs With Sausage Gravy

The country fried steak with sausage gravy has 1,400 calories, 87g fat, 27g saturated fat, 110g carbohydrates, 44g protein, and 3,370mg sodium. Note that this nutritional information comes prior to your choice of eggs. Scrambled eggs can add 220 additional calories while sunny-side-up eggs add 120 calories.

If craving steak, look to the sirloin steak tips and eggs combo, which delivers 990 calories, 52g fat, 15g saturated fat, 77g carbohydrates, 55g protein, and 2,670mg sodium prior to selecting your eggs.

Omelettes

On IHOP’s omelettes menu section, you’ll find about a half 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.

✓ Spinach & Mushroom Omelette

IHOP’s egg white spinach and mushroom omelette is a nutritious choice on the omelettes menu, with 610 calories, 46g fat, 20g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 37g protein, and 1,890mg sodium.

✗ Colorado Omelette

In the Colorado omelette, you'll find four different meats including bacon, shredded beef, pork sausage, and ham, as well as onions, green peppers, and cheese. You'll also find 1,260 calories, 99g fat, 35g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrates, 74g protein, and 2,700mg sodium.

If you want an omelette with meat, look to the chicken fajita omelette. With chicken, peppers, onions, and cheese, it delivers 890 calories, 57g fat, 23g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrates, 73g protein, and 2,130mg sodium.

Burritos & Bowls

The burritos and bowls section of the menu combines Tex-Mex flavors with IHOP's breakfast dishes. Each option here comes with a choice of side: two buttermilk pancakes, fruit, French fries, or toast. In general, choosing a bowl over a burrito will save both on calories and carbohydrates by eliminating the tortilla.

✓ The Classic Bowl With Bacon

The classic bowl with bacon has bacon pieces, cheese, hash browns, and eggs scrambled in a bowl. This option provides 850 calories, 63g fat, 22g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrates, 41g protein, and 1,660mg sodium. Choose the fruit side for extra vitamins and fiber for very few calories.

✗ Southwest Chicken Burrito

The southwest chicken burrito is the highest-calorie option on this end of the menu. It contains 1,360 calories, 85g fat, 34g saturated fat, 88g carbohydrates, 62g protein, and 3,300mg sodium.

Choose the southwest chicken bowl to save 280 calories, 44g carbohydrates, and 680mg sodium.

Sides

IHOP's sides offer a varied mix of items to accompany breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Ordering a side that offers a serving of fruit or vegetables can be a tasty way to create a more balanced meal.

✓ Seasonal Fresh Fruit

For nutrition in a side dish, you can't go wrong with a bowl of seasonal fresh fruit, at 60 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, <1g protein, and 5mg sodium.

✗ Onion Rings

The onion rings contain 550 calories, 30g fat, 5g saturated fat, 62g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 1,140mg sodium. If craving a savory, fried side, consider the hash browns or French fries, which have 210 or 320 calories, respectively.

French Toast

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

✓ Original French Toast

Stick with the original French toast to keep sugar to a minimum. This item has 740 calories, 36g fat, 14g saturated fat, 84g carbohydrates, 20g protein, 28g sugar, and 830mg sodium. That's before you add any syrup, however.

✗ Strawberry Banana French Toast

The strawberry banana French toast provides 830 calories, 31g fat, 11g saturated fat, 120g carbohydrates, 21g protein, 55g sugar, and 790mg sodium.

The only other option on this part of the menu is blueberry French toast, which is lower in carbs and sugar than the strawberry banana version (30g sugar) but otherwise has a similar nutrition profile.

You can also create your own French toast combo, adding eggs, meat, and hash browns. With more side dishes, you'll also be adding more calories, carbohydrates, and sodium to the meal.

Waffles

Unlike the vast selection of pancakes at IHOP, the restaurant’s waffle offerings are less prolific. There are just a few options in this section of the menu.

✓ Belgian Waffle

The single Belgian waffle provides 590 calories, 33g fat, 10g saturated fat, 60g carbohydrates, 9g protein, and 840mg sodium.

IHOP also offers a "gluten-friendly" Belgian waffle (prepared without gluten-containing ingredients, but not confirmed gluten-free). This waffle provides 410 calories, 13g fat, 6g saturated fat, 66g carbohydrates, 8g protein, and 850mg sodium.

✗ Belgian Waffle Combo

Adding eggs and meat to waffles also adds calories and fat, at least 120 calories for eggs and 60 calories for meat options.

Some IHOP locations offer a chicken and waffles dish. The addition of fried chicken means this dish provides 1.030 calories, 55g fat, 14g saturated fat, 92g carbohydrates, 23g protein, and 2,080mg sodium.

Burgers & Chicken Sandwiches

The majority of options in this part of the menu are very high in calories, fat, and sodium. These menu items come with a choice of two buttermilk pancakes, French fries, fresh fruit, or a salad as a side.

✓ The Classic

The classic burger (780 calories, 52g fat, 17g saturated fat, 46g carbohydrates, 32g protein, and 2,000mg sodium) is lowest in calories and fat of the burger options—but be wary of its extremely high sodium content. 

If the IHOP you are visiting offers a grilled chicken sandwich, consider that option for a better nutrition profile (except for the sodium): 630 calories, 31g fat, 8g saturated fat, 46g carbohydrates, 41g protein, and 2,490mg sodium

✗ Mega Monster Cheeseburger

Several of the burger options contain more than 1,000 calories. The mega monster cheeseburger has 1,140 calories, 81g fat, 30g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrates, 57g protein, and 3,130mg sodium.

If looking for a burger with more toppings, consider ordering the classic with bacon instead. It has 880 calories, 60g fat, 20g saturated fat, 46g carbohydrates, 38g protein, and 2,320mg sodium.

Alternatively, once your burger arrives to your table, cut it in half. Enjoy one half at the restaurant and save the other half for a meal tomorrow.

Hand-Crafted Melts

IHOP's selection of hand-crafted melts includes meat-based sandwiches topped with melted cheese and pressed until toasted. Generally, each item on this part of the menu is a high-sodium option. The melts come with the same choice of sides as the burgers do (pancakes, French fries, fresh fruit, or salad).

✓ Ham & Egg Melt

The ham and egg melt, while high in sodium, is the most nutritious option in this part of the menu. In total, it provides 780 calories, 44g fat, 16g saturated fat, 59g carbohydrates, 41g protein, and 2,220mg sodium.

✗ Buffalo Chicken Melt

The buffalo chicken melt has one of the highest-sodium counts on the entire menu. The sandwich contains 1,280 calories, 80g fat, 22g saturated fat, 86g carbohydrates, 55g protein, and 4,060mg sodium.

As an alternative, the Cali roasted turkey melt has turkey, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and avocado, and significantly less sodium. It provides 1,100 calories, 69g fat, 20g saturated fat, 60g carbohydrates, 62g protein, and 1,830mg sodium.

Apps & Salad

The apps and salad part of the menu does not offer much variety, but the choices have starkly different nutritional values.

✓ Chicken & Veggie Salad

The chicken and veggie salad comes with greens, grilled chicken breast, tomato, onions, mushrooms, and a balsamic vinaigrette. It has 630 calories, 40g fat, 7g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrates, 38g protein, and 1,960mg sodium.

✗ Mozza Sticks

The mozza sticks—six mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce—deliver 660 calories, 33g fat, 14g saturated fat, 60g carbohydrates, 30g protein, and 1,860mg sodium.

Entrées

You'll find uncomplicated fare like grilled fish, fried chicken, and sirloin steak tips among IHOP’s entrées. This section offers a a mix of heavy and light classics. Most come with pre-selected sides.

✓ Grilled Tilapia

The grilled tilapia is a nutritious choice here, with 430 calories, 11g fat, 2g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrates, 43g protein, and 2,140mg sodium. That's including two sides: broccoli and rice.

✗ Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch with Crispy Chicken

The cheesy chicken bacon ranch with crispy chicken entrée comes with a side of rice and together, they contain 1,470 calories, 92g fat, 29g saturated fat, 83g carbohydrates, 74g protein, and 3,700mg sodium.

A more nutritious option may be the sirloin steak tips dinner, which comes with corn and mashed potatoes. Including those sides, this meal provides 880 calories, 46g fat, 14g saturated fat, 71g carbohydrates, 53g protein, and 2,130mg sodium.

55+ Menu

A 55-plus section of the menu 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 more nutritious options on the menu can be found here, so if you’re over 55, count yourself lucky!

✓ 55+ Grilled Tilapia Dinner

The 55+ grilled tilapia dinner with a side of broccoli and rice contains just 310 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 39g carbohydrates, and 1,300mg sodium—but still offers 25g protein.

✗ 55+ Rise 'N Shine With 2 Scrambled Eggs, Pork Sausage, Multigrain Toast & Hash Browns

Calories, cholesterol, and sodium can quickly add up in a customizable breakfast meal. The 55+ Rise 'n Shine with two scrambled eggs, pork sausage, multigrain toast, and hash browns has 950 calories, 59g fat, 15g saturated fat, 72g carbohydrates, 33g protein, and 1,230mg sodium.

Kids Menu

Kid favorites like the Funny Face Pancake and macaroni and cheese round out this section of the menu for little ones.

✓ Macaroni & Cheese

To provide a low-calorie option for kids, choose the macaroni and cheese with applesauce. Its sugar content comes from applesauce (instead of chocolate sauce), and together the meal provides 360 calories, 9g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 58g carbohydrates, 11g protein, and 830mg sodium.

If your child wants a breakfast meal, the Silver 5—a breakfast platter with five small buttermilk pancakes, one scrambled egg, and one slice of bacon—may be the best choice. It has 420 calories, 24g fat, 9g saturated fat, 35g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 1,160mg sodium.

✗ Jr. Cheeseburger

The Jr. cheeseburger also comes with applesauce. This option has 750 calories, 46g fat, 16g saturated fat, 53g carbohydrates, 31g protein, and 1,550mg sodium.

Among the breakfast choices for kids, the Funny Face pancakes may be popular. But note that a chocolate Funny Face pancake provides 550 calories, 37g fat, 18g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrates, 18g protein, and 910mg sodium (that's with an egg and a pork sausage link).

Milkshakes

Not surprisingly, since they are desserts, IHOP's milkshakes are sugar-loaded and high-calorie. However, they are much lower in sodium than many other IHOP offerings.

✓ Strawberry Milkshake

The strawberry milkshake has 590 calories, 32g fat, 21g saturated fat, 68g carbohydrates, 11g protein, and 180mg sodium. It also contains 57g sugar.

✗ Oreo Cookie Milkshake

An Oreo cookie milkshake has 750 calories, 40g fat, 23g saturated fat, 89g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 330mg sodium, and 65g sugar.

Beverages

Beverages at IHOP include coffee and tea, fountain drinks, juices, and milk.

✓ Unsweetened Iced Tea

To minimize sugar and calories, stick to zero-calorie black coffee or tea. A large unsweetened iced tea will deliver 5 calories, 0g fat, 2g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 10mg sodium. Of course, you can also always opt for water.

✗ Hot Chocolate

The large hot chocolate has 300 calories, 8g fat, 6g saturated fat, 57g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 440mg sodium, and 49g sugar.

Save 180 calories and 28g sugar by choosing the regular size hot chocolate instead. It provides 120 calories, 3g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 190mg sodium, and 21g sugar.

Diet-Specific Options

IHOP offers plenty of options for people on gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetes-friendly, and 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 a gluten-friendly menu. 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 do not contain gluten ingredients include:

  • Gluten-friendly pancakes
  • Gluten-friendly waffles
  • Migas (choose corn tortilla)
  • Hash browns, crispy breakfast potatoes, and French fries
  • Eggs (any style)
  • Meat choices for combos: bacon, turkey bacon, ham, or sausage
  • Egg white omelette
  • Chicken and veggie salad (choose grilled chicken)
  • Sirloin steak tips or T-bone steak
  • Entrée sides: broccoli, corn, mashed potatoes, fries
  • Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry milkshake

The egg-based breakfast options—like the egg white veggie omelette—or the grilled chicken salad are the most nutritious gluten-friendly choices.

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)
  • Omelettes except for Big Steak omelette
  • Burgers (omit bun)
  • House salad (without dressing)
  • Chicken and veggie salad with grilled chicken and no dressing
  • Meat sides/combo choices

For a nutritious low-carb meal, build-your-own omelette with plenty of veggies and add protein with a meat side, such as a slice of ham.

Low-FODMAP

Because so many of IHOP’s foods contain wheat, milk, and sweeteners, it is 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:

  • Eggs (any style)
  • Build Your Own Omelette with low-FODMAP vegetables
  • Oatmeal
  • House salad or grilled chicken and veggies salad (omit onions and dressing)

Building your own omelette will allow you to include the vegetables you can tolerate while providing protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Diabetes-Friendly

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

  • Build Your Own omelette with egg whites and vegetables
  • House salad
  • Chicken and veggies salad with grilled chicken
  • 55+ grilled tilapia dinner
  • 55+ grilled chicken dinner 

The grilled tilapia dinner from the 55+ menu is a filling and diabetes-friendly meal. It's also one of the most nutritious picks on the entire menu.

Low-Fat

Though many of IHOP’s signature dishes contain a lot of fat, not everything on the menu is loaded with this macro. Some lower-fat options include:

  • Scrambled egg whites
  • Egg white omelette with diced ham and tomato
  • Chicken and veggie salad with grilled chicken (omit avocado and dressing)
  • 55+ grilled tilapia dinner
  • Ham slice
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits

Keep your meal low-fat by ordering an egg white omelette with zero-fat fresh fruit on the side (rather than a fried item such as hash browns). The grilled tilapia dinner is also a good choice; the 55+ menu version has just 6g fat, while the main menu version has 11g.

Low-Sodium

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

  • Eggs (60mg to 130mg sodium per egg, depending on preparation)
  • Hash browns (230mg sodium)
  • Egg white omelette (290mg sodium, not including any other fillings)
  • House salad without dressing (20mg sodium)
  • Broccoli florets entrée side (25mg sodium)
  • Buttered corn entrée side (70mg sodium)
  • Fresh fruit (5mg sodium)
  • Grits (85mg sodium)
  • Oatmeal (110mg sodium)
  • Milkshakes (70mg to 90mg sodium, depending on flavor)

Sticking to a low-sodium diet is possible if you order an egg or two with sides such as grits, broccoli, and fruit.

Vegetarian

IHOP publishes a guide for vegetarian and vegan diners on its website, so you can check your options prior to visiting. You can customize virtually any breakfast meal at IHOP to be vegetarian by eliminating any bacon, sausage, or ham side. Choose veggie-based options instead. Other vegetarian options include:

  • Most pancakes and waffles (omit powdered sugar)
  • The Classic Burrito or Bowl
  • Cheese-crusted four-cheese melt (avoid poblano queso and American cheese)
  • Chicken and veggie salad (omit chicken)
  • House salad

The chicken and veggie salad (without chicken) gives you a nutritious vegetarian meal, and you can even add pancakes on the side for the traditional IHOP experience.

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: 

  • Crispy breakfast potatoes and French fries (omit seasoning salt)
  • Hash browns
  • Fresh fruit
  • Multi-grain toast
  • House salad (no dressing)
  • Chicken and veggie salad (no chicken or dressing)

For a balanced vegan meal, consider the hash browns and one of the salad options.

Food Allergies and Safety

IHOP does provide information online about which of its menu items contain the top eight food allergens (plus gluten and sulfites), but these are not included on in-person restaurant menus. The chain also 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, ask your server or restaurant manager how they might accommodate your needs when you eat at IHOP.

A Word From Verywell

Equipped with the right knowledge, you can make menu choices at IHOP that fit your dietary needs and preferences. 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.

If you decide to have 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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