The International House of Pancakes is an American institution, known as well as other popular chain restaurants like Denny’s, Chili’s, and more. But IHOP is primarily known for its pancakes: a classic breakfast dish normally made with butter, cream, or other non-vegan choices.
Naturally, vegetarians can definitely find some suitable choices at IHOP, but what about vegans? Let’s take a closer look at IHOP’s vegan and vegetarian menu in detail.
So, Are Pancakes on the Menu?
Here’s the thing; all of IHOP’s pancakes contain milk and eggs by default. Because individual restaurants cannot deviate from the recipes they receive from corporate, you also can’t request vegan or Lacto vegetarian pancakes to be made, even if the chef is otherwise willing.
Additionally, IHOP’s crepes and French toast contain milk and eggs as well. Therefore, vegetarians who don’t mind eating dairy products can enjoy IHOP’s pancakes and similar food offerings. But vegans are out of luck. Perhaps in the future, IHOP will offer vegan and vegetarian-specific pancakes and French toast if demand becomes high enough.
Given that pancakes are not an option for vegans, what vegan and vegetarian-friendly sides do IHOP provide? Turns out, there are quite a few vegan and therefore vegetarian-friendly sides available at this pancake house, including:
- Breakfast hashbrowns. Just be sure that you order them without butter. If you really want to stick to your vegan diet, also order that your hashbrowns be made without the use of PAM spray, which includes animal products as part of its nonstick formula
- English muffins, though you have to order them with jam instead of butter
- A mixed fruit cup. This is sealed so you never have to worry about cross-contamination, you
- Oatmeal and/or grits. Naturally, be sure to order these made without any dairy products like milk or butter
- French fries. However, the French fries are exposed to shared fryers and other cooking implements. If cross-contamination disqualifies something is vegan or vegetarian in your mind, these do not count
- A plain baked potato. The baked potato does come with butter normally, so be sure to order it without butter to stick to your vegan diet
- Sauteed or steamed vegetables and broccoli. Again, IHOP adds butter to these normally, so order them without butter
- Red potato pepper and onion hash
- Sourdough toast. If you want, you can ask for avocado slices and add a little flavor and nutrition to your toast instead of having to stick with plain bread
- House salad, which comes vegan friendly by default. Vegetarians can also eat this
- Minestrone soup. However, the crackers included are not usually vegan, so order the soup without the crackers to be safe
- A variety of dressings and vinaigrettes, like orange vinaigrette, French dressing, Catalina dressing, and more
Ultimately, IHOP doesn’t have any main menu items or entrées available for vegans. Vegetarians can potentially eat pancakes or French toast.
What Kinds of Syrups Can You Eat at IHOP?
If you are a vegetarian and want to enjoy the pancake options available, you can order a variety of syrups. Vegans can also eat these syrups (though we aren’t sure what you would want to put them on!). The vegan and vegetarian-friendly syrups and dressings at IHOP include:
- Brown sugar
- Sugar-free maple syrup
- Blueberry syrup
- Strawberry syrup
- Old fashion maple syrup
- Jellies and jams, all of which should be vegan
Take care not to eat to the butter pecan flavor if you’re a vegan or if you are a vegetarian who wants to avoid products with dairy.
The Best Vegan/Vegetarian Options at IHOP
If you have to eat at IHOP with your family or can’t pick another restaurant, we do have a few vegan and vegetarian recommendations. Vegetarians who don’t mind dairy products should definitely get a stack of pancakes, as IHOP’s are known for being fluffy and delicious. If you’re a vegan, some of the best meal choices at IHOP include:
- A big house salad with the dressing of your choice. You can also add a baked potato or fries for some more carbs and quick energy
- Oatmeal with the syrup of your choice combined with an English muffin and jelly or jam
- The minestrone soup and an English muffin to replace the crackers you’ll need to eliminate
- The breakfast hashbrowns with either the red potato pepper and onion hash or sautéed vegetables so you get some extra vitamins
Each of these options is a complete meal, even if they may not be as filling as a stack of pancakes. Still, this is much better than some restaurant chains that have no vegan-friendly options whatsoever!
IHOP Vegan/Vegetarian Foods FAQs
Unfortunately, no. However, plenty of other chain restaurants similar to IHOP do have vegan burgers, like Denny’s.
Yes. All you have to do is tell the server not to add butter to your grits before they are made. You can also add maple syrup or seasonal fruit to make your grits a little tastier than normal.
Is IHOP a Good Place to Eat for Vegans/Vegetarians?
As you can see, IHOP has several tasty options available for vegetarians. Vegetarians who don’t mind eating products made with dairy ingredients like milk or butter have a wide array of delicious choices to pick from, including pancakes, French toast, breakfast hashbrowns, oatmeal, grits, and much more. In fact, IHOP is pretty vegetarian friendly provided you follow a relatively casual vegetarian diet.
The story is different if you are a vegan. IHOP doesn’t have very many serious vegan-friendly choices, and you are mostly stuck to sides or basic breakfast options if you insist on eating here or want to meet a friend at this restaurant. Hopefully, IHOP will add more vegan-friendly choices in the future. But for now, chains like Denny’s have more vegan-friendly foods to enjoy.
Want to know more about which restaurant chains or menus are the most vegan or vegetarian friendly? Check out our breakdown of vegan and vegetarian restaurant menus today!