The Ultimate Ranking Of IHOP Pancakes

One of the main attractions at IHOP is undoubtedly the pancakes. While it's true that other diners offer an assortment of pancake flavors, IHOP tends to go the extra mile with even more options. In addition to its plain buttermilk pancakes, the restaurant has a variety of other styles like Lemon Ricotta Mixed Berry, Cinn-A-Stack, Strawberry Banana, and Mexican Tres Leches. If you're in the mood for something even sweeter, there are also Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Cupcake Pancakes. 

But an abundance of options is a double-edged sword since having so many choices at our fingertips can often breed uncertainty. To shed some light on the ups and downs of IHOP's pancakes, we rolled into our local spot with a big appetite and sampled every flavor on the menu. We tried them one at a time, taking careful note of each pancake's textures, toppings, and sauces. Here's the ultimate ranking of IHOP pancakes, leading up to our absolute favorite.

9. New York Cheesecake Pancakes

Just to be clear, these pancakes weren't terrible despite the fact that they've placed at the bottom of our ranking. In fact, they tasted just fine. The problem here is that IHOP sets up a very specific expectation by giving this dish a name like New York Cheesecake Pancakes. As such, we were expecting these pancakes to taste like cheesecake. Sadly, they didn't.

According to IHOP's menu, these pancakes are filled with cheesecake bites and then topped with glazed strawberries. And yet, forkful after forkful, we couldn't detect anything remotely close to the flavor of cheesecake. The pancakes did fulfill their promise of glazed strawberries, which were generously piled on top, along with a swirl of whipped cream and a delicate sprinkle of powdered sugar. The strawberries seemed frozen and thawed instead of fresh and had a somewhat soppy texture. That said, the fruit still held its form and didn't devolve into mushiness. The strawberries arrived immersed in a sweetened crimson glaze that drizzled over the stack's edges onto the plate, and the fruity syrup was nice to mop up with forkfuls of spongy pancake.

The cheesecake bites that were allegedly inside this pancake were either entirely missing or so scarce that they were completely unnoticeable. At the end of the day, these just tasted like classic strawberry pancakes, leaving us a bit disappointed.

8. Chocolate Chip Pancakes

IHOP's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes are made with chocolate-flavored pancake batter infused with chocolate chips, which are then topped with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and even more chocolate chips. 

Our pancakes were missing the chocolate syrup drizzle and the extra topping of chocolate chips, but that may have been a blessing in disguise since these pancakes were already overwhelmingly chocolatey. The batter and the melted chocolate chips that were scattered around the inside of the pancakes were more than enough to deliver a wallop of chocolatey goodness.

We also found these pancakes to be underwhelmingly one-note. Bite after bite, it felt like getting buried in an avalanche of cocoa. Requesting the plain buttermilk version of these with chocolate chips might be the better way to go since there will be more of a flavor contrast, making for a more balanced and enjoyable breakfast experience.

7. Strawberry Banana Protein Pancakes

IHOP's pancake menu offers a few different flavors of protein pancakes. We were informed that the protein comes from a protein powder that's added to the pancake batter. IHOP's Strawberry Banana Protein Pancakes come with protein pancakes filled with fresh banana slices that are topped with more bananas and glazed strawberries. When our pancakes arrived, there weren't many sliced bananas inside of the pancake batter, but they were indeed topped with freshly sliced bananas and glazed strawberries.

The protein powder gives these pancakes a heartier taste and also a denser texture. The denser texture seems to make them a little less absorbent, which means that the syrup doesn't soak too deeply into it and settles more on the surface. It might have placed a little higher on our list if these had more of a banana flavor inside the pancake batter. The protein powder did seem to make these pancakes a bit more filling, so these could be a good option for diners with a bigger appetite.

6. Double Blueberry Pancakes

IHOP's Double Blueberry Pancakes come filled with blueberries and then topped with more blueberries and blueberry sauce. The kitchen was generous with the blueberries in our stack of pancakes, ensuring a delightful burst of berry goodness in every bite.

These pancakes had a classic blueberry flavor that's comforting because of its familiarity since blueberries are a very common addition to pancakes. The glaze had a nice consistency, but the flavor could use some more tartness to balance out the sweetness. 

The blueberries were slightly softened but were not quite mushy. Based on taste and texture, we suspect they may have been frozen and defrosted, but we aren't entirely sure. All in all, these pancakes did not blow us away, but they also weren't necessarily disappointing. They simply met our expectations. If you're at IHOP and you want a classic blueberry pancake, this should easily satisfy your craving.

5. Strawberry Banana Pancakes

These Strawberry Banana Pancakes contain the plain pancake batter instead of the pancake batter that's mixed with protein powder. They have the same toppings: Freshly sliced bananas, glazed strawberries, whipped cream, and a little powdered sugar. The main difference here is the taste and texture of the pancakes.

Because these pancakes don't contain any protein powder, they are a bit softer and fluffier, which is why we preferred them. The softness of their texture allows them to soak up the strawberry glaze better. After cutting into these pancakes, the glaze could be seen soaking deeper into the batter instead of just on the surface. This allows it to thoroughly saturate the pancakes, making them even tastier. 

The taste of strawberry glaze was deliciously fruity and sweet. The amount of glaze was also well-portioned — it pooled a little bit on the plate, just enough to dip into without drowning the pancakes into sogginess. The main suggestion we'd offer here for improvement would be to slice the strawberries in half since they are quite large when served whole. While it's certainly possible to eat them whole, it's quite a mouthful, so cutting into them feels a bit more appropriate, and it seems like a step that the kitchen should be taking rather than the diners.

4. Mexican Tres Leches Pancakes

For the uninitiated, tres leches is a vanilla sponge cake that's drenched in three kinds of milk. The end result is lusciously moist, sweet, and creamy. IHOP puts its own twist on this dish by turning it into pancakes. These pancakes come with two kinds of sauce: A dulce de leche caramel and a sticky vanilla sauce.

Our pancakes came with a lot of sauce. Both sauces were about the same consistency and sweetness. The caramel had a nice toffee-like flavor that added some rich complexity to the pancakes and a delicious contrast to the vanilla sauce. Our only wish here is that the vanilla sauce had a more assertive flavor because the taste of caramel ends up taking over the plate. If the vanilla were a little sweet, it would also provide a nicer contrast to the caramel. Even so, these pancakes still truly felt like a treat, and we definitely enjoyed them. Sipping on a cup of coffee made these even more delicious, as the subtle roasted bitterness played well off the caramel sauce.

3. Lemon Ricotta Mixed Berry Protein Pancakes

IHOP offers another flavor of its protein-packed pancakes with its Lemon Ricotta stack. Lemon ricotta pancakes are a fairly common menu offering at diners famous for breakfast, and for good reason. Ricotta has a savory creaminess that tends to blend well into pancake batter, and the bright citrus of fresh lemon adds an uplifting twist. IHOP's version of these pancakes doesn't seem to mix the ricotta or lemon into the pancake batter. According to the menu, they use lemon ricotta topping instead. These pancakes are also filled with blueberries and topped with a seasonal mixed berry glaze.

Our pancakes didn't come with the seasonal mixed berry glaze, but they did come filled with the blueberries and the lemon ricotta topping. The lemon ricotta seemed to be mixed with the whipped cream or perhaps spooned underneath the whipped cream. The lemon was subtle but certainly present, and the distinct taste of creamy ricotta was also noticeable. These pancakes were definitely one of our favorites from the bunch, but we can't help but wonder how much better these would be if the lemon and ricotta were incorporated into the batter instead of featured separately as a topping. Tasty as these were, we were still in store for even more delicious pancakes.

2. Cupcake Pancakes

To be honest, we weren't all that excited about these pancakes before they arrived. IHOP's Cupcake Pancakes look pretty straightforward on the menu — a few colorful sprinkles and some cupcake icing — how good could they really be? And when they did arrive, as you can see, the whipped cream and cupcake icing melted down and blended together into a soupy puddle that wasn't exactly appetizing. That said, all was forgiven upon our first forkful.

These pancakes tasted like a big slice of birthday cake in the best possible way. Even though the icing had mostly melted from the heat of the pancakes, the flavor was still undeniably delicious. We really enjoyed the taste of vanilla in here. It was hard to tell if vanilla had been added to the batter or if the taste of vanilla had soaked into the pancakes from the cupcake icing. Either way, as far as taste is concerned, the end result was a success. The sprinkles added little bursts of sugary color, providing more color contrast than anything. Messy-looking as they were, the taste of these pancakes is good enough to inspire cravings later on.

1. Cinn-A-Stack

IHOP's Cinn-A-Stack pancakes were our absolute favorite on the menu. These pancakes are layered with cinnamon roll filling and cream cheese icing. We love the fact that the icing and cinnamon are glazed over each pancake instead of just poured on the top pancake. The layering of the cinnamon glaze and cream cheese icing in between each warm pancake ends up mimicking the taste and texture of a giant cinnamon bun fresh out of the oven as they all gloriously stick together in warm, gooey bliss.

The cinnamon roll glaze is sweet and woody, and the cream cheese icing has the right amount of zippy tanginess. The beauty of these pancakes is that they seamlessly combine two of breakfast's most luxurious treats into one dish. We ended up trying these towards the end of our pancake marathon, and despite all of the pancakes we'd already courageously consumed, we still found it hard to show some restraint with these, which is a testament to their magnificence.