Are IHOP Pancakes Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 18, 2023

Identifying whether menu items like IHOP pancakes are vegan or not can prove to be a challenging task.

The difficulty often arises from the elusive nature of the manufacturing process and the sources of ingredients utilized in the production. Ingredients that you expect to be vegan may turn out not to be!

This article aims to lift the veil, revealing the truth about IHOP pancakes and helping you to make informed decisions that align with your vegan lifestyle.

Are IHOP Pancakes Vegan?

The simple answer is, no, traditional IHOP pancakes are not vegan. The primary reasons are the dairy and eggs in the batter, both of which are animal-derived ingredients.

Are IHOP Pancakes Cruelty-Free?

Given the presence of eggs and dairy in their composition, IHOP pancakes cannot be considered cruelty-free. These ingredients involve not only the exploitation of animals, specifically hens for egg production and cows for milk, but also their systematic mistreatment.

Animals in the dairy industry are often subjected to cruel treatment and inhumane living conditions. We can’t in good conscience call anything that contains dairy “cruelty-free.”

Furthermore, the sugar in the pancakes is probably GMO, and GMOs are tested on animals.

What Are IHOP Pancakes Made Of?

Before we jump to conclusions, let’s break down what exactly goes into these widely loved pancakes:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter


The mainstay of any pancake recipe, flour, is typically derived from grains like wheat. It’s perfectly vegan because it comes from plants.


Sugar, a sweetener derived from plants like sugar cane or beet, is a gray area for some vegans due to the bone char sometimes used in its processing. However, we can’t ascertain if IHOP uses sugar processed with bone char. We can tell you that it’s probably GMO though.

Baking Powder

Baking powder is vegan friendly and is used to make the pancakes rise, giving them their fluffy texture.


Salt is an inorganic mineral, thus completely vegan.


Milk is a non-vegan ingredient derived from animals, often cows.


Eggs, coming from hens, are also a non-vegan ingredient.


Butter is an animal-derived dairy product, hence not vegan friendly.

Vegan Alternatives to IHOP Pancakes

Thankfully, there are numerous pancake brands and vegan alternatives to traditional IHOP pancakes. IHOP may be a cherished childhood memory, but it’s way behind the curve when it comes to vegan options. Run a Google search for your city and find any number of restaurants catering to a vegan diet to get great vegan food featuring all the usual suspects:

  • Vegan pancakes: Easily made with a vegan milk substitute, like almond or soy milk, and a vegan egg substitute, such as flaxseed or applesauce
  • Vegan waffles: Another delightful breakfast choice, using the same vegan substitutes
  • Toast: Avocado toast on multigrain or sourdough toast, topped with green peppers and roasted cherry tomatoes.
  • Plant-based breakfast meats: Sweet Earth vegan sausage served with crispy breakfast potatoes.
  • Other vegan breakfast items: Veggie breakfast burrito filled with sautéed veggies, hash browns, and a plant-based sausage patty.

If you must go to IHOP, your options are limited, but not zero. From crispy potato pancakes to a veggie salad dressed in balsamic vinaigrette, the International House of Pancakes can still cater to your dietary needs while respecting your commitment to a vegan lifestyle.


To sum up, while traditional IHOP pancakes aren’t suitable for vegans, there are plenty of other vegan options at IHOP that can make for a decent vegan meal.

And if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone and try somewhere else, a lot of restaurants are serving vegan pancakes these days.

The journey towards a cruelty-free world isn’t always straightforward, but every small step counts.