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IHOP Versus Denny's: The Ultimate Pancake Battle

Out of the way waffles and french toasts! When it comes to any essential breakfast dish, what could you compare to that’s more comforting than a stack of golden-brown disks waiting to be drenched in syrup? How about itself! Available in more than 16,000 locations all over the world, there’s no denying that IHOP and Denny would succeed to provide the ultimate classic diner staple: the pancake. In this IHOP VS Denny's battle, we settle the greatest debate between the top two American diners on who makes the better pancakes.

The Rubric

To judge these pancakes, we went to the restaurants on separate days so that our palates and stomachs will not be affected by the taste and weight of pancakes from the previous establishments, respectively. Also, to make fair comparison between the two diners, we only ordered the same flavors of pancakes that were available at both Denny’s and IHOP. This means that while we couldn’t judge Denny’s “Peanut Butter Cream” against IHOP’s “Red Velvet”, we were still able to taste both versions of their: Buttermilk, Blueberry, Sweet Leche, Caramel Cream, and One for the “Health Nuts”. We also critiqued the pancakes value based on our rubric of Taste, Fluff & Chew Balance, Syrup Complementary, Golden-Brownness, and Pizazz. Here’s the breakdown of our scores and our reviews:

1) Buttermilk

IHOP’s “Original

Taste: 4/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 3/5

Syrup Complementary: 4/5

Golden-Brownness: 5/5

Pizazz: 4/5

Denny’s “Stack

Taste: 4/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 3/5

Syrup Complementary: 5/5

Golden-Brownness: 5/5

Pizazz: 5/5

WINNER: Denny’s

The OG of pancakes! Every bite of Denny’s pancake had the girth of chew and fluff that reminded us why this griddle-cooked treat is a classic. Though IHOP was straight up cake-like, both had great flavors with a hint of vanilla and not overly sweet.

2) Blueberry

IHOP’s “Double Blueberry

Taste: 2/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 2/5

Syrup Complementary: 2/5

Golden-Brownness: 4/5

Pizazz: 4/5

Denny’s “Blueberry

Taste: 5/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 4/5

Syrup Complementary: 4/5

Golden-Brownness: 3/5

Pizazz: 2/5

WINNER: Denny’s 

Just because IHOP maybe serving twice the amount of fruit with their blueberry pancakes, doesn’t mean you’re going to avoid a trip to the doctor. With Denny’s blueberry pancake, the juiciness of the fresh blueberries shined through the buttermilk background- unlike IHOP’s corn-syrupy aftertaste. To top it off, we were able to add our own amount of syrup.

3) Sweet Leche

IHOP’s “Mexican Tres Leches” 

Taste: 4/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 2/5

Syrup Complementary: 4/5

Golden-Brownness: 5/5

Pizazz: 4/5

Denny’s “Dulce De Leche Crunch

Taste: 4/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 4/5

Syrup Complementary: 2/5

Golden-Brownness: 4/5

Pizazz: 3/5

WINNER: IHOP

Vanilla on vanilla on dulce de leche! Incredibly thick and moist, IHOP complimented its sweet leche with their fluffy buttermilk pancake making this dish almost pudding like. Although IHOP’s version of dulce de leche pancakes became soggy in a syrupy mess, the flavors really stood out. Though Denny’s dulce pancake was unique, crunchy, and more cinnamon-y, the pancakes were left a little on the dry side.

4) Caramel Cream

IHOP’s “English Sticky Toffee” 

Taste: 4/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 4/5

Syrup Complementary: 3/5

Golden-Brownness: 5/5

Pizazz: 5/5

Denny’s “Salted Caramel and Banana Cream

Taste: 3/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 3/5

Syrup Complementary: 2/5

Golden-Brownness: 4/5

Pizazz: 3/5

WINNER: IHOP

In addition to using a knife and fork to eat these pancakes, you’re going to need a spoon. Full of cream, caramel, and cake, these desserts of a breakfast would definitely start your energy off in the morning. It was almost a tie between these two but with IHOP’s version of a browned sugar pancake delight, the crunchy addition of the toffee bits made a fun surprise amongst the soft, smooth toffee mousse.

5) One for the “Health Nuts”:

IHOP’s “Harvest Grain ‘N Nut

Taste: 2/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 2/5

Syrup Complementary: 1/5

Golden-Brownness: 2/5

Pizazz: 3/5

Denny’s “Hearty 9-Grain

Taste: 3/5

Fluff & Chew Balance: 4/5

Syrup Complementary: 2/5

Golden-Brownness: 1/5

Pizazz: 4/5

WINNER: Denny’s

To those looking for a healthy alternative but still wanting to enjoy pancakes, we can’t guarantee hearty-grain hotcakes are your answers. Nevertheless, the taste and texture of fiber is very prominent in these pancakes. However, IHOP’s blend of wheat and nuts was a bland taste that couldn’t compare to Denny’s mixed in crunches of flaxseed and cinnamon-brown sugar flavors.

The Ultimate Pancake Winner: DENNY’S

If you believe that “America’s diner is always open”, you better believe you’re getting some fantastic fluffy flapjacks 24/7. Congratulations Denny’s! Don’t get me wrong IHOP lovers; the fact that you continue to serve up pancakes proves that you’re still a house of international morning deliciousness. No matter your pancake preference, pancakes are to be enjoyed anytime, anywhere.