IHOP Pumpkin Pancakes: What To Know Before You Order

Even though it's still August, it's really never too early to get in on the autumn fun. Stores are already stocking up on Halloween candy and earlier this week, Starbucks started serving their infamous pumpkin spice latte. But if you're really all about fall flavors, you probably know it won't really feel like we're in cozy-weather season until IHOP brings back their iconic pumpkin pancakes. Even though IHOP has yet to announce an official return date for their beloved pumpkin pancakes, they've been a staple on their seasonal menu for years. The chain has offered variations on the recipe over the years — Pumpkin praline pancakes (via IHOP) had their moment in the early 2010s, followed shortly by a pumpkin cheesecake pancake in 2014 (via Brand Eating) — but OG pumpkin spice has remained a fan favorite. "Every year, our guests eagerly await the return of our seasonal pancakes," IHOP's chief marketing manager said in a 2018 press release.

They're so popular that they inspired Keegan Ales to partner with IHOP for a special pumpkin pancake-flavored beer, the 2018 press release notes. Sadly, the breakfast-flavored ale didn't gain widespread popularity, with only 20 barrels being produced before the venture ended. But that didn't stop the chain from keeping up with the fall fun. In anticipation of their grand return to IHOP menus, we decided to gather up all the info we can on these festive pumpkin flapjacks.

What comes on the pumpkin pancakes?

Like all of IHOP's other pancakes, the pumpkin pancakes come in a stack of four, perfectly round, fluffy discs made to order. The main difference is the chefs infuse the buttermilk batter with a hefty dose of pure pumpkin spice, giving each batch that signature, aromatic fall flavor we can't get enough of. Each order of IHOP pumpkin pancakes comes topped with generous dollop of whipped cream, like a slice of scrumptious pumpkin pie

As for what the exact ingredients or spices are, well, that remains a mystery. IHOP hasn't technically disclosed the full recipe anywhere, which means it's sort of a guessing game as far as figuring out what makes these fluffy fall discs so magical. Several imitations of IHOP's recipe by food bloggers, like this one by Copy Kat and this one by Top Secret Recipes feature pure pumpkin in the batter, which likely gives them a natural sweetness. For what it's a worth, a 2016 press release from IHOP website confirmed the seasonal offering has "real pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg," so it seems those bloggers are on the right track.

What do the pumpkin pancakes taste like?

Tapping into the delicious flavors of pumpkin can be a bit of a challenge for restaurants, especially when it comes to breakfast food. There's a fine line between making a dish that tastes like it barely has a shake of cinnamon in it and something that tastes more like a Thanksgiving dessert than a meal. Thankfully, it seems they totally live up to the hype. Take it from one Twitter user, who wrote "I'm not a breakfast guy, but the IHOP pumpkin pancakes are incredible." 

But what makes these pancakes so yummy? It likely has to do with the fact that they aren't overly saturated with sugar. Compared to other pumpkin spice pancakes on the market, like Denny's, which leans into ultra-decadence with "pecan pie sauce," IHOP's version seems intentionally simple so it can be palatable to all, especially at breakfast! A Grubgrade review from 2010 described them as "slightly sweeter" than their standard buttermilk offering, with a mild hint of cinnamon and pumpkin. That's likely because the pumpkin spices are mixed directly into the batter before cooking, rather than in a topping like frosting or syrup (via IHOP). 

While these probably don't have a huge in-your-face pumpkin flavor, that doesn't mean they're any less delicious. Still need convincing? Check the search results for IHOP pumpkin pancakes on Twitter. As one Twitter user put it, they're "so good it physically hurts."

Nutritional info for the pumpkin pancakes

As with many seasonal items, these pumpkin pancakes are more indulgent than IHOP's usual offerings. According to IHOP, a single serving of their pumpkin pancakes packs a whopping 2090 milligrams of sodium (yes, sodium) and 600 calories. And that's before you add syrup. While that may sound outrageous for a single meal, this seems to be standard. Denny's version of pumpkin spice pancakes clocks in at 490 calories just for a side, without any toppings.

However, of all IHOP's seasonal pancake offerings, the pumpkin spice offers the lowest fat at just 15 grams per serving, compared to the cinnamon roll pancakes' 28 grams. They also contain just 36 grams of sugar, whereas the IHOP Cinn-A-Stack boasts 71. Of course, stats like these are to be expected for something so decadent. But hey, at least they're not the pumpkin cinnamon roll pancakes: Those alone pack 950 calories into a serving. By comparison, a regular buttermilk pancake short stack from the chain clocks in at 450 calories without the syrup, so it's safe to say these pumpkin pancakes are more of a treat-yourself kind of breakfast. But on the bright side, each order contains 17 grams of protein per serving, and that's before you add a side of bacon. 

Of course, if the calorie count still seems intimidating, there's nothing wrong with splitting these pumpkin pancakes with a friend!

How much do the pumpkin pancakes cost?

Since the pumpkin pancakes are usually only available for a limited time and contain real pumpkin, you might expect them to be on the pricier side. But based on previous articles about the dish, a platter of these pancakes likely won't dip into your holiday budget too much. While the cost certainly varies based on location, a 2019 article from Delish reported that a single side order starts at $4.99 and comes with exactly four pumpkin pancakes. Considering Elite Daily notes that a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks can cost as much as $5 a pop, this isn't too bad of a deal. Think you need something savory to balance the sweetness? IHOP has you covered. Per a 2016 press release on IHOP website, the pumpkin pancakes can be ordered a la carte or as a combo with eggs of any style, hash browns, and their choice of bacon, sausage, or ham.

When will the pumpkin pancakes be available?

As much as we love fantasizing about the idea of being able to order pumpkin-infused foods year round, IHOP's festive short stacks are only available once a year. But hey, that's part of what makes them so special!

Though we don't yet have confirmation for when this year's pumpkin pancakes will make their grand debut, based on past reports, we can anticipate they will be available at participating IHOP locations sometime in late September or early October. Just be sure to check with your location ahead of time before visiting.

As for how long the chain will keep them on the menu remains to be determined, and will possibly be influenced by sales. In 21606, the pumpkin pancakes were only available a short few weeks during September and October (via IHOP). It wasn't always this way. In 2015, IHOP made their fall offerings available from late September all the way through January of the following year. But in 2018, Eat This, Not That notes that the precious pumpkin pancakes were available only until the end of October. With that in mind, you'll definitely want to mark your calendars for October so you don't miss out on this festive breakfast!