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There's A Big Debate On Whether IHop Or Denny's Has A Better Pancake, So We Did The Ultimate Test To See Who Officially Tastes The Best

BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed
 2022-12-03

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Food debates are and will always be a huge topic. And, we recently stumbled upon quite the debacle over who has the better breakfast: Denny's or IHOP.

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So, as the ones who discovered that the Big Mac ranks supreme over the Whopper , we're back. We are Chris and Krista, and we have made it our mission to find the best-tasting menu items from food chains, according to taste, presentation, and value.

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First and foremost, let's just take a second to look at the glorious items going head-to-head today. They may LOOK similar, but do they TASTE similar?!

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Let's dive into the ~scientific specifics~.

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Here is what our Denny's breakfast meal (they call it the Build Your Own Grand Slam® ) looks like IRL vs. their promo shot:

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Denny's says you get : two buttermilk pancakes, two beef bacon strips, two sausage links, and two eggs.

dennys.id , BuzzFeed

And, surprisingly, IHOP doesn't have a breakfast meal that offers the same things as Denny's. The closest thing we could find was called the 2 x 2 x 2 , but we had to add shredded hashbrowns. Here's what it looked like IRL vs. IHOP's promo shot:

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IHOP says you get : two eggs your way, two custom-cured, hickory-smoked bacon strips or two pork sausage links, and two fluffy pancakes. They describe their hashbrowns as "golden."

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In terms of appearance, here's how we rated them...

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CHRIS: These were essentially the exact same breakfast — like, literally if it weren't for logos on the containers, I wouldn't be able to identify the difference from appearance. Both were beautiful, and I have no complaints.

DENNY'S: 5/5

IHOP: 5/5

KRISTA: The fact that these two meals were SO similar-looking was eery! The meals looked pretty much IDENTICAL except for the fact that the Denny's pancakes were slightly bigger. So, Denny's gets a point for that. It's a VERY even race here on appearance because even both their promo shots look identical. They both even came in similar to-go containers! Bigger pancakes mean more to me, though, so Denny's wins by a smidge on this one.

DENNY'S: 4.4/5

IHOP: 4.3/5

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Let's talk about what you're getting for your money. First, Denny's breakfast costs $15.06.

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Meanwhile, IHOP costs $20.39. These items were both ordered from delivery apps, so that may have resulted in a higher cost than you'd experience by dining in or picking up yourself, but these amounts listed do NOT include tax or delivery fees.

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Since all of the items were so similar, we specifically honed in on each establishment's pancakes. As you can see, Denny's (on the left) has a heavier pancake, weighing 1.5 more ounces than the IHOP pancake.

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Also, as suspected, Denny's has a wider pancake by nearly an inch. The Denny's pancake has a circumference of about 6.5", and the IHOP one is about 5.75".

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Here are our VALUE ratings:

CHRIS: Denny's cost $5.33 more AND had the larger pancake? While I think as a general rule, breakfast should be cheap because I've experienced too many local diners that only charge, like, $7 for a whole, hearty breakfast, this is an easy victory for Denny's because five bucks is a significant chunk extra to pay for IHOP.

DENNY'S: 4/5

IHOP: 2.5/5

KRISTA: I think it's pretty obvious Denny's wins on value here. Their pancake was actually a lot bigger than I initially thought just eye-balling it, and I give a tip of the hat to them for the price — even though I still think $15+ is pretty expensive, it's still cheaper than IHOP by quite a bit. Kudos, Denny's!

DENNY'S: 4.7/5

IHOP: 4.4/5

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Let's dive right in with our thoughts on Denny's!

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CHRIS: This is a really reliable, classic breakfast. The bacon was a nice mix of crispy and chewy, the potatoes were solid, and the eggs were...eggs. The pancake was interesting (in a good way), almost reminding me of sponge cake in its texture, though it was heavier than that, so this is a super filling breakfast. Well done, Denny's! 8.5/10

KRISTA: The actual meal itself — minus the pancakes — was pretty much exactly what I thought it was going to be. It's a chain breakfast. It wasn't the worst, but it's also not the best. It's a pretty standard OK-tasting breakfast. The pancakes are what we were really interested in, and these ones were pretty good! They are very dense and have a cake-like taste to them. It's hard to explain, but it had a flavor that resembled a sweet dessert. 9.4/10

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And now, IHOP.

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CHRIS: Turns out they don't just look similar, they taste similar — at least the eggs, bacon, and potatoes do. Their pancakes, however, are very different. IHOP's is thinner, and although it fell apart easily, it was delicious. It's packed with flavor that's uniquely sweet but not overpoweringly rich, and I loved it! 8.5/10

KRISTA: I could repeat the same verbiage from Denny's about IHOP's breakfast meal. It's very run-of-the-mill, and I don't think much differentiated it from Denny's. Everything tasted pretty much the same. So, onto the pancakes. IHOP definitely has more of the flavor I would expect from a pancake. It was less sweet and felt less like a dessert to me and more like a meal if that makes sense. Their pancake was a bit ~lighter~, and I really enjoyed it. 9.6/10

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We also knew our thorough taste test wouldn't be complete without some thoughts on their butters and syrups:

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CHRIS: IHOP has some super thick syrup! Not that Denny's had super runny syrup or anything, but it wasn't the same level of gloopy, y'know? As for Denny's, they offer butter that seemed fresher, perhaps because it didn't come in a package like IHOP's, but they win on that end. For me, I am big on syrup and don't usually eat butter on my pancakes, so IHOP gets the better of this exchange.

KRISTA: IMO, Denny's wins on the butter, but IHOP wins on the syrup. The Denny's syrup is really, really runny, and the flavor was fine, but I don't like how diluted it felt. Their butter, however, was supreme and melty — the perfect pair for a nice, warm pancake. IHOP has amazing syrup — a very thick and rich maple flavor. Their butter is just meh. I think the syrup is overall more important when it comes to pancake eating, so IHOP wins this one.

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For reference, here is the Denny's syrup...

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And here is the IHOP:

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In the end, our stomachs hurt, but our hearts were full, and we were definitely ready with a decision of who reigned supreme...so without further ado: IHOP!!!!!

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CHRIS: I wish I could take parts from both and make them join forces for the perfect pancake experience. I don't foresee IHOP and Denny's doing any Marvel-style crossovers any time soon, so I think, sadly, you just have to decide what you prefer in the moment. If it's a filling breakfast for less cash, Denny's. If it's higher quality syrup on a more classic-tasting pancake even if it's pricier, IHOP is the way.

KRISTA: Even though Denny's reigns supreme in value and presentation, taste is such a huge factor. I will admit, BOTH have a good pancake, but I did slightly prefer IHOP more (plus, their syrup is way better). So, the International House of Pancakes has lived up to its name, offering a better pancake than Denny's at least. 🥞🏆 (But both breakfast menu options are tied for clarity.)

ihop.com

It's time for YOU to to weigh in..

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