How to Eat Keto at IHOP

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on February 23, 2024
3 min read

The ketogenic diet requires you to mostly eat foods high in fats and drastically low in carbohydrates. If you’re planning to eat at IHOP, a restaurant chain known for its large, calorie-dense pancakes and hash browns, your choices may seem limited. But there are plenty of keto-friendly meals you can pick from the menu. You can also customize one that fits your dietary needs.

When you’re on the keto diet, foods high in fats should make up anywhere from 60% to 80% of your daily calories. Proteins should make up about 15% to 20%. Meanwhile, your carb intake should be restricted to only about 5% to 10% of your daily intake. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this is about 165 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbs.

On a high-fat diet, your body will burn fat for energy and produce an acid molecule called a ketone. These molecules fuel your body with energy just like glucose. Ketosis is the term used for the metabolic state your body enters when ketones are present in your blood. If you eat too many carbs, you will come out of ketosis.

IHOP serves breakfast all day. Besides pancakes, the chain offers several foods high in fats and protein like eggs, bacon, and several types of meats. The wide variety offered on the menu makes it easy to customize it to your liking.

For most dishes, you’ll have to hold some items or ask for a substitution that works better with the keto diet. Skip the sugary pancakes and syrup and instead make a beeline for low-carb options like meats, eggs, and veggies to keep it keto-friendly.

Almost everything on this part of IHOP’s menu is out of reach on the keto diet as they clock in well above 50 grams of carbs. From the mozzarella sticks to the sampler platter, the deep-fried foods are packed with carbs.

At IHOP, the menu is long and extensive. To keep it keto-friendly, skip the bread and hold the sides like hash browns, grits, pancakes, and syrup. Instead, replace them with meats or low-carb veggies like spinach and broccoli. You can also add avocado slices to any of your meal to bump up the fat in your meal.

Here are some of the popular breakfast options you can choose to customize:

  • 2 eggs, any way. You can order them cooked however you prefer: scrambled, fried, poached, hard-boiled, or soft-boiled.
  • Bacon, 2 strips
  • Sausage, 2 links
  • Breakfast sampler
  • Split decision breakfast
  • 2 x 2 x 2. For this, skip the pancakes and ask for extra meats on the side.

You can also order any of the omelets on the menu. Just don’t add sides like toast, pancakes, or hash browns. You can add some extra cheese, though.

If you’re swinging by IHOP during lunch or dinner, there are things you can eat besides breakfast.

To stay within keto guidelines, skip sides like mashed potatoes, gravy, or cranberry relish. Swap them for steamed broccoli or sautéed spinach, which are high in fiber and low in calories and carbs. Also avoid crispy chicken, which contains high-carb breading.

Keto-friendly entrée options include:

  • T-bone steak (comes in a 10-ounce serving)

If you’re ordering a salad, skip the croutons. For dressing, try ranch (2 grams of carbs per serving), oil and vinegar, or squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your salad for flavor.

Low-carb salad options include:

  • House salad

For sides, there are a few options that are low-carb. Here’s what you can choose:

  • Turkey bacon strips, 4 count
  • Turkey sausage links, 4 count
  • Turkey bacon
  • Bacon
  • Sausage links
  • Pork sausage links 
  • Spam, 2 slices
  • Ham slices
  • Avocado
  • Sautéed spinach
  • Steamed broccoli

Several things on IHOP’s menu may be tempting, but in order to stick to your keto diet restrictions and stay in ketosis, you’ll need to steer clear of certain high-carb menu items.

This includes things like:

  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Fried or crispy appetizers
  • Potato-based foods
  • Breads
  • Creamy sauces
  • Sweet syrups
  • Soups

Desserts are out of the question, too. As for beverages, it’s best to get a glass of water. You can ask for a wedge of lemon to add flavor. Sodas, fruit juices, and other mixed drinks contain a lot of added sugars and are notoriously high in carbs. This may derail your efforts to stay in ketosis. But if you can’t resist, opt for a diet soda or a hot cup of black coffee or plain tea to be safe.