The Unexpected Secret Ingredient In IHOP's Fluffy Omelets

Nothing hits the spot like an omelet sometimes. Most of the time, people focus on the cooking technique, whether they're going for the French omelet style or just the easygoing flat-top diner style that cradles fillings of your choice. You could get in endless arguments on the internet (and people often do) about which way is the best.


Everyone's got their own way of cooking an omelet, but one diner chain goes so far as to add its own secret ingredient to its scrambled egg base. IHOP, otherwise known as the International Home of Pancakes, indicates on its menu that its omelets aren't gluten-friendly (the chain doesn't certify any of its menu items to be completely gluten-free), which is a big hint (the regular scrambled eggs are gluten-free). And the second hint? It's right in the chain's name: the word pancakes.

IHOP's secret omelet ingredient is a splash of its own pancake batter. The chain claims that this addition creates a fluffier, lighter omelet, which makes IHOP's omelets their own kind of breakfast creation.

What the addition of pancake batter does to omelets

If adding pancake batter to omelets seems an unusual culinary move, that's because it's not a common one. Omelet techniques typically center their approach around the way heat is applied to the eggs while cooking, and it's not often that a flour-based ingredient is added to the egg base.


The theory behind adding pancake batter to eggs is that the leavening agents in it, like baking powder and baking soda, along with the starch, give additional structure to the cooked eggs, thus resulting in a springy and fluffy omelet. Independent testing by Lifehacker has confirmed that the pancake mix gives omelets some pleasant bounciness, though mileage may vary on whether the end result is fluffier or not.

There is one key detail to adding pancake batter to your omelets: You only need one to two tablespoons of prepared pancake batter per omelet. Any more turns your omelet into a pancake with an eggy identity crisis. 

If you're hoping to try this at home, it's probably best if you're already planning on having pancakes and omelets for breakfast, because making a few tablespoons of pancake batter for an omelet just isn't practical. But it saves you a trip to IHOP, and you'll get to feel like a short-order cook in front of your stove with the omelet and a stack of flapjacks to match. Oh, and by the way — we have our own tricks up our sleeves for some seriously fluffy pancake batter, in case you need some inspiration.