Consumer Report: Best Restaurant Pancakes

By: Lauren Evans Email
By: Lauren Evans Email

Since pancakes are a favorite way to start the day, Consumer Reports testers went undercover to find out who makes great-tasting buttermilk pancakes, eating at five major chains, including Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, and IHOP.

IHOP claims its pancakes are “award-winning with … authentic country flavor.” But Consumer Reports taste testers found the IHOP pancakes looked better than they tasted. As the pancakes cooled, they became kind of tough.

Denny’s pancakes tasted as if they came from a mix. So did pancakes from Country Kitchen.

The best pancakes came from Cracker Barrel and Perkins. They were cooked to a nice golden brown and tasted freshly prepared.

But even with the best restaurants, Consumer Reports found that it’s better to order pancakes in the morning. When the taste testers ordered the pancakes from the all-day menu, they sometimes found that the pancakes picked up flavors of other foods cooked on the grill. And they weren’t as good.

As for the syrup, Cracker Barrel was the only restaurant that had syrup containing real maple. Though it wasn’t 100 percent pure maple syrup, Cracker Barrel does serve it warm.

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  • by Carol Location: Haslett on Jul 27, 2012 at 06:29 AM
    Try Fernando's Cafe in Haslett.
  • by Anonymous Location: Mason on Jul 27, 2012 at 06:06 AM
    You can thank Gordon's Food Service for the non-chain pancakes. Give me HOMEMADE pancakes any day. I love them made on a griddle over a low campfire. Heaven.
  • by Jason Location: Jackson on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:39 PM
    Karl's diner in Sault Ste. Marie. They have great home made pies too.
  • by Angie Location: Lansing on Jul 26, 2012 at 07:24 PM
    You eat at chains you're going to get mediocre. Skip them and check out Sophia's in Grand Ledge.
    • reply
      by Dan on Jul 27, 2012 at 01:33 AM in reply to Angie
      Agreed. One of the best places to eat breakfast in the Lansing area.
  • by Sue Location: Dimondale on Jul 26, 2012 at 07:07 AM
    Yes! I agree. Cracker Barrel has really fresh pancakes... with a fine 'crisp' to them too. I love Perkins pancakes best, but it's been a while. Isn't it odd that the place with "pancakes" in the name hasn't perfect their title product. I think they get tough because they're pre-made and then warmed in a microwave. Ick!!
  • by Anonymes on Jul 26, 2012 at 06:56 AM
    Golden Harvest!! Friends don't let friends eat at chain restaurants. Lansing has some awesome locally owned restaurants.
    • reply
      by Anon on Jul 27, 2012 at 09:14 AM in reply to Anonymes
      You named one that you cannot get into unless you want to stand on the street for hours. What about others?
  • by Chad Location: Jackson on Jul 25, 2012 at 11:13 PM
    Mc Donalds! We eat breakfast there every day! Love it.
    • reply
      by Jesse on Jul 26, 2012 at 07:09 AM in reply to Chad
      Eeesh. McDonalds pancakes are not made fresh and they are warmed in a microwave. As long as you eat fast, you're okay, though. Dude, you gotta try somewhere else so you can make a proper comparison! To each his own, though. If you like 'em... more power to ya.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 26, 2012 at 01:05 PM in reply to Chad
      Go Cracker Barrel!! I love that restaurant!
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