National Doughnut Day

National Doughnut Day is celebrated annually on the first Friday of June. The day was established in 1938 to honor The Salvation Army doughnut lassies who provided doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. Read more about National Doughnut Day here.

Photo of a variety of donuts sitting on a blue background with confetti for National Doughnut Day

If we could, we’d eat donuts everyday here at National Day Ideas. But, alas, we just can’t. Or don’t. Verbiage matters when it comes to mindset. LOL

However, on National Donut Day? Maybe we can make an exception. Wandering Donut…here we come!

But let’s learn more about this day and where it came from and why we celebrate these tasty treats (other than because… DONUTS!)

When is National Doughnut Day?

The first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day!

A Brief History of National Doughnut Day

National Donut day actually started in 1938 in Chicago for two reasons: 1) as a way to raise money for the needy during the Great Depression and 2) to honor two Salvation Army volunteers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance, who supported the troops on the front line in France during the WW1 by frying donuts in the soldiers’ helmets.

The conditions were so bad during the war, included limited rations, that baking sweets was nearly impossible. These ingenious women found a way to support the American soldiers in Europe (who came home with the nickname, Doughboys) and boost morale all at the same time. These women, who were there to further the mission of the Salvation Army, to spread the love of God and provide emotional support, found their way in the the hearts of many soldiers because they saw their basic human needs and met them with sweet, fried dough.

The women who served donuts to the troops were nicknamed Donut Lassies. These special volunteers, once again, heeded the call of duty and brought donuts to the soldiers in the trenches during WW2. These courageous and generous heroines are a big part of why and how donuts grew in popularity in the United States during the 1900s. [1]

A Short Look at the Background of the Doughnut

Humans have been deep frying dough for just about as long as they’ve walked the earth. However, there are some questions as to where the first, modern sweet fried dough originated.

Were they the little walnut sized treats the English deep fried in North Eastern England in the 1750s? Were they the olykoek ( “oily cakes’ fried dough with nuts, raisins, apples and cinnamon) that the Dutch settlers fried up in the mid-1600s?

Perhaps one or both. Either way, they both paved the way for our modern donut! And when the mechanized donut making machine came on the scene in the 1920’s? Donut lovers everywhere rejoiced.

Adolph Levitt invented this machine because the patrons of the theater next door complained about the fumes coming from his bakery. He went on to sell these machines all over the country creating a $25 million dollar business for himself. [2]

Fun Ways to Celebrate National Doughnut Day

What is the best way to celebrate National Donut day? You decide! But here are a few fun ways to help spark your imagination.

  • Purchase a box of your favorite donuts and eat them. (of course!)
  • Try making a batch of donuts yourself!
  • Throw a small party where you and your guests make their own extreme donuts. Provide glazed donuts and tons of toppings for your guests: buttercream icing, crushed Oreos, chocolate syrup, fresh fruit, ice cream, etc.

Fun FAQs about National Doughnut Day

What are the ingredients in Doughnuts?

Most donuts are made with a combination of flour, yeast, sugar, eggs and milk.

Some recipes call for butter and vanilla and maybe even nutmeg and cinnamon.

Cake donuts are made with baking powder instead of yeast and, because they don’t require time to rise, are actually faster and easier to make.

What are the most popular flavors of doughnuts?

Plain glazed donuts are the second most popular choice (18%). Chocolate glazed (12%), cake/old fashioned (9%) and jelly-filled (9%) round out the top 5.

Ipsos Poll 2021

Where invented the modern donut with the hole?

According to the New England Historical Society, Captain Hanson Gregory came up with the idea that a hole in the middle of the donut would help it cook evenly.

“I took the cover off the ship’s tin pepper box, and—I cut into the middle of that donut the first hole ever seen by mortal eyes!”


What are the most famous doughnut shops?

How are doughnuts mass-produced?

Watch the video below to see how donuts are made for the masses!

Do you spell it doughnut or donut?

The Official Dictionary Spelling of the word in question—if you’re into that sort of thing—is “doughnut.” The expedited, simplified, Americanized spelling of “donut,” as Grammarist tells us, has been around since at least the late 19th century. It didn’t catch on, though, until late in the 20th century

Fun Stats about Doughnuts

Now that you know more about donuts and National Doughnut Day, how do you plan to celebrate this fun day?

For more days like this to celebrate, visit our list of National Days!

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