Donut Day: The History of this Baked Good


Happy Donut Day! Before you go out and nab you free baked good, why not check out this blog all about the history of the donut. From the various types of donut, to why it has it’s own national holiday, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular dessert! So, grab your ring and let’s dig in!

The History of the Donut

First, let’s talk about the spelling. While “doughnut” is the traditional version, “donut” is the simplified version. They are used interchangeably in the English language. The use of “donut” got it’s popularity from the popular chain “Dunkin’”. 

Doughnuts are typically fried flour dough in a ring-shape either glazed or filled with jam. Ingredients include:

The earliest origins of the modern doughnut is traced back to Dutch Settlers. Bringing to New York (known as New Amsterdam then) their olykoek (oil cake). While these desserts did not have the classic ring shape, structurally they resembled the beloved baked good we enjoy today. 

American Hanson Gregory claimed to have invented the ring-shape in 1847. Dissatisfied with the greasiness and raw centre of past doughnuts, he taught the technique of punching a hole in the middle to his mother. 

The Smithsonian states that Elizabeth Gregory doughnuts “cleverly used her son’s spice cargo of nutmeg and cinnamon, along with lemon rind”. And so the modern fried good was born!

Cake vs Yeast Style 

When baking, different types of dough can be used. Cake-style typically result in a denser dough because of the low gluten content. Whereas, yeast-style are light and more airy. 

Why is there a National Donut Day?

In 1938, The Salvation Army created the first Donut Day. It honoured those of their members who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. Volunteers who went to France offered the ring-shaped dessert because of difficulties in providing freshly baked goods. Doughnuts lasted longer and were an instant hit with the soldiers! 

How to Make Your Own

Want to have a little more control over how your doughnut is prepared? Try this recipe!

Bite Size Donut Holes

You’ll need:

Got your ingredients? Great! Prep and cook time should only take you 15 minutes.

  1. Heat up the oil in a deep pan or pot over medium heat.
  2. Whisk together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt)
  3. Add in your wet ingredients and stir until combined. 
  4. Roll the dough into small balls. 
  5. Place the balls into the heated oil and fry until evenly golden brown. 
  6. Transfer the balls to a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  7. Roll in a topping of your choice. We recommend sugar or cinnamon (or both!). 
  8. Enjoy!

Where to Get a Free Donut 

Don’t feel like baking? Check out where you can get a free donut on June 6th!

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo, a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers Math, English, SAT, Coding, Spanish tutoring, and more.