National Doughnut Day's origins – and where to get a free doughnut

National Doughnut Day means free doughnuts at certain vendors. Here is how to score a free doughnut.

Dunkin' Donuts/AP/File
A selection of the doughnuts that Dunkin' Donuts sell. National Doughnut Day means free doughnuts at certain vendors like Dunkin' Donuts.

It's almost the most wonderful time of the year again — the first Friday in June is around the corner, which means National Doughnut Day is nearly here! As usual, we're celebrating all of the opportunities to pick up free fried dough, with or without purchase. And for those of you wanting to know how we became lucky enough to live in a world in which celebrating donuts is a thing, we've also got the holiday history as well!

Get your free donuts!

Two of the three major donut chains in the US confirmed their giveaways last week. Dunkin' Donuts is offering a free doughnut with purchase of a beverage, while Krispy Kreme will give a doughnut of any variety to every visitor, no purchase necessary! (One per customer, while supplies last, of course.)

Tim Hortons, perhaps still acclimating to our American holidays, hasn't yet confirmed its Doughnut Day observations. But in years past, the chain has offered a free doughnut with any purchase, via a coupon that could be printed from the Tim Horton Facebook page in exchange for a "like."

But you don't even need to leave your house to feel doughnut the love! Visit Entemann's Facebook page to enter for a chance to win free Entenmann's donuts for a year. While you're there, give them a "like" by June 15, and they will donate $1 to the Salvation Army, the charity behind Doughnut Day.

Wait, Doughnut Day is for charity?

Sure, did you think this was just a silly holiday started by donut chains? (Because we did at first.) National Doughnut Day has been an official observance since 1938, when it was started by the Salvation Army to recognize their volunteers who had served donuts to soldiers overseas in World War I, and to raise money for the needy. Though the celebrations now revolve around the round sweet, you can still donate your daily doughnut savings to your favorite charity.

Is it donut or doughnut? Who cares!

Last year, our own Jeff Somogyi pointed out that the abbreviated "donut" spelling has actually been around since the 1800s. Doughnut is the original term dating back at least a century earlier, but the shorter version is now five times more prevalent in Google searches, possibly due to the popularity of Google searches. So if you're a spelling originalist, the tide might be turning against you. (Even the Salvation Army has seemingly transitioned the name of the holiday to the new spelling!)

So how will you celebrate National Doughnut Day this year? Regular or filled?

Benjamin Glaser is a features editor at, where this article first appeared:

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