Are Donuts A Breakfast food or Dessert? (Updated 2022)

Donuts are an important part of American culture and tradition. Whether you eat donuts as a breakfast food or dessert, you can’t go wrong. There are so many donut flavors that you can savor and enjoy, and it’s a shame if you don’t start a day with such a sweet and deep donut taste. But, when did donuts become breakfast food? Has it always been that way? Continue reading to learn more about how donuts go from a dessert to breakfast food, and which one is right.

The History of Donuts

The History of Donuts

Some form of fried dough that we today consider donuts has existed in the world for thousands of years. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that donuts were officially introduced to the American continent, according to The Smithsonian.

In Europe and other continents, donuts were always known under a different name and slightly different way of preparation. According to the same reports, there were fossilized leftovers of fried dough found among the Native Americans as well as other indigenous tribes.

It wasn’t until the Dutch sailors brought donuts to Manhattan that the donuts were officially introduced to the American people. Additionally, the popularity of donuts abruptly grew during World War I, when Salvation Army female volunteers, delivered donuts to injured and homesick American soldiers inspired their love for their own country and gave them the strength to keep fighting.

Donuts were popularized in the USA once soldiers returned home and everyone wanted to try the foods that gave Americans strength to fight on and survive. The end of World War I sparked many entrepreneurs to start donut shops and factories.

During the Chicago World fair in 1993, critiques called donuts the “Hit food of the Century of Progress.”

Is Doughnut a Dessert or Breakfast?

Donuts are often referred to as snacks or desserts. After a nice family lunch, everyone would like to try a powdered donut or two, and thanks to crafty donuts, we also get to experience various other tastes, including the salty donuts at times.

Even though the doughnuts were initially made to be a dessert treat or a snack, they eventually became an acceptable form of breakfast because it’s equipped with carbs that are necessary energizing ingredients.

When Did Donuts Become a Breakfast Food?

When Did Donuts Become a Breakfast Food

It is believed that donuts were introduced as breakfast food back in World War II, when all materials and ingredients were scarce, including sugar and flour. Making donuts for the breakfast turned into a much less expensive alternative, compared to other breakfast options.

The materials were scarce, so various donut makers and shops used inexpensive ingredients to make them, which also caused them to drop the price. Many businesses that made donuts closed because they couldn’t get either of the materials. Those that continued working managed to sell donuts as a breakfast food.

Why Are Donuts Considered a Breakfast Food?

As mentioned above, World War II and lack of basic supplies, or them being too expensive normalized donuts as breakfast. After the war ended, even after the supplies were normalized many people preferred eating donuts as breakfast and continued doing so.

The habit was soon normalized, and now serving donuts with coffee is an unavoidable breakfast combination in the United States.

Is it Healthy to Eat Donuts in the Morning?

Eating donuts as a treat or breakfast occasionally is good and won’t cause you any problems with your health. However, things get worse when you start eating them as breakfast frequently. According to Cleveland Clinic, eating donuts for breakfast constantly can cause sugar crashes, as donuts are regularly loaded with 15 to 30 grams of sugar.

While they will have around 250 to 550 calories, which is acceptable for breakfast calorie count, the sugar load is problematic, making donuts one of the least healthy choices for breakfast. The tremendous amount of sugar gives you an energy boost that quickly depletes as sugar is the first ingredient to be burnt.

Although popular, it’s not the healthiest option you can have for breakfast. Still, it goes great with a cup of coffee.

What Makes a Good Breakfast?

What Makes a Good Breakfast

That depends on what type of food you prefer eating for breakfast, however, given that breakfast is the most important meal in the day, you should focus on unprocessed, whole food, potentially sourced from organic ingredients.

Your breakfast needs to be rich with fruits like berries, vegetables, protein-rich food like eggs and dairy, particularly greek yogurt, and grains like cereals and other grains rich in fiber, but if you go for a dairy-rich breakfast consider the options with less added sugar.

You can also add seeds like chia seeds, legumes, or ingredients from the nut group. Make sure to make it rich in a variety of foods, and if you’re eating fatty food, make sure to include healthy fats that are not saturated.

Make sure to avoid refined carbs and saturated fat, as they can mess with your metabolism.


It’s no secret that donuts make an important position on the list of popular foods eaten in the USA. You can eat different kinds of donuts for breakfast, as a snack, or as a dessert. While they may not be the healthiest option on the menu, it’s a great way to satisfy your sugar cravings in the early morning.


1. What Food Category are Donuts?

Considering that the donuts are full of fats and sugar, they should be placed at the top of the food pyramid. Still, there’s no definite answer on whether donuts belong to the grain foods considering they’re made in a similar way to bagels and bread. Still, donuts are considered sweets, as they contain sugar, and a lot of fats, according to the Chicago Tribune.

2. Who Introduced Donuts to America?

It is believed that Dutch sailors initially brought donuts to Manhattan, New York (then New Amsterdam.) They called them Olykoeks (oily cakes) which are believed to be the first doughnuts in the USA as we know them today.

3. What Was the First Donut Flavor?

It is not clear what was the first donut flavor. Krapfen was made in Germany and Austria in the 14th century and further would be filled with jelly. According to Smithsonian, Hanson Gregory who was believed to have invented the first donut hole used nutmeg and cinnamon to spice up his dish. The flavors and textures used today were popularized during the 20th century, particularly with the development of mass production donut factories.

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