10 Fun Facts About Donuts

There’s no treat more delicious than a warm and fresh fluffy donut! Besides, who wouldn’t like donuts regardless of the time of the year? It’s no secret that donuts have been around for hundreds, if not for thousands of years, but only relatively recently did they become every American’s favorite breakfast or sweet tooth craving. But, how much do you know about donuts? Doughnuts are quite popular in both USA and the world, right next to Pizza and Big Mac. Scroll down to learn some fun facts about donuts we’re sure you didn’t know about before.

The History of Donuts

The History of Donuts

Donuts are often referred to as fried dough, and no culture in history didn’t have some form of fried dough they ate. That being said, although under a different name, donuts existed for a long time, so long that some archeologists find some fossilized leftovers of fried dough eaten by Native Americans and other indigenous tribes in the Northern American continent, according to The Smithsonian.

Nevertheless, it’s believed that donuts came from Europe and sailed to Manhattan (Then New Amsterdam.) Dutch settlers brought them. Although different shapes of donuts were invented over the next couple of decades (we’ll talk more about that below) it was not until World War I and World War II that the donuts became popularized as the American dish we know today.

At that time, the Salvation Army female volunteers, who were also part of the Red Cross were assisting injured and homesick American troops during the war. At that time, they were serving donuts to make them feel like their country thinks about them and cheered for them.

Interestingly, when the army returned from the war, they all wanted more donuts, which sparked many companies to start their donut shops and manufacturing facilities, which ultimately led to an explosion in the popularity of donuts.

Although they are considered a big American hit, donuts are now eaten all around the world like in Rome, Greece, and many other places. Still, you can enjoy the American-Style jelly donut anywhere in the USA, from New York, North Carolina, and Oregon to Los Angeles.

Donuts also make a popular holiday treat so you can often see them being made during Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve for good luck.

10 Fun Facts About Donuts

1. More Than 10 Billion Donuts Are Made Yearly Just in the USA

It’s no secret that the USA has the largest donut market in the world. However, little did you know that it’s this big. According to a report in South Florida Reporter, more than 10 billion donuts are made in the USA every year.

There are a lot of fast food chains that serve donuts as part of their daily menu, as well as various other donut-specific chains such as Dawn Foods and Dunkin Donuts. It’s interesting to note that Canada which is located right in the North of the USA produces only 1 billion donuts per year, which is considerably fewer donuts than in the USA.

2. There are 10 People in the USA Whose Last Name is Donut

If you didn’t think that Americans were serious enough about donuts, it’s important to note that there are 10 people in the United State whose last name is either doughnut or donut.

The statistics also show that 95 people have the surname called Longjohn, and if you know a thing or two about donuts, you’ll know that’s the name of the long doughnut. There are other interesting statistics such as 470 people called Fritter, as well as 12 people with the name Bearclaw.

Finally, knowing how sugar is an important ingredient in donuts, it’s worth mentioning that there are over 1600 people called Sugar.

3. The Size of the Hole Matters

10 Fun Facts About Donuts

Researchers have, for a long time, argued that the financial and economic situation in the country dictates how big will the hole in the donut be. Although the holes in the donuts give some additional aesthetical value, too big of a donut hole means there’s not much dough or many sprinkles to munch on.

A research has shown that the worse the economic situation in the country, the bigger diameter of the donut hole will be. That also allows you to see which company that sells donuts struggles financially or is simply trying to save up on ingredients.

4. The Word Donut

The word donut has been used for the first time by novel writer Washington Irving. He used the word “donut” for the first time in History of New York in 1809 where he detailed it. The author of the novel titled “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” described donuts as “balls of sweetened dough.” Which were fried in hog’s fat.

Although they’re mostly not fried in hog’s fat anymore but, fried in oil or baked, they are still quite delicious. There are also small “nuts” of fried dough which are known as the first doughnut holes and they are likely attributed to Elizabeth Gregory and her son, Hanson Gregory who was a New England ship captain.

5. There’s a Little Bit of Truth in Cops Loving Donuts

Do you always see cops carrying a box of delicious donuts with white or pink frosting in popular movies and cartoons? We do too! This stereotype has a very interesting piece of history we’ll share with you below.

Police officers had a shift in the graveyard and back in the 1950s, they’d stop by donut shops which were among the only shops that would work late in the evening. When they’d have some tedious paperwork to tend to, they’d stop by donut shops and snack on donuts.

The donut shop owners saw an opportunity to seek protection from police officers late in the night while rewarding them with tasty donuts. This practice grew in popularity so much, that cops eating donuts were popularized in different TV shows and movies.

6. There Was a Time When Donuts Were Called “The Hit Food” of the Century

During the Chicago World fair in 1933, known as “A Century of Progress” donuts were declared the “Hit Food of the Century of Progress.” Thanks to the automated machines the donuts came out fresh and allowed mass production quite quickly.

This was all noted by Sally Levitt Steinberg who called it “a staple of the working class,” in her writing. It’s worth noting that her grandfather invented the first automated doughnut machine.

7. They Were Initially Called Olykoeks

We mentioned earlier that it was believed that the Dutch sailors brought donuts to New York (Then New Amsterdam.) Before the Revolutionary War, they brought the donuts to the New continent, calling them olykoeks which meant “oily cakes.”

8. There Are Two Donut Holidays

There Are Two Donut Holidays

Americans mark two important holidays attributed to donuts. One of them is National Donut Day, which takes place on the first Friday of every June. This was an initiative to celebrate the aforementioned “Doughnut Lassies” who served donuts to homesick American soldiers.

The second day that celebrates donuts is the National Doughnut Appreciation Day, which takes place every year on November 5.

9. The Priciest Donut Costs $100

The priciest donut ever is made out of edible diamonds and old chocolate balsamic vinegar. To give it an expensive look, the manufacturers covered it in 24K gold leaf and a fancy box with a ribbon. There are also other materials but they’re considered a top secret.

10. The Biggest Donut

New York City saw the largest donut ever made on January 21, 1993, according to a report. It was filled with jelly and it weighed more than 1.7 tons.


Although there are many interesting and fun facts about donuts that we can’t learn in doughnut shops, we couldn’t list them all. Some other facts are attributed to France where donuts were called “nun’s farts.” We hope that you learned something new today and that you’ll think about it while eating ring doughnuts with hazelnut cream and powdered sugar. Did you know about these fun facts about donuts before? What’s your favorite fun fact?

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