National Doughnut Day on November 5th is one of two observed by doughnut lovers across the nation. The first Friday in June is the other day doughnuts steal the bakery case spotlight ready to tease their way into white bakery box home!

For more information on the National Doughnut Day celebrated in June.

History disputes the origin of the doughnut. One theory suggests Dutch settlers brought doughnuts to North America much like they brought other traditional American desserts. They receive credit for such desserts as the apple pie, cream pie, and cobbler. 

Doughnuts come in many shapes. Was the original doughnut round? If so, American, Hanson Gregory laid claim to inventing the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847. He was on-board a lime-trading ship. Only 16 at the time, Gregory claims he punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box. Later, he taught the technique to his mother.

Traveling further back in time, we look at an English cookbook. According to anthropologist Paul R. Mullins, an 1803 volume included doughnuts in the appendix of American recipes. However, the earliest recorded usage of the term doughnut is found in a short story in a Boston Times article about “fire-cakes and dough-nuts” published in 1808. 

A more commonly cited first written recording of the word is Washington Irving’s reference to doughnuts in 1809 in his History of New York. He described balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat. The author called them doughnuts. Today, these nuts of fried dough are called doughnut holes.

Another author, William Cullen Bryant describes doughnuts fried in lard in his book Picturesque America; Or, the Land We Live In which was published in 1872.

Donut versus Doughnut
  • Print ads for cake and glazed donuts and doughnuts existed from at least 1896 in the United States.
  • George W. Peck published Peck’s Bad Boy and his Pa in 1900. It contained the first known printed use of donut. In it, a character is quoted as saying, “Pa said he guessed he hadn’t got much appetite and he would just drink a cup of coffee and eat a donut.”
  • In 1919, the Square Donut Company of America was founded. Square donuts offer an easier to package product.

The more traditional spelling is doughnut. However, both doughnut and donut are pervasive in American English.

Doughnuts come in a large variety of recipes, flavors, and toppings. However, just like many pastries, we are only limited by imagination and ingredients at hand. From syrups and jellies to sprinkles and custards, top them, fill them, bake them or fry them. Doughnuts have a mouth-watering way of glazing and dusting their way into our shopping carts. They also slip into the break room at work to share.  

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalDoughnutDay

Stop at your favorite doughnut shop and indulge in a fresh doughnut or try making your own with one of the following recipes:

Best Baked Doughnuts Ever
Easy Drop Doughnuts
Easy Doughnuts
Chocolate Doughnuts

Use #NationalDoughnutDay to post on social media.


National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this doughnut holiday.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day® with National Day Calendar®!


November 5th History


Susan B. Anthony along with fourteen other women presented themselves for voter registration in Rochester, NY. After being permitted to register, they cast their ballots. Several days later, United States Commissioner William Storrs issued a warrant for their arrest.


Wyoming voters ratify the first constitution in the world granting full voting rights to women. 


George B. Selden receives the first U.S. patent for an automobile. Even though he never built a car, he collected royalties from car manufacturers for years.


Marie Curie gives her first lecture at the Sorbonne. After her husband’s death, she took over his role becoming the first woman professor at the Sorbonne.


Sinclair Lewis, the author of Arrowsmith, Mainstreet, and Babbitt, became the first U.S. writer to earn the Nobel Prize in Literature.


The voters of the United States elect Franklin D. Roosevelt to a third term for the first and only time in United States history. 

November 5th Birthdays

Ida Tarbell – 1857

The investigative journalist wrote a series of articles named The History of the Standard Oil Company and earned a name for her type of journalism – muckraking. However, the article exposed the unfair business practices of monopolies. She would later pursue advanced education at the Sorbonne and write several biographies.

James Ward Packard – 1863

In 1899, the industrialist co-founded the Packard Motor Car Company in Warren, OH. He remained the company’s president until 1909. In 1956, the last Packard rolled off the assembly line.

Evelyn Bryan Johnson – 1909

A colonel in the Civil Air Patrol, Bryan has logged more flying hours than any other woman in the world. In 1945, she earned her private pilot’s license, but that was only the beginning. Bryan would go on to earn her commercial license, become a flight instructor, and ran her own flying service.

Roy Rogers – 1911

The actor and singer appeared in more than 100 westerns, usually as himself.

Peter Pace – 1945

In 2005, Page became the first Marine to serve as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His already long career now encompassed increased efforts to overcome terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. He served two years in the position and retired from active duty after 40 years of military service.

Bryan Adams – 1959

The award-winning Canadian musician rose to fame in the early 1980s. His first taste of success came with his album Cuts Like A Knife.

Tatum O’Neal – 1963

The actress won her first award at the age of 10 for her role as Addie Loggins in the film Paper Moon.