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Is It 'Doughnuts' Or 'Donuts'?

Updated on September 24, 2021
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Margaret Minnicks has been a writer for many years. She writes about entertainment, celebrities, books, movies, foods, drinks, and health.

Which Spelling Is Correct?

The words have the same pronunciation, but they are spelled differently. So which is correct: doughnuts or donuts?

There are reasons Krispy Kreme spells its fried confectionery doughnuts and Dunkin' spells its products donuts. So what are the rules and why do the two franchises spell their sweet treats differently?

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is older than Dunkin' Donuts, but the chain is not in as many locations. Krispy Kreme was founded on July 13, 1937, and it has only 1,004 locations in 39 states and 23 countries compared to the number of locations Dunkin' Donuts has. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina based company employs 4,300 workers nationwide.

You don't always have to visit the physical locations to purchase Krispy Kreme Doughnuts because the products are sold in grocery stores, convenience stores, Walmart, Target, and Shaw's stores in the United States.

Krispy Kreme spells its items "doughnuts."

Dunkin' Donuts

It used to be easy to know what the spelling was in Dunkin' Donuts because it was part of the chain's name. In January 2019, the chain dropped the word "Donuts" from its name. Out of habit, long-time customers still refer to the chain by its former name.

Dunkin' (formerly Dunkin' Donuts) has 12,871 locations nationwide. The chain serves more than 5 million customers in 42 countries every year.

Dunkin' Donuts doesn't have coffee in its name, but it sells more than 1.8 billion cups of hot and iced coffee every year. The coffee is always fresh. If it is not sold within 18 minutes, what's left in the pot is discarded and a new pot is brewed. Besides donuts and coffee, Dunkin' also sells bagels and "Munchkins" donut holes.

Dunkin' wants to please its customer and makes it convenient for them to satisfy their sweet tooth. The chain will deliver right to the door of residents in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Those in other cities have to go to the restaurant to get their donuts.

Krispy Kreme
Dunkin' (Formerly Dunkin' Donuts)
Doughnuts not in title
Donuts used to be in title
Founded 1937
Founded in 1948 as Open Kettle; name changed in 1950. The word "Donuts" was dropped from the chain's name in January 2019.
1,004 locations
12,871 locations
In 39 states
In 42 states
In 23 countries
In 36 countries
Based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Based in Canton, Massachusetts
4,300 employees
1,859 employees
Slogan: "Make Today Special"
Slogan: "America Runs on Dunkins"
Serves several dozens of varieties
Serves over 50 varieties of donuts
$7.99 per dozen
$9.99 per dozen
Serves millions of customers every year
Serves 5 million customers every year
Annual Revenue: $518.7 million
Annual Revenue: $860.5 million

The Verdict

Americans consume more than 10 billion doughnuts every year. Both chains make them the same way. So, the spelling has nothing to do with how they are made or the taste of the fried confectionery.

"Doughnut" is the original spelling and has been around since the early 1800s. "Donut" has become more popular because it is shorter and easier to spell. Most dictionaries and official style guides prefer doughnut over donut. Technically, the word "donut" is a variant of "doughnut."

The word is spelled "doughnut" when used internationally, and the American version is "donut." That particular spelling started to become more popular in 1950 when Dunkin' Donut launched. The younger generation uses this spelling, especially on social media.

The conclusion is that both spellings are correct, but doughnut is the preferred spelling. However, donut has become acceptable. Therefore, it is a matter of personal preference which one you use and which one your computer's spell checker will accept.

"Doughnut" is the international spelling.

"Donut" is the American spelling.

Which spelling do you use?

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Which chain do you favor?

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