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Is It 'Doughnuts' Or 'Donuts'?

Updated on June 24, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.

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

Dunkin' Donuts has over 15,000 locations nationwide. The chain serves more than 5 million customers in 41 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.

Dunkin' Donuts wants to please its customer and make 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.

You can see how Dunkin' Donuts spells "donuts" because the word is part of its name.

Krispy Kreme
Dunkin' Donuts
Doughnuts not in title
Donuts in title
Founded 1937
Founded in 1948 as Open Kettle; name changed in 1950
1,004 locations
12,000 locations
In 39 states
In 41 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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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Brad Masters, thanks a lot for your comments. I will go back and revise my article to reflect Dunkin' name change. That hadn't happened when I first wrote the article.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago


      Delicious article

      Krispy Kreme not that popular in CA

      Dunkin donuts finally made a presence in S Ca last year

      And Dunkin does have its own coffee brand, they even sell it in the supermarkets.

      Now the update

      Dunkin’ Donuts has made it official. Beginning in January, it will just be known as Dunkin’.

      The Massachusetts-based fast food chain made the announcement at a convention for franchisees.

      The new Dunkin’ logo will first appear on cups, bags and other packaging, according to a news release, but eventually it will appear on interior and exterior signage, according to a news release.

      It’s a massive undertaking. There are more than 12,600 locations in 46 countries.

      The transition will take several years, according to the company. Franchisees won’t have to change signage to an existing store until they do a remodel, which is required every 10 years.

      The new branding is intended to reflect the popularity of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee beverages and send the message that the company is about more than baked goods, even though they will still serve them.

      In that respect, it resembles a recent publicity stunt by IHOP. In June, the casual restaurant chain famed for its pancakes announced that it was changing its name to IHOB to draw attention to a new line of burgers.

      But IHOP’s campaign was aimed at social media and didn’t lead to any permanent changes, whereas the Dunkin’ name change is the real deal.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Louise, we have both Krispy Kreme Doughnut and Dunkin' Donut in addition to other places that sell doughnuts here in the USA. What do you have in your country? Do you have something similar?

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      I don't have either a Krispy Kreme Doughnut or Dunkin' Donut store where l live, but I wish I did. I do love donuts, or doughnuts lol.


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