Today is Doughnut Day (1 June) – an international celebration of the fried treat from the humble jam doughnut to extravagant creations topped with chocolate bars, biscuits and sweets.

London-based Doughnut Time has even created a trio of Mega Doughnuts, the size of a person’s head, for the occasion with prices range from £15 to £22.

The roots of the celebration, in its 80th year, stem from charitable work done by the Salvation Army during the First World War, when female officers braved the frontline to feed soldiers.

When rations were running low and cooking facilities limited, American Salvation Army officers based in France turned to doughnuts as a simple treat to serve.

“These Salvation Army officers became known as ‘doughnut lassies’ and the humble doughnut has since been connected with the First World War in American history – acknowledged in 1938 with the establishment of the first ‘Doughnut Day’, to be celebrated on the first Friday of June each year,” The Salvation Army said.

In celebration of the day, The Salvation Army will be handing out free doughnuts at its international headquarters near St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge this morning (1 June).

The organisation is also encouraging supporters to host their own Doughnut Days throughout June to raise money and awareness for its projects throughout the UK.

World War 1 doughnut recipe

The Salvation Army has released a recipe used by its workers during World War 1 to create doughnuts for the troops. It is as follows:


  • 7.5 cups of sugar
  • ¾ cup of lard
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 large cans evaporated milk
  • 3 large cans water
  • 18 cups all-purpose flour
  • 18 teaspoons baking powder
  • 7.5 teaspoons salt
  • 9 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 5 pounds of lard (for frying)


  • Cream sugar and lard together in a large bowl.
  • Add and beat eggs into mixture. Combine evaporated milk and water.
  • Add water mixture to creamed mixture.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in large sieve and sift into wet ingredients.
  • Add enough flour to make a stiff dough.
  • Roll and cut.
  • Fry the doughnuts in the lard.