Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme by Ginny (CC BY-ND)

19 Things You Didn’t Know About Krispy Kreme

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Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme by Ginny (CC BY-ND)
Mashed Potatoes
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You May Be Eating … Mashed Potatoes?

Go figure: That sugary doughnut may be partially made with a savory Thanksgiving favorite (and if you remember Spudnuts, it’s not such a foreign concept). Though the recipe is a closely guarded secret, the son of Krispy Kreme founder Vernon Rudolph has said the original doughnuts were made from “fluffed egg whites, mashed potatoes, sugar, shortening and skim milk … chilled and mixed with flour and then fried and covered in glaze.”


Related: Copycat Recipes You Can Now Make at Home

Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme

To Sell More Doughnuts, They Cut a Hole in the Wall

When Rudolph opened the first Krispy Kreme in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1937, he had a stroke of genius: Let the doughnuts sell themselves. To do that, he cut a hole in the side of the building and made it into a sales window, drawing passers-by with the sight and scent of the sugary treats. It’s a tactic the company still uses today. 


Related: Fast-Food Restaurants Then and Now

Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme by Kevin Harber (CC BY-NC-ND)

The ‘Hot Light’ Doesn’t Mean Freebies …

Krispy Kreme’s eponymous “Hot Now” neon sign means that fresh doughnuts are being pulled from the oven, but according to urban legend, it also means you can walk in and chow down on a sweet treat for free. While a smattering of stores may give out the occasional complimentary sample, the sad truth of the matter is that the light doesn’t actually mean freebies, Krispy Kreme says. 


Related: Urban Legends About Popular Foods Debunked

Smartphone displaying a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate in male's hand
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Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme by Mark Lee (CC BY-SA)

Its Parent Company Admitted to Nazi Ties

German conglomerate JAB Holdings, which also owns Keurig Dr Pepper, Panera, and other familiar names, acknowledged in 2019 that its major backers, the wealthy Reimann family, had a checkered past. Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., both now dead, supported Adolf Hitler, and the family’s factories used prisoners of war as forced laborers during World War II. The company said it would donate millions to charity after the revelations.  


Related: The Secret Histories of Popular Brands

Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme by Dan Brock (CC BY)

There’s a Krispy Kreme Road Race

Road races are a dime a dozen, but the annual Krispy Kreme Challenge is truly in a league of its own. The contest, held in Raleigh, North Carolina, requires participants to run 5 miles in under an hour. The twist? They also have to eat a dozen glazed doughnuts at the midway point. That’s just under 2,300 calories — or about 1,600 more calories than a 180-pound person clocking a respectable 8-minute mile would burn during the race.


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Old Fashioned Krispy Kreme Doughnut and Coffee Sign
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Shaq Owns a Krispy Kreme — and It Was Set on Fire

In 2016, former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal, an avowed doughnut lover, bought a landmark Atlanta Krispy Kreme and lent his starpower to the company as a spokesman. Earlier this year, the building caught fire in what was later ruled an arson. Officials have offered a $10,000 reward in the case, and the shop remains closed. 


Related: Restaurants and Bars Owned By Celebrities

Krispy Kreme Guiness Book of World Records
Krispy Kreme

It’s in the Guiness Book of World Records

In 2009, the Kuwait Food Company produced a replica Krispy Kreme box that was over 19 feet long, filling it with 2,700 doughnuts — a Guinness World Record. It tipped the scales at just under 300 pounds. Five years later, Krispy Kreme in the U.K. produced a 2,400-doughnut box as a contest prize that required eight employees to deliver it. 

Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme by Brecht Bug (CC BY-NC-ND)

You Can Sit Inside a Giant Krispy Kreme Box in Times Square

Speaking of overgrown doughnut boxes, the newly opened Krispy Kreme in Times Square includes stadium-style seating inside just that: A giant doughnut box. Other attractions include the world’s largest “Hot Light,” a massive glaze waterfall, and a 24-hour doughnut pickup window.

Wedding Donut Cake
Wedding Donut Cake by David Quitoriano (CC BY)

Brits Can Buy a Krispy Kreme Wedding ‘Cake’

Over in the U.K., Krispy Kreme offers full-blown special-occasion treats, including massive doughnut walls for events. But the true head-turner is an eight-tier tower of 216 assorted doughnuts, ideal for the unconventional bride and groom. It stands roughly 3 feet tall and includes five flavors of sugary goodness.

Selfridge's
icenando/istockphoto

A Single Doughnut Once Fetched Nearly $1,700

Further proving that the English have a lock on high-class doughnuts, in 2014, a Selfridges department store in London sold a Krispy Kreme for $1,685. It included champagne-infused jelly (Dom Perignon, of course), gold-dusted chocolate flowers, 24-karat gold leaf, and edible diamonds. It was served with a cocktail made with Courvoisier, and yet more Dom.

krispy kreme burger
krispy kreme burger by Rusty Gillespie (CC BY-NC)

Krispy Kreme Burgers are Totally a Thing

Though Krispy Kreme itself won’t be challenging McDonald’s for burger supremacy any time soon, you can find the chain’s Original Glazed doughnuts subbed in for burger buns at several restaurants and fair-food booths across the country. The caloric concoction, often known as the “Luther Burger,” is so named because it’s said to be a favorite of R&B crooner Luther Vandross.


Related: Bucket-List Food Experiences in Every State

Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme by Scott Ableman (CC BY-NC-ND)

Police Officers Once Mistook Glaze For Meth

Talk about glazed and confused. A Florida man was mistakenly arrested on drug charges after police thought the flakes of Krispy Kreme glaze on his car’s floorboards were actually pieces of crystal methamphetamine. He later received more than $37,000 in a settlement. 

Frosted doughnuts with blueberries
JeffKontur/istockphoto

Its ‘Fruit’ Doughnuts Spurred a Lawsuit

A California man sued Krispy Kreme for $5 million in 2016 for false advertising and fraud, saying the company was misleading customers because its blueberry and raspberry doughnuts lacked any actual health-enriching fruit. The case was later dismissed, with Krispy Kreme’s attorneys arguing that “no reasonable consumer would expect a doughnut to deliver the same level of antioxidants, for example, as green tea.”

Donuts with Colorful Sprinkles (Close-Up)
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There’s a Krispy Kreme Vending Machine

Whether a craving strikes at an inconvenient time or you just really, really want to avoid all human contact, if you happen to live in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can still satisfy your doughnut desires at the chain’s first-ever vending machine. The touchscreen wonder spits out packs of three doughnuts for $4 or $5, depending on the flavor. 


Related: Bizarre Vending Machines Around the World

Girl Scouts USA
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Doughnuts Are Powerful Fundraisers

As the Girl Scouts have long known, appealing to someone’s sweet tooth can be a pretty effective way to get them to shell out for a good cause. Organizations raised a cool $37 million in 2020 alone by selling Krispy Kremes at a markup.

Homemade Sweet Donuts with Pink Frosting
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It Made Homer Simpson’s Favorite Doughnut

Any self-respecting “Simpsons” fan knows that there’s no faster way to make Homer Simpson drool than by trotting out a pink-frosted doughnut topped off with a liberal coating of sprinkles. Krispy Kreme made the cartoon food a reality with its appropriately named “D’ohnut,” which was flavored with white chocolate truffle and strawberry. Sadly, it was only sold in Australia and New Zealand. 

holding a strawberry donut outdoors
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Krispy Kreme Candle
Amazon

You Can Buy Krispy Kreme Candles

If you just can’t get enough of that signature sugary scent, you can grab a Krispy Kreme candle to indulge without the calories. At least seven scents are out there, including Original Glazed, Raspberry Filled, Dulce De Leche, and (of course) the eponymous Pumpkin Spice.