People are just finding out what the 'hot' sign mean at Krispy Kreme

@justliveliv0/TikTok EWY Media/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I NEVER KNEW THIS’: People are just finding out what the Krispy Kreme Hot Light really means

'I always just thought it meant the donuts are fresh.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Apr 21, 2024   Updated on Apr 21, 2024, 11:50 am CDT

Liv (@justliveliv0) a TikToker and Krispy Kreme appreciator, shared her shock at learning the true meaning behind the donut brand’s ubiquitous Hot Light.

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While frequenting a Krispy Kreme location during its Hot Light hour to purchase herself an original glazed donut, Liv said the employee handed it to her for free, stating that she didn’t have to pay because “the hot light is on.”

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Taken aback, Liv was left with several questions: How long has this been a practice? How many free donuts has she missed out on her entire life? Is there a limit to how many donuts one could get? Is this really common knowledge?

Liv isn’t the only person who’s wondered aloud if hot light hour means that Krispy Kreme gives away free donuts— Food & Wine posed the same question and was able to get some clarification from the popular donut chain in a June 2023 article.

According to the outlet, which received a response from Krispy Kreme regarding the purported Hot Light free donut hour, that’s not what the neon sign means at all.

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I only ever got a free donut for my vaccination card 🧍🏾‍♀️

♬ original sound – JustLiveLiv

“Krispy Kreme’s communication department shot down the tall tale in an email, writing, ‘The Hot Light signals that donuts are hot and fresh coming off the line, not a free donut. Some shops sometimes offer samples, but that isn’t dependent on the Hot Light being on,'” a rep from the company was quoted as saying. Delish reported on this very same phenomenon, echoing the same findings that Food & Wine had about the Hot Light application.

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So when that hot light is turned on, what does it mean? Well, it turns out that Liv’s original understanding of that hot light just means its original glazed donuts are hot and coming fresh off of the assembly line. For folks who are excited about the prospect of having a Krispy Kreme OG glazed right as it’s made, they will want to stroll inside a location when that Hot Light is buzzing.

As the chain writes on its website: “Look out for the Hot Light™! Our Hot Light signals something really special. When we turn the light on, it means that our delicious Original Glazed® Doughnuts are available right at that very moment! So when you see the Hot Light on, stop in and get some hot Original Glazed® doughnuts.

The franchise even has a Hot Light indicator on its mobile application, too, which will let you know when fresh donuts are being made at nearby locations. And if you’re wondering when the Hot Light hour generally takes place, it purportedly goes on between 5am to 8am and 5pm to 8pm every day (some say 5 to 7) according to this r/AskReddit sub-post.

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Even though Food & Wine said Krispy Kreme refuted the idea that donuts are free during Hot Light hour, Krispy Kreme’s official account commented on Liv’s video, writing, “You learn something new every day!”

Another user wrote, “I worked there last year soooo when the hot light is on it means the doughnuts are hot but also when the hot light is on each customer is allowed one ‘hot light doughnut.'”

“It’s no way this many people didn’t know. This was a large piece of my childhood omg,” someone else said, adding more fuel to the Hot Light mythos.

Others shared in Liv’s genuine shock to learn that they could score themselves a free glazed donut during Hot Light hour.

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“I was coming to say, ‘maybe he liked you,’ but after reading these comments, I guess one is free when the hot light is on,” they wrote. “I NEVER KNEW THIS.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Krispy Kreme via email and Liv via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Apr 21, 2024, 2:00 pm CDT
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