15 National Food Holidays You Can Celebrate With Deals

Forget Labor Day or Memorial Day, what we're really interested in are national food holidays. Sure, you might not get the day off, but what you can get is free or discounted food. There are hundreds of days dedicated to food throughout the year. You may have heard of some of the more popular ones — such as Pi Day on March 14 — but there are also more obscure offerings, such as National Root Beer Float Day on August 6.

While they might not be worthy of federal holiday status, they're the perfect excuse to enjoy foods you love and save money while you do so. You could even rope food-loving friends or family members into getting in on the action with you and make an event of it.

Here are 15 national food holidays that you can celebrate with delicious deals. Discounts are more common than freebies, but you can undoubtedly find some free food throughout the year when you know where to look.

1. National Pie Day - January 23

January 23 of every year is National Pie Day (not to be confused with Pi Day). It started back in the mid-1970s in Colorado, when teacher Charlie Papazian declared to his students that his own birthday, January 23, would be National Pie Day (apparently it's not that difficult to declare your birthday as new holiday). In 1986, the American Pie Council started sponsoring the day and it only grew in popularity from there.

But if you're less interested in the history than the deals, here's where you should start paying attention. You'll find pie-based offers all over the nation, in both local and national eateries. Fans of sweet pies and savory pies will be equally happy, as there will be offers on both. Of course, deals change from year to year, but on previous pie days, we've found deals such as 25% off chocolate chip and pecan pies from Tate's Bake Shop and a free 6-inch sweet pie with every savory pie you order from Papa C Pies.

2. National Frozen Yogurt Day - February 6

Cynics might call it an interior version of soft-serve ice cream, but there's a place in our hearts for frozen yogurt. And, while the depths of winter might not seem the best time to celebrate this tasty treat, you should mark February 6 in your calendar because you can find some incredible deals on National Frozen Yogurt Day. This means frozen yogurt shops get the chance to boost their sales amid a winter slump and customers can cash in on some impressive discounts.

In previous years, some of the biggest names in frozen yogurt have offered buy-one-get-one-free deals, including TCBY, Yogurtland, and Menchie's. It varies from shop to shop, but toppings may be included, giving you the chance to load up your cup to your heart's content, without any extra cost. In some years, TCBY has even given customers their first 6 ounces of yogurt for free, only requiring customers to pay for anything over 6 ounces. So, February 6 is your chance to get some completely free fro-yo.

3. National Bagel and Lox Day - February 9

Before you've had a chance to recover from all the fro-yo you ate on February 6, National Bagel and Lox Day rolls around on February 9. Technically, this day is devoted to celebrating the traditional Jewish pairing of bagels with a type of brined salmon, known as lox, which is typically eaten with cream cheese. However, the day has turned into more of a general celebration of the bagel and is sometimes referred to as National Bagel Day.

Whether you'll settle for nothing but the most authentic New York bagels or you aren't too picky, there are options for you. In previous years, we've found offers such as a free bagel and schmear, with purchase, from Einstein Bros or a free bagel with every coffee from some Panera locations. In 2023, a collaboration between Utopia Bagels and Acme Smoked Fish saw free bagels and lox handed out to hungry New Yorkers who were willing to wait in line. Like other national food holidays, deals vary each year, so take a look at your favorite purveyors of bagels when the day draws nearer.

4. National Margarita Day - February 22

Margaritas might not classically count as food, but there's lime and salt involved and that's good enough for us to include it on this list. Celebrated on February 22 each year, it's also one of the bigger food and drink holidays, because who doesn't love a cheap margarita? As such, you shouldn't have to travel far to get your drink on. Plus, it's often restaurants that have the best National Margarita Day deals, so you can eat something good at the same time — and soak up some of that alcohol.

So, what kinds of deals can you hope to expect? Since it falls on 2.22, some establishments offer margaritas for just $2.22. In previous years, this has included Miller's Ale House and Bahama Breeze. Chili's usually knocks the price of a range of its margaritas down to just $5 on February 22 — plus you get a commemorative cup to take home. On The Border has also offered $5 house margaritas in honor of this important holiday.

5. National Pancake Day - dates vary

You'd be forgiven for confusing this holiday with British pancake day, which falls on Shrove Tuesday, but National Pancake Day is an IHOP invention. While the pancake day celebrated in the U.K. was traditionally about using up rich ingredients and animal products before Lent, this one is mostly about free pancakes.

While IHOP's National Pancake Day is inspired by Shrove Tuesday — or Fat Tuesday — it's held on varying Tuesdays around February or March. For instance, it was held on Tuesday, February 28 in 2023, and on Tuesday, March 1 in 2022. It's been running annually since 2006, although it was suspended in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you head to participating IHOP locations, you can get a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. However, it's worth noting that the day is intended as a way of raising money for the Children's Miracle Network and other local charities. So, while donating isn't mandatory, it's highly encouraged. Still, eating pancakes and donating money to a worthy cause are two reasons to feel good.

6. Pi Day - March 14

The preferred national food day of math nerds everywhere, Pi Day is really about the number Pi. It's celebrated on March 14 — or 3.14 — and 3.14 also happens to be the first three digits of Pi.

National Pi Day was made official by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. However, it was first marked in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, who arranged a Pi Day celebration at the San Francisco Exploratorium. It's really a day designated for the promotion of math and science education, but because Pi is a homophone of pie, celebrations often involve eating pie. And, of course, you don't have to have any interest in math to take advantage of the deals you'll find.

Although it's up for debate, many people consider pizzas a type of pie, so you'll often find discounts on pizza, as well as more traditional pies. Some of the best deals we've found from previous years include pizzas for $3.14 at Blaze Pizza and Your Pie. Although, you may have to jump through some hoops, such as joining Blaze Pizza's loyalty program. We've also seen Sbarro offering a free XL NY slice to members of its loyalty program when they buy a drink.

If you're looking for pie, rather than pizza, Goldbelly gives buyers an impressive 31.4% off its pies on Pi Day. Marie Callender's has also offered whole lemon meringue pies for $10.99 a piece in the past.

7. International Waffle Day - March 25

This might be International Waffle Day, not National Waffle Day, but we feel comfortable letting the whole world get in on the deals. The holiday originated in Sweden. In the Christian calendar, March 25 is Our Lady's Day, when the Angel Gabriel told Mary that nine months later she would be giving birth to Jesus. In Swedish, this day is known as Varfrudagen, which sounds a little like vaffeldagen or "waffle day." So, many Swedish people started eating waffles on March 25 and the tradition spread, eventually turning into International Waffle Day. Sacrilegious? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely.

If you're looking for some waffle deals of your own, Huddle House is usually a safe bet. It's previously offered a free waffle to anyone who spends more than $6 at participating locations. You might also find some local deals in your area, so it's worth keeping your ear to the ground. For instance, Queen City Cafe in Mercedes, Texas, gave customers 25% off waffles on International Waffle Day 2023.

8. National Pretzel Day - April 26

Whether you like them soft and warm from the oven or bite-sized and crunchy as a snack, April 26 is the day to celebrate your love of pretzels. Pretzels were brought over to the U.S. by German immigrants, many of whom settled in Pennsylvania and became known as the Pennsylvanian Dutch. Their popularity in the state prompted Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, to establish National Pretzel Day in 2003.

Not only can you celebrate pretzels in all their forms on April 26, but it's also a great day to pick up a freebie, with plenty of establishments offering free pretzels, rather than just discounts. On previous National Pretzel Days, we've seen free pretzels given away by several chains, including Philly Pretzel Factory, Wetzel's Pretzels, and Aunt Annie's. In most cases, there's no purchase necessary, so you'll get a free pretzel, with no strings attached. However, in some cases, you may need to join a loyalty program and there can be restrictions on what flavors you can choose.

9. National Hamburger Day - May 28

The history of hamburgers is long and somewhat disputed, but they seem to have started to gain popularity at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. However they got here, there's no denying the iconic status of the burger today. National Hamburger Day falls on May 28 each year, which roughly coincides with Memorial Day weekend. This is perfect if the weather's nice and you're planning to grill since you'll often find deals on uncooked hamburger meat in grocery stores, as well as ready-to-eat burgers.

While deals aren't the same every year and you may only know what's available a week or two ahead of time, you can usually find some great offers from popular fast-food chains. For instance, Wendy's has offered a free Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger with any in-app purchase and Burger King has given free hamburgers to Royal Perks members with any $1 purchase.

You don't have to miss out because you don't eat meat, as you'll often find deals on veggie burgers, too. Next Level Burger offered buy-one-get-one-free Beyond Burgers for National Hamburger Day 2022.

10. National Doughnut Day - first Friday in June

The first Friday of every June is an important one — it marks National Doughnut Day. The day has an unusual history as it was started by the Salvation Army in 1938 to pay homage to its "Donut Lassies" who assisted soldiers during World War I. The day might have been invented to honor people, not doughnuts, but you can still get plenty of great doughnut deals.

Because donuts are relatively inexpensive, you can often find some completely free on this day. In 2022, you could get a free cinnamon sugar doughnut from Duck Donuts with no purchase necessary. Krispy Kreme was also giving out a free doughnut without needing to buy anything. Plus, it gave a 50% discount on other purchases to anyone wearing a Krispy Kreme hat. Dunkin' was offering a free classic doughnut, but you had to buy a drink. Shipley Do-Nuts has offered a free doughnut with any purchase in previous years, but you had to get up early to claim this offer, as it was only available from 5 a.m. until noon.

11. National Ice Cream Day - third Sunday in July

With the summer heat making you feel ready for a cool-down, the third Sunday in July is the perfect day for National Ice Cream Day. Just, make sure to eat your scoop quickly, before it melts. It might not seem like the most important political business, but Ronald Reagan started the holiday in 1984. He declared that July would be National Ice Cream Month, going forward, and the third Sunday in July would be National Ice Cream Day. Whatever your stance on Reagan, we can all agree this was a good decision.

Some of our top deals from 2022 include $5 off a $15 spend at Baskin-Robbins, $1 off a chocolate-dipped cone at Dairy Queen, and $2 small cones at Fosters Freeze. Ice cream purists might not be impressed, but 16 Handles also offered a free 3-ounce frozen yogurt and toppings.

12. National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day - August 4

Arguably the best cookie flavor there is, the classic chocolate chip cookie definitely deserves its own day. Whether you like yours soft or crunchy, cakey or chewy, you're sure to find a National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day deal that appeals to you next August 4. It might seem like chocolate chip cookies should have always existed, but they were invented by Ruth Wakefield in the 1930s. She made them for the restaurant she ran, called the Toll House Inn, which is why, when she later sold the recipe to Nestle, the resulting cookies were known as Nestle Toll House Cookies. 

If you're looking for a free cookie, Insomnia Cookies might have what you're looking for. At least, it did in 2022, when it offered a free chocolate chunk, vegan chocolate chunk, or gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie with any purchase. You could also get a free cookie with any in-store or app purchase from I Heart Mac & Cheese. There are also plenty of discounts to be found, such as 25% off Lenny & Larry's cookies in previous years or free shipping on cookies from Levain Bakery in New York.

13. National Root Beer Float Day - August 6

It might be one of the more niche food holidays, but National Root Beer Float Day is worth celebrating, in our opinion. Consisting of a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a glass of root beer, a sunny August 6 is the perfect day to pay homage to this refreshing treat.

Although we can't guarantee the offer will keep going annually, A&W is usually good for a free root beer float. The way it's worked in past years is that you fill out a form and get sent a voucher for a free small root beer float, with no purchase necessary. Not only can you redeem this on National Root Beer Float Day but for a full 30 days from July 6 to August 6. While it's totally free, the restaurant encourages donations to Donations to Disabled American Veterans.

In 2022, Weinerschnitzel also offered a free root beer float. However, it was only available on August 6 and customers needed to make a purchase to redeem the offer.

14. National Taco Day - October 4

One of the nation's most popular foods, tacos have a rich history with their origins in Mexico. Traditional Mexican tacos are eaten with a soft corn tortilla, but if you prefer hard-shell tacos, these are an American invention. National Taco Day has been celebrated on October 4 since 2009, when it was invented by the fast-food chain, Del Taco, as a promotional marketing tool. While the holiday might not have a long history, it's worked up enough momentum that you can find some great deals.

As the originators of the holiday, you'll always find great deals at Del Taco on October 4, such as three beef tacos for $1.69. It also celebrates "Tactoberfest" all of October, with a variety of daily rewards available through the Del Yeah Rewards app. Taco Bell also has great offers on National Taco Day. In 2022, they sold Taco Lover's Passes for $10, which gave buyers one free taco a day for a month. Not only can you expect deals on tacos at Chuy's, but in previous years, customers have eaten for free if they dress as a taco.

15. National Sandwich Day - November 3

The term sandwich was coined because of the 4th Earl of Sandwich. It was first used to describe meat eaten between two slices of bread in the 1700s and legend has it that the Earl of Sandwich was a keen card-player who would often consume food between two slices of bread as an easy-to-eat snack while gambling. Even if it didn't get its current name until the 18th century, people have been eating food stuffed inside bread for thousands of years and the sandwich's true origins are much murkier. Wherever sandwiches came from, they're here to stay and National Sandwich Day on November 3 is your chance to celebrate that fact.

You can generally find plenty of buy-one-get-one-free sandwich offers on National Sandwich Day, which is good news if you want to enjoy a 'wich with a loved one. In 2022, eateries with BOGO deals included Subway, Popeyes, Potbelly Sandwich, and McAlister's Deli. Panera was also offering existing MyPanera members $1 off any sandwich for in-app orders.