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Hawaiian Favorites: Malasadas, the Portuguese Doughnut Recipe

Living in Hawaii for 25 years allowed me to experience wonderful food and fortunate enough to be given recipes for some of my favorites.


What is a Malasada?

To put it simply, malasadas are the most incredible, sweet, buttery, crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, melt in your mouth Portuguese doughnut you will ever taste!

Malasadas, traditionally spelled malassadas, originated on the small island of Sao Miguel, which is found in the Azore Islands. This collection of islands are composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.

This unique pastry has been loved by many people for so many years.
A favorite in Hawaii, you will find (without any trouble at all) many establishments who make these little pastry gems. At local fairs and carnivals, there will always be a booth selling malasadas. Because of it's popularity, people will wait in line for hours just to get their brown paper bag of warm malasadas.

In 1952, the grandson of a Portuguese immigrant opened a small quaint place called Leonard's Bakery and sold the first commercially produced malasadas. Sixty years later, Leonard's is still going strong while keeping the tradition of the malasada alive.


How to Make Mouth Watering Malasadas!

Anyone can make malasadas. They are a very simple pastry to make. Be sure to have all your ingredients and supplies handy. Once you start making malasadas, you will see just how easy they are, but your family and friends will think you had slaved in the kitchen for hours!

Preparation and Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour 30 min

40 min

2 hours 10 min

30-40 Malasadas

Ingredients *(double your ingredients to make a bigger batch)

  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water, (approximately 110 degrees)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-n-half
  • coatings granulated sugar -OR-, (mixture of: sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg)
  • coconut or avocado oil, be sure to use an oil for high heat

Equipment Needed for Making Malasadas

  • Deep fryer or a large, deep pot, or WOK
  • Electric mixer, with a dough mixing tool
  • Whisk
  • Rolling pin
  • Slotted spoon
  • Sharp knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • 1 Small mixing bowl
  • 2 larger mixing bowls (1 that is lightly coated in oil)
  • An open, flat surface for rolling the dough in flour

Step by Step Instructions

  1. In the small mixing bowl, combine yeast and warm water together, stir and set aside. In the large bowl (without oil coating), beat 6 eggs on medium-fast speed with electric mixer until they are light and fluffy. (Set beaten eggs aside while you replace your beaters with dough hook on your mixer) Place eggs back onto mixer and add the following: yeast mixture, ¼ cup melted butter, ¾ cup of sugar, 1-1/2 cups of whole milk, ½ cup of half-n-half, and salt.
  2. On slow-medium speed, begin mixing all the ingredients together. Slowly add the flour (1 cup at a time) until the dough begins to softly form into a large ball. Once the dough ball is formed, place it in the large bowl that is coated with oil. Tightly cover the bowl with saran (plastic) wrap. Place a kitchen towel on top for added warmth if you would need to speed up the “rising” process a bit. The dough needs to double in size and shape. This will take approximately 1-1/2 hours to reach the correct size. *(Rising process depends on how warm the area is where you place your bowl. Find a warm spot and remember to cover the bowl with a kitchen towel to help the dough rise faster)
  3. Once the dough rises completely, begin heating the oil in the pot, wok, or deep fryer until it reaches a temperature of 350 degrees. *Tip: Using a deep fryer is more convenient as it allows you to see the temperature of the oil and allows you to make sure the oil stays at the temperature while cooking the malasadas. It is also a little safer as they have baskets that can be lowered into the fryer which helps eliminate the risk of burns from oil splattering. I have always used a wok when frying my malasadas and have had no issues, however, you always want to wear an apron while deep frying anything, whether it is in a deep fryer, pot or wok).
  4. Spread flour on a flat even surface to make rolling the dough out easier. Roll the dough out to a thickness of a ¼ inch. Using a sharp knife, cut your dough into 1 inch sized squares. Drop the pieces of dough squares into the heated oil. Stir often to avoid them becoming stuck to each other or getting uneven spots of brown. Fry the squares 2-4 minutes depending on your preference of browning.
  5. If you are not using a deep fryer, remove the malasadas with a slotted spoon to help the excess oil drain away as you place them on a bed of 2-5 paper towels. Before the malasadas cool, roll them in the remaining white sugar (or sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg mix). Serve warm. *Tip (I also place 2 cups of sugar in a brown paper bag and place the warm malasadas in the bag to coat them. Easier and less messy!)

A Few Helpful Tips On Making the Perfect Masada

1. Be sure to maintain your oil for frying your malasadas at 350 degrees.

2. Be sure to mix your dough thoroughly until the consistency is smooth and without any lumps.

3. Three minutes is the most common time for deep frying your malasadas. The best indication is that a nice golden brown shade will develop on the outside which will indicate they are done. However, some people prefer their malasadas lighter (2- 2 ½ minutes) and others prefer a darker brown (4 minutes)

4. Be sure to role or coat your malasadas immediately after a quick draining on the paper towels.

5. Malasadas are the best when eaten while still warm, however, they can be reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds (on High).

Rate this recipe for Malasadas

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Liz Rayen

Comments: Hawaiian Favorites: Malasadas, the Portuguese Doughnut Recipe

Liz Rayen (author) from California on October 30, 2016:

Sweet Daisy....The next time I am up your way.. I will bring you a batch! Count on it! :)

ChitrangadaSharan.... I Hope you have the chance to make them..but fair warning...once you try them.. you will have to make them frequently! :)

teaches12345... exactly!!! ha! I have had to limit my batches to 3 per year.. too many malasadas makes to much Lisa!..Oh... but so worth it! :)

Mary615.. I LOVE funnel cakes. Hope you have the opportunity to make these. Please let me know if you do!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 28, 2015:

Great hub, great recipe and wonderful presentation!

I have not heard of this earlier but now that I know, would love to try this. Thanks for sharing the details!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on September 27, 2015:

Lisa / Elizabeth / Rusticliving,

I returned to read your article another time while I'm drinking my morning coffee. You only live about 100 miles from me. Do you think you could deliver a huge box of malasadas?

Dianna Mendez on July 03, 2015:

If I made these I could not stop at just one; what a delicious treat! Thanks for the education and recipe of this sweet.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 19, 2015:

These remind me of the Funnel cakes we make, but we don't use yeast. I have bookmarked this Hub so I can try some of these!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on May 28, 2013:

LOL vocalcoach.. Let's just say it's a good thing we aren't close to Solvang!! *wink wink* yourself woman! ♥

I will surprise you with these after the show is over. Until then.. tis I who should get breakfast in bed.. Just sayin!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 28, 2013:

I'm back again and reminding you that you have not fulfilled your promise to me in your earlier comment (above ). Just sayin * wink, wink *

Love this mouth-watering recipe of yours. Perhaps I'll get breakfast in bed soon. :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on May 28, 2013:

Thank you vibesites! I certainly appreciate your comment!♥

vibesites from United States on May 28, 2013:

Your description of the malasada is tempting! Thanks for sharing your recipe. :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on May 19, 2013:

So do I T.A. Woods! Thank you for stopping by! Mahalo nui loa ♥

T.A. Woods on May 19, 2013:

I just saw these via my fb feed. I love malasadas!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on January 03, 2013:

Thank you Silva Hayes. I'm sure they will. Kids love these, but I have to admit.. I love'm too! :) Happy New Year!

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on January 03, 2013:

Wow, these sound wonderful! Printing and saving. My granddaughters will go wild over these . . .

Liz Rayen (author) from California on December 01, 2012:

Wow. It is a small world Keala! That is so wonderful to meet one of his childhood friends. Feel free to look for me on facebook under my name and I'd be happy to talk with you. Thanks for the wonderful compliment. It's a pleasure to meet you! Looking forward to reading yours as well :)

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on December 01, 2012:

OMG! Keith and I were childhood chums. Lived less than a quarter mile from him on Pelehu Road closer to Kapa'a High School. We played on the same Little League team, the Phillies. I was the pitcher; he was the catcher. I was in his graduating class. What a small world!

I'm so sorry to hear that he passed away. It must have been so hard for you and the family.

Reading through your profile, I was really impressed with your accomplishments. Good for you!

Looking forward to reading more of your hubs!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on December 01, 2012:

Oooo I just made a batch of malasadas last week! :) Ya know.. for a quick fix, that pillsbury dough recipe might do the trick! I love Simone! She is awesome! I love Haruko as well. My mother -in -laws name was Tomoko, which I also adored. Yes, I was married to Keith Furugen who graduated in 1970. (He passed away 5 years ago this Feb). I take it you know the family? :)

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on December 01, 2012:

Before I read more of your hubs, I wanted to get some malasada motivation. Oh, I love malasadas! My niece made some in a jiffy by taking Pillsbury dough and cutting each biscuit in half, coating with sugar, and deep frying. Ono, but definitely not the same as the old-fashioned those made from following your wonderful recipe above.

I also noted that Simone Smith (above) stopped by to read this hub. Girl, I am impressed! I love her middle name because it's my mom's Okinawan name--Haruko!

Always nice to run into another islander! You'll be hearing from me from time to time. Aloha!

P.S. Are you related to any Furugens who may have graduated from Kapa'a High School in or before 1970?

Liz Rayen (author) from California on October 27, 2012:

You are most welcome Phyllis! I hope you do try it.. you will love it! It's as close to Leonard's as you can get! Mahalo nui for your comment! :)

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on October 27, 2012:

Lisa, I must try this recipe. I have been searching for a good doughnut recipe and this seems like what I want. Thank you so much for writing this hub.

I bookmarked this and voted up, useful, awesome and interesting -- for it is.

Liz Rayen (author) from California on October 16, 2012:

ummmmm mom.. I mean vocalcoach... I think you are forgetting one thing.. the reason you are coming here is to serve US breakfast in bed. *shaking head*... I feel as if we need to have another talk. LOL

Thank you for your compliments, votes and shares VC....... and BTW.... I will serve you breakfast in bed ANY time your little heart desires! (Anything to keep you out of the public restrooms) Love you!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on October 16, 2012:

Oh ishwaryaa22... I hope you do make them. They are so yummy and are wonderful with coffee or tea. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, votes, and pins! Enjoy! :)

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 16, 2012:

I can vouch for these mouth-watering and oh, so delicious malasadas. While living in Hawaii, I couldn't get my fill. You're recipe is just marvelous. I expect to be served with malasadas once a week (breakfast in bed) in a few short months:)

Your presentation is out-standing. Love how you integrated the opening image of malasadas with the Hawaiin Islands, etc. Genius!

Voted up and across (not funny) and sharing all over the place. A huge thanks!

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on October 16, 2012:

I have not heard of malasadas till now thanks to you! They sound & look delicious! I have the mentioned ingredients here. I have a sweet tooth and also enjoy trying international foods. Hence I would like to try your tasty recipe. A wonderful hub with drool-worthy pictures, detailed instructions and vibrant dividers!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & pinned

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 26, 2012:

Just made these the other day... ohhhh yummy! Didn't last too long though! LOL

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 25, 2012:

They don't last too long in my household either LaThing! lol Thanks for stopping by! :)

Oh they are! They are vespawolf! Thank you so much! :)

Ahhhh peoplepower73... one who is "in the know!" Your wife is very wise! :) Thanks for the shares and vote! :)

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 25, 2012:

We love malasadas. Every time we go to Hawaii we buy them and eat them right away. When we are on Hawaii, we would go to Tex's. They have the best. When we were in Maui, we went to the Komodo Bakery in Up Country in Mackawo (sp). They were the best. We won't be cooking them here though, my wife says they are too delicious to be having them around. They are just for vacations. In a way, I'm glad she said that because we are both on diets. Great recipe, voting up, useful and sharing.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on June 25, 2012:

These donuts sound melt-in-the-mouth fabulous! Thanks for your very detailed and thorough recipe.

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on June 25, 2012:

These sounds wonderful! I am sure these won't last that long in my house.... Have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing with us. Awesome!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on June 18, 2012:

Mmmmmm! Thanks for sharing this! Yum!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 09, 2012:

Thank you Sharyn. Your doughnut shop sounds like Leonard's in Hawaii.. been around for ages and very popular. This recipe has been tried and tried again without fail. Whenever my kids performance group would have a fundraiser, this is what we would sell. Great stuff! :)

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on June 09, 2012:

Lisa, these look so delicious. We have a doughnut shop near my home that is such a treat. They are like you describe here, i.e., crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. This is not the chain "Krispy Cremes." It's a privately owned tiny little shop called Jackfrost Donuts. They have been in business for at least 50 years. They are my favorite. I've often asked about their recipe and they will not speak about it. It's patented I guess. But I should try your recipe, it looks great!


Joseph De Cross from New York on June 05, 2012:

Now that is a scary answer!! Watch it George Clooney!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 05, 2012:

LOL lord....ya never know. ;)

Joseph De Cross from New York on June 05, 2012:

Good idea Rustic!! Send it via Courier, please!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 05, 2012:

Thank you so much Simone. They are very delicious. I wish everyone lived close to me so I could make up a great big batch and share them! :)

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on June 05, 2012:

I had never heard of malasadas before. They sound delicious! Love the beautiful images you've shared- plus the background!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

Thank you alocsin! Even though they are one of Hawaii's favorites, because they are Portuguese doughnuts, could possibly be the reason they aren't quite as popular in the mainland as much. Just my rationalization on this. lol

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 02, 2012:

I've never heard of these, which is odd, because we have so many Hawaiian restaurants in Southern California. Time to go on a hunt for them since they sound delicious. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

Mahalo brittanytodd! I love it when a someone from Hawaii knows exactly what I'm talkin' about! Aloha sista!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

Ohhh Tammyyyyy... it's so good to see you! You will love these. they are scrumptious! (HHHHUGSSSSS)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

Thank you so much klarawieck! I hope you do. Once eaten, you'll be making them more often than you think.LOL

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

hahaha Susan.. ironically, I feel the same way about your recipes! ((HUGS))

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

well, you see Lord.. samples aren't even in your vocabulary! With you, I would have to double the batch and then make sure 1/2 of that batch is set aside just for you! ((hugs))

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

Very cool Angela! They are so yummy! When you get the opportunity to make them, add a little cinnamon and nutmeg to the sugar and then coat the doughnuts..mmmm My favorite! Thank you so much! :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 02, 2012:

I bet you do Vocal coach! They are the best aren't they? Thank you for your wonderful comments! :)

Brittany Kennedy from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on June 02, 2012:

Yum! One of my favorite foods being from Hawaii and being Portuguese! Thank you for the excellent recipe! Shared on FB and Twitter.

Tammy from North Carolina on June 02, 2012:

These look fabulous! What a wonderful recipe. I have made doughnuts before. I am definatley going to have to give these a try. Excellent!

klarawieck on June 02, 2012:

This made my mouth water. I'll be trying this recipe this summer. Just reading your description made me hungry. Thanks for sharing. I must try this one this summer.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on June 02, 2012:

Wow these doughnuts sound delicious! If I make these I already know I'll have to tipple the recipe.

Pinning, sharing and rating.

Joseph De Cross from New York on June 02, 2012:


Translation: Yummy with a portuguese flavouring. These recipes are sending me to the get some food. Great explanation and easy to do. Well, where is the SAMPLER button?

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 02, 2012:

I have never had the opportunity to try Malasada's so now I can!!! Thank you! Great hub!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on June 02, 2012:

Oh, how I remember Malasadas! While living in Hawaii, I went nuts over these tasty delights. I can even taste them now after reading your excellent step-by-step recipe combined with wonderful photos.

You have such an amazing way of making your hub recipes smell so good. :-)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 01, 2012:

LOL sgbrown... I totally agree! I've already tried about 5 recipes on HubPages and yes... I ate more than my share. :)

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on June 01, 2012:

These sounds soooo good! I have never heard of them before, but they are going to be a "have to try" recipe. I swear, I think HubPages is going to make me fat! Voted this up, useful and sharing on my hub! Have a great day! :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 01, 2012:

Hi Vellur! So nice to see you! Thank you so much for the vote up! Have a great day!

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 01, 2012:

ooo they are North Wind! If you ever get the chance to make them, trust me, you'll make them again and again. :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 01, 2012:

Thank you so much TheRightWord! :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 01, 2012:

Thank you billybuc! They are really yummy. I prefer to add the cinnamon and nutmeg to my sugar coating. Gives it that extra "something" :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 01, 2012:

Thanks Kelley! Once you have all the ingredients and things you need to make them, they are so easy..and are also great for goodie bags (baskets). :)

Liz Rayen (author) from California on June 01, 2012:

When you do, be sure to try to get them from Leonard's Bakery. There are other places that make them and they are very good.. but Leonard's is the best! Thank you Natashalh! :)

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 01, 2012:

Yummy, delicious recipe!! and easy to make too. Voted up.

North Wind from The World (for now) on June 01, 2012:

Never heard of these but they sound good and look delicious!

TheRightWord from Sunny California on June 01, 2012:

Excellent, detailed directions and sounds yummy.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 01, 2012:

I'm always amazed by how little I know! I have never heard of this but it sure sounds delicious. Just might have to give it a try! Great recipe and hub!

kelleyward on June 01, 2012:

Awesome recipe Lisa! I'll have to try these soon! Didn't have them in Hawaii but they sound great! Kelley

Natasha from Hawaii on June 01, 2012:

When I visit HI, I will have to seek these out! I'd never heard of them - thanks for enlightening me. Voted awesome!

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