Five Filled Malasada on a wooden tray with a cup of coffee

Hawaiian Malasada Recipe | Plain or Filled

Hawaiian Malasada are sugar-covered light and fluffy, fried donuts. Sweet, fluffy, eggy dough that fries up beautifully make Malasadas a popular treat in Hawaii!

But Malasadas aren’t actually Hawaiian at all!

What are Hawaiian Malasadas?

Malasadas originally came from Portugal to Hawaii with Portuguese immigrants in the late 1800s that went to work on the plantations. These immigrants often came from Madiera and the Azores, where malasadas are still very popular!

Malasada actually means ‘badly baked’, which may make you wonder if you want to eat one. Trust me, you do! Malasada got its name from its crispy exterior and soft interior.

These delights are often served on Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, just before the beginning of Lent. Fat Tuesday is a day when sugary and luscious foods are enjoyed before entering a period of restraint.

Traditional Malasadas do not have holes in them and are not filled. More recently, bakeries have filled them with haupia (a coconut pudding), guava, dobash (chocolate filling), or other types of custard fillings.

The best Malasada in Hawaii is at Leonard’s Bakery.

Five Filled Malasada on a wooden tray with a cup of coffee

Malasadas vs. Donuts

Some may wonder if there is a difference between malasada and regular doughnuts (or donuts – which is it, really???).

The difference is one that you will taste with the first bite. Malasada are very light and fluffy and distinctly eggy.

You’ll notice that this recipe contains 5 large egg yolks and no whites. (I save the egg whites for macarons or meringues) but adding the egg whites to this recipe would weigh down the dough slightly as well as dry the dough out faster.

By using only egg yolks, you get the eggy flavor without the drying effect of the egg whites in the dough.

How to Store

Hawaiian Malasadas taste best the day they are made.

You can extend the shelf-life by storing the malasada in an airtight container, either at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

If you fill your Hawaiian Malasada, they will require refrigeration. Store them in a bag or container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Three filled Hawaiian Malasada in a wooden bowl with spoons of lemon curd filling

Filling your Hawaiian Malasada

Traditional Malasadas are not filled. It is popular now, though, to fill them with a myriad of different curds, custards, or creams.

Haupia is a coconut custard that is very popular but I have also filled them with whipped curds or plain curds. You could also use a box of pudding in any flavor that you desire.

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Three Malasada donuts stacked on top of each other on a wooden plate

Hawaiian Malasadas | Plain or Filled

Hawaiian Malasadas are soft and fluffy doughnuts from Portugal that have become a stable snack in the Hawaiian Islands! Traditional not filled, you can choose to fill them with haupia or other fillings!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Proofing Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 16
Calories 237 kcal


  • Stand Mixer optional, but makes this recipe faster and easier
  • Large Bowl
  • Fryer or Deep Heavy Bottomed Pot
  • Spider or Slotted Spoon for removing doughnuts from grease


  • 3/4 cup water warm
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp butter unsalted, very soft
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 egg yolks large, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar for rolling finished donuts
  • Canola Oil for frying


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk together the water and the yeast. Stir together and set aside until the yeast becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Put the milk, butter, sugar, yolks, salt, and the milk powder into the bowl with the yeast. With the paddle attachment, mix together briefly. Add half of the flour and mix until the flour is incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and, with the mixer still running, add the rest of the flour a scoop at a time.
  • Mix on medium speed for 6 to 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  • Spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray and transfer the dough to it. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature for about an hour, until almost doubled in size.
    —You can proof the dough in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours instead of at room temperature for one hour. This will allow more flavor to build up during the proofing process.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Using a doughnut cutter without a hole or a 2 1/4-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut as many malasadas as you can. Place the cut-out donuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Gather the scraps, reroll, and cut again until you have used up all of the dough. If the dough resists rolling, allow it to rest for 10 minutes to let the gluten relax.
  • Cover the cut-out malasadas with cling wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size.
  • To fry the malasadas, fill a large pot with canola oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil to 360 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with paper towels and fill a bowl with granulated sugar for dipping.
  • Cut the parchment paper that the malasadas are on into squares, being careful not to touch the cut-out doughnuts. When the oil is ready, pick up one square with a malasada on it and place it in the oil. Add more as allowed by the size of your pan. They should have room to float around without touching. Be sure to check the temperature often as it will drop when malasadas are added.
  • Remove the pieces of parchment paper as the malasadas release in the oil. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Remove the malasadas with a spider or a slotted spoon and drain them on the paper towels. While they are still hot, roll them around in the sugar until they are completely coated on the outside.
  • Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. If you are filling your malasadas, wait until they are completely cooled before piping in the filling.


Serving: 1malasadaCalories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 258mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 220IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 2mg
Keyword donuts, doughnuts, filled doughnut, hawaiian doughnut, leonard’s bakery, malasada, potugeuese doughnut, sugar donut
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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