Malasadas (Hawaiian Donuts)

Warning!!! Turn back now if you don’t like deliciously fried foods!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

When I was in Hawaii, I discovered malasadas at the southernmost bakery in the country, Punalu’u. And. I fell in love. I’m telling you right now there’s absolutely nothing healthy about malasadas. They’re best described as a cross between a donut and fried dough, which I think says it all. So very good and so very bad all at the same time, right? Upon arriving back home, I discovered that it’s difficult to find malasadas in Boston. Not able to live without them for very much longer, I took it upon myself to make my own.

The recipe I used was not the best recipe, but I think I made the appropriate changes to it (it was really poorly written and confusing). I’m not even linking to the original recipe because it was such a disgrace and I made a million changes to it. Side note: Is nutmeg even meant to be in malasadas? Because it was in the ingredient list and then never told me where to add it. So I just threw some into the dough mixture.

Malasadas (Hawaiian Donuts):

  • 1 T rapid rise yeast
  • 1/4 C warm water
  • 3 C flour
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 C butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 C evaporated milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling


Ever since I made those cinnamon buns last month, I’ve been obsessed with using yeast. I know I sound crazy, but it’s just such a cool little thing and I’m loving it. Especially the fast rising instant variety.

Mix the rapid rise yeast with the melted butter, evaporated milk, water (120-130 degrees), 3 beaten eggs at room temperature, nutmeg, 1/4 C sugar, and half the flour.


Mix it well. And let it sit for 10 minutes.


Add the rest of the flour and mix well. Then let it rise in a warm, draft-free area for about an hour. Or until it doubles in size.

This is what mine looked like when I finished mixing in the flour.


And this is what it looked like after the hour was up. Gah, I love yeast!! And I’m a big nerd.


Now we’re ready for the FUN part. Let’s get our fry on. OK, so you want to heat your vegetable oil to 375 degrees. You should have a candy thermometer to ensure your oil is at the right temp (if it’s too hot, your malasadas will burn on the outside and not cook through on the inside. And if it’s not hot enough, they’ll just sit in there and get gross).

Make 2-3 inch balls with your malasada dough. And cook for about 6 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.


Because the temperature of the oil was right, the dough balls floated to the surface. Which meant i had to turn them to make sure they got cooked on both sides.

Oh hi, I love frying things.


Set the malasadas on a paper towel to cool a little bit. Try not to pop them in your mouth right away. You’ll burn yourself.


Then either roll the malasadas in 1/2 C sugar or put in a bag with sugar and shake.


Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar.


And dig in. To amazingness. I was instantly transported right back to Hawaii. Well, kind of. But I was pretty much in heaven eating warm, fried, doughy, sugary goodness.


But unlike when I was in Hawaii, I don’t have to put on a bathing suit any time soon, so I didn’t feel so bad about eating more than one.


These were wonderful, but not exactly what I had in Hawaii. Does anyone have the ultimate malasada recipe? I really need an excuse to make these again. And soon! Or else, just give me something else to fry that will be delicious. Bonus points if yeast is involved.


18 Responses to "Malasadas (Hawaiian Donuts)"

  1. Sharon says:

    Sues…these look absolutely amazing. I looked for them on and found a recipe for them in the Sept. 2000 issue of Bon Appetit. Check it out…they’re similar but use vanilla instead of the nutmeg. Yum…do you have any leftovers?

  2. s says:

    Leftover pancake batter plus Oreos. Once in a blue moon, though. I’ve been clean since 2007 🙂

  3. RichardA says:

    Malasads are actually of Portuguese origin, and were brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants. Locally, they are supposed to be found at the Cross St. Market & Deli, 72 Cross St., Somerville. But you must request them after 10:30am on weekends.

  4. liz says:

    1st time commenter, enjoy the blog…transplanted MA gal now in FL….
    wow, you are great to try to make these from scratch! if you are ever in Fall River or the New Bedford, areas, you can find these at any Portuguese bakery – there are/were a lot of Portuguese transplants in Hawaii and that’s why you found them there.

  5. Megan says:

    1) I love yeast too…its so exciting!
    2) These look insane.

  6. Southern Most Bakery doesn’t have anything on these WANM doughnuts!

  7. The Duo Dishes says:

    Not afraid to fry! They’d be worth it.

  8. These stunned me so much, I just had to lick the screen.

    I’ve never heard of hawaiin donuts before but they sure looks good. Yummm yummm yoooo.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. These look amazing! I loooove your blog, and your recipes! I just moved to Boston, so I know what you mean about wanting something warm for the cold days 🙂

  10. megan says:

    oh yum, these look delicious! I’ve never made any sort of donut before, but I’ve always wanted to try.

  11. Katie says:

    these look soo good! i don’t know what could be better than a cross between a donut and fried dough! (and i hope you make them again soon) 🙂

  12. Angie says:

    My grandmother is Portuguese and actually from New Bedford, MA. I know the bakeries down there make them. We roll ours in cinnamon sugar, but the powdered sugar looks yummy too. I’ll see if I can dig up her orginial recipe if you’d like it, since I use a semi-homemade recipe where you can make them from canned biscuits. 🙂

  13. Sarah says:

    I went to UH a long time ago and fell in love with malasadas. I have moved to Boston and looked all over for them…. just found a place that carries them in Somerville: Cross Street Market & Deli. They serve them only on Sat & Sun, though.

  14. MAG says:

    I couldn’t get enough of these when I was in Hawaii this past May-June. We visit Hawaii once or twice a year & always look for these at the farmers market. If anyone going, they have farmers market almost everyday (at different places). They are to die for.

  15. Shonda says:

    I have been to the same bakery in Hawaii too and I was wondering if you have any ideas how they flavor the dough? We got several. The passion fruit and guava malasadas were AMAZING!!! They were not filled though – the dough was pink and then they also made the same flavor of glaze.
    Your malasadas look the most similar to Pu’unaluau’s. Thank you for sharing the recipe. What a treat!

  16. Nahea says:

    Aloha Sues, yes yes yes, is all I can say! Mahalo for bringing the your recipe and lovely experience out for all to see. Home,yes I miss home and growing up making Malasadas with my mother and aunts. My sister has the old recipe that your story has reminded me of… and yes, some of the other comments are correct, the recipe is from Portugal, my Great Great Grandmother brought her recipe (and lots more fried stuff too) from the Azores when they came to Hawaii (Big Island), they were the first wave of portuguese emigrants to the islands in the late 1800. Mixing is tough and that’s why I helped make them, I was the muscle for my mom. such fond memories~ now I’m stuck here in Chicago too! Thank you so much or as we say in Hawaii, ‘Mahalo nui loa’

  17. Robin says:

    New Bedford Mass. The best place for Malasadas is “My Place” on sunday morning…Love it

  18. Margaret says:

    Our taxi driver took us to a bakery that had t-shirts up on the back wall. The malasadas were fantastic! I do not remember the name of the store but the donuts were just like my Slovenian grandmother made called krofe. Not sure if I spelled it correctly but it sounds like crow-feh. They were fried in oil and most delicious, just like the malasadas!

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