picture of tray of malasadas on marble backdrop

About These Malasadas

First things first—what are malasadas?

Malasadas are light and fluffy Hawaiian donuts rolled in granulated sugar and usually filled with a tropical fruit flavored custard, curd, or cream.

And these homemade Hawaiian donuts are relatively easy to make, thanks to a dough that comes together in just 15 minutes and is proofed overnight! The dough is then shaped into donuts, deep-fried, and filled with a tangy passion fruit-flavored pastry cream.

They are SO incredibly tasty and currently one of my favorite donut recipes on Hummingbird High!

@hummingbirdhigh this sound is my everyday manifestation #donuts #baking #malasadas #bakingrecipe ♬ original sound – masood_boomgaard

Wait, are malasadas Portuguese?

Although malasadas are Portuguese in origin, Portuguese immigrants introduced them to the island in the late 1800s. They remain popular in Hawaii to this day. Several bakeries on the island continue to specialize in and make malasadas. You can read all about them in this Eater article about Honolulu’s Best Malasada Bakeries.

photo of stack of malasadas on gold wire rack

Why You Should Make The Recipe

Here are all the reasons to make this malasada recipe:

This malasada recipe makes authentic Hawaiian donuts based on Leonard’s Bakery.

I adapted the recipe from my friend, Alana Kysar. She is a a food blogger and cookbook author known for her Hawaiian recipes. In her book, she writes that her recipe was inspired by Leonard’s Bakery, a Honolulu bakery famous for its malasadas!

The recipe is small batch and only makes 6 donuts; however, it can easily be customized to make more.

Real Talk: unless you’re serving a big crowd or throwing a party, no regular-sized household is going to eat a dozen donuts in one sitting. And malasadas are best the day they’re made—leftovers tend become equal parts dry, stale, oily, and heavy.

So my solution? Scale the recipe down to a smaller batch. This recipe makes just 6 Hawaiian donuts. It’s the perfect size for a small household of 2 to 6 people!

And if that sounds like TOO small of a batch for you, don’t worry. I’ve included instructions on how to scale the recipe up in the FAQ section below!

The recipe is designed to be made ahead.

I love making bread recipes like babka, cinnamon rolls, and more. That being said, I DON’T love how long the recipes take to make. Almost all bread recipes instruct you to proof the dough for at least 1 hour to let the bread rise. Others require at least two 1-hour sessions! As a result, a yeasted dough recipe will easily keep you in the kitchen for at least 2 hours.

But what if I told you there was a better way? When writing my cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I discovered that you could break the work up overnight. That is, you would make the dough the night before planning on baking the bread and stick it in the fridge to rise slowly in its cooler temperature. The next morning, the dough would be proofed and ready for the next stage of rising and baking. Dividing up the work this way meant you wouldn’t be stuck in your kitchen waiting for the dough—you could get other things done (like get a good night’s sleep, lol).

That being said, the recipe can easily be customized into any schedule.

I get it—waiting overnight for bread isn’t for everybody. So if you want to make the malasadas all in one day, I got you! Be sure to check out my recipe tips for more instructions on how to make these malasadas without an overnight proof.

photo of unfilled malasadas on gold wire rack on marble table

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make malasadas, here’s everything you need for the recipe:

Shopping List For Malasadas Recipe

  • bread flour
  • granulated sugar
  • instant yeast
  • kosher salt
  • whole milk
  • large eggs
  • unsalted butter
  • cornstarch
  • passion fruit puree
  • pure vanilla extract

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and their potential substitutions:

Bread Flour

You need 2 cups bread flour to make the malasada dough, plus more for assembly.

What’s the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?

Bread flour contains more protein (between 14% and 16%) than all-purpose flour (which only contains between 10% and 12%).

This higher protein contents helps develop gluten and structure, which is perfect for creating crusty breads and chewy baked goods. In this particular recipe, the bread flour makes the Hawaiian donuts chewier!

Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour to make these malasadas?

Yes! In a pinch, you can use the same amount of all-purpose flour (which is 2 cups/9 ounces/255 grams) to make these malasadas. However, your donuts probably won’t be as chewy as mine. They’ll still be tasty though!

Passion Fruit Puree

You need ¼ cup passion fruit puree to make the pastry cream for these malasadas.

What is passion fruit puree?

Passion fruit puree is literally just the innards (specifically, the juice, pulp, and seeds) of a passion fruit. It is typically yellow in color, and dotted with black seeds. However, you can also find a variety with the seeds strained out.

Where do you buy passion fruit puree?

Although you can “make” your own passion fruit puree by scooping out the insides of a passion fruit, you can also buy passion fruit puree online, in Hispanic grocery stores, or in fancy gourmet shops. The fancy pastry school kind by Monin is usually pretty expensive. I recommend going to a Hispanic grocery store and finding a pouch of Goya passion fruit pulp—these typically only cost between $2 and $3!

Can I use passion fruit juice instead of passion fruit puree?

Yes, but with caution. Passion fruit juice typically has added preservatives and sugars in it. If you use it in this recipe, your pastry cream will likely turn out too sweet!

And ven if you find a juice that doesn’t have any preservatives or sugars, there’s a good chance that it is watered down. The passion fruit pastry cream might NOT set properly if you use passion fruit juice!

photo of hands picking up a malasada from a tray

How To Make Malasadas

I’ve already mentioned that this malasada recipe uses an overnight dough. That means that you will make the malasada dough and proof it overnight in the fridge. I also like to make the pastry cream and chill it overnight to allow it to set properly. The following day, you then fry the Hawaiian donuts and assemble them.

Here are the basic steps to make homemade Hawaiian donuts from scratch.

Day 1: Make the Malasada Dough and Pastry Cream

  1. Prep the ingredients for the malasada dough. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)
    For this recipe, it’s important that all its ingredients are at the temperature listed in the recipe. Why? First of all, remember that yeast is a living thing. If you activate the yeast at a temperature that’s too warm, you might accidentally kill the yeast and end up with a dough that doesn’t rise.

    However, on the flip side, the yeast won’t activate if other ingredients—like the milk, eggs, and butter—are too cold. So, to really set yourself up for success, take the extra 5 minutes to make sure all the ingredients are measured out and are at the right temperatures!

  2. Make the malasada dough. (Work Time: 15 minutes)

  3. Proof the malasadas for the first time. (Rise Time: Overnight)
    Once the dough is ready, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator. The fridge’s cooler temperature enables the dough to rise at a slower pace than it otherwise would at room temperature. The next morning, you end up with a perfectly risen dough that’s perfect for shaping and baking!

  4. Prep the ingredients for the passion fruit pastry cream (Prep Time: 5 minutes)

  5. Make the passion fruit pastry cream. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

Day 2: Cook and Assemble The Malasadas

  1. Shape the malasada dough into donuts. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

  2. Proof the malasadas for the second time. (Rise Time: 1 hour)
    You need to proof the malasadas for a second time after you’ve shaped them. During this rise time, I prep my fry station and preheat the fry oil. It takes a surprisingly long amount of time to preheat the oil to the right temperature!

  3. Fry the malasadas. (Cook Time: 4 minutes per batch)
    Depending on the size of my pot or deep-fryer, I typically only fry 2 to 3 malasadas at a time. Why? Overcrowding the pot tends to cause a dramatic drop in the frying oil’s temperature. So I like to be on the safe side and fry in small batches.

    If you fry 2 malasadas at a time, you’ll do 3 batches total and have a total Cook Time will be 12 minutes. If you fry 3 malasadas at a time, you’ll do 2 batches total and have a total Cook Time of 8 minutes.

  4. Assemble the malasadas by tossing them in sugar and filling them with the pastry cream. (Work Time: 15 minutes)
photo of hands holding a sliced malasada filled passion fruit pastry cream

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

FAQ: What Equipment You Need To Make Malasadas

Here’s a list of all the baking equipment and tools I used to make these Hawaiian donuts:

I don’t have a stand mixer. Can I still make the recipe?

Absolutely! Instead of using a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic. The recipe instructs you to knead it for 10 minutes in a stand mixer; however, you may need to do a few minutes of extra kneading when doing it by hand.

I don’t have a deep-fryer. Can I still make malasadas?

Absolutely! I don’t own a deep-fryer myself. Instead, I used a heavy-bottomed pot with tall sides (specifically, this Dutch oven). I affixed a deep-fry thermometer to its side to monitor the oil’s temperature and called it a day!w

Note that the Dutch oven I linked to has a capacity of 7 quarts; however, I’ve also made these malasadas in a 5-quart Dutch oven.

Do I really need a Bismark pastry tip to make malasadas?

No! A Bismark pastry tip is great for filling donuts because its long nozzle enables you to fill the entirety of the donut. A regular pastry tip won’t be able to achieve the same depth.

But if a regular pastry tip is all you have, no worries! Use a skewer or a chopstick to poke a deep hole in each donut. Then, use a regular pastry tip to fill the hole.

FAQ: Questions About The Recipe’s Techniques

Can I double the recipe to make a full batch of malasadas?

Yes! Doing so will make 12 malasadas. No need to change anything else about the recipe—all instructions will stay the same!

Help! My malasadas didn’t rise and/or don’t look as tall and fluffy as yours. They are much smaller and denser. What did I do wrong?

First things first: did you pay attention to the temperature of the ingredients listed in the recipe? I mentioned earlier that, for these Hawaiian donuts, it’s super important to prep your ingredients to the temperature listed in the recipe. If the water or butter is too hot, it will kill the yeast—your rolls won’t rise and/or be as tall and fluffy as mine. If the milk and eggs are too cold, it won’t activate the yeast—your buns won’t rise and/or be as tall and fluffy as mine, either.

Second: did you proof the dough right? Typically, donut dough needs to be proofed twice. The second rise allows the malasadas to develop an airy crumb, with a light and chewy texture that is the hallmark for good bread. If you don’t proof the malasadas properly, especially during the second rise, they’ll come out small and dense.

So how do you tell if you’ve proofed the dough right? Press the top of a roll gently with your finger. If the dough springs back right away, it needs to be proofed more. But if it springs back slowly and leaves a small indent, it’s ready to bake! You can learn more about this troubleshooting process in this Cook’s Illustrated article.

FAQ: Questions About Storing Malasadas

How To Store Malasadas

The malasadas are best the day they’re made, but you can store any leftovers under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down for up to 1 day. After 1 day, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 more days.

Can you freeze malasadas?

Technically yes, but I don’t recommend it. The donuts are best the day they’re made, still warm from the fryer!

More Donut Recipes on Hummingbird High

Get the Recipe: Malasadas (Hawaiian Donuts) Recipe

This light and fluffy malasada recipe makes a small batch of 6 authentic Hawaiian donuts inspired by Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu! The malasadas are rolled in sugar and stuffed with passion fruit pastry cream.
(5 stars) 11 reviews
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For the Malasada Dough

  • 2 cups (9 ounces or 255 grams) bread flour, plus more for assembly
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) packet instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces or 170 grams) whole milk, warmed to between 120° to 130°F
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 28 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the Passion Fruit Pastry Cream

  • 6 Tablespoons (2.65 ounces or 75 grams) granulated sugar, divided into ¼ cup (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) and 2 Tablespoons (0.90 ounce or 25 grams)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 28 grams) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (0.5 ounces or 14 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) passion fruit puree
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • ¾ cup (5.25 ounces or 149 grams) granulated sugar


  • a stand mixer with dough hook attachment
  • a fine-mesh sieve
  • a wire rack
  • a rolling pin
  • a 3-inch round cookie cutter
  • a heavy-bottomed pot with tall sides (like a Dutch oven) OR a deep-fryer
  • a deep-fry thermometer
  • a slotted spoon
  • a wooden skewer
  • a pastry bag with a piping tip (preferably a Bismark pastry tip)


Day 1: Make The Malasada Dough and Passion Fruit Pastry Cream

  • First, make the malasada dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Knead on low to combine, about 30 seconds. Press a tall glass or measuring cup in the center of the ingredients to make a "well."
  • Whisk the wet ingredients. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk, and butter.
  • Knead the dough. Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients and knead on medium-low for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.
    The dough will be sticky and thick. It will look more like batter at this point, but that's totally okay, I promise!
  • Proof the dough overnight. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • While the dough is proofing, make the passion fruit pastry cream. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together ¼ cup (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) of the granulated sugar and the milk. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously, 2 to 3 minutes or until the milk begins to steam. Reduce the heat to low.
  • Whisk together the egg, cornstarch, and remaining sugar, then temper it with the hot milk mixture. In a medium, heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg, cornstarch, and remaining sugar.
    Slowly ladle ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into this egg mixture, whisking the egg mixture continuously.
    Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking continuously. Immediately remove from heat.
  • Add the butter, passion fruit, and vanilla. Immediately add the butter, passion fruit, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  • Chill the pastry cream overnight. Place a fine-mesh sieve over an airtight container with a lid and pour the pastry cream through the sieve to remove any lumps.
    Set the bowl on a wire rack. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pastry cream and cool completely. Cover with the lid and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: Cook and Assemble The Malasadas

  • Form the dough into malasadas. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and generously flour the paper.
    Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Uncover it and discard the plastic wrap. Tip the dough onto a generously floured counter.
    Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle about ½-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut out 6 circles. You may need to gather and reroll the dough.
  • Proof the malasadas. Place the circles at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Prep your frying and assembly station. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with tall sides (like a Dutch oven) or deep-fryer halfway up with vegetable oil. Affix the deep-fry thermometer in the pot or deep-fryer and heat the oil to 365°F.
    Line a wire rack with two sheets of paper towels.
    Place the ¾ cup of granulated sugar for assembly in a shallow bowl.
    Scrape the chilled passion fruit pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a Bismark pastry tip.
  • Fry the malasadas. Carefully remove the donuts by wedging a floured bench scraper underneath each one. Working in batches of 2 donuts at a time, fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until the donuts are puffy and golden brown. Once done, use a slotted spoon to move the donuts to the prepared wire rack.
    Repeat until all the donuts are fried, making sure that the oil temperature is at 365°F every time you start a new batch.
  • Assemble the malasadas. Toss each donut in the shallow bowl of sugar while still warm from the fryer.
    To fill each donut, wait 15 minutes to allow the donuts to cool slightly and then use a skewer or a Bismark pastry tip to poke a hole in the side of each donut.
    Pipe the pastry cream into the holes until each donut is plump and swollen, around 2 Tablespoons each. The donut should be stretched thin to the point of bursting.
  • Serve and store. Serve warm or at room temperature. The malasadas are best the day they’re made, but you can store any leftovers under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down for up to 1 day. After 1 day, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 more days.


  • You can skip the overnight rise and make the malasadas all in one day. Follow the recipe instructions to make the dough and place it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. However, instead of proofing the dough in the refrigerator overnight, let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours in a warm, draft-free spot. Once puffy and doubled in size, follow the recipe instructions to punch down the dough, shape it into donuts, rise again, and fry accordingly. Just note that, because the dough wasn’t chilled, the dough will be stickier and harder to work with when rolling it out and cutting out the malasadas. So be sure to generously flour your surfaces and cutter!
  • Alternatively, you can make the dough and pastry cream up to 3 days ahead of shaping them into malasadas and frying them. Simply keep covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days, then follow the recipe instructions to shape the dough into malasadas, proof again, and fry accordingly.
  • Just another friendly reminder to make sure to pay attention to the ingredients and the temperatures they’re listed at in the recipe. Yeast is a living thing and you can easily kill it by mixing it in water that’s too hot. You want the temperature to be similar to that of a warm bath and no more.
  • The dough recipe also instructs you to use butter that’s melted and cooled slightly. What does that mean? Similar to the water for the recipe, its temperature should feel like a warm bath. When I’m prepping ingredients for this recipe (and others that uses melted and slighted cooled butter), I like to melt the butter first (either over a gentle heat on the stovetop, or short bursts in the microwave to ensure it doesn’t get too hot). Once it’s melted, I prep the rest of the ingredients. That gives it enough time to cool slightly—by the time I’m done prepping the ingredients and ready to start the recipe, it should be at the right temperature!
  • Also, make sure to use milk and eggs that are at room temperature rather than straight from the fridge. Milk and eggs straight from the fridge will be too cold and lower the temperature of the overall mixture, risking dropping it to a point where the yeast won’t activate properly.
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