Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Wednesday, 29th December 2010

My sister, Connie stopped by the other day with a platter of Malasadas. Malasadas are Portuguese-styled raised doughnuts.  The Malasada doesn’t look like a typical doughnut because unlike typical doughnuts, Malasadas don’t have holes in the middle.  Connie made the traditional deep-fried Malasadas using the classic stretch method and then rolled them in granulated sugar.

A close up photo of Malasadas, a Portuguese-styled raised doughnut.

Malasadas are not traditionally filled but there are varieties that are filled with flavoured creams.  I for one would like to try that at some point.  I think Malasadas are similar to an Italian Scorpelle (Italian doughnut), crunchy on the outside with a soft, fluffy interior.

The Malasadas are best served and eaten immediately but they can be reheated in the microwave or in the oven (I prefer reheating in the oven).  Reheating will change the flavour slightly and will also affect the crunchy texture because the sugar becomes absorbed into the Malasadas.  If you plan to serve them at a later time, I recommend waiting to add the sugar coating until after you reheat the Malasadas immediately before serving them.

A photo of Malasadas on a wire cooling rack.

Just a little tidbit of information for you regarding the Malasadas – they are quite popular in Hawaii.  In fact, Hawaiians named the day before lent “Malasada Day”.

When Portuguese immigrants came to Hawaii to work in Hawaiian plantations in the late 1800s, they brought along their favourite foods, including the ever-popular sweet fried pastry, the Malasada. Malasadas’ popularity grew as the immigrants made large batches and shared them with the other ethnic workers in the plantation camps.

A photo of Portuguese-styled raised doughnuts - Malasadas on a festive Christmas plate.

Today the Malasadas are enjoyed in Hawaii all year long and they are a must have sweet for all special occasions.

If you want to satisfy your sweet cravings with an alternative to the familiar raised doughnut, look no further – the Malasada is all this and so much more!

If you’re looking for a recipe for the familiar raised doughnut these Chocolate-Glazed Doughnuts were fantastic!  If you are short on time but would still like to enjoy homemade doughnuts these Baked White Chocolate Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze take less than 5 minutes to bake.

A photo of Malasadas, homemade raised doughnuts, on a white plate.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Dolci Fritti, Fried Desserts, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Yeast Breads & Yeast Dough

Comments (29)

29 Responses to “Malasadas – Portuguese Doughnuts”

  1. Lizzy Says:

    Oh, I bet these are fabulous…especially warm!!!

  2. Annie Says:

    This is the first time I have ever heard of or seen malasadas. They look so delicious! A great change of pace from the run of the mill donut.

  3. Sara Says:

    Before getting to the point where you compared them to the Italian ones I had the exact same thought! They look so perfect! I have to try this recipe asap!

  4. Tiffany Says:

    YUM! The texture looks like across between a doughnut and a funnel cake. Is that true??? :)

  5. Grace Says:

    Tiffany believe it or not I have never tried a funnel cake. Whenever I attend the local fair I promise myself that I am going to try one but always leave without indulging.

  6. Felice Says:

    I have never seen a stretched malasada before but it looks delicious. Malasadas are extremely popular here in Hawaii. Which reminds me that I need to have some soon. I guess this is a good time to try making them myself rather than heading down to Leonard’s Bakery. My favorite is rolled in plain suagr but some of the cream fillings I have seen for them here are haupia (coconut), mango, lilikoi (passionfruit), chocolate, banana, and at the moment it is macadamia.

  7. Grace Says:

    Felice I wish I would have know about the Malasadas a few years ago. I would have loved to try them when I visited. The fillings you mentioned sound amazing, chocolate would be my 1st choice but the passion fruit a close second. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Lora @cakeduchess Says:

    Oh yummy! I never had a malasada…they look wonderful Grace! Congrats on Top 9!! xx

  9. Treat and Trick Says:

    Never tasted malasadas before but these look tempting and delicious..

  10. Cajun Chef Ryan Says:

    Wonderful alternative to the traditional yeast risen fried dough!

    Bon appetit!

  11. briarrose Says:

    Lovely…I’ve never had these but they look just wonderful. Fried dough….it’s a beautiful thing.

  12. Amy Says:

    These look delicious! I would enjoy one of these right out of the fryer much more than a regular doughnut!

  13. Andrew Says:

    I grew up in SE Massachusetts where there is the largest Portuguese (mostly Azores) population in the U.S., malasada is definitely as delicious as it looks here and everyone should learn how to make them. Easy and delicious. :)

  14. mary Says:

    Hi, I grew up eating malasadas but my mother died at a young age and the recipe was in her head and I never learnt to make them. I was happy to find your recipe and decided to give it a try. When mixing the ingredients I noticed that there was way, way too much liquid per flour ratio, your recipe asks for 5 cups flour, did you mean 15 cups or maybe 5 pounds flour. I thought I should let you know about this obvious type-o. Any way I kept adding flour (15 cups flour) to get a workable yet very soft (like how I remember my mother’s dough). They turned out perfectly crispy on the moist and fluffy in the inside. There is only one other thing, the recipe does not ask for sugar in the mixture only on the outside, the doughnut alone needs a little touch of sweetness, next time I will add 1 cup of sugar to the mix. Oh and the Italian Scorpelle is not as good as a Malasada it isn’t as moist, even my Italian husband, mother in law and Italian sister in law (brother’s wife) agree. Thank you again for the recipe.

  15. Grace Says:

    Hi Mary, thanks so much for catching my typo, yes it is in fact 5 pounds, wow, what a mistake, thank you for catching it for me. I was working on two recipes at the same time, I’ll remember not to do that the next time. This recipe does not call for sugar because it is coated in sugar. If you prefer you can add sugar to the mixture. I love Scorpelle! In fact my Mother brought me a big batch yesterday and the kids have gone through them like crazy only a precious few left. The texture is a little different but it is still my favourite. Probably because I have grown up eating them. My Mother’s recipe is amazing, slightly different to the usual. I will share at some point when I perfect the technique myself. I’m glad you enjoyed them and realized more flour was needed.

  16. mary Says:

    Hi Grace, I hope I didn’t sound harsh in any way. I guess you are right, we do often prefer what we grew up eating, partly nostalgia I suppose. If I may, I have only one other suggestion and that is to fry the malasadas a little longer, they usually are a little more golden brown, But then again this maybe nostalgia on my part. I can’t wait for you to put up your mother’s Scorpelle recipe. I will defiantly give it a try. I have just one question. Is there any milk or eggs in that recipe? This may seem like an odd question, but my mother in laws recipe only consists of; yeast, flour, salt and water, this struck me kind of odd and I was wondering if this is what makes the taste and texture different. I sincerely congratulate you on your web-site; I only came across it yesterday on my search for a good Malasada recipe. I love your photos they look so professional. I will be trying some other ones very soon. Thanks again for your labour of love.

  17. Grace Says:

    Not at all Mary. There is definitely no eggs, can’t remember if there’s milk but she does add fresh rosemary and believe it or not potatoes. They are a little heavier and you are probably right it’s probably because they don’t use eggs. My sister has attempted them a couple of times with zero success up until last week. She made a batch and apparently they were delicious!!!

  18. Peggy Says:

    Hi, I am half Portuguese and this was one of my favorite treats when I went to my Aunt’s house. She would make these and another Portuguese cookie -biscoitos, she would put different colored icing on these. I have decided to make both to show my children what I use to eat when I was growing up.

  19. Grace Says:

    Isn’t that so much fun passing along recipes we loved growing up. I know there are some in our family that are loved from generation to generation, Pizzelle, Struffoli (honey balls). Thanks for sharing Peggy.

  20. Liz Says:

    I’m a little confused by the bag of milk and 1/2 bag of water. Is the bag of milk powdered milk? I’ve never heard of water in a bag. I’ll be making these tomorrow since my Girl Scout troop has Portugal for our World Thinking Day booth.

    I grew up eating these since my family is Portuguese and I lived in Southeast MA as well. I can’t wait to make these.

  21. Grace Says:

    Hi Liz, so sorry about that, here in Canada our milk is packaged in bags, at least that is the case for the 4 litre purchase. The 4 litres bag has three individual bags each with a volume of 1.33 litres. I usually pour in the bag of milk and fill the bag half way with water. But for my American visitors and International visitors the conversion is 5 2/3 cups milk (whole or 2%) and 2.8 cups water. I remember when I attended high school in New Jersey, my sociology teacher was so fascinated about milk in a bag that he spent an entire class discussing it.

  22. The Algarve food experience « Part of my world Says:

    […] Portuguese donuts – learn to make them here […]

  23. Dorthy Says:

    Hi Grace,
    Love your recipes! I’m also very fond of the photography ;) I’ve been looking for a recipe for these for a very long time. I can’t wait to make them.

    One thing, have you ever tried reducing the recipe size successfully?


  24. Grace Says:

    Hi Dorthy I’m sorry I haven’t reduced this recipe (I have a large family so I usually share). I’m hesitant to say this without trying but I’ve reduced dough recipes in half in the past and never had any issues, especially this type of dough. It’s very similar to our Italian scorpelle and my mother doubles, triples and reduces the basic recipe without issue. Please let me know how it goes if you reduce it.

  25. Dorthy Says:

    I will do that and let you know how it goes.

    I used to have five kids at home and wouldn’t have wanted to reduce it…Now only one, and we better not eat that many lol

  26. Grace Says:

    Wow Dorthy, 5 children, my brother has 5 too. Whenever I think two are a handful I think of my brother and my parents (9) I quickly stop complaining.

  27. Ana Says:

    I’m Portuguese and I’ve never heard of Malasadas… They seem just like Sonhos (the word means “dreams” in Portuguese). Maybe it’s a regional thing or an old interpretation? But great article! Is not everyday that I get to see someone posting a Portuguese recipe ;)

  28. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Ana, this recipe was handed down to my sister from a Portuguese friend she worked with. Unfortunately she’s since passed so I can ask if they were called something else in different regions. I find a lot of this in dealing with recipes from Italy, depending on the region, the same dish can be prepared differently or referred to a different name entirely. I did a little research and it appears they can also be referred to as “filhós”, is this term familiar?. The filled malasadas remind me of the Italian bomboloni. My niece, Natalie married a Portuguese man, Julio and I’m hoping to pick up some recipes from his mom, I like to try different things and learn some of the traditional treats, before they’ve been altered, then slightly add my own twist. I think there are a lot of hidden treasures.

  29. Mary Says:

    Malassadas are made with yeast,
    Sonhos with ‘choux’ pastry.
    Both are wonderful.
    My Portuguese mother made Sonhos, as do I.
    (Think Il’ll make a batch of Sonhos…right now!!!)
    San Diego, Ca

Leave a Reply