My first made-from-scratch baby malasada!

After leaving Hawaii, there were two things that I really really missed: surfing and MALASADAS! Those Leonard’s malasadas were sooo amazing, and for a few months, I dreamed about them constantly. Sometimes, I get extremely frustrated with the lack of food diversity in Boston (#firstworldBostonproblems), but it fuels my resolve to make things from scratch! And so, I decided to give malasadas a go.

The recipe I ended up using was “A Punahou Recipe” (you can find it here). The directions were straightforward and didn’t require any fancy machinery. **One thing the recipe does not mention, though, is that the recipe makes a batch of approximately 3-4 dozen, so have hungry friends! For your convenience, here is the recipe as well:


  • 1 package yeast (1 T)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 quart vegetable oil (to cook)
  • Extra sugar for coating


  1. Prepare the yeast based on the direction on the packet. (Dissolve yeast, sugar and water and set aside.)
  2. Beat eggs. Measure flour into mixing bowl and add salt. Make a well in the flour, pour yeast mixture, eggs and other ingredients. Beat in circular motion until the dough is soft.
  3. Cover, let raise until double. Turn dough over but do not punch down. Cover and let raise again. **THIS MAY TAKE UP TO 2 HOURS
  4. Heat oil to 375 degrees and drop dough by teaspoon full into oil and cook until brown. Shake in brown bag with sugar. Best when hot.

Note: If the malasadas have a tendency to come out with the center still doughy, turn the heat down on the oil which will allow them to cook longer.

Some Tips and Observations…

I have never baked/cooked with yeast before, so I was a bit concerned with my dough, but luckily it turned out just fine! The dough doesn’t raise immediately, so it might look like this at first:

Place the dough in a warm spot (approx. 85º - I used my oven), and after one hour, try to turn the dough upside down. Let it sit for an hour more, and it should double in size like this:

This process may take up to 2 hours before any deep frying (I wish I knew that beforehand…) so plan your schedule accordingly!

Although the directions suggest coating the malasadas in a paper bag, I used a Pyrex tupperware so I wouldn’t have sugar slipping out of any holes or cracks:

Jonathan is from Hawaii, and he had one (then a few more…) and certified that they were Hawaii-scrumptious! The dough has a great airy/spongy texture that reminded me of the cinnamon-sugar coated malasadas.

Suggestions For the Future

If I attempt to make this from scratch again (I would prefer not to, but if I’m stuck in Arkansas for work, I might have to…), I think I will increase the flour in the recipe by 1/2 a cup. The dough was extremely sticky, which made it hard to form shapely malasadas. Additionally, though tasty, the dough lacked a bit of flavor, so I might add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. And lastly, I think I will attempt to make the coconut cream-filled malasadas eventually. If you slit the fried malasada, and pipe cream into the center, you get the same effect as the Leonard’s ones (of course, not as delicious!).

It seems like making malasadas is an extremely tedious chore, but I saw the cheater recipes using Pillsbury dough or bread? Uh uh, I don’t think so. I would love to find an easier recipe, but until then, I will make my malasadas this way again!