How To Make Hawaiian donuts?

If you are in the mood for some donuts but you want to try some new and interesting recipes this post is just what you need! I’m sure you have all heard of Hawaiian donuts, also known as malasadas.

The interesting fact is that these donuts do not originate from Hawaii, they are imported as most meals that are characteristic of their cuisine. Read on to learn how this Portuguese treat became one of the most popular snacks on the island.

Hawaiian Donuts History

Hawaiian Donuts History
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Malasadas are fried yeast-leavened donuts that originate from the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. The name malasadas is used to describe the term partially cooked (crispy on the outside and soft on the inside).

They have a characteristic flavor that comes from a combination of eggs, butter, and evaporated milk. There are several different styles of malasadas, but in the first original recipe, they are never filled and they are only coated with granulated sugar.

Over the years this recipe changed so now you can find malasadas that are filled with plain custard, jelly, chocolate, and Hawaiian coconut-flavored haupia pudding.

How did malasadas become so popular in Hawaii?

During the 19th century, a lot of immigrant workers came from Azores and Portugal to Hawaii to work in pineapple and sugarcane fields.

Portuguese laborers brought with them their cuisine and recipes, but only malasadas became so popular that Hawaiians embrace them as their own. These donuts are so deeply rooted in their tradition that they even celebrate Malasada Day (usually on Fat Tuesday).

How To Make Hawaiian Donuts?

At the first glance, malasada might seem like your regular yeast doughnuts, but the difference is that this dough is eggy and more flavorful. You will use approximately one egg for every cup of flour. Also, some people combine potato starch in the mixture which makes the dough easier for kneading.

To make these fluffy and tasty donuts you will need some time and patience to let your dough rise until it doubles in size.

Ingredients you will need

Ingredients you will need
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Since you will use active dry yeast you won’t need to wait for the yeast to proof which will slightly speed up the process. Also, instead of evaporated milk, you can use cream. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 6 cups of regular flour
  • ½  cup of granulated sugar
  • ¼  cup of potato starch
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • ¼  cup of unsalted butter (melted)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 4 cups of oil for frying

Kitchen tools

For this recipe, you will need a set of kitchen tools you always use when making doughnuts.

  • Two large mixing bowls
  • Medium mixing bowl for cinnamon-sugar coating
  • Cups and spoons
  • Hand mixer
  • Whisk
  • Cooling wire rack
  • Plastic wrap
  • Kitchen towels
  • Paper towels
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutter
  • Thermometer

Step by step on how to make Hawaiian donuts

  1. Add all dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, potato starch, and salt.
  2. In the second bowl add eggs and beat them at a medium-high speed until they become light and frothy, then add the butter and evaporated milk and mix on medium speed until it combines.
  3. Now add the flour mixture into the egg mix and use a hand mixer on low speed to combine all the ingredients into a smooth and sticky dough.
  4. If you don’t have the dough hook, knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes, and if needed you can add a bit of flour. Cover your dough with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 2 hours, or until it doubles in size.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl, and roll it out into a circle ½ inch thick. Take a cookie cutter and cut out the donuts and place them on a baking sheet. Re-roll remaining of the dough until you use it all.
  6. Let your donuts rest in a warm spot for a second rise. This will take about 1 to 2 hours.
  7. Heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit and add your donuts. Fry them for about 2 minutes on each side, until they are lightly browned.
  8. Remove donuts from the oil and place them on some paper towels to dry out and cool off for a bit.
  9. These donuts are served and coated while they are warm. Dip them in plain granulated sugar, or a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.
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What kind of filling can I use in malasadas?

Like I already said traditional malasadas are always served plain with sugar coating only, but you can go rouge and use your favorite fillings. Feel free to use regular custard, pudding, vanilla pastry cream, or jam.

You will need to use a piping bag to inject the filling inside the donut.

Can I speed up the raising process?

We all know how yeast dough takes a long time to rise. However, there is a trick that will help you speed up this process a bit. The secret is to use ingredients that are at room temperature. This way you will avoid delaying the rising princess every time you add some cold ingredient.

Also, if you don’t want to wait longer always use dry yeast that doesn’t need time to become active.

How can I store these donuts?

Malasadas can be stored on the counter or in the fridge for up to two days, even though I advise you to keep them in the fridge because they are made with milk and eggs. Wrap the in the plastic wrap and place them in the air-tight container.

Before eating reheat them in the microwave, although the taste won’t be the same as the day you made them, these can be a great option for weekend breakfast.


Even if donuts are not your type of dessert, you have to try malasadas. I can guarantee that this crispy, fluffy, sugary goodness will change your mind about donuts once and for all. You can wait for your next trip to Hawaii to try them out, or you can try to make them on your own.

Since there are a lot of different recipes for Hawaiian donuts we would like to hear yours.

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