Hawaiian malasadas (take 2)

One of my favorite Hawaiian treats are their cream-filled donuts, or malasadas. While I’ve made them before, this is a new (to me) recipe that is just as excellent.

Hawaiian malasadas

Ah, fall. It’s my favorite time of year. The leaves are starting to change, and the air is crisper. Some mornings, the weather is actually quite cool. The colder air makes me want to snuggle up indoors… or go to Hawaii.

Since we don’t have a Hawaiian trip planned anytime soon (boo), the next best thing was to make malasadas. My favorite malasada store is Leonard’s on Oahu. Their chocolate filled malasada is beyond words. If they have it in stock, Leonard’s haupia (coconut) and lilikoi (passionfruit) ones are supposed to be amazing as well.

Hawaiian malasadas

I found the Aloha Kitchen cookbook at my local library and had it checked out (and renewed) for 2 whole months. I love this book so much that I’m asking for a copy for Christmas.

The day after our neighbor’s annual pig pickin’, I made malasadas. Turns out that the neighbors had a ton of leftover oysters from the party, so she gifted them to another neighbor of ours (who we’re good friends with). This neighbor sent me a text that morning and invited me over for some oyster appetizers. I happily accepted her invitation and told her that I’d bring over some Hawaiian donuts if they turned out well.

Hawaiian malasadas

I shared my donuts with my neighbor and her friends and also brought some to the rink for my pairs partner since it was his birthday.

These malasadas were well-loved by everyone. While they didn’t meet my husband’s high donut standards, Addie, our neighbors, my pairs partner and I enjoyed them a lot.

Hawaiian malasadas

Hawaiian malasadas
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3.50 from 2 votes

Hawaiian malasadas (take 2)

Another recipe for Hawaiian malasadas (donuts). These are filled with a luscious pastry cream!
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Rising time3 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: Breakfast
Servings: 24
Author: Eva Bakes



  • ¾ cup whole milk warmed to 100-110 degrees F
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk warmed to 100-110 degrees F
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 packages (4 and ½ teaspoons total) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon plus ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • neutral oil for deep frying

Pastry cream

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar divided
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup lilikoi (passionfruit) juice optional


Make the malasada dough

  • In a measuring cup or medium sized bowl, mix together the milks, butter, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy.
  • In the bowl if a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and the remaining ¾ cup of granulated sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the speed down to low and alternate adding the flour and the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the salt and switch to the dough hook attachment.
  • Keep kneading the dough in the mixture until it is smooth and pliable. It should not be sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, about ¼ cup at a time. I ended up using a few extra cups of flour because my dough was too wet.
  • Transfer the dough a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Generously grease a large bowl and transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a wet kitchen towel and allow to double in size, about 1-2 hours.
  • Once the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about ½ inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter (or a round glass) and cut out 3-inch rounds. You should get about 24 of them. You can re-roll the scraps and cut out more donuts.
  • Place the cut donuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Make the pastry cream

  • While the dough is rising, make the pastry cream. In a medium sized saucepan set over medium heat, mix ¼ cup of the granulated sugar with the milk. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to steam.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining ½ cup of sugar with the corn starch and salt. Slowly stream in about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture. Keep stirring so the egg yolks don't cook. Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly. The mixture should thicken up significantly in about 3-4 minutes.
  • Turn the stove off, remove the saucepan from the oven, and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Stir vigorously until smooth. Add in the lilikoi juice if using.
  • Transfer the cream to a medium sized bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill until cold and ready to use, about 1-2 hours.

Fry the malasadas

  • In a deep cast iron pot, heat up about 2 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F. Watch the oil carefully - you don't want it to get too hot or else your donuts will burn.
  • Carefully place 4-6 malasadas in the hot oil and let them sit for about 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, flip them and let them cook another 2-3 minutes or until golden. Transfer the malasadas to a paper-towel lined plate or wire rack to cool slightly.
  • In a shallow bowl or a paper bag, place about ½ cup of granulated sugar. Place a malasada in the bowl/bag to coat (shake the donut in the bag if using that method). Place on a baking sheet.

Assemble the malasadas

  • Once the malasadas have all been fried and covered in sugar, make a small slit at the top of each one. Fill a piping bag with your chilled pastry cream. Using a medium round or star tip, fill each malasada with about 2-3 Tablespoons of the cream.


Malasadas are best the day they are made. If needed, they can be stored in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Source: Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawaii by Alana Kysar


  1. December 20, 2020 / 9:07 pm

    I loved the donuts!

    • evabakes
      December 20, 2020 / 9:21 pm

      Hawaiian donuts are the best!

      • Antone
        February 2, 2021 / 8:56 am

        They are portugese in origin and authentic Malasadas aren’t filled with and pastry cream or chocolate . Also Leonard’s is on Oahu not the Big Island the Big Island is the island of Hawaii which is the biggest of all the islands.

        • evabakes
          February 2, 2021 / 9:13 am

          What I would give for a Leonard’s malasada right now!!

    • Fredrick Gendall
      April 6, 2024 / 5:31 pm

      5 stars
      They came out excellent , the only thing I changed was the pastry cream I made it with a hint of rum Italian style , friends loved them . Thanks for the recipe Fredrick Simi Valley Ca.

  2. Sue
    January 28, 2021 / 9:39 am

    2 stars
    These Malasadas are easy to make. However they are pretty bland. I think next time I make them I will use a frosting with Lilikoi passionfruit concentrate instead of the lilikoi custard filling. There was not enough flavor in the filling and the more Lelikoi concentrate I added the runnier the custard became.

    • evabakes
      January 28, 2021 / 2:15 pm

      Ooh, the lilikoi concentrate sounds like a great swap. I like my malasadas filled as well but am sometimes too lazy to make the custard. Lol!

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