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Malassadas (Azores)

Learn all about malassadas, the traditional fried dough treat from the Azores. Find out how to make them at home and discover the different variations of this delicious dessert.

by Maria
Malassadas (Azores)

Malassadas. Have you heard of them? If not, let me introduce you to one of the most delicious treats you’ll ever taste. Malassadas are a traditional fried dough dessert from the Azores, a group of islands off the coast of Portugal. They’re light and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and coated in a generous layer of sugar and cinnamon. In other words, they’re pretty much heaven in every bite.

But what makes malassadas so special? For starters, they’re steeped in tradition. Malassadas have been enjoyed in the Azores for generations, and they’re an important part of the region’s culinary heritage.

They’re typically made during special occasions such as Carnival and Christmas, but let’s be real – they’re so delicious that you’ll want to enjoy them all year round.

Malassadas have a rich history that can be traced back to the mid-1400s when the Portuguese first colonized Madeira and later the Azores Islands. They brought with them the method of deep frying, which led to the creation of malassadas on the Island of Sao Miguel.

The treat was made by Catholics who needed to use up delicacies such as sugar and butter in their homes in order to prepare for Lent, a time of gastronomic sacrifices.

The tradition of making malassadas was later brought to Hawaii by Portuguese workers from Madeira and the Azores who came to work on sugarcane plantations in the 19th century.

They continued to make large batches of malassadas to use up butter and sugar before Lent, and this tradition continues today with Shrove Tuesday being known as Malasada Day in Hawaii.

Making malassadas at home is easier than you might think. All you need are a few simple ingredients like flour, eggs, sugar, and yeast. The dough is mixed together and left to rise until it’s light and airy.

Then it’s shaped into small balls and fried until golden brown. The result is a treat that’s crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside.

But why stop there? One of the best things about malassadas is that they’re incredibly versatile. You can fill them with all sorts of delicious things like chocolate, custard, or fruit preserves. Or you can get creative and come up with your own unique fillings. The possibilities are endless!

So if you’re looking for a new dessert to try at home, give malassadas a go. They’re easy to make, delicious to eat, and steeped in tradition. Trust me – once you try them, you’ll be hooked!

Malassadas (Azores)

Malassadas (Azores)

Serves: 10 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 398 calories 10 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (0.4 oz)
  • 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • Juice of 3 oranges
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 shot brandy
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Sugar and cinnamon, for coating


  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate small bowl, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture and mix until well combined.
  2. Add orange juice and brandy to the mixture and mix until well combined. Using your hands, knead the dough until it is soft and pliable.
  3. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Once the dough has risen, lightly flour your hands and take small pieces of dough. Shape them into circular shapes, making sure that the center is less thick, creating a hole.
  5. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a deep-fry thermometer.
  6. Carefully place the pieces of dough into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the malassadas to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  7. While still hot, roll the malassadas in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon to coat.


  • You can experiment with adding other ingredients to this recipe to make it your own. Some ideas could be adding vanilla extract or lemon zest to the dough for extra flavor.
  • You could also try filling the malassadas with a sweet filling such as chocolate or custard before frying them. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to get creative and make this recipe your own!
  • There are many different fillings that you can use for malassadas. Some popular options include chocolate or Nutella, custard or pastry cream, fruit jams or preserves, and dulce de leche.
  • You could also try more savory fillings such as ham and cheese or even a savory cream cheese filling. The choice is yours, so feel free to experiment and find the filling that you like best!
  • Malassadas are traditionally fried, which gives them their characteristic crispy exterior and fluffy interior. While it is possible to bake them instead of frying, the texture and flavor will be different from the traditional fried version.
  • If you would like to try baking them, you could shape the dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then, bake them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  • Once they are baked, you can roll them in sugar and cinnamon while they are still warm. Keep in mind that the texture will be more like a sweet roll rather than a traditional malassada.
  • There are a few variations of malassadas that you can try. Traditional versions of this treat do not contain holes or fillings, but some varieties are filled with flavored creams or other fillings.
  • Malassadas are also popular in Madeira, where they are made with slightly different ingredients such as lemon zest. You can experiment with different fillings and flavorings to create your own unique variation of this delicious treat!

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