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Leonard’s Malasadas

Hot on the heels of the Portuguese Sausage Shootout comes another popular island favorite from the Portuguese, the Malasada. I work in an office where folks love to share food, and yesterday was no exception as one of our accountants brought us a box of Leonard’s Malasadas from their wagon located in Waikele Shopping Center.

Malasadas are essentially a doughnut shaped as shown (no hole in it), about the size of a racket ball, deep fried until GBD and dusted with a light coat of granulated sugar. Leonard’s also offers filled versions with custard, chocolate or Haupia (coconut cream). They’re 60 cents each or cheaper if purchased in larger quantities.

I haven’t had Malasadas for a while; the last time being from Champion Malasadas (Beretania st.), a formidable contender to Leonard’s. Well this batch was consistent to what I always remember Leonard’s to be… fluffy, slightly spongee, slightly chewy, with a nice change in texture from the deep-fried outer crust, complimented, but not overdone by the granulated sugar finish. What’s most important is that they’re not greasy, which is a testament that they have good management over proper oil temperature. Just a slight “slick” on the crust that helps the sugar stick to them and also provides a sort of buttery finish in texture if you will. They might even have some secret ingredient that helps prevent oil from penetrating into the dough as it cooks.

Reheating or eating them cold just isn’t an option. Just like anything else that’s deep-fried, Malasadas are something you MUST eat while it’s piping hot straight from the bakery or wagon.

I’m having evil thoughts about this. How about making a Malasada Dog? lol Heck, they did it with Andagi (Okinawan donuts), so why not the Malasada? O.K., one day after my arteries take a break perhaps I’ll try that.

This Leonard’s logo sticker they put on each box is a whimsical, yet accurate illustration of what their famous red and white striped Malasada wagon looks like…

They also have a bakery home base located on Kapahulu Avenue that’s been there for decades.

While their may be a few contenders out there, the first name that comes to mind when you mention Malasadas is Leonard’s… a household name in Hawaii that continues to this day with excellence.



14 thoughts on “Leonard’s Malasadas

  • May 27, 2007 at 2:47 am

    Da bugga was mmm mmmm goooood!
    I took the last one for the long ride home.
    Thanks Cez!

    Da Man

  • May 27, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Da man, you’re supposed to say it was “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” good! lol

    Mahalo Jodi for the nice compliment!

  • June 27, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Hey Bradda! I was just on Oahu for 2 weeks. Just loved Leonards again. Forgot how ono they were! Anyone have what they think is close to the Leonards Dough recipe? There is something special about their dough.

    I even called them to ask if they sell recipe, they say no.

    Anyone Help?


  • June 27, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Howzit Keilani,

    I found a malasada recipe from scratch as follows, which I’m sure if you’re good at baking (formulas), you can tweak it to taste pretty close – if not exactly – like Leonard’s Malasadas..



    * 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
    * 1 teaspoon white sugar
    * 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
    * 6 eggs
    * 6 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1/2 cup white sugar
    * 1/4 cup butter, melted
    * 1 cup evaporated milk
    * 1 cup water
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
    * 2 cups white sugar


    1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup warm water; set aside.
    2. In small bowl, beat eggs until thick.
    3. Put flour in large bowl, making a well in the center. Into the well add yeast, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, milk, 1 cup water, and salt. Beat thoroughly to form a soft, smooth dough. Cover, let dough rise until doubled.
    4. Heat oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Drop dough by big teaspoonfuls into oil, fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, shake in a bag of sugar to coat, and serve hot.

    Tip! You might wanna’ check in on my recent entry about LARD. That might be “da’ secret”!!!

  • July 21, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Great site and great post!

    I love malasadas. I am fan of the malasadas at Champion Malasadas because of the less “airy” malasadas as compared to leonards. Champion’s has more flavor and a crunchy chewy texture that is hard to describe

  • July 21, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Howzit James,

    I’ve tried Champion Malasadas (as mentioned) and I think they’re excellent, and just like you described. They know their stuff!

    I see their location is still on S. Beretania street, across Hawaiian Graphics. I need to return there AND to Leonard’s and do a Malasada Shootout!

    IIRC, the owner, Joc Miw is from Macau, an island off China (near Hong Kong), which as you may know, at one time was ruled by the Portuguese, which helps to understand the history behind his product.

  • October 9, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Leonard’s is the best. Wife and I were surfing the noth shore. I from NY, she from SC. Hands down the best dougnut in th AOL best dougnut rating

  • October 20, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Leonard’s CANNOT be beat! They ARE THE BEST!

  • January 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    My preference… Home Maid Bakery on lower main, Wailuku Maui…fresh & hot, melt in da mouth…ono Malasadas!

  • January 31, 2009 at 9:18 am

    nokaoi, I did not know Home Maid Bakery also sold malasadas. I’m only familiar with their manju. What I don’t understand is why they have fundraisers here on Oahu that sell doughnuts from Krispy Kreme in Maui. I’ve tried them once or twice and they’re just NOT nearly as good as if it were fresh from the shop. For me, doughnuts, like malasadas, gotta’ be eaten at least within an hour or two of them being made. Preferably sooner than that.

    rita and larry, I’m sure the owners of Leonard’s will be happy to hear that!


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