Malasadas are balls of dough stretched by hand, fried and rolled in sugar, essentially a doughnut without the hole.  Malasadas

It is tradition that on Terça-feira Gorda (Fat Tuesday also know as Shrove Tuesday), the Portuguese would use up of all the extra fat and sugar in the house by frying these delightful doughnuts in preparation for Lent.  There is a festival called The Carnival of Madeira, which is similar to Mardi-Gras in the United States.

The Carnival of Madeira is one of the first major festivals of the year on the archipelago, apart from the feast of Epiphany (Dia dos Reis). The Carnival begins on the Wednesday before Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) and lasts for seven days. On the first day of the Carnival, Funchal wakes up to the sound of brass bands parading across downtown. Festivities continue with parades, shows and concerts held at the city’s main square, Praça do Município.

The Carnival of Madeira includes two major parades. The first one takes place on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. The allegoric parade features lavishly decorated papier-mâché floats, thousands of samba dancers in colorful costumes, marching bands, and costumed characters……  The second parade is held on Shrove Tuesday, it is called Trapalhão. The Trapalhão parade is the older of the two parades. Unlike the allegoric parade, it is free for everyone to participate. Thousands of people dressed up in all kinds of costumes flood the streets of Funchal, having the time of their lives. Despite being very informal, the parade has a defined route and schedule. It ends at the Municipal Square and is followed by live music and costume competitions.”Carnival of Madeira

Hawaii is also famous for their take on Malasadas which originally was brought over by Portuguese immigrants who moved there to work on the sugar cane plantations in the late 1800’s.  History of Malasadas

Let’s get started!


This is what you will need:

3 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 eggs (at room temp)

1 stick of butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast

1/4 cup water

Zest of a lemon and orange

Milk for coating for hands

6 cups of oil for frying

3 cups of sugar for coating

Cinnamon  *optional


1)  In a saucepan melt the butter, set aside.

2)  Dissolve yeast in the water (lukewarm), set aside.

3)  Beat the eggs, sugar, butter, lemon and orange zest together in a large bowl.


4)  Combine the flour and salt, then add to the batter in 3 portions.


5)  Now to get your hands dirty…  Knead the dough by hand until well combined.

6)  Cover with a towel and leave the bowl in a warm room and wait until it doubles in size (usually takes about 2 hrs).



7)  Now that it’s ready to be fried, heat 6 cups of oil to 375°F using a deep pot.  Coat your hands with milk (it makes it easier to handle the dough).  Pull a golf ball sized piece and stretch out dough until thin and gently drop into the oil.


8)  Each side should fry 50-60 seconds or until a nice golden brown.  Carefully take them out of the pot and lay them on paper towel.

9) While still warm toss doughnuts into mixture of sugar and cinnamon (the more sugar you can get on there the better – yum yum yum!)

Then they are ready to eat!

Enjoy and as my Avó would say…. BON SABOR!