Dessert, Recipes

Vegan Malasadas (Portuguese Doughnuts)

These Vegan Malasadas are a traditional Portuguese fried doughnut that’s sweet, light, and fluffy. This easy homemade recipe is the perfect Azorean dessert rolled in sugar. 

This is an exciting one. You know how much we love donuts, so Kat had to veganize a favourite from her childhood – Malasadas! Malasadas are a Portuguese fried dough (aka a doughnut!) rolled in sugar. Traditionally Malasadas are enriched with eggs, butter and milk – so obviously not vegan at all. Kat has spent the last few weeks trying to veganize this childhood favourite and we’re happy to say it’s her Portuguese dad approved!⁠

What are Malasadas?

Malasadas originated in São Miguel, an island in the Azores. They’re a sweet fried dough which can sometimes come filled but traditionally Portuguese ones are flat and don’t have a filling. In the Azores and Madeira, malasadas are eaten on Terça-feira Gorda, known in English as Fat Tuesday or the day before Lent begins. It’s a traditional treat eaten during the Portuguese Carnival and was created to use all the lard and sugar in someone’s home, to prepare for Lent. 

This fluffy fried dough was then brought to Hawaii in the late 1800’s by a Portuguese immigrants. They rose in popularity there when the grandson of an immigrant opened a bakery called Leonard’s Bakery selling filled malasadas. While traditionally not filled, the Hawaiian version can be found in many flavors, and filled with creams and puddings.

Top tips for making Vegan Malasadas:

  • Use metric measurements for best results. Anytime your baking, it’s best to get the most exact measurements possible especially because different brands of ingredients can vary.
  • Properly proof yeast the water with lukewarm water. You just need water that is warm to the touch, any hotter and it could potentially kill the yeast.
  • Warm the vegan butter and milk, just slightly. Again this is to prevent killing the yeast which would prevent it from rising.
  • Beat aquafaba until its fluffy. Malasadas are a dough enriched with eggs, we used aquafaba here to the same texture desired.
  • Use a big bowl. This recipe makes a LOT of doughnuts, which means it makes alot of dough. To give it enough room to rise and yourself enough room to knead use a very big bowl.
  • Seal the bowl as air-tight as you can to proof the dough to keep from drying out and the warm air inside to help proof the dough.
  • Dip your hands in milk when shaping the dough for frying to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  • Stretch the dough as thinly as you can without tearing the dough before dropping into the fryer. The thinner you can get it the better results you will get.
  • Let the doughnuts rest for 5-10 minutes before tossing in some sugar to coat.
  • Eat the day of. This recipe makes a lot, so if you don’t have a lot of people to serve these to we’d recommend cutting the recipe I half as they are not nearly as good the next day.

Vegan Malasadas FAQ:

Do Portuguese doughnuts store well?

Not really. Malasadas are best when eaten the same day for 20-30 minutes out of the fryer. If you are keeping them for the next day, store in air air-right container and reheat in an oven or air fryer.

What’s the difference between Portuguese and Hawaiian Malasadas?

There isn’t a big difference beyond the shape, size and that the Hawaiian version has a filling evaporated milk in the ingredients.

How to make Vegan Malasadas: 

Vegan Malasadas (Portuguese Doughnuts)

These Vegan Malasadas are a traditional Portuguese fried doughnut that's sweet, light, and fluffy. This easy homemade recipe is the perfect Azorean dessert rolled in sugar. 
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Portuguese
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 30 donuts


Malasadas Dough:

    Proof Yeast:

    • 4 g (1 tsp) white sugar
    • 9 g (1 tbsp) quick rise yeast
    • 60 mL (¼ cup) warm water


    • 720 g (6 cups) all-purpose flour
    • 100 g (½ cup) white sugar
    • 141 g (10 tbsp) vegan butter
    • 180 mL (¾ cup) aquafaba
    • 1 g (1 tsp) salt
    • 1 lemon, zested
    • 240 mL (1 cup) non-dairy milk

    For frying/coating:

    • vegetable oil, for frying
    • 60 mL (¼ cup) non-dairy milk, for dipping
    • 400 g (2 cups) white sugar, for coating


    • Proof the yeast by combining warm water with quick rise yeast and 1 tsp white sugar. Set aside.
    • To make the dough, warm vegan butter with non-dairy milk until warmed through but not boiling.
    • In a stand mixer beat aquafaba with white sugar, lemon zest, and salt for 2-3 minutes or until foamy. Slowly add in the warmed milk as it mixes after about 1-2 minutes.
    • To a large bowl add the aquafaba mixture, proofed yeast and all-purpose flour. Using your hands mix and knead together until a dough forms. Knead until a smooth dough forms.
    • Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.
    • Dip hands in slightly warm water and knead the dough for about 30-60 seconds. Cover with a towel and let rise at least another 60 minutes.
    • Heat 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep cast iron pan to 350F.
    • Dip your hands in milk and tear a golf ball sized piece of dough and stretch it into a disk as much as you can without tearing it. Place in the heated oil and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown on either side. Repeat for all the dough.
    • Toss finished malasadas in the white sugar and serve.


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