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Leonard's Bakery Malasadas

Malasadas at Leonard's, a Honolulu Fixture Since 1952

Maybe you're familiar with tuna poke, plate lunches, and other culinary contributions from Hawaii, but have you ever heard of a malasada? I hadn't — that is, until I visited Honolulu and was told that they can't be missed.

Much like a sugar doughnut, a malasada is a confection of fried yeast dough that's been showered in granulated sugar. I enjoyed plenty of them during my stay, but the best were from Leonard's Bakery, an institution known far and wide to have the best fried puffs in town. It lived up to its hype: the hot-out-of-the-fryer malasadas were crackled — almost bruléed — on the outside, and just barely cooked in the center, with a moist, custard-like flavor.

Learn more about the famous fried specialty and Leonard's Bakery when you keep reading.


The bakeshop was founded in 1952 by Leonard DoRego, the grandson of Portuguese emigrants who moved to the islands to work in Hawaii's sugar cane fields. Once introduced, the malasadas (a longtime Shrove Tuesday tradition in Portugal) became a huge hit in Oahu and its neighboring islands. Today, son Lenny Jr. runs the store out of the same Kapahulu Avenue spot that's been open since 1957 — and Hawaiians have declared Fat Tuesday to be Malasada Day.

I couldn't resist trying the bakery's many doughnuts that hid fillings of custard, haupia (coconut), and chocolate, but in the end, my favorite was the basic yet perfect plain sugar malasada. It's a good thing I'm an ocean away, otherwise I'd end up there every day. Have you ever tried a Leonard's malasada?

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AlohaBobby AlohaBobby 5 years
Here's an in depth article on Leonard's:
Susannah-Chen Susannah-Chen 5 years
Michele, that's what I had! I'm curious to try the guava ones, but they're seasonal, so weren't available. Next time...
Michele-Foley Michele-Foley 6 years
I love, love, love Leonard haupia malasadas.
Susannah-Chen Susannah-Chen 6 years
suziryder, I second the coconut cream! I didn't make it out to Liliha Bakery — guess that means I'll just have to make it back out there! If any of you have other Hawaii suggestions, I'm all ears to hearing them, too...hint, hint. ;-)
suziryder suziryder 6 years
YES!! My husband and I went to Hawaii in September and we went to Leonard's twice. The malasadas are SO GOOD - especially the coconut cream ones, they are absolutely DIVINE.
a-lee a-lee 6 years
Love Leonard's! Liliha Bakery also has some delicious local treats. Were you able to make it out there?
GummiBears GummiBears 6 years
Sounds delicious.
Andrea-Marisa Andrea-Marisa 6 years
They are normally available anywhere where there are Portuguese imigrants... There are many areas in the US with large concentrations of us. San Francisco, Newark (NJ), New Bedford (MA), NYC, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach (FL), and many others. I also love the original version of the Malasadas
andreakcs andreakcs 6 years
Yes, I have tried them. They definitely are delicious YUM!
Mandy-Harris Mandy-Harris 6 years
Oh my god, this looks amazing! I want one right now.
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