Vegan Custard-Filled Malasadas (Portuguese Donuts)

Filled vegan malasadas in a baking tin
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
8 malasadas

These delicious vegan malasadas are a traditional Portuguese fried donut that’s sweet, light and fluffy. This sweet treat was a staple in my childhood, so I just had to veganize it. Malasadas are often made in big batches for family gatherings and commonly enjoyed the day before Lent.

Malasadas originated in São Miguel, an island in the Azores. Traditionally, I’ve always known them to be flat and without a filling, but the filled versions are becoming more and more popular — specifically in Hawaii. Malasadas are widely enjoyed in Hawaii, after they rose to popularity when the grandson of a Portuguese immigrant opened a bakery called Leonard’s Bakery.

Related: A Guide to the Most Common Vegan Baking Substitutes



Yeast mixture

tsp sugar
Tbsp quick rise yeast
Tbsp lukewarm water

Donut ingredients

cup non-dairy milk
Tbsp vegan butter
cup aquafaba
cup granulated sugar
lemon, zested
pinch salt
cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying

Custard filling

can coconut milk
Tbsp maple syrup
pinch salt
tsp vanilla extract
cup cornstarch
lemon, juiced

To serve

Icing sugar, optional



This recipe requires 1 ½ hours rest time.

Ingredients for filled vegan malasadas
Step 1

First, proof the yeast by mixing the sugar and yeast into the lukewarm water. Then set it aside for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture looks foamy.

Yeast mixture in a bowl for vegan malasadas
Step 2

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat warm the non-dairy milk and vegan butter until melted and combined. The goal is to just warm the mixture, not to boil it. Once warm to the touch, remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 3

To a stand mixer, add aquafaba, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Beat on medium until slightly foamy. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly pour in the warmed milk and butter mixture.

Step 4

To the aquafaba mixture add yeast mixture and all-purpose flour. With the dough hook, mix on medium speed for 6-7 minutes or until a smooth dough has formed.

Unrisen dough for vegan malasadas in a mixing bowl
Step 5

Cover the bowl of the stand mixer with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot of your home to rise for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, knead the dough with your hands for 1-2 minutes. Cover again and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Risen dough for vegan malasadas in a mixing bowl
Step 6

Divide the dough into 8-10 even pieces. Using your hand and the counter, roll each piece into a smooth round ball of dough. Then gently press the ball into a disk with your fingers. Repeat for remaining dough.

A small ball of dough for vegan malasadas on a piece of parchment paper
Step 7

Add 2-inches of vegetable oil to a heavy-bottomed pan with high sides. I like to use a cast iron Dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-low heat to 325°F.

Step 8

Carefully place dough balls into the hot oil. To avoid overcrowding the pan, you’ll need to do this in batches of 2-3 depending on the size of your pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until donuts are a deep golden brown colour. Repeat for all donuts.

Step 9

Transfer the donuts to a wire rack with a spider or slotted spoon and let cool completely.

Fried vegan malasadas on a cooling rack
Step 10

While the donuts cool, prepare your filling by combining all of the filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk vigorously to combine. Continue to whisk and heat until the mixture is thickened and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge to cool.

Step 11

Once the donuts and the filling has cooled, poke a small hole on the side of each donut with a knife, skewer, or a chopstick. Using a pastry bag, fill each donut with your prepared filling.

Filled vegan malasadas in a baking tin
Step 12

Sprinkle with icing sugar (optional) and enjoy.

A closeup on vegan malasadas sprinkled with icing sugar

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