Malasadas (Guyanese Pancakes) Recipe

Guyanese pancakes

Cynthia Nelson

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 4 mins
Rest : 90 mins
Total: 99 mins
Servings: 4 to 5 servings
Yield: 24 to 30 pieces
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1029 Calories
91g Fat
43g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 1029
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 91g 117%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 115mg 38%
Sodium 167mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 155mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When fluffy doughnuts meet doughy pancakes what you get is a deliciously chewy and sweet malasada. Fried doughnut style but with no center hole and flatter like a pancake, these fluffy treats were brought to South America by Catholic people of Portuguese origin who were brought to the colonies as indentured workers. Fatty and sugary, they were originally made and eaten on Shrove Tuesday as the perfect recipe to put to good use all the sugar and fat that people of faith give up for Lent. The Guyanese version we bring you here has all the original Portuguese elements and is a great coffee break treat, brunch side dish, or tasty dessert that is easy to make. Plan ahead, as the batter needs 90 minutes of resting time but prepping and cooking take just a few minutes.

Indulgent and delicious, these doughnuts have taken over the world in places as remote as Hawaii, where the Malasadas have a fan base during Fat Tuesday as well. The treats were brought to the islands during the 19th century by sugarcane workers of Portuguese origin who shared their traditions with locals. Although the classic Portuguese malasadas have no fillings and are usually served with sugar or syrup on top, many doughnut-like variations have appeared. So if you're inclined to fill these fried balls with whipped cream, chantilly, dulce de leche, chocolate ganache, jam, or fruit preserves or drizzle them with chocolate fudge or dust them with cinnamon sugar, the answer is yes. It all makes the malasadas even more decadent. A generous drizzle of homemade syrup is also a beautiful finish, one that you can flavor with spices, fruit peel, or other flavors like hazelnut or almond.

These malasadas are best consumed right away, as they deflate when colder and tend to get soggy after a few hours. Besides, there's nothing like piping hot fried dough to start your day on a Sunday, or perhaps to finish up your Fat Tuesday banquet before it's time to say goodbye to all those good and fatty treats. Don't expect the malasadas to be round like a doughnut, as they tend to be of a lovely round but amorphous shape. There won't be two alike, but that's the beauty of the malasadas. This recipe contains eggs and dairy, and although we don't recommend substituting the eggs, you can get away with a dairy-free version if using a thick and rich plant-based milk like soy or cashew.


For the Batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 heaping tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 heaping teaspoon instant dry yeast

  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup milk , warm 110 to 115 F

For Frying:

  • 2 cups vegetable oil , about 2 inches deep in the pan of choice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cinnamon, if using, to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to a small bowl and whisk gently (you just want to break up the eggs and get them mixed with the extract).

  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the eggs and milk, and stir to mix and make a smooth, thick batter.

  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the mixture has more than doubled in quantity.

  6. Add oil to a deep frying pan and heat on medium heat until oil is hot (350 F).

  7. Working with 2 tablespoons, scoop and drop the batter into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Let fry for 1 minute until nicely browned all over.

  8. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

  9. Serve hot and enjoy!